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Doing What They Love

LA Boxing and Fetch! Pet Care gave 2 franchisees the chance to become business owners.

As a TV sports anchor, Richard Montaño struggled to find time to spend with his wife, Nicole, and their three young children. "You're always working," he says. "There's basketball season, baseball season, football season." But since they became LA Boxing franchisees in July 2007, it's boxing season all year long for the Montaños, both 35.

The Montaños had been members of the original location and loved its boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts classes. So when they found out the company had started franchising, they jumped at the chance to open a gym in Carlsbad, Calif., "if for no other reason than just to work out there," Richard says.

And while they do take advantage of their classes, they've found other benefits to the business as well--like continual assistance from the franchisor with everything from finding the right location to getting professional fighters to teach classes. With LA Boxing's guidance, they started a second gym in San Marcos last November and hope to open a third in Encinitas soon. Their two existing locations pull in about $30,000 a month.

As fun as the franchise is, there's plenty of work involved, too. The Montaños do everything from bookkeeping to stocking vending machines. "You're in charge," Richard says, "but at the same time, because it's a smaller business, you're in charge of all the details--from cleaning the bathroom to dealing with the Chamber of Commerce."

Pet-Sitting Creates Franchise Possibilities
Tracy Stapp

Feeling burnt out after 10 years in law enforcement, Kelly Strowd's curiosity was piqued by a magazine article about the pet-sitting industry. An animal lover with five dachshunds of her own, Strowd thought a pet-sitting business sounded too good to be true. "It was hard for me to believe at first that I could do this as a full-time job," she says.

In fact, she didn't make it a full-time job at first. When Strowd opened her Fetch! Pet Care franchise in Chapel Hill, N.C., in October 2006, she kept her detective job. She worked on the business during nights and weekends with a team of six pet-sitters, offering dog-walking, pet-sitting and yard-cleaning services. But as her team grew to 48 and she purchased two more territories in North Raleigh and Wake Forest, she quit law enforcement and went full time with her franchise last May.

Now Strowd, 35, has more time to market by networking with vets, groomers and trainers. And she continues to grow her staff, using the skills she learned as a detective to hire people her clients can trust with their pets and homes.

Though she isn't in law enforcement anymore, Strowd is as busy as ever--and had sales of $225,000 in 2008 to show for it. And when she does get a chance to go on vacation, she'll know exactly with whom to entrust her precious pups.

Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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This article was originally published in the March 2009 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: From Hobby to Business.

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