Episode #31


Building a Leading Dog Daycare in a Fragmented Industry with Alex Samios

A fragmented industry has no real major players that dominate the industry. There are few barriers to entry, and it allows you to become a disruptor—someone who comes in and shakes things up. If you implement a platform that does a better job of meeting demand, you could be well on your way to becoming a power-player in the market. 

Alex Samios is the VP of Franchise Development with Dogtopia, the fastest growing franchise in the Pet Industry. Alex boasts over 25 years in the industry with experience on every side of franchising, from franchisee to franchisor. He shares his wealth of knowledge in this episode of Franchise Secrets.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] Alex Samios of Dogtopia joines me
  • [1:35] His background in franchising
  • [4:15] Pet grooming to Health and Wellness
  • [5:45] The purchase of Dogtopia
  • [8:40] Acquiring a brand: Day one
  • [12:30] Building a dream team
  • [14:50] humanization of the dog 
  • [16:55] What is Dogtopia?
  • [23:35] Real estate and construction
  • [34:30] Managing a changing industry
  • [37:55] The concept of emotional Intelligence
  • [40:00] Sales process of the emerging brand
  • [45:35] Alex’s final advice

Growing emerging franchises

Alex got his start working with Papa Johns as a franchisee. In 4 short years, he had grown to 34 franchise locations. After 11 years in the pizza business, he was ready for the next thing. He knew he enjoyed the emerging franchise world and launched his own franchise, which he grew and sold 6 years later. 

4 years ago, the investment group he is a part of purchased the Dogtopia franchise. At the time, it consisted of 26 locations. The founder wasn’t at a point where they could continue to grow the franchise. Alex and his fellow investors knew they could take this franchise and help it become a key player in the industry. 

To hear their growth projections and how he made it happen, check out the episode!

What does acquiring a brand look like?

When you acquire a brand, there is an immediate level of distrust that must be overcome. They let the entire leadership team go and began to implement proper support for their franchise. Alex and his team went out into the field and built trust by spending time just listening to the franchisees. 

They are constantly improving their model to better serve their franchisees and customers. 

To do that, they wanted to source a leadership team that served the business. Their current CEO has 40 years of experience in franchising. The next closest comparison to their industry is childcare. Dogs have become humanized—they’re our babies, right? They found that sourcing their team from the childcare industry was the best fit for their company’s growth and culture. 

Building a dream team in a fragmented industry

A fragmented industry can be tough because there are so many small players (Rover, Dog Vaycay, etc.). There’s a lot of competition in the space. One way to combat the competition is by building a business with systems and processes in place, with great people, and a great sales process. Once your business establishes itself as a key player that’s scalable, you begin to disrupt the industry.

In their case, they needed to hire people with a love of dogs paired with a love of sales

70% of Dogtopia’s revenue is their daycare service for dogs. They also offer boarding and spa services. If a customer were to bring their dog for a trial run and anything happened to their beloved pet, their business would be lost and they’d blow up social media. That’s why it’s important to build a dream-team of well-trained staff who are emotionally intelligent and love what they do.

Alex and I talk more details about Dogtopia and the concept of emotional intelligence—keep listening!

What new franchisees don’t consider: Real Estate and construction

Franchisees buying into the brand (any brand, really) need to deal with real estate sourcing and construction. For those new to the industry, they don’t realize how long of a process this can be. Alex mentioned that executing a lease can take up to 6 months, permitting up to 3 months, and 3 months to build out the space.

Local laws and permitting have to be taken into consideration in this type of business.

In this area, Dogtopia offers unparalleled support to its franchisees. For an extra fee, they will handle the process from finding the real estate to the complete build-out. But for every single grand opening of one of their locations, they send out a support team to assist with the opening for 10 days. This is unheard of in the industry!

To hear more about this successful franchise and how Alex Samios led its growth, listen to the whole episode!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Alex Samios

Connect With Erik

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