If you ask dog lovers, they will say a true friend is one that is always furry and warm. It has four paws, one tail, a wriggling wet muzzle, and a devoted heart. The relationship between people and dogs is a bond of mutual benefit and unconditional attachment. As humans are progressing, they are deriving new ways of life, wellness, and conditioning for themselves. And being a good friend, they are not leaving their old pal behind. The dog-care industry is increasing its revenue share every year. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global pet care market is expected to reach USD 202.6 billion by 2025. There are several factors contributing to this phenomenon. While this change has been attributed to shifts in culture, altering tastes and preferences, ease of technology and increased market diversity, we cynophilists know that the main reason for this change is simply our eternal love for them. Dan J. Barton, the Founder, and CEO of Splash and Dash Groomerie and Boutique, a full-service grooming salon for dogs, tells Aspioneer that the connection to their customers is what drove him to change the pet industry. He says, “The purpose behind Splash and Dash services is passion. Passion for our customers and they’re passion for their pups. We know personally that the emotional connection and bond that forms between a dog and their owner is unmatched. We believe these family members deserve the proper level of care and the utmost levels of pampering.”
"Our company culture is unique and truly rooted in family values. We are all proud dog owners who radiate this passion in our homes, businesses, and communities.”
Florida based Splash and Dash has made important industry leading changes to the whole experience for both pets and parents since its founding in 2009. It began franchising in 2015 and has grown to 15 franchised locations spanning across 10 states. Splash and Dash operates with the core philosophy — “Play Dirty, Live Clean”. The idea is to let dogs have all the fun and deliver pet parents superior grooming services that allow their furry friends to live the happiest, healthiest lives possible. Splash and Dash spaces are specifically designed to be safe, comfortable and clean. None of that wet dog smell. It is one of the very few care centres that offer a variety of luxurious dog grooming services such as different kinds of baths, brushing, matte care treatments, de-shed and nail care, fur trims and styling. The centres also provide relaxing spa treatments like pawdicures, facials, seasonal scented shampoos baths, aromatic therapy treatments, dog dental cleaning, natural treats, and more. But what has truly made Splash and Dash famous is their unlimited monthly bath and brush membership starting at only $39.95 that allows pet parents to keep their playfully dirty friends clean. It was the introduction of this never-before-seen recurring revenue model, which allowed Splash and Dash to completely transform the pet grooming industry. With the aim towards contributing to the healthy lifestyle of the four-legged family members, Splash and Dash offer premium pet products, food, and treats. Dan told us, “We are the only brand that offers mindfully curated boutiques with premium pet products and a range of human-grade treats called Keepin’ It Simple that remains exclusive to our retailers. All of our products boast limited ingredients (7 or less) and are made in the USA from ethical sources. As consumption tastes are changing, customers demand the same quality assurance for their dogs that they would expect for themselves, and Splash and Dash was founded on these exact principals.” Apart from their love for our best friends, technology has been a driving force behind the growth of Splash and Dash. Having online bookings and proprietary software for operations allows their salons to run efficiently whilst making tasks such as scheduling and client-handling extremely convenient. Also, having technical assistance facilitates personalized attention to each puppy patron regardless of their breed and size. “Bringing the grooming industry into the 21st century proved important as customers expected the same ease and familiarity being offered by other businesses,” shares Dan. Splash and Dash is yet to see a competitor that replicates their boutique feel with thoughtfully designed premium pet care services and high-quality products. “Because our industry is juxtaposed by major big box brands or tiny mom & pop shops, Splash and Dash locations are the perfect balance of corporate branding with a small business or local flair,” explains Dan. “Our company culture is unique and truly rooted in family values. We are all proud dog owners who radiate this passion in our homes, businesses, and communities. Having this culture of dog lovers is important to our brand. This personal connection helps each of us understand what it is that we want from a pet groomer and empowers us to deliver exactly that. The same mindfulness can be found across all of our products, services, and messaging.”
Dan J. Barton may be the ideal Canine Executive Officer: At the age of 21, Dan moved to Florida to get his first real job of having no idea of how far his entrepreneurial aspirations would take him. Initially, he worked at a fitness center for seven years after which, he purchased his first World’s Gym franchise in Orlando. Being a natural, he was able to set up five new locations in just a few years. Thanks to his adorable Yorkie, Mercedes, Dan was inspired to venture into the pet care business to provide a better care experience for his favorite furry family member. “By using the methodology of the fitness membership and combining it with my passion for animals, I began to disrupt the archaic dog grooming business. I felt the pet service industry lacked what other modern businesses were doing well. Merging trust and dependability with a premium and individualized approach to pet service helped found what Splash and Dash is today,” shares Dan. In his book called‘Stop YOUR Bitchin’ and Start Making REAL Money!’ Dan has further shared his experience and knowledge of the pet industry to help the store owners achieve more profits. “Now my motivations have shifted,” continues Dan, “I push forward to carry on Mercedes legacy while helping other passionate pet parents achieve success in an industry they never knew they cared so much about!”
While the total investment of other brick and mortar franchises are often in excess of 500K. Splash and Dash’s initial investment is only around 175K-200K and the total investment is under 250K. Splash and Dash is very straightforward when vetting potential franchisees. Dan says, “We don’t need an expert, rather more we need a driven individual with an unparalleled passion for their dog(s) and their family. Next, we strive to have location partners who have the ability and willingness to follow a proven model to achieve success. Our expectations are simple, we simply expect alignment with the brand and each of our values and beliefs.”
Passion drives Profits!
Unlike many other franchise onboarding processes that last merely two weeks, Splash and Dash franchise owners undergo an elaborate initial training that goes on for 6 weeks comprising one-week in-house sessions at the corporate support center followed by 5 weeks training on the location. “Behind each and every great business is a team of people who help maintain the machine. Splash and Dash is no different. Our machine is just a bit more unique and colorful,” affirms Dan. Paired with a business coach who provides guidance weekly for the first year of operation, their franchise owners just have to relax and stay devoted. In addition, they provide several in-house resources and aids to help turbocharge their partners’ businesses such as IT/Tech, finance/book-keeping, shipping and logistics, store merchandising, design and visual collateral, customer service, staffing assistance, marketing support, and product curation.
Slash and Dash franchisees agree that Dan has an active relationship with the brand and continued involvement in each of their businesses. He readily participates as a mentor and provides franchisees guidance and inspiration to reach their goals. Looking into the future, Dan says, “We plan to continue to grow our locations and the brand’s overall footprint by expanding into additional regions and introducing the Splash and Dash concept to new markets. As dog ownership remains on a steady rise, we hope to follow suit and one day take the company public! ”. One thing that will remain constant for Dan, however will be love for the four legged creature that changed his life.