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What Makes Scenthound a Top New & Emerging Franchise Focusing on out what dogs and their owners actually need helped Scenthound CEO Tim Vogel create a successful franchise system.

By Tracy Stapp Herold Edited by Carl Stoffers

Scenthound CEO Tim Vogel talked to us about how his business evolved from a typical grooming salon into a membership-based wellness studio for dogs — and then into a quickly-expanding franchise, hitting No. 127 on our Top New & Emerging Franchises list.

How did Scenthound get started?

In 2005, my wife Jessica and I started a mobile grooming business, and later transitioned to retail locations. After learning what dogs' and dog parents' needs were, we pivoted into a wellness model. If you look at the top 10 breeds in the U.S., only one of those 10 needs a haircut — but all dogs need care. It was around 2015 that we launched what is today called Scenthound —"scent" being an acronym for"skin, coat, ears, nails, teeth," the five core areas that all dogs need routine care for.

Why did you decide to franchise?

There were a handful of reasons. First, we wanted to amplify our impact, to help people care for their dogs in a proactive way to help them live happier, healthier, longer lives. Second, I've always beeninvolved in the entrepreneurial community, and I loved the idea of helping other people take the entrepreneurial journey. Third, we had created this entirely new category, and we wanted to be the leaders in that category, and franchising offered a way to scale rapidly. Finally, part of our value proposition is that we collect each dog's health profile, and the more data we collect, the better recommendations we can make on what dog parents can do to keep their pets happy and healthy. So the more locations we have, the more data we have to personalize and curate solutions.

How do you get pet parents to understand the need for your services?

Many dog parents come to us initially just because they don't want to wash their dog or clip its nails themselves. But every time they come in we give them what we call a Scent Check — a report card where we review their dog's health and tell them where there are opportunities for improvement and how they can solve or prevent problems. So customer by customer, we're educating them about dog health, and then suddenly they're a wellness customer, not a grooming customer.

Like a lot of human wellness franchises, you've adopted a monthly membership model, right?

Yeah, and that's one of the really powerful things on both sides of the fence. The number one reason our customers say they love us is because the routine maintenance and accountability is set up for them. And on the other side, it's really good for the business owner, because you've stabilized revenue. You also have a dog that's in good shape because they're coming in regularly, and you have a relationship with that dog so they have a great experience and are easier to work on.

What types of franchisees are you looking for?

One of the fundamental benefits of our system is that we're a multi-unit franchise. We have an internal system to train trimmers, and after a year of operating one center, you're going to have too many trimmers, so you have to open your second center to give them a continued career path intomanagement. So we're really looking for looking for multi-unit operators, and operators who have beenthere and done that and have experience in the service industry — someone who knows how to build a high-performing team.

What are your goals for the year ahead?

The pet industry is forecasted to be a $277 billion industry by 2030, so the tailwinds we have right now are tremendous and the opportunity for growth is really unlimited. We're basically opening one location a week for the rest of the year, so we'll be at 100 by the end of year, which is really exciting, because as we scale, we're changing the psychology of the overall population about dog care and helping people be the best dog parents they can be. We're also creating our own private-label product line. So that's another big part of our mission, to build this multi-channel ecosystem to not only to bring dogs in and give them routine care, but to give dog parents solutions at home to help them make sure their dog stays on the path to wellness.

Tracy Stapp Herold

Entrepreneur Staff

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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