"Our eventual goal is to be the No. 1 name in pet care," co-owner Steven Parker says. "No. 1 for us doesn't mean No. 1 in terms of units. No. 1 for Jason and I is No. 1 in quality."
Spot's Marrow is similarly passionate when he speaks of the extensive training his employees get. He feels this is one reason why the business is set apart from its competitors. "We put people through 50 hours of intensive training prior to ever even interacting [with the dogs]," he says.
Spot dog trainers are certified and specialize in obedience and behavioral training, and the company has recruited a group of professional groomers, many who have worked with champion dogs, as well as those doggy concierges to help with round-trip transportation, scheduling vet appointments, in-home care and setting up play dates.
"It is the safest atmosphere out there as far as vet incidents and other issues. The dogs are totally stress free, safe and calm, and that's what allows them to have a good time," he says.
It also means owners become happily paying customers, although -- not surprisingly -- it's not cheap. Customers pay a $200 annual membership and an additional $40 for daily care ($50 for nonmembers). Or they can pay a $675 member monthly fee for unlimited day care. The company says the prices are on par with competitors.
Marrow is aware that to make the business sustainable, the business plan must be supported by strong back-end systems.
Spot has implemented technology that documents "each and every interaction" with a dog, he says, including when they are dropped off and picked up, if they are given medications and special dietary needs. "Having that back end is what now allows us to scale and open up the 25 to 30 facilities that we have in our game plan," Marrow says.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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