A recent episode of Franchise Secrets featured Alex Samios, the VP of Franchise Development for Dogtopia. Host Erik Van Horn explored Samios’ franchise background and the team that he has built at Dogtopia. With 25 years in the industry and experience from franchisee to franchisor, Samios shared his wealth of knowledge to the show’s listeners.

After discussing his experience as a Papa John’s franchisee, where in four short years he had grown it to 34 locations, Samios delved into how he got into the pet industry. When the investment group he was working for purchased the Dogtopia franchise, he said he and his team took the time to really listen to the current franchisees. “First thing was understanding what they wanted and building the trust that we were going to give them what they wanted. We went out and did a lot of time in the field and just listened to what they needed, what they thought was wrong, and what we needed to fix.”

Samios realized that sourcing his team from the childcare industry was the best fit for the company’s growth and culture. “Dogs have become people’s children, and we do daycare, which is our main driver. We’re watching people’s children or babies.”

He also discussed the challenges that new franchisees often don’t consider – such as real estate sourcing and construction which can be a long process and a lot to handle. Samios underlined the importance of choosing a franchise system that offers support every step of the way, from permits to build-outs. At Dogtopia, for example, support team members remain at the location for 10 days to assist a new franchisee with an opening — which is basically unheard of in the industry.

To hear more of Samios’ advice for those considering franchising and how he’s grown the Dogtopia brand, listen to the full podcast here.