Who is Camp Bow Wow®?
A disruptor model in the dog kennel business
Dogs visit Camp Bow Wow more than 3 million times a year, and our swiftly growing company has upended the traditional canine kennel model by creating a unique experience for dogs. We’re an overnight and day care concept that dogs — and their owners — truly love. We are a boarding and grooming franchise with more than 100 units in the U.S. and Canada that generated almost $100 million in revenue in 2015. While the $60 billion pet care industry is growing at a robust 5% annual rate, our company is growing almost three times as fast, with 13% year-over-year growth.* We’re looking for more passionate dog lovers who seek a lucrative, high-growth business with long-term sustainability.
Franchise owners have to love two things: Dogs and business. They must love dogs as much as our customers do, and they must love running a business that puts dogs and their well-being first. Customers don’t like leaving their dog in a crate while they’re at work, and they abhor the idea of leaving their dog caged in a kennel while they’re out of town. Dogs aren’t meant to be warehoused. They are meant to be cared for and to play.
Premium brand position
Caring for dozens of dogs at a time is not a simple feat. Many kennels simplify the business by reducing the dogs’ experience to rough concrete floors, chain-link cages and forlorn walks down a lonely dog run. Camp Bow Wow developed an evolved business model that provides structure and supervision for dogs, while providing them the freedom and running room to be their joyful selves. Every detail has been carefully considered. You won’t find a tiny Yorkie playing with a much larger shepherd-husky mix. Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas and Pomeranians hang out in the teacup area; older dogs who wouldn’t be comfortable mixing it up with the high-energy 2-year-olds are placed with other dogs their speed in our Camp play yards. Dog parents can log into the Camp webcams with their smartphones or computers and watch their fur kids at play. Our domain-area expertise has helped us hone dog-friendly policies like these that keep dogs safe and happy and keep the dog parents even happier, which inspires fierce customer loyalty and high rates of repeat business. Once people get to know us, they love us — and they’re unlikely to go elsewhere.
As a premium service provider, we charge more, but customers vote with their wallets and tell us we are worth it. They love knowing that their dogs are free to romp, and that they can check in on the activity throughout the day using our live webcams. Instead of feeling guilty when they drop their dogs off, customers know they are giving their dogs a treat.
In 2014, we brought in some heavyweights
In 2014, Camp Bow Wow’s founder sold the brand to VCA, a $4 billion business and the largest veterinary animal hospital network in North America. VCA’s leadership saw an opportunity to take the brand to the next level and provide a springboard for Camp Bow Wow and our franchise owners. We now have access to a brain trust consisting of a network of 600 animal hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. This will deepen our knowledge and raise the bar even higher on the standard of canine care.
We make sure every dog is a culture fit. Yup, you read that right.
Not every dog is right for day care or boarding, so every Camp has rules (all dogs must be over 4 months, vaccinated and spayed or neutered), and every potential Camper goes through an interview to make sure he’s a good fit for Camp and vice versa. The interview is a sophisticated way of evaluating a new dog step by step, from human-dog interaction to dog-to-dog interaction. Under the supervision of skilled, highly trained Counselors we add another dog and then expand the play group, evaluating their behaviors and gauging their reactions to things like the way dogs say hello to one another. Yup, we actually interview dogs.
Dogs being dogs, an introduction often takes the form of a butt sniff. “If a dog reacts negatively to its butt being sniffed, they’re not going to like Camp,” said Baton Rouge franchise owner Drew Detlefs.
So, yes, we’ve systemized butt-sniffing – and we’re not shy about it.
As you can tell, we are a quirky, high-personality brand with an unmistakable corporate culture. We’re passionate about our dogs and we’re passionate about cashing in on the multi-billion dollar business of dogs.
Maximizing profits with multiple revenue streams
Camp Bow Wow franchises bring in revenue several ways and are able to generate income 24 hours a day thanks to overnight boarding and daycare services, which allow dogs to play all day under supervision with other dogs of their size and temperament.
Boarding. Premier, temperature-controlled facilities with comfy cots, cozy fleeces, and a devoted staff make for happy 4-legged Campers and pet parents who keep bringing them back to enjoy more perks like premium Cabins/private accommodations and Campfire Treats™ at tuck-in. Plus, all our overnight Campers get to enjoy day care during the day.
Day care. Dogs are social animals who crave company, and day care is increasingly the best option for singles and two-career families who care about their dogs’ needs. Dogs are supervised in spacious indoor and outdoor play yards divided by age, size and temperament.
Baths & full-service grooming. Nobody wants a smelly dog, and many of our Camps offer full-service grooming for those times between stays when owners want to spruce up their pups. Baths and grooming are a great upsell opportunity.
Training. Beyond teaching a dog to sit, stay or heel, our certified Behavior Buddies Trainers work with dogs in a reward-based program to alleviate bad behaviors and help dogs be the best canines they can be in private sessions or group class settings. Training services are available during day care or boarding stays.
In-home pet care. Sometimes boarding dogs isn’t practical. Maybe they’re too young, or perhaps they have non-canine or even non-mammalian friends who can’t come to Camp. Home Buddies provides pet sitting for dogs, cats, birds, fish, small mammals and reptiles, as well as care for special-needs animals, dog walking, waste cleanup and more.
Retail. Though it’s only a small portion of our business model, each Camp carries a modest selection of toys, treats, food, collars and leashes, in case pet parents have left something important at home.
*Figure represents the aggregate increase in annual gross revenue for the 131 franchises that were open and operating for any length of time during the 12-month period ending on December 31, 2015 when compared to the aggregate annual gross revenue for the 130 franchises that were open and operating for any length of time during the 12-month period ending on December 31, 2014. The financial performance representation contained in Item 19 of our 2016 Franchise Disclosure Document also includes: (1) annual unit-level gross revenue; (2) annual average gross ticket and, (3) selected expenses for expense-reporting franchises.
*Figure represents the average gross ticket for the 97 revenue-reporting franchises open and operating for more than 36 months during the 12-month period ending on December 31, 2015. Of all 97 franchises, 44 (45%) exceeded the average of $50. Of the 27 franchises representing the top 25%, 13 (48%) exceeded the average of $53. Of the 27 franchises representing the bottom 25%, 11 (41%) exceeded the average of $48. The financial performance representation contained in Item 19 of our 2016 Franchise Disclosure Document also includes: (1) average unit-level gross revenue, (2) selected expenses for expense-reporting franchises, and (3) system-wide gross revenue.
Creating “pull demand”
Pull demand is a term marketers use to define when customer acceptance of a product or service is so high, customers storm the gates, like Apple customers do. We have our own version of pull demand. Camp Bow Wow can anecdotally measure a Camp’s success by something we call the “pull factor”: If a dog is pulling hard on his leash to get into the Camp, we know we’re doing a good job. Many of our most regular customers bring their dogs to day care several days a week. For the dog, walking into Camp Bow Wow is like walking into a favorite bar. They sidle right up to their friends and start enjoying each other’s company immediately.
Our overnight boarders trickle in throughout the day. They’ll be spending the night with us, tuckered out after playing with the other Camp dogs. When the day care dogs go home at night, the boarders settle into their comfy cabins with fleeces and cots in a climate-controlled environment with soothing, piped-in music. They even get Campfire treats™ before lights-out.
Boarding and day care make up a big part of the business, but it’s not the only way our franchise owners make money serving pets and their parents. We also offer grooming, training and in-home pet sitting services. These services, paired with our community partnerships and local marketing efforts, help franchise owners find the sweet break-even spot quickly.
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