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So you want to open a doggy daycare because of the industry's steady year over year growth, and the ability to play with dogs, and make money doing it? If your only credentials are a love for dogs and a desire to play with them all day then you may want to seek a different business venture. It takes much more than a love for dogs to be successful in the pet industry. Do not get confused though, a passion for pets is among the many qualities you must possess to be successful in our business. Here are four things you will need to be able to handle if you enter into our world!

Managing A Crew

You must have the ability to lead, manage, and maintain a quality crew. This takes leadership skills, patience, delegation skills, and the ability to communicate effectively and on a personal level. The average Ark employs between 15-25 full and part time crew members at any one time. These employees include, kennel crew, front desk crew, groomers, a kennel manager, a general manager, and occasionally a dog trainer, and bather. Leading a crew of typically young, entry level positions can be a challenge that you must keep on top of.

The Pet Parents

Let’s start by saying we love our pet parents for so many reasons, they keep us in business, they put smiles on our faces when they tell us stories of their pets and their antics, or even the occasional tray of “thank you” cookies during the holidays. However, these lovely pet parents can quickly turn into “those pet parents” if something ever happens to their fur babies while boarding or playing at daycare. A joke in the industry is that pet parents can care and fight for their pets more than they would for their human children. Jokes aside, we do understand that to many of our guests their pets are their children or family, they are loved just the same. We have 100% compassion and understanding to that fact. You must have the ability to drop what you’re doing and cater to these pet parents. You must learn to actively listen to their concerns, hear their thoughts, have empathy, and offer solutions if necessary. A happy pet parent is your best advocate and #1 marketing tool!

There Are No Off Days

Owning a pet hotel is a year round endeavor, there are no off days for you or your crew. There will be pets and crew members at your facility every day of the year, and because of that you must be ready to handle situations as they arise no matter the day or time! Hire properly and groom managers to help reduce your need to put out as many “fires” throughout the year. This is not a business you open and forget about; it takes constant attention.

Dog “Deposits” & Lots Of Them

In the beginning of any start up business the owner should work in every department of the business. The Ark has several roles and they all involve some level of interaction with dogs, cats, and other small animals. Cleanliness is one of our top priorities at The Ark. There can be over 120 dogs in our facility on any given weekend, and that is 120 dogs eating, drinking, and well, you know… If getting a little dirty, smelly and picking up “doggy deposits” all day makes you want to run then you may want to to do just that. You may not have to like it, but it is part of our wonderful business, so you better get used to it!

If you can handle these four things you are on the right track to benefitting from the steady growth of the industry. The pet industry is not a fad and The Ark is not either. Our top location is doing well over $1 million in gross sales with an average 26% profit! (See The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel FDD Item 19 for full disclosure)  If I haven’t scared you off yet, and you still want to learn about how to be successful in the pet industry, or if you would like to learn about our franchise opportunity please do not hesitate to reach out! [email protected] | 423-707-6457

Posted by Ark Crew  | Category: Franchising

The old adage is correct, it is all about location, location, location. After twelve years in the pet industry and five locations later we consider ourselves well versed in site selection. Historically, kennels have not been viewed as a part of everyday urban life, and location was not a significant factor when opening a boarding or kennel facility. The Ark may not have been the first, but we certainly realized from the very first Ark location that convenience is key. Long are the days of driving out to the farm or country kennel to board your pup! Society is changing and so is our industry. Our guests expect to have convenient pickup and drop off on there way to and from work, to and from shopping, or to and from school. Below are a few things The Ark’s franchise crew does when selecting a new location.

Survey Existing Guests

One of the benefits of having several locations and thousands of guests across the Southeast is having a large and ever growing contact list. Several times a year we send out surveys to determine who are guests actually are! Without accurate information it is hard to “scientifically” understand who our target market is. We ask about income, home ownership, travel habits, education levels, number of pets, and type of pets just to name a few indicators.


Next, we utilize our survey data and our site selection software to identify similar demographics in surrounding areas. We use heat mapping overlays to find “hot spots”. Once our hotspots are identified we put boots on the ground (or online) to begin identifying properties that are suited for an Ark in our newly identified target market.

Zoning & Permitting

One major hurdle in our line of business is zoning and permitting. It is important to identify the allowable uses in certain zones in your target market. Finding a property that is not properly zoned for “kennel” or “boarding” can break a deal. Zoning can be changed, but it can add months and several hundred or thousands of dollars to a timeline. We suggest only identifying areas in which kennels are allowed, as this will save time and money.


Convenience is a key to The Ark’s success. Each Ark location is located on, or just off of a major street. Our goal is to locate our guest’s paths to and from work, shopping, and school. If we can place ourselves on those major arteries we have a better chance for success. This is especially important for our daycare and grooming guests. The average time to drop off and pick up a pup from daycare is around 3-5 minutes. That’s on par with grabbing a chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A!

Size & Style

The physical building is also very important to think about. The Ark has remodeled and built from ground up. There is no one way to do it. However, purchasing or leasing an existing building and remodeling is typically a quicker and less expensive endeavor. Ark locations range between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet and can house anywhere from 100-200 pets.

If you are interested in learning more about The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel or our franchise opportunity please don’t hesitate to reach out! 423-707-6457 or [email protected]

Posted by Ark Crew  | Category: Franchising

The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel’s franchise crew just returned from the IBPSA (International Pet Boarding & Services Association) conference and trade show in St. Louis, Missouri. The Ark is a leader in the pet care industry, but we always strive to do better and educate ourselves so that we can pass that value onto our guests! We do this by learning from experts and attending the best educational conferences we can. Here are a few takeaways from attending the IBPSA Conference.

Using technology effectively will separate the pups from the alpha dogs. 

Like in most industries, technology is changing the game. Tech is changing the way we interact with everything and everyone. Those who can effectively utilize new technology in pet care will be the the leaders of tomorrow. Tech cannot and should not replace human to human or human to pet interactions, but should be used to make those interactions even more personalized.

The Ark is using technology to better serve our customers by providing online booking, payments, and webcams. Behind the scenes The Ark is using technology to leverage our marketing efforts. The Ark’s software systems allow us to effectively market to our existing guests with email, online retargeting, social media, and text campaigns. This gives our front desk crew more free time to be able to create more personal one on one relationships with our guests and their fur babies. Again, we want to use technology as a tool and not as a replacement to real life interactions.

The general public still needs to be educated about the pet care industry.

During our time in St. Louis we had the chance to speak with many pet care facility owners and there was a common issue; there is a general lack of education in our national and local governments about our industry. For instance, a state government recently attempted to pass a bill limiting pet care providers with a crew to dog ratio of 1 crew member per every 2 dogs if the dogs weighed over 75 lbs. On a daily basis that would mean The Ark would need nearly 38 crew members at a time to care for our daycare dogs alone! Luckily, the IBPSA monitors such legislation and quickly educated the government officials and the bill was shelved.

The Ark has now taken on a new initiative to help in this education process with additional blogging, press releases, and face to face interactions with state and local officials as well as the general public. We believe education is power. Stay tuned to our blogs and social media content for more about the pet care industry!

Posted by Ark Crew  | Category: Franchising



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