The franchise industry is still going strong and is more competitive than ever, according to officials from Entrepreneur Magazine, which recently released its 41st Franchise 500 Ranking. This year, seven pet supply and service franchises made the coveted list, up two from the year before.
"Because the Franchise 500 is an exhaustive survey of franchise companies and their individual performances, it also provides insight into the industry more broadly," Entrepreneur officials said. "This year’s results show good news for franchising: Growth is picking up. The companies that ranked in the Franchise 500 this year had a total of 555,142 units (franchise and company-owned) open and operating as of July 31, 2019, which is an increase of 18,343 or 3.4 percent, over the previous year. That compares with an increase of 14,503, or 2.8 percent, from 2017 to 2018."
More than 1,100 companies competed for this year’s ranking, 100 more than last year. The key factors that go into the evaluation, according to officials, include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500 in ranking order, officials said.
Pet Supplies Plus, a supermarket-style pet food and supply store headquartered in Livonia, Mich., ranked No. 50 in the Franchise 500. Jack Berry and Harry Shallop opened their first store in Redford, Mich., in the late 1980s, and by 1990, they were franchising. Pet Supplies Plus also offers services such as grooming, self-serve pet washes and adoption events. Company officials are currently seeking new franchise units throughout the United States.
Dogtopia soared up 133 spots and ranked in the top 100 at No. 71. The Phoenix-based dog day care, boarding and spa brand was founded in 2002 and began franchising in 2005. Each facility averages between 2,500 and 7,500 square feet, and is designed to reduce odors, noise level, illness and accidents, according to company officials.
Last year brought Dogtopia exponential growth, according to company officials. This included a combined total of more than 250 locations sold and in development, a 524 percent increase in unit sales and a 32 percent same-store sales increase compared to 2018. Dogtopia officials said that they plan to continue this growth with a goal to open at least 60 new day care centers in 2020.
Petland, which began operations in 1967, came in at No. 118. The Chillicothe, Ohio-based company sells pets and pet-related merchandise to consumers throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Chile and Israel. Its franchising opportunities started in 1971. Company officials said that they are seeking new franchise units worldwide.
Coming in at No. 137 is Wild Birds Unlimited. The company was first opened in 1981 by Jim Carpenter, and by 1983, it was offering franchising opportunities. Wild Birds Unlimited, which is headquartered in Carmel, Ind., sells bird-feeding and bird-watching supplies, including birdhouses, feeders, food and binoculars. The company is seeking new franchise units throughout the United States and Canada, according to officials.
Camp Bow Wow, a dog day care, boarding, training and grooming brand, ranked No. 248. The first location opened in 2000, and just three years later began franchising. The Westminster, Colo.-based company is seeking new franchise units throughout the United States and Canada, officials said.
Pet Wants came in at No. 376. The natural pet food store and delivery service was founded in 2010 and began franchising in 2015. Pet Wants franchises offer fresh pet food manufactured from whole ingredients, containing no by-products, according to company officials. Two franchise models are available: a mobile model and a retail store model, with both offering delivery services. Pet Wants officials are seeking new franchise units worldwide.
At No. 455 is Aussie Pet Mobile Inc. While Aussie Pet Mobile was founded in Australia in 1996, it moved its global headquarters to the United States in 1999. The company has been franchising since the beginning and now has franchises throughout North America, as well as Australia, Canada, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus. Franchisees offer dog and cat grooming services, including washing and drying, and nail trimming and brushing. The "specially-designed" vans travel to customers’ homes. Company officials are currently seeking new franchise units throughout the United States.
"Making our list means [the 500 companies are] forward-thinking, nimble and closely in touch with their customers’ needs—because in an ever-changing business environment, that’s what a franchise must do to thrive," said Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief at Entrepreneur.