How To Start Your Own Pet Business…
First, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are you ready to start working for yourself?
- Sit Means Sit was rated the #37 Low Cost Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine
- Financing options are available
2. Do you love dogs?
- You must not only enjoy working with dogs but also people. Don’t worry, we’ll train you!
3. Are you ready for a fun pet business opportunity?
If you answered YES to all of these questions, you are ready for the final step!
If you are still unsure, watch our videos, review our additional information below and check out our FAQs.
Learn More About Sit Means Sit Pet Business Opportunities
What are the steps in starting a Sit Means Sit Franchise?
The stages are explained in-depth on the Sit Means Sit Franchise Application page, below are the highlights:
- Complete application and submit via email.
- Receive a confirmation phone call and introduction email from our Franchise Manager that includes our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) with clear instructions on how to confirm its receipt. You will also set up an appointment for your first Franchise interview.
- Print, sign and send the FDD Receipt page in to our corporate office via fax or scan and email.
- Due Diligence: discussions with existing franchisees.
(Processing will continue with our Sit Means Sit Accounting Dept. once the trade area has been mutually agreed upon.)
- Build sample “Trade Area”.
- Once “Trade Area” has been mutually approved, submit non-refundable deposit via wire transfer or certified check.
- Provide proof of citizenship or permanent resident/alien registration card and complete Disclosure and Authorization for background credit check.
- Process criminal background check, Driving Record and Credit Check.
- Provide proof of assets.
- Request school start date.
- Sit Means Sit Accounting Department review.
- Franchise approval.
- Secure financing.
- Sign and notarize Sit Means Sit Franchise License Agreement and remit balance of initial franchise fee.
- Schedule and begin Franchise Training.
- Open Your Sit Means Sit Franchise!
What start-up expenses can I expect?
This depends on the pet business opportunities you implement: completing training at a client’s home and/or conducting training at your own facility. Either way, you will need to attend our 3-week training course in Las Vegas. The initial fee is $15,000 (not including the cost of travel to and from Las Vegas, food, or incidentals).
Once you complete training, you’ll be equipped to start your pet business. Training equipment for your initial Sit Means Sit training is included. But budget $1,500 for equipment and supplies to get started — you’ll need a variety of supplies including: goods for resale, affiliate program kits, and branded apparel among many others.
Many SMS franchisees start by doing all training at a client’s premise or in a public venue like a public park. Other than the expenses associated with a home office, this business model lets you minimize out-of-pocket expenses and some on-going overhead expenses. There are advantages to operating from a commercial facility. Visibility is a marketing advantage. It signals stability and a higher level of professionalism. Business affairs are not interrupted as they can be in a home office so your efficiency tends to be greater when working out of a commercial facility.
If you rent a facility, you’ll have deposits with your landlord and utility providers. You’ll need office equipment and supplies, extra business permits, and more. These launch costs mount up and is what motivates most SMS franchisee to start with a home office and “grow” into a commercial structure when it enables the pet business to reach the “next stage” of development. But you may have no choice, as your home may not be zoned so you can operate a dog training operation there, mandating the use of a commercial facility.
Does Sit Means Sit offer financing?
Yes. The fee balance may be financed at a 7% Annual Percentage Rate (on approved credit) over a thirty-six (36) month term. Past due balances are subject to late charges in addition to the accumulated finance charges. Additional conditions apply; complete terms and conditions of financing are available in a separate document — Fill out the Sit Means Sit Franchise Business Application to obtain a copy of the FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document).
Will the Small Business Administration (SBA) finance me?
Financing through the SBA is an option some franchise applicants may be qualified to receive. SBA provides firm guidelines aligning your financial situation with the maximum price you can pay for a business. Be aware that obtaining SBA funding is a time consuming and often frustrating process.
It is best to be pre-qualified by the SBA for a loan before you apply with Sit Means Sit. Contact The SBA (http://www.sba.gov/).
How quickly will I be able to cash-flow the business from sales revenues?
That should be the predominant objective in your business plan. It is impossible to answer without knowing your debt service level. On average, a Sit Means Sit client pays the equivalent of $100 per hour for basic in-home training.
How many lessons daily will pay all your operating costs and loans? This is an oversimplification but will let you do a “back of the envelope” forecast on achieving break-even status in this pet business opportunity.
Ballpark, what’s my buy-in expense for a license?
The typical Trade Area (territory) is $15,000 investment for a one-time license fee (owner training, products, and equipment is an additional launch cost; see Capital Commitment section for information on start-up expenses).
Do You Offer Financing?
The Fee balance may be financed over thirty-six (36) month period at an Annual Percentage Rate of 7%, on approved credit. Past due balances are subject to a $25.00 late fee in addition to the accumulated financing charge.
Do I need a minimum net worth to be licensed by SMS?
Yes, at least $50,000 USD plus liquidity of $20,000 USD.
What do you expect I would gross my first year?
That’s impossible to forecast without knowing your professional abilities, your intended market, your business plan, your work ethic, your sales ability, your exit strategy, your experience, your staffing plan, your business model, and much more. Everyone has a financial litmus test of what they consider to be satisfactory in terms of gross sales for a business. In fact they seek out pet business opportunities they see as pulling in “X” dollars in the first year and “Y” dollars annually in the future years. Realize, too, it’s what you net, not what you gross in sales that matters in the final analysis. The margins for dog obedience and behavior training are above average, whether you operate out of your home or a commercial center. Overhead is manageable since your revenue is generated from your time with a client and their dog. You can expect to gross $450-1600 from a client when you train at the client’s home. Training is an hour per session with any number of sessions per client. Some owners individually do five or more sessions and work six days a week on average (more if you are adroit in sales, add staff, etc.).
On-Going Support of Owners
After your initial 3-week training in Las Vegas, you’ll find additional support is available to you from Sit Means Sit Corporate as you launch and manage your franchise. However, Sit Means Sit Corporate will not take it to the point of being invasive nor having us play the role of an “armchair” quarterback to your business opportunities.
Remember you can repeat basic training anytime without any additional tuition fee (though travel and living expenses associated with training are your sole responsibility).
Sit Means Sit also holds an annual conference for all Franchise owners. The 3-day agenda includes discussion of marketing, Demonstration skills, canine training skills, product enhancements, pricing, and business opportunities that impact operations of a franchise.
Sit Means Sit holds a National Seminar Classes featuring Regional ‘Trainers Only’ Gatherings. These seminars are hosted as weekend events. This venue offers an intimate setting for honing your dog handling skills and refining your business operations. We use video as a critical tool to induce the learning curve on all levels of your “Demo Dog” as well as sales.
We have a private email discussion forum that allows daily dialog discussing everything from new ways locations are getting business, to how to handle a difficult client. This group is busy all day, everyday and is an incredible resource for questions and answers from like-minded folks out there doing exactly what you are doing.
Each month we host teleconferences with an agenda announced via e-mail prior to the call. There is a playback available and notes to follow each call.
CEO Fred Hassen will visit your operation anytime you request for on-site consulting with no fee (only his travel expenses would be your obligation). He is always available via phone and e-mail to answer your questions.
Sit Means Sit Corporate staff, are also available via phone and e-mail, too.
There is an “owners” section at sitmeanssit.com, too, with information that may prove helpful for your operation, too. This section includes our SMS Franchise Manual, that is continually expanding in content, detail and proven information.
We have a guarantee for those that are attending our dog training school that some people in the industry think is just plain crazy!
Our guarantee states:
“Should Licensor (Sit Means Sit Franchise Inc.) determine that Licensee’s or any of Licensee’s employees’ progress during the Initial Training Program is unsatisfactory, Licensor may terminate this Agreement in which case it will refund the Initial Fee, less the sum of $2,000 plus all direct and indirect costs and expenses incurred by Licensor prior to such termination. (License Agreement § 6.1.2)”
We’ve heard all the arguments from people in the franchise business about why they think this is absurd. A few of them that come to mind are listed:
1. ‘Refunding their money at that time, would in essence have given them a free education’.
2. Have you ever had to refund anyone?
3. Couldn’t they go out and try to then just start a business on their own?
4. You are willing to put that in writing?
The answer to all of these questions is ‘Yes!’.
Why do we have such simple, pervasive guarantee and put it in writing?
Our dog training franchise school wants the right type of business minded individual, with the right type of ethics, work habit, people skills, and a desire to pay attention and learn a proven system like ours.
Of course the people have been previously screened, been through their due diligence, and have put their best face forward during this process. With that being said, sometimes we have to make the decision that it is still not the right fit in some cases.
We have a reputation to protect. If the fit is not right, we continue our search for another individual for that area.
We know our business very well and we feel strongly that if we feel the need to give the refund, the chances are very strong that the individual will not have what it takes, nor the support to be successful with their pet business opportunity. It would be unjust to take money for an education that they won’t be able to use. We’ve been right every time.