Got Questions About Owning a Hounds Town? Ask Our Dog Daycare Franchise Experts!
Hi! It’s Hounds Town USA’s Directors of Franchise Development, Kyle Christie and Rob Taylor, along with Franchise Development Manager, Andrew Alvarez. This week we’re taking over the Hounds Town blog to answer some questions from real prospective Franchise Owners!
If you’ve always dreamed of leaving the corporate grind behind and going into business for yourself but are worried about the associated costs and risks, you’re not alone! Starting your own business can come with considerable risk depending on a number of factors, including how well-equipped your concept is to weather a tough economy, how high the demand is in your market for the product or service you offer, your profit margins, and more. Wouldn’t it be great if you could invest in a business that takes all of the guesswork out of the equation for you and sets you up with a much greater chance of entrepreneurial success thanks to a proven, finely-tuned business model? That’s exactly what franchising can do for aspiring business owners nationwide.
Owning a dog daycare franchise like Hounds Town USA can be especially appealing to dog lovers. After all, who wouldn’t want to trade a 9-to-5 job in a cubicle for a lively, energetic, and fun career surrounded by wet noses and wagging tails?
We get all kinds of questions from prospective investors interested in owning a Hounds Town dog daycare franchise but still have some concerns. Here are some of the questions we’ve recently received from people like you who want to become part of the Hounds Town pack but are being smart and doing their homework before diving deeper into the Franchise Discovery Process. Let’s get started!
I am concerned about the economy, inflation, and possible recession. Is now really a good time to invest in a Hounds Town dog daycare franchise? – Dave, Boise, ID
Kyle: Excellent question, Dave. This one requires a little background about the history of franchising in general. The franchise business model was first popularized some 70 years ago when a man named Ray Kroc got investors across America interested in a revolutionary fast-food restaurant concept you might have heard of: McDonald’s!
Since then, franchising has become a prevalent business ownership model and has demonstrated resilience and strength through 12 recessions in American history. Why? Thanks to the structure of a successful, proven franchise business model, Franchise Owners have the corporate support and brand recognition of a large corporation while still acting as owners/operators of their franchise locations. It’s a win-win for anyone who wants to be their own boss but doesn’t want to take on the substantial risk of opening an independently-owned business.
Hounds Town dog daycare, in particular, has an impressive track record during times of economic downturn. Our pet franchise’s over 20-year company history has not just survived the financial fallout from 9/11, the Great Recession of 2008, and the COVID-19 pandemic but has grown and thrived!
Why is Hounds Town considered a recession-resistant franchise? – Omar, Cleveland, OH
Rob: People consider their pets part of the family. While they’re willing to cut spending in other areas during times of economic downturn, they continue to prioritize the needs of their kids and pets. Since pet owners will always want the best for their furry friends, pet care is known as a recession-resilient industry, and we’re wagging proof!
Interest rates are very high. Why should I invest now? – Marcie, Tulsa, OK
Kyle: Believe it or not, now is a great time to begin the Franchise Discovery Process! Because your dog daycare franchise location likely won’t be open for 9-12 months after being awarded franchise ownership, you can take advantage of good deals in commercial real estate now before interest rates climb higher.
Andrew: Also, Hounds Town USA franchise territories are selling out fast with the recent pet care industry growth. Securing your preferred territory now means taking advantage of your dog daycare franchise opportunity with Hounds Town down the road if it sells out.
I don’t have experience in the pet care industry. Can I still be a successful Franchise Owner at Hounds Town? – Kim, Omaha, NE
Kyle: Absolutely! In fact, most of our Franchise Owners do not have any prior experience in the pet care industry.
Andrew: It’s preferred that new Hounds Town Franchise Owners do not have any previous knowledge or experience in owning or working at a pet care business, so they can come in with a clean slate to learn everything the Hounds Town way during training.
What are the backgrounds of some of your most successful Franchise Owners? – Manuel, Albuquerque, NM
Kyle: We’re not joking when we say we’ve got Franchise Owners from just about every field out there! From former car dealership managers and aerospace engineers to physical therapists, attorneys, nurse practitioners, and just about everyone in between! We’ve got couples, brother/sister duos, and entire families working together to make their dream of dog daycare franchise ownership success in cities across America. We especially love it when people with backgrounds in the franchising industry, such as consultants and Franchise Development Directors like our very own Rob Taylor, choose to invest in Hounds Town. It speaks to the success and simplicity of our franchise business model and operations when those who invest in franchises for a living select us as a business they want to own themselves!
What would my average workday look like as a Hounds Town Owner? – Aisha, Denver, CO
Rob: That largely depends on what type of Owner you are looking to be.
As an owner-operator, you would be physically present for 6-9 hours a day, working with one Shift Lead and at least one Kennel Assistant, providing customer service, assisting in dog grooming and feeding, hiring and managing staff, and community relations.
As a semi-absentee Franchise Owner, you’d be working only about two hours a day, which can be done remotely or in your Hounds Town location. Several of our owners are managing their businesses remotely while keeping their day jobs, and some are even working their day jobs remotely from their Hounds Town facility! That said, we’d want a semi-absentee Owner to be available and in the facility for the first two weeks of their store opening. That way, they can get comfortable with their on-site manager and staff and get a feel for the general operations of their Hounds Town location.
Andrew: As far as typical operating hours for Hounds Town doggy daycare locations, they’re generally open Monday-Friday from 6:30 AM to 7 PM, Saturdays from 9 AM-4 PM, and Sundays from 11 AM to 1 PM. All business locations are closed daily from 12-2 PM, meaning customers must drop off and pick up their dogs before or after that two-hour block.
Do I need special licenses or certifications to run my Hounds Town dog daycare business location? – Sarah, Burlington, VT
Rob: This will depend on your geographic location, but Hounds Town will help during the onboarding process to ensure you comply with all necessary licenses and certifications.
Will the Hounds Town corporate team help me find and open my franchise location? – Robert, Salt Lake City, UT
Kyle: Absolutely! We have third-party industry experts that will help with finding a location, negotiating the lease, and submitting your letter of intent through the construction and build-out of your dog daycare business.
I have a few locations in mind already. Can I use these? – Bonnie, Tucson, AZ
Andrew: Our team can provide feedback on any locations you have in mind and if they may be a good fit. We ask that you keep an open mind to all options in your market to find the best fit.
What is the required financial investment? – Salvador, Nutley, NJ
Kyle: We require our prospective investors to have $150K liquid and a net worth of $500K to qualify for the Hounds Town Franchise Discovery Process.
I have funds in my 401K. Can I use these? – Nancy, Des Moines, IA
Rob: Definitely. This is one of the most popular ways to fund a new business investment. The program is called Rollovers as Business Start-ups (ROBS). When you start the Franchise Discovery Process, we can discuss some funding options that best suit your needs and introduce you to potential financial lenders.
What is an SBA Loan, and can I apply for one to fund a Hounds Town dog daycare franchise? – Stacey, Ann Arbor, MI
Kyle: SBA (Small Business Administration) loans are loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. These SBA-backed loans make it easier for small businesses to get funding. Hounds Town USA is proud to be an SBA-approved franchise.
You can apply for an SBA loan through a lending institution like a bank or credit union. That lender then applies to the SBA for a loan guarantee, which means if you default on an SBA loan, the government pays the lender the guaranteed amount.
How many staff members will I need? – Rick, Virginia Beach, VA
Andrew: Anywhere from two-10 employees will be needed to run your Hounds Town dog boarding business location.
What is the first hire I should make? How will this person help my dog daycare business? – Luis, Joliet, IL
Kyle: That depends on what role you plan on taking in your business. Generally, there needs to be a minimum of two people in the location at any given time for safety reasons. One person, the Shift Lead, is in the front of the house, managing customers, answering the phone, and checking people in and out. The other person, the Kennel Assistant, is in the back of the house managing the dogs and cleaning. We have a 15-1 ratio of dogs to employees, so as you get more dogs in your facility, you can add more Kennel Assistants to help with dog management.
What level of corporate support can I expect to receive as a Franchise Owner? – Sam, Rochester, NY
Rob: This is hard to answer simply because there is SO MUCH SUPPORT from many different people on the Corporate team.
Our incredibly robust training program offers both classroom and hands-on training. Part of the training program is to work in an actual location so you can experience firsthand some of our busiest doggie daycare franchise locations while our expert trainers are on hand.
Nearly half of this time is spent on dog psychology and management, with hands-on experience in grouping and managing dogs and learning about pack behaviors.
Our Owners will also learn about liability issues, administrative responsibilities, employee hiring and training, facility operations, and customer service best practices.
We have already seen the benefits of new locations getting off the ground quicker and more efficiently just by working in an actual franchise location that is already up and running.
Initial training is now eight full days of Immersion Training, which is 40-50 hours of working in an approved store on shift. Approved stores currently include only Ronkonkoma and South Jersey, but we will expand this geographically as more doggie daycare franchise locations open. Potential next sites include Sanford and Space Coast in Florida.
As far as ongoing support goes, this is on a case-by-case basis, depending on what the Franchise Owner needs for support. The team is always a phone call away, but we have monthly seminars, quarterly reviews, annual conferences, and constant check-ins with Franchise Owners to ensure they have everything they need.
Our field managers meet with you every month to talk about performance and numbers and where improvement can occur.
Our team is there at your soft opening, working with Franchise Owners and staff to work out any kinks and ensure smooth doggie daycare business operation.
4-6 weeks after the soft opening, we then have the grand opening, with music, food, and raffles to get people in the local community interested in bringing their dogs. For our grand opening in Pittsburgh, PA, one of our Franchise Owners who was in the buildout phase came and shadowed, and now she has a vast amount of knowledge for her grand opening.
We’re also adding support teams as the system grows to ensure Franchise Owners are receiving proper support. Franchise Owners can count on support from our Founder Mike Gould, CEO Jackie Bondanza, President Rob Flanagan, the VP of Operations, Abe Dunaway, VP of Marketing, David Martinelli, and our partners at Banyan Construction and Resolut Real Estate. We also have monthly webinars, annual conventions, and online video tutorials, and the team is always just a phone call away whenever you have a question.
I am not strong with marketing but great at engaging with my local community. How will Hounds Town help me attract my customers? – Liz, Reno, NV
Kyle: We have a team of experts on our marketing team, as well as a third-party company called Muroch, who will help to support you in all aspects of marketing the dog day care business and putting a proven advertising strategy in place to help attract your customers.
I love community involvement; how will Hounds Town help me support my local community? – Anthony, Detroit, MI
Rob: There are so many opportunities to get involved in your local community through Hounds Town Charities, as well as other ways you can promote your business by partnering with other like-minded pet businesses in your neighborhood. We also encourage our Franchise Owners to get involved in the Chamber of Commerce, participate in local events, partner with shelters and veterinarians, and more.
Thanks for all your questions, and please keep them coming! We want to make sure our prospective Franchise Owners have all the information they need to choose to begin our Discovery Process. Anything we didn’t address here? Visit our pet care franchise website to schedule a call so we can speak with you one-on-one.
We are looking forward to hearing from you!