Franchising is a unique business proposition as it allows franchise owners the ability to follow a proven and successful business model while carrying out the entrepreneurial desire that led many to make a career change. By removing the hindrance involved in starting a business from scratch and the effort it takes to generate a customer following with an unestablished brand, prospective owners can jump in and find a franchise ownership style that best meets their needs, lifestyle, and business outlook.

What are the different kinds of ownership styles? There are typically three general models to choose from which have been outlined below. If you are interested in learning about Dogtopia’s franchising ownership options, be sure to check out our Ideal Franchisee page which discusses our options in detail. If you match our franchisee requirements and want to take next steps, fill out our online application form and we will reach out.


When you think of franchising, the owner-operator style of ownership might be the first thing that comes to mind, especially because it is the most common. Owner-operator ownership means the franchise owner is hands-on and fully involved in the process of running their location(s). When it comes to day-to-day operations, they are there to manage and make decisions, engage with customers, and are heavily involved with all that is happening at and within their location. As indicated in the name, they are very much the franchise owner of their location and are the ones operating their business, alongside of their team.

If you are new to the franchising world, owner-operator ownership may be the best option to choose as you can become more familiar with the franchising process and become fully immersed in this new career, as compared to the other ownership options. This can also be an ideal option if you are looking to change your career path and still have the desire to work alongside of employees every day.

A possible downside of this type of ownership is the time commitment. Although franchising eliminates much of the time it takes to build the business model, the work doesn’t stop there. When the location opens, the franchise owner must put in the effort to ensure it is successful. The support and training from the franchisor will help guide you through this time, but it is a fully-involved process that may require many hours, particularly at the beginning, to get you started on the right foot. If your lifestyle cannot accommodate this time commitment or is not something you can envision for your career, another ownership style may be better suited for you.

It is important to keep in mind that not every franchise will offer multiple types of ownership. Whether you are interested in this type of franchise ownership style or not, it is always a good idea to first confirm with the franchisor what your options are. You may desire this type of ownership style at the beginning to help you fully understand the business, but if you are interested in multi-unit franchising in the future, you may eventually want to transition into a different style.


Compared to the owner-operator type, an absentee franchise owner is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Aptly named, this type of franchise owner is not immersed in the day-to-day operations of their location(s). This type of ownership is ideal for those looking for an opportunity to invest and have a large degree of business experience, allowing them to understand the inner workings of running a business from a distance.

An absentee franchise ownership model requires less time commitment, which is ideal if that better suits your lifestyle or you desire more freedom. An absentee franchise owner will hire a team to run the location. This will include hourly staff to management positions. For some, this can be a major plus as you know you have quality employees working to make operations run smoothly on a daily basis, but on the flip side, you are trusting them to make decisions and run a successful business. This is not necessarily an easy concept for some. Prospective franchisees will need to invest in hiring the right employees to run the location, which can cost more compared to if they were there on location. These hired roles will need to learn how to assign tasks effectively to get things done without input from the franchise owner. Taking the time to find an ideal and strong team is important for an absentee franchise owner.

The absentee franchise ownership style would be an ideal option if you are looking for more freedom in your career but still want to be involved in franchising, or if you want to (or currently) own multiple franchise locations. It is physically impossible to be at every location and fully involved in each at the same time, so absentee ownership (or semi-absentee ownership, which will be reviewed next) could be the best solution.


That Goldilocks principle – not too hard, nor too soft, but just right – can apply here. A semi-absentee franchisee’s involvement falls between fully involved and absent. A semi-absentee franchise owner still enlists the help of a manager and a team of employees to run day-to-day operations (like an absentee franchisee) but takes more control of decisions and navigates the business strategy (like an owner-operator).

Franchisees who select this ownership model typically check in from time to time but are closer on the time commitment scale of an absentee franchisee than an owner-operator franchisee. This leaves time to be involved in other income streams they may be pursuing, such as another job or another franchise location. There may need to be greater time committed in the beginning to get the franchise location started and running smoothly, but it is still very much up to the team of employees and managers to keep daily tasks organized and under control.

The semi-absentee franchise ownership model is ideal if you are looking for more flexibility in your career to match the lifestyle you have or desire. It also allows you to have multiple income streams from various businesses if you are already a working professional. Most franchisees who select this ownership model have a background in franchising, with experience in managing a business and feel comfortable and have experience in delegating tasks from a distance. However, like an absentee model, a downside can be relinquishing a great deal of control to employees to run the business successfully.


Wanting to be a franchise owner is already a great first step, but now it is about finding a style that best fits your lifestyle and where you see the future of your career. Whether you want to be fully involved in the daily operations of your franchise business, somewhat involved, or not at all, there is an option out there for you. Determining your career goals, understanding your strengths, and navigating your finances will help steer you in the right direction.

For more information about franchising with Dogtopia, be sure to check out our “Why Dogtopia?” page for more details about us and the pet industry, and also our detailed FAQ page with answers to commonly asked questions.