<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=642603455812098&amp;ev=PixelInitialized">
dog blog

Dogs Love Running! - the blog for pet owners and pet professionals

What's An Exclusive Franchise Territory?

"Location, location, location." 

You've probably heard that phrase a lot and that's because picking the right location is the first rule in determining the potential success of many businesses.  And, when it comes to buying a franchise, this rule is no different.exclusive franchise territory

Any great franchisor should help you figure out the best location for your business.  For example, our dog walking franchise does an extensive demographic research study of your local market to determine if your market has the "right" type of customers (some do and some don't) and, if so, where most of them are located.

Beyond the physical location of your business or service area, another thing some franchisors offer is what's called an "exclusive territory."

An exclusive territory guarantees and entitles you to customers in a specific area. 

For example, a fast-food franchise that has non-exclusive territories may open 3 franchised locations all within a few square miles and potentially cannibalize sales from one another.  The franchisor benefits because all three locations are making sales.  However, each individual franchisee may be at a disadvantage due to losing customers who may go to another nearby location that they don't own.

A franchisor, like Dogs Love Running!, with exclusive territories wouldn't allow this to happen.  The "exclusive territory" is what protects the franchisee by prohibiting another location to open too close by or, as in the case of a service business like a dog walking franchise, prohibit customers from buying from certain franchisees that don't "own" the territory in which they live.

A common approach is for franchisees to own certain zip codes.  So, if two franchiees owned adjacent territories where one side of the street is one zip code and the other side of the street is another zip code, it makes it very easy to determine which franchisee gets which customer.  In fact, in a franchise with exclusive territories, it would typically be required that a franchisee refer over to another local franchisee an inquiry that came from a customer in that other franchisee's territory, even if the customer didn't contact that other franchisee first. 

Overall, the benefit to this type of "exclusive territory" system is that franchisees can develop a cooperative environment between themselves because they're not worried about an agressive franchisee that may be back-stabbing them just to get a customer, as could happen in a non-exclusive territory system.

If you're investigating franchises and want to know more about choosing a location, just contact us and we can give you some ideas. 


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: business 101, franchise success, franchise ownership

The Advantage Your Dog Walking Service Has Over Others.

What does your dog walking service do that's different from others?  What advantage is there for a customer in using you over someone else?  To be fancy about it, what is your unique selling proposition?dog walking unique selling proposition

If you don't have an answer to this, you should probably stop and think of an answer before you talk to a single new prospective customer.  If you don't, you might be losing that new customer needlessly.

The spark for this article was a conversation I had with a company yesterday (not related to the pet industry).  Keep in mind that this is a company that I'm contacting about being a customer of for many years to come with potentially tens of thousands of dollars that I'd be spending with them (if not a whole lot more).  After getting a few basic details from them, I asked a pretty common question:  "Why should I buy from you instead of someone else?"

The answer was:

"Well there's really no reason to go with us over the big guys". 

I literally laughed out loud and asked the guy if that was really his final answer.  He replied with "well, we're quite a bit smaller than those other guys so I guess you'll maybe get more personalized service from us."

OK, now we're at least getting somewhere.

Needless to say, this guy was not selling up a storm with me (or probably with anyone else).  It was a shame, too, because the more I talked with him, the less interested I became

All because he failed business 101:  being able to tell the customer why they should buy from you. 

In your dog walking or pet sitting business, why should customers buy from you?  Is it price?  Quality?  Convenience?  Availability?  Or something else?  We'd love to know what you think it is and why customers love you. 


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: business 101, marketing 101, how to start a business..., client relations

The Secret To Growing A HUGE Dog Walking Business

There's one big secret to growing your dog walking (or pet sitting) business to MAMMOTH size.  It also happens to be the same secret that helps you from "burning out" of this industry.  The secret is this:

  • Get staff members to help you.

Yep, that's it.

Pretty simple, right?  Sure, there's a learning curve to figuring out how to recruit, interview, weed out the weirdos, and manage your staff.  But, once you've got even just 2 or 3 trustworthy people you can depend on, your life as a dog walking business owner will become infinitely better!huge dog walking business

We see people getting "burned out" after doing this business for a while because they're the ones doing all the visits.  They're working 7 days a week with crazy hours morning, afternoon, and evening. 

But if they just had people to help them, they'd like their business better and, because of that, probably be more enthusiastic and do a better job, too. 

Steps to finding people to help you:

  1. Get clear on what you want: is it to work fewer hours, have fewer hassles, not work on certain days, etc?
  2. Once you know what you want, write it all down.  Write out exactly what you want, why you want it that way and then memorize it.  
  3. With that in your head, go out and open your eyes and start looking for people.  Always be on the lookout for potential staff members when you're making pet visits, at the grocery store, at the gas station, visiting your local pet boutique, and everywhere else you go. 
  4. Make it so people can find you (and save you the work of having to find them):  make a page on your website where people can learn about your openings and apply, make flyers and post them around town at all the pet-related businesses, put an ad out on craig's list, and put the word out at the local humane society/shelter.
  5. Don't avoid hiring someone.  Instead, think of it as a way to make your life better. 

Having a few dependable staff members will be one of the best things you ever did for your business.  You may not get it exactly right with the first person you bring on, but stick with it.  It will be worth it in the long run.

With the Dogs Love Running! franchise, we show you exactly how to find, interview, and manage staff members that will be a loving and dependable part of your team. 


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: business 101, how to start a business..., employment

How Much Does A Pet Franchise Cost: Franchise Fee

When considering how much buying a pet or dog walking franchise will cost you, the biggest part of that expense is usually the Franchise Fee.

So, what exactly is the Franchise Fee?

In short, it's your investment in helping ensure you don't go out of business.

More specifically, any great franchisor will have years of experience in developing their systems and processes to make sure they work before they offer their business as a franchise.  Because they've already made mistakes and now know how to avoid them, they can help ensure you don't make the same ones. 

And that's what the franchise fee buys you: it's the experience of someone else who can help you succeed as quickly as possible. 

Click me

Of course, there are lots of things included in that "experience", such aspet franchise cost: franchise fee

  • proven systems and processes
  • discounts or "buying power" for equipment
  • software/technology
  • manuals, forms, documentation
  • support (phone, in-person, classroom, field training, etc)
  • marketing materials (trademarked logo, print, web, etc)
  • guidance to help you avoid mistakes

For some dog walking and pet franchises, you may also get an "exclusive territory" as part of your franchise fee.  The concept of an exlusive territory is an article for another day, but basically that just means that you "own" an area and no other franchisees around you can take customers who live in the territory that belongs to you. 

So how much is the franchise fee?

This is going to vary widly depending on the industry, competition, territory size, and other factors.  For the pet franchise industry though, a typical franchise fee will be in the range of about $6,000 to $35,000. 

For the Dogs Love Running! franchise, our franchise fee is $12,000.  And you do get an exclusive territory of 250,000 people (that's really big!). 

When looking at a franchise, especially a pet-related one, check out what you're getting first.  Ask the franchisor what it is that they'll be doing for you.  Once you know that, the value of what you're paying as a franchise fee will become much clearer.


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: franchise success, pet franchises, franchise ownership

Eco-Friendly Pet Product Guide To Raising A Happy, Healthy Dog

Are you interested in learning about eco-friendly products and tips for your dog?Eco Friendly Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy Dog   A Pawrific E book Final 

In this free 77-page report, you'll learn all you ever wanted to know about:

  • Organic, holistic, and raw dog food
  • Dental care for dogs
  • Green dog care products
  • Natural lawn care
  • Natural remedies for your pet
  • Natural pest control
  • Eco-friendly dog toys
  • Green cleaning tips

Download Your Eco-Friendly Product Guide To Raising A Happy, Healthy Dog Here.

This guide was put together by our friends at naturalpetgrocer.com.  If you're in the Montgomery County Pennsylvania area, they're a great pet food/product delivery service.



subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: pet safety, pet tips, pet exercise

How To Prevent Your Pet Sitting Staff From Stealing Your Clients

New (and experienced) pet sitting business owners often ask us:

  • How do we make sure our pet sitting staff doesn't steal our clients from us?
  • Is it risky to let our dog walking staff pick up the money our clients leave us?

The answer to both of these questions is:

Hire the right people, treat them nicely, and you won't have any problems. steal clients dog sitting

I know that's probably not the type of answer you might have been looking for, but it really is the most bullet-proof plan.  (how you hire the right people and treat them nicely will be future blog article topics)

So let's say that you've done this part already but still want some extra reassurance.  In that case, we'd suggest keeping the relationship between you and the customer instead of the customer and your staff.  That means that you are the one doing any/all customer service.  You're the one that does the scheduling with the clients.  You're the one that is the real heart and soul of the business.  And you're the one that collects payment.

If you're the one that the real relationship is with, your customers shouldn't leave you even if they're being wooed by one of your staff members.  In fact, they'd probably be so loyal that they'd be calling you and telling you that Jane Doe is trying to lure them away behind your back. 

In regards to money, the easiest way to bypass having your clients pay your staff is to do some type of automated credit card billing.  This isn't necessarily the cheapest route, but it's typically going to be the most efficient and trustworthy.  Paypal can help you with this or you can go to any one of the gazillion-and-one credit card processing merchants you'll find on the internet.  Set it up so your clients pay you directly on a regular schedule and you'll make their lives and yours a whole lot easier.


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: business 101, client relations, pet sitting

Pet Sitting vs. Dog Walking Franchise: Which Is Best?

Are you investigating the pet franchise industry and wondering how a pet sitting franchise might compare to a dog walking franchise?  Are you wondering which might be best for you?

Here's a quick and easy overview on how to compare the two so you can determine which may be the best choice for your particular situation.best pet franchise

First of all, it's important to note that many consumers use the terms "pet sitting" and "dog walking" interchangeably.  However, from a business owner's perspective, these are actually two different types of services and often have different objectives.  Let's take a look at both of them.

Pet Sitting:

"Pet Sitting" would typically be defined as providing a service where you'd visit a client's pet(s) at the client's home while they're away.  It does not entail the client bringing their pet to you (this would be more of a "pet boarding" service).  How many times you vist the pet would depend on how long the owner is away.  If they were gone for a 24-hour period, dogs typically would receive 3 or 4 individual visits.  Cats, fish, and other similar household pets might only need 1 visit during that same amount of time.

Dog Walking:

"Dog Walking" is also a service where you'll visit the client's home.  Owners are typically away at work, school, or another place during the day that makes it difficult for them to get back home easily and quickly to tend to their dog.  So, they'll have you come and take the dog out instead.  You'll usually visit just 1 time during the day and it will probably be somewhere around the lunch hour.

So, Of The Two, Which Is The Best Type of Business?

The "best" opportunity is largely dependent on what you're looking for in a business.  Here are some things to keep in mind when determining which might work for you:

  • There are generally more internet searches going on for "pet sitting" related terms than for "dog walking".  So, there are many sitting clients to be had out there.
  • Sitting clients typically only need you 1, 2, or 3 times a year since they're not often away from their home for more than a day.  This means that you're only working for them a couple times during an entire year.
  • There are lots of peaks and valleys in pet sitting demand.  You'll be very busy a few times a year, like for holidays, but not very busy at all during other parts of the year.
  • When providing a sitting service, your activities will typically be related to pet care, such as feeding, medication, bathroom breaks, and ensuring the general safety of the pet.
  • Dog Walking clients will generally use your services all year long because whenever they're at work (or wherever they are during the day), they'll need your help.
  • Walking clients might use you 2, 3, 4, or even 5 days a week.
  • Because walking clients use you multiple times per week all year long, walking services generally provide a more stable and predictable revenue stream.  This also makes scheduling for you (and your staff) easier because you know far in advance of what visits need to be made.
  • Walking visits are typically less focused on feeding and care and more focused on letting the dog stretch their legs, providing some exercise, and breaking up an otherwise boring day with some love and attention. 
  • Some walking clients might be especially interested in the exercise aspect of things and may even prefer a dog running service.

There really is no "best" way to go because both types of businesses have their pros and cons.  For our dog walking franchise opportunity, we focus more on the walking/running service because it fits our particular business model best.  As long as you know what you're getting into and why, either can work for you.


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: dog walking, dog sitting, pet franchises, franchise ownership

Buying A Dog Walking Franchise vs. Doing It Yourself: A Comparison

Comparing and contrasting why you might want to join a dog walking or pet sitting franchise versus why you would "do it yourself" is a big topic.  A book could probably be written on all the things you might want to think about.  But, to keep it brief, let's look at two of the biggest things we think you'd want to consider:

  • Your pure, natural entrepreneurial drive
  • Your appetite for risk (aka: losing it all)

No matter if you invest in a pet franchise or start it up yourself, we'd consider you an entrepreneur and congratulate you for taking the road less traveled.  Where we see a difference in "levels of entrepreneurial drive" is in how much you love the challenge of facing the problems you're sure to encounter when you start something completely unique.  So...

You might want to do it on your own if:

If you have a passion to constantly reinvent the wheel, even when the wheel works perfectly fine as it is, then there isn't ANY franchise that will be a good fit for you.  You're probably born to do it on  your own.  A franchise's rules and guidelines will probably drive you crazy and make you feel constrained.do it yourself dog walking business

If you love running into a brick wall head first and think it's fun to figure out how to climb over it, doing it yourself is for you. 

If you dig thinking through problems and enjoy the process of always trying to build a better mousetrap, you'd be better off starting something on your own.  The process of inventing as you go is part of what makes this route fun.

Some people love finding themselves in a deep hole and having no clue how to get out.  Figuring out a solution usually takes a lot of time, money, patience, and effort.

These same people are also generally OK with the possiblity that they won't figure out a solution.  Or, at least won't figure out a solution before they run out of money or time.  They are willing to accept the fact that they might lose everything they put into the business.  They're willing to lose it all.  Yes, all of it. 

Now, on the other hand...

You might want to join a franchise if:

If you don't have the time, money, inclination, or patience to make lots of expensive mistakes and learn as you go, then joining a dog walking franchise could be a much better option for you. 

Any GREAT franchise, no matter what industry they're in, gives you the proven processes and procedures to get you rolling in the right direction on day one.  A GREAT franchise gives you the templates to avoid mistakes and do the right thing immediately.buying a franchise

Now, before we go any further, we have to mention that we're not going to generalize about all pet franchises.  There are lots of them and they're all different.  Some may be a fit for you and some might not.  Instead, we're going to stick to what we know and give you details specifically about how Dogs Love Running! works.

So, assuming the franchise route sounds better to you than the risk of reinventing the wheel, then what can we specifically give you?

To begin with, this business is not rocket science.  However, it's WAY, WAY, WAY more sophisticated than most people would expect.  If you're looking to build a full-time business with lots of clients and a full roster of staff members, then our sophistication will come in very handy. 

Not only do we help in getting you started in the right direction, but you'll also get continual support.  Inevitably, you'll have questions on what to do in certain situations.  That's when you call us.  That's when being with our franchise is worth it.  One of those situations is when to do certain types of marketing and the biggest marketing question we hear is:

"how do you get clients?"

We have the answer to that.  And our marketing knowledge is another reason to join our franchise.

On marketing "experiments" alone (before we were a franchise company and were just doing it by ourselves), we wasted a ton more money just on things that didn't work than what our entire franchise fee is.  We can save you thousands in trial and error.  Even if you're a marketing person yourself already, do you know specifically what works for this type of business?  We do.  That's what we can help you with. 

Don't forget about all the money you will cost yourself in lost time trying to figure things out in all areas of the business, not just marketing.  There's a lot to know.

So, in summary:

If you already know how to run a pet business or would enjoy taking the time to figure out what you don't know, starting on your own might be the way to go. 

But, if you don't have a few years and tens of thousands of dollars to play around with while you figure out how to scale things up beyond yourself and 1 or 2 staff members, we could be the right choice instead.

There's a lot more we think you'd want to know about the differences in starting on your own vs. joining up with us.  Contact us and we can talk about it. 


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: business 101, how to start a business..., franchise success, employment, franchise ownership

The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Buying A Dog Walking Franchise

As a dog walking franchise, we get lots of calls and emails from people inquiring about joining our team as franchisees.  Part of our job is to help guide and educate them about what this business is all about so that they know if it's really what they're looking for or not.  From that experience, we can tell you that the #1 mistake that people make in buying a dog walking franchise (or in trying to start a dog walking or pet sitting company up on their own) is:

  • They want to play with dogs all day and that's it

Now, don't get us wrong.  With our franchise, you definitely get to play with dogs for a living.  And it's a heck of a lot of fun.  But, it's also still a business.  And there are a lot of "un-fun" things that go along with being the owner of any type of business.  When you talk to us, we tell you what those "un-fun" things are so that you know what you're getting into.dog walking mistake

If you're considering buying a dog walking franchise partly because you love dogs, that's great.  In fact, if you don't have a love for our four-legged friends, I'm not sure we'd even want to talk to you. 

But if 100% of the reason you want to start this kind of company is soley just because you're a dog fanatic, owning a business may not be for you.  You'll find out very quickly that marketing, scheduling, accounting, and hiring have nothing at all to do with dogs. 

Some people hate those things.

If that's you, we'd suggest thinking very carefully about if this is the right type of opportunity or not. 

What we look for are these types of traits, in no particular order (if you don't have all of them, that's fine, but this should give you an idea of the "right" type of person for this job):

  • You're a dog lover (and animal-lover in general)
  • You have a passion for animal welfare
  • You like working with people (it's the people, not the dogs, that are hiring you!)
  • You enjoy the outdoors
  • Living a healthy lifestyle is important to you
  • You are organized and at least somewhat detail-minded (scheduling staff to make client visits is a part of this job)
  • You understand that this is a business and that marketing, accounting, and hiring (and other related tasks) will be a part of your weekly routine

Note that we didn't exactly specify that we're looking for runners (our company name is Dogs Love Running!, afterall).  That's because your staff will be the runners/walkers/sitters, not you.  What we're just hoping to find are people that enjoy and live a healthy lifestyle.  This can come in many forms. 

Being a dog walking franchise owner can be the best job ever, as long as you know what you're getting into.  We try to be as informative as possible when talking to prospective franchisees because the worst thing that could happen to both of us is that you join our team and then realize that this isn't really for you.  We'd rather just tell you straight up what this business is all about before you commit to being a franchisee.  If it turns out you're a match, that's great.  If not, that's fine too.  Maybe we can point you in a better direction once we know what it is that you're really seeking.

If you're thinking about buying a dog walking or pet sitting franchise and want to know more about what it takes to make it, just ask us.  You can contact us about the Dogs Love Running! franchise here.


subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: business 101, franchise success, franchise ownership

How To Finance, Fund, And Pay For A Dog Walking Pet Franchise

Congratulations, you've found a great dog walking franchise that you'd like to join!  You've investigated everything and are ready to commit to it.  Only one thing remains...

how to finance and pay for your new pet franchise?

Let's first clarify that this article will talk about how to pay for a lower-cost franchise such as a dog walking and/or pet sitting or a dog training business.  What we're NOT talking about is a doggy daycare, pooper-scooper, or pet retail store where you'll typically have a higher investment to cover vehicles and/or physical property and inventory.financing a dog walking franchise business

A typical dog running/walking/sitting franchise is generally going to require an investment of somewhere between about $12,000 and $25,000 to get started and cover operational costs for a few months.  Even if you needed to get 100% of those funds from someone else, this is considered a relatively small loan for a business, especially for a legitimate franchise (there are plenty of "business opportunities" that cost less, but many of these are suspect at best and outright scams at worst).

So for that amount of money, what's the best place to get your initial investment?  Answer:  Your own wallet.

Yep, that may not be the answer a lot of people want to hear, but your own funds are really the best place to find your start-up capital.

But what if you don't have it (or not all of it, anyway)?  The next best place is...

Friends and Family. 

With a loan from friends or family, you're probably going to get a better "deal" than you would from a lending institution.  You should expect to still pay interest on your loan, but hopefully you'll get a better rate and more flexible repayment terms.  Getting money from them (assuming they have it and want to lend it) is also going to be a lot easier than going through the whole application and interview process with a bank.  On the downside, what happens if something goes wrong and you're having difficulty making payments?  Are you willing to cloud your personal relationship with this person over money?

Next up... an Angel Investor.

An "angel investor" is generally a person (or group of people) who makes investments in start-up companies with hopes of getting a return when that business takes off.  That return might be 15, 20, 25%, or more.  Generally speaking, an angel investor is probably going to be looking at bigger companies than what you want to start, but it never hurts to ask around and see if you can find someone who's interested in helping you.  Look for connections to these investors at the business department of local universities, at your local chamber of commerce, your local SCORE chapter, and through business networking groups.

How about a Home Equity Loan?

These loans are based on the the equity you have in your home.  It's basically the difference between what you owe and what the house is worth.  Rates are generally pretty good for this type of loan.  It's also a very flexible option because you have more control about when and how much money you take out.  The potential downside here is that you're putting your house on the line.  Now, if we were talking about a doggy daycare franchise that was going to cost you $300,000 to start up, we would not recommend a home equity loan because it would probably be too much risk in losing your home.  But, for a relatively small $10,000 - $20,000 loan, a home equity loan can be a good option for many people. 

Banks, Credit Unions, and the SBA, Oh My!

Don't forget about banks, credit unions, and the Small Business Administration.  Of these three, banks are typically thought of first, but may actually be your lowest chance for success.  They're often the most stringent in their review process, can be very picky, and have the worst "deal" for you.  Check out the SBA first.  They have a variety of loans and grants that you might be able to use for your franchise.  If nothing else, they have a ton of useful business information you can get for free.  And, if you're not familiar with Credit Unions, this may be a good alternative for you as opposed to a bank.  These are not-for-profit institutions that typically have a high focus on community development through business ventures.  They want to see businesses succeed in the community and sometimes have very attractive loan programs. 

Last, and probably least, Credit Cards.

Broadly speaking, we wouldn't endorse using credit cards to start up a business.  But because a dog walking/sitting franchise can be a very low-risk business to start, we'll add them to this list.  Don't put your franchise fee on a card that's costing you 24% interest because that's just dumb.  But, if you just need a few thousand dollars for supplies, marketing, or something like that (and don't have a high interest rate!), that magic plastic card could get you through.  Again, it's not our recommendation to use one, but in the right circumstance, it wouldn't be the end of the world to charge it. 

Starting your new dog walking franchise can be a ton of fun.  Don't let the lack of money hold you back because there ARE options out there to get funding.  Your commitment, combined with the relatively low risk of this type of business, can lead to a quick repayment of the loan, not to mention a lifetime of doing what you love for a living.

If you have any questions on getting the money to start a franchise, just contact us

subscribe button for the dogs love running blog feedFound this article interesting/entertaining/educational?  Subscribe to the Dogs Love Running! blog for free via RSS and get live updates of new articles as they're posted. 



dogs love running franchise information image


Topics: business 101, how to start a business..., franchise success, dog business, pet franchises

Request Dogs Love Running! Franchise Information