Growing up, brothers Jason and Steven Parker loved dogs. The problem was, they weren’t allowed to get one. In 1999, being the innovative entrepreneurs that they are, the 12- and 14-year-olds started a dog walking business. Their passion for pet care only grew from there.
Today, with ten locations and a strong positioning, what started as a dog walking service by two kids has grown into a top rated, multi-award winning brand. Offering high end luxury daycare and hotel accommodations for dogs, their quality care and state of the art facilities has garnered accolades from consumers and industry professionals alike.
Since first opening their doors in 2005, the company has experienced year over year growth and are on the verge of growing their brand nationwide. K9 Resorts has been able to take their business model and successfully franchise it, thanks in part to their relationship with SMB Franchise Advisors, industry leading franchise consultants.
In 2010, the Parkers knew they wanted to expand beyond their initial locations, but being so young and having no franchise experience their attorney recommended they contact SMB Franchise Advisors for help.
“They had developed a company and a brand that had potential, but didn’t know how to transition to developing a franchise company. They needed to attract the level of franchise owner essential to a brand like K9 Resorts to expand and continue on their success,” said Dawn Abbamondi, Marketing and Brand Development Consultant with SMB Franchise Advisors.
After contacting SMB, K9 Resorts’ business model was thoroughly assessed to see if it was viable for franchising in the first place. Looking at their financials and performance metrics, SMB saw opportunities for growth and in 2011, K9 Resorts launched the franchising aspect of their business.
Steve Beagelman, President and CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors added, “when I first met them they were adamant about what they wanted their brand to be. That remains true today and they have a clear vision of where they want to go and we continue to work, helping them to get there. In the last 6 years they have grown, learned and accomplished a lot, but there is still a tremendous amount of potential in K9 Resorts.”
Under SMB’s guidance, a plan was formulated to develop the K9 Resorts brand responsibly. SMB helped to develop all aspects of their franchising system from their Financial Disclosure Documents (FDD) and policies to their royalty structure and operations manuals. They even attended the first meetings with franchisees to help walk them through the process down the road, which was a key element in awarding their first franchises.
“Unlike other consultants that just advise, they really become part of our team. We view them just like internal members of the team. Their level of engagement is what sets them apart. They have a team member dedicated to every area that we may need help in,” said Jason Parker.
And the feeling is mutual.
“They really listened to us and looked to us as part of their team, not as outsiders. They were very accessible and made the time for us. They also allowed us to make suggestions, particularly about when it was time to make change,” Beagelman said.
In the beginning, SMB suggested that they focus their growth regionally until the brand built up equity. Even though they were eager, the brothers heeded the advice and limited their focus on regional growth.
“If it were up to me we’d be going 100 miles an hour 365 days a year, which wouldn’t maybe be the best thing,” Jason added.
Their patience paid off. In 2016, SMB let the Parkers know that the time had come to grow their brand beyond the New Jersey area. To do this, they needed to look into securing private equity. Walking them step-by-step through the process, SMB helped find and interview potential investors. Under their guidance, K9 Resorts teamed up with Navigator Partners for a multi-million dollar infusion of capital that would help take them to the next level in their development, this investment was recently recognized on Franchise Times’ Annual Dealmaker list.
Today they have ten locations open and in development, the company is continuing their growth, now with their sights set on markets outside their regional stronghold. They have a strong franchise sales pipeline and expect to see tremendous growth in 2017.
“I encourage anyone considering franchising your business to do it with the help of SMB. They will assist you and help minimize mistakes along the way. What franchisors offer to their franchisees is essentially what SMB provides to franchisors,” Jason said.
With invaluable franchise expertise and an experienced and attentive team dedicated to helping franchisors succeed, it is clear why SMB is a leader in franchise consulting. Their specialized care and hands-on approach was instrumental in helping K9 Resorts gain traction when starting out and then transitioning to expanding their network on a larger scale. The company has positioned itself to become a national brand, and it has done so with the expert guidance of SMB Franchise Advisors.