Dan J. Barton, CEO – Splash and Dash for Dogs – St. Petersburg, FL. – Business Superstar
Last year, Dan J. Barton’s Splash and Dash for Dogs was featured as one of Inc. 500’s America’s Fastest Growing Companies for 2014. This followed a three-year growth rate of over 2,000% annually.
Barton is now seeking to expand the franchise network for his canine-care operations. We spoke with him recently on his plans to bring Splash and Dash for Dogs to a retail center near you.
Q: What inspired you to create Splash and Dash for Dogs? And what inspired you to spin this business out into a franchise network?
Dan J. Barton: I have always had a business mindset and a love of pets. I combined these two together when I opened my first pet store, Hollywood Premier Pets. While this was a successful business venture, I wanted to do something that was different, something unique.
The inspiration for Splash and Dash is taken from my experience in the fitness industry in the form of gym memberships and the idea of allowing dogs to still be dogs. As pet parents we want our dogs to look immaculate, yet we want them to be healthy and run around, which is messy. The signature bath service I created allows pet parents to achieve this without spending a fortune. Our unlimited monthly use is the key difference in our pets clean and fresh.
Q: What are the advantages of potential entrepreneurs going into a franchise rather than starting a standalone business from scratch?
Dan J. Barton: There are many benefits of buying a franchise compared to buying a small business. You get the support, national branding and best business practices that are proven to work. What’s more is that the membership program offered at Splash and Dash brings a recurring revenue model that potential business owners would be hard pressed to find in a standalone business or even know where to start with the implementation of it.
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes that new franchise owners make when opening a business for the first time?
Dan J. Barton: There are a few mistakes I have seen new franchise owners make. One is not having enough funding. Many new franchisees think they only need enough to cover the startup costs for the business. This alone is not enough. You need to have enough to cover all the costs for the first three – six months while the business getting started and established.
Another area where new franchise owners tend to fail is in the marketing department. They tend to think a grand opening celebration combined with the national branding they receive from the franchisor is enough to give them the exposure they need. Marketing is the lifeblood of any successful business, including franchises. If marketing wasn’t necessary, even for successful brands, then you would never see advertisements for large corporations such as McDonald’s or Walmart.
Q: How lucrative is the pet industry for franchise opportunities?
Dan J. Barton: The pet industry is growing like crazy. The projected sales for the pet industry are $73 billion for 2014. The pet industry has a lot going for it that other industries do not. As of now, there is not the huge saturation of pet businesses like what is seen with restaurants. It also is a lot less costly business to run and operate.
Moreover, when industries across the board were seeing a decrease in revenue during the recession a few years back, the pet industry actually grew. This is because people are willing to cut their other expenses to ensure that their pets are pampered. It was eye opening to see that this industry is recession proof.
Q: What are your plans for Splash and Dash for Dogs in 2015?
Dan J. Barton: We have very attainable goals for 2015. We plan to open 75 new franchise units across the U.S., and we are also working on opening our 3,000 sq ft training facility based out of Tampa. We know it will be an amazing year and we are excited to see what it has in store for us.
Splash and Dash for Dogs is online at http://splashanddashfordogs.com.