The pet care industry is growing. In fact, it’s been growing for a long time. In 1998, the industry was worth about $23 billion dollars; in 2017 it was worth three times that. Today, more than 85 million American families have pets, which is around 56 percent more than the number of families that owned pets in 1988.
For the past thirteen years, K9 Resorts Daycare & Luxury Hotel has been growing in step with the industry, providing high-end boarding and care services for more and more pets each year. This year, the brand has announced three new locations that will soon join K9 Resorts’ carefully expanding franchise system.
Two of the three new locations will open in New Jersey, one corporate-owned and one franchisee-owned. The third location will be franchisee-owned and the brand’s first location in Massachusetts.
The three new locations, which are all slated to open in 2019, will bring K9 Resorts’ total unit count to 15. Jason Parker, K9 Resorts’ co-founder and co-CEO, says that slow and steady growth rate is the deliberate result of a careful vetting protocol.
“We are extremely selective in our franchisee awarding process,” Parker said. “We don’t want to partner with anyone who doesn’t share our values. Our brand is about providing the best possible care for people’s pets, and you can’t do that if the owner is not personally invested in that mission.”
That rigorous vetting process extends to real estate as well, which Parker says is one of the most crucial aspects of opening any new location.
“We’re not like other brands that figure out how many dogs they can fit in X square feet and then find the cheapest location of that size,” he said. “We’re not a boarding kennel. We’re a luxury hotel for pets. It’s essential that we find beautiful, comfortable environments for animals, with the square footage to accommodate all the amenities we provide for our guests. We are only going to set up shop in locations that are going to allow our owners to be successful.”
Parker is excited to find the three perfect locations that meet those standards now that they have franchisees who are exactly the type of entrepreneurs the brand is looking for.
“The new franchisees are extremely well prepared for this business,” he said. “They love animals, they understand exactly how our model works and what’s made us so successful and they’ve demonstrated that they are willing to work hard to apply our model. I believe they are going to be very successful, and I’m excited to watch them grow.”
The new franchisees in New Jersey are a husband and wife team, who discovered K9 Resorts as customers, and Parker says they immediately turned to the brand when they were looking for a new business opportunity.
“We are always excited when a customer is interested in becoming an owner, because they know exactly why our service is so important,” Parker said. “The husband and wife team in New Jersey are both engineers. They are extremely bright, and they know how to deliver the high level of service that we require.”
The brand’s first Massachusetts location will be owned by private owners one of which is an experienced private equity investor, which Parkers says offers a significant infrastructural advantage.
“One of the owners in Massachusetts already has dog-boarding experience, so she has insight into the industry and proven experience working effectively and compassionately with pets,” she said. “The private equity experience is another big advantage because he already has a financial and operational support system behind him in addition to the wealth of support that K9 Resorts provides all our owners. So he has key people in place to help him grow quickly.”
Parker says the franchise’s expansion efforts will not slow down after the three new locations open, and the development team is currently seeking qualified franchisee candidates in new and existing markets.
“K9 Resorts has become one of the most sought-after brands in an industry that has not stopped growing in more than 25 years,” he said. “We’re excited to bring our service to more customers in more markets in the coming years, and I have no doubt we’re going to continue to find great, qualified franchisee partners who share our mission to make that happen.”