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FranDev Players: Todd Haavind, Vice President of Development, Camp Bow Wow®

Haavind spoke with 1851 to share the two secrets to consistent franchise growth.

Todd Haavind is the vice president of franchise sales at doggy daycare and boarding franchise Camp Bow Wow®. Over the past 20 years, Haavind has successfully helped franchise brands expand into new markets, attract qualified partners and leverage new technologies to connect with prospective owners.

When it comes to the secret to his success, Haavind points to one thing: happy franchisees. 

1851 spoke with the franchising industry veteran to gather more of his expertise as part of our FranDev Players series.

1851 Franchise: Tell me about Camp Bow Wow®.

Todd Haavind: Camp Bow Wow® is the largest doggy day care and boarding franchise with over 180 open units across 42 U.S. states and Canada and more than $140 million in revenue in 2019.

1851: How did you get into franchising?

Haavind: I started my career as a small business lender and found myself working with prospective franchise owners from many different brands on their start-up business loans. I was approached by a large, fast-growing franchise to assist with finding lending partners and help its franchise owners in securing and managing the start-up financing process. I moved into a sales and development position with the same company and have been in franchise sales and development for 20 years with brands from the start-up level to large and well-established companies. 

1851: Are there any keys to consistent franchise growth? 

Haavind: In my experience, there are two keys to healthy and consistent growth. One is a solid unit-level economic model. You must have a plan for the franchise owner to follow that will lead to a profitable unit. Coming from my lending background, I can believe in and sell a model that works if the franchise owner follows the provided operational, marketing and sales processes to profitability.

The second is positive franchise owner validation. As part of our process, we want prospective owners to call existing franchise owners and ask them how our model, training and support systems work for them and lead them to success.

1851: What are the biggest hurdles to successful franchise growth right now?

Haavind: The biggest hurdle is the current economic situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospective franchise owners are very concerned about how current and future economic conditions could affect our business model.

1851: How did the COVID crisis affect franchise growth opportunities?

Haavind: Many franchise systems experienced a difficult year of business in existing units as well as hesitation from prospective owners due to the economic uncertainty. While our system did have a few temporary closures, after 100% reopening we have seen a reinvigorated demand for our services and many returning customers. This has validated the success of our business model and proved that our services are essential to the community and important in customers’ lives. We feel the business will return to previous levels and continue to grow after the COVID crisis. 

1851: Are there any common mistakes you see franchisors making when trying to grow?

Haavind: The most common mistake is to sell multi-unit franchise packs to underqualified and inexperienced prospects. It seems great to sell a five-unit development agreement, but without all the units opening in the timeline required, the brand suffers from over reaching and could realize a drop in overall brand performance. If you stretch a franchise owner too thin, the unit performance will suffer and the development timeline will be affected, resulting in many unopened units. 

1851: What are your biggest goals/plans for 2021?

Haavind: We are very optimistic about 2021 as December was our most successful sales and opening month in 2020. We have a strong pipeline of over 50 camps in the process of opening and we are seeing a rise in franchise prospect interest. We are looking to return to a growth rate of 20 to 25 new open units in 2021.