We recently connected with Michael Perlman and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Michael thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – walk us through the story?
For more than 20 years, we worked for other people helping them build their businesses. We had security in jobs that brought in a steady paycheck, benefits for the family, vacation time and little personal risk. We finally got to a point in our careers where we decided to upend everything and go into business for ourselves. We didn’t have the widget that would change the world so we began to look at franchising as the opportunity to have a personal stake in an organization with an established formula. The first business we identified was Dogtopia. We spent significant time researching and talking with the support office however, since we knew little about franchising we felt it best to further research franchising opportunities. Our efforts led into other sectors like real estate, tech and food but no other franchise was as leading edge as Dogtopia.
We jumped into the deep end, sold our rental home to help finance our initial effort, and poured all our energy into opening strong. It was a family effort, our son was probably the best sales person we had, helping us at every dog park and community event we did. Two and a half years later, we have strategically leaned into every challenge we have faced and have been rewarded as the 2021 Franchisee of the Year.
Michael, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
We are the franchisee owners of Dogtopia of South Chandler, a dog daycare business in Arizona. Our backgrounds are in sales operations and marketing. Michael grew up in a family of small business entrepreneurs and learned important lessons from working alongside his parents and grandparents. Susan’s background is in corporate communications and marketing from some of the largest health care companies in America. Together, they bring a perfect blend of vision and experience to scale a business.
Dogtopia of South Chandler’s focus is on offering dog parents a fun and safe environment for their dogs to socialize with other dogs. We provide supervised open play rooms where dogs can learn to be good canine citizens and gain the confidence to handle real world situations like going to the veterinarian, the dog-friendly patio, the groomer, or on a walk in the neighborhood. Typically, dog owners think about dog daycare when they need to board their pet while they go on vacation. We are not like a typical kenneling facility, our focus is on improving the lives of the dogs through a regular, consistent daycare routine. Dogs need to play with dogs and we provide a safe, supervised environment for them to do that.
We have been recognized in the community as a Google 5 star facility with a customer loyalty score of 94%. We know every dog and every family that visits Dogtopia of South Chandler and we are often an extension of their family, taking care of an important member of their family.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Dogtopia is not like other dog daycares. Our challenge was to find our audience and have a chance to tell our story and we knew it would resonate. Our dogs have always been family members to us so we know our customer and can relate to them. Open communication is essential to a well run business and it has served us well. Our core customers are our biggest fans and help us get the word out about our high level of service.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
Each obstacle that we encounter gives us the opportunity to strengthen our resilience. However, in 2020 our resilience was tested to the extreme. As was the case with many businesses, we too were directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, we had to close our doors 3 times that year. We had only been open for business 6 months the first time we shut down. We were still learning the business, building customer relationships and establishing ourselves in the community. We weren’t breaking even and still had all the same bills to pay. We decided to take a step back while we had the time and take a closer look at our operations – what worked and what didn’t – to make improvements so that we could hit the ground running when we did reopen. That time proved to be invaluable and the adjustments we made helped us to achieve our financial and operational goals sooner.
- Website: www.dogtopia.com/southchandler
- Instagram: @dogtopiasouthchandler
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DogtopiaofSouthChandler
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/19095989