Our business evolved when a local charity that fostered and re homed dogs asked us if they could use our daycare fields to let their dogs have a good run around off lead. This was to keep them calmer in the house as they had had a chance to vent their pent up energy. We didn’t mind at all as we had done most of the exercising of our dogs by lunchtime, so one of the big fields would of been empty during the afternoon. This carried on for around a year and in return for our help, the husband helped us with our website, so we were very happy too.
A year later, a 10 acre site next to our 4 acre field became available and the owner asked us if we wanted to rent it as he had seen how well we had looked after our existing land. This land had fallen into a poor condition as there had been quite a few horses there for several years and the grass had been eaten bare in some areas, so he thought a change may be good for the land. We looked at it as an overflow in case our land got into a poor state as we were growing in numbers and it was at a good rentable value being horse have lost popularity and it only other use would have been for growing straw which does not have a high value. Part of the land is on a hill that you see when driving past and I thought I could use it for advertising our business like a billboard and used straw bails to write our company name in it as this would be cheaper than an advert in a local paper or magazine, so we went ahead and signed the lease!
More and more people asked us if they could use the field, so this is when we decided to turn it into a private off lead dog park. We approached the local planning department and progressed with the change of use. The council like it as has taken pressure off their own parks and we have seen lots of other benefits evolve like – an increase in the natural wildlife to returning due to us leaving areas of grass to grow tall, so more wild flowers grow and more bees use it. Field mice have also returned, toads from the stream use it aswell as buzzards and owls which have now got their food chain return.
The park entrance was improved to conform with traffic management rules and now the dangerous fast road has resulted in less accidents as people started to accept a business was here, so traffic has generally slowed down. It has a zero carbon footprint which we know is so important with todays climate problems. We also get so many compliments on how beautiful it looks now as it has returned to its natural look which is so nice to hear.
The reasons our private park has worked so well and why we want to franchise is because of the following;
- The number of dogs in the Uk has been steadily growing at around 500,000 per year with it now totally around 10,000,000 which is 26% of the adult population.
- Compounding this is the reduction of council parks from councils having more serious services to concentrate on and the parks do not provide any real income and are very expensive to police and maintain. Also, more recently legislation has been brought in by a large proportion of councils to make them ‘lead only’ parks, beaches or public places. This you can fully understand as it keeps dog fouling incidents down and dogs under control so less aggression problems and we must also respect the people who don’t have or maybe don’t like dogs.
- Research says dogs do 17 times more exercise off lead than on lead and of course is better exercise as it enables them to run freely, letting off pent up energy. It also allows them to develop their sense of smell which is one of their great senses and the main reason we created such a bond with dogs many years ago when they were used for hunting and tracking.
- Modern dog food has over the years has increased in protein content and this can give them even more energy and then even more of a need to run around to burn this off.
- A lot of behavioural issues are known to be due to a lack of exercise and general health of a dog requires (like ourselves) the need for good exercise. There are more overweight dogs than ever before.
- More and more dog owners are finding taking their dog for a walk such a stressful time now with so many distractions in the parks, not completely secure fencing, other dogs that are aggressive and non dog owners complaining when the dog runs up to them, chasing bicycles or joggers. With this being the case it only makes the situation even harder for dog owners and results shorter.
- Taking the dog for a walk is not only good for the dog but should give the owner a nice relaxing time or just to chill out after a days work. When we chat to our clients they are so relived they can now enjoy the walk again and you can see the relief in their faces which is brilliant to see and get comments like that.
- With the outbreak of Covid-19 our park got even busier as people were able to exercise their dog in a safe secure area and still adhere to social distancing. During the full lockdown clients were sent an email confirming their times and booking. Even if a client was stopped by the police they had proof of where they were going. The last thing an elderly person living on a busy estate needs is while walking the dog is for other people especially young kids to go up to them asking if they could stroke the dog!
- Then as lockdown got relaxed a little, it gave families a place to meet safely, keep to the social distancing rules and get some good exercise themselves with good clean countryside air, not the polluted inner-city air we keep hearing is so bad for our own health.
- We even had people who didn’t own dogs come for a healthy walk or a small picnic and chat to other family members.
The reason why we are going down the Franchise Route
- We have been in business now for 12 years with our daycare business and have over 90 breeds regularly using the day care. We have a license for up to 60 dogs a day and have been awarded a 5 Star rating by our local licensing council and DEFRA, which is the highest rating awarded, so this proves we understand dogs.
- We have in the last 2 years been asked to help assess dogs going into our local hospitals by a charity set up by The QE Group of Hospitals due to our extremely good safety record which has been so successful in the Dementia and end of life wards it is now being rolled out over more of their hospitals, so we do have a good proven track record in this part of the dog world.
- We as a business have helped 6 apprentices successfully complete their ‘Animal Care & Management’ Courses, provided lots of work experience for local schools and several special needs schools, as children don’t feel judged by animals so works very well. We have provided a good base for Veterinary students to get life skills and helped ex service people obtain a new career in the dog world after proudly serving their country. We are extremely proud of how the business has grown, since starting it in the worst financial crises back in 2008 and recently experienced larger growth through the COVID-19 outbreak, in fact better than ever before. We still believed we needed professional help from experts in the Franchising world.
- We wanted to make sure we adhered to any rules and regulations within the Franchising World. With this in mind, we have taken on a highly recommended franchising consultant who will ensure we conform with the requirements of the ‘British Franchising Association’. Although this is not a UK requirement, it is the only Association in the world that has a strict criteria you must meet to be able to join.
- This should then give piece of mind to potential franchisees that they are buying from credible company with a proven financial track record, offering the complete package required to get the business up and running, with the full support from professional services where needed, and of course get you trained and giving good regular support ensuring you too have a successful business.
I hope this gives a good overview of our progress to date and gives you confidence in joining us to offer the world of dogs a great outlook for their future and some good, stress free, chill out times for their owners and yourself, as we all need this in this complicated, fast moving, modern world we live in today, with the added value of a very good financial return on your investment.
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