Michael Gould: CEO of Hounds Town
About Michael Gould
Michael began his canine career in 1982 when he became one of the first members of the NYPD’s elite Canine Unit.
In 1986, Michael joined the Nassau County Police Department, where he trained, selected, and deployed the unit’s K-9 teams. As a state certified trainer and examiner of police canines, he evaluated numerous canine teams for law enforcement agencies throughout New York State.
Prior to founding Hounds Town USA in 2001, Michael’s private detection dog company was utilized at “Ground Zero,” the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Shortly after the attacks, Michael was deployed to Naples, Italy, as a part of the Naval Reserves, where he spent 9 months training and supervising the military working dog (MWD) program.
As the founder of Hounds Town USA, Michael brings more than 35 years of commercial dog training and handling experience to the pet care industry.
1. What is Hounds Town USA’s franchise opportunity all about?
When I first started Hounds Town USA in 2001, I rented a small factory and my family members helped me run the business. One day my daughter called me and said “Dad, we have 10 dogs today!” and that was a big day. We very quickly began taking more and more dogs and eventually needed a larger location. To me, this opportunity is about tapping into the $60-billion-a-year pet care business but also about extending our Hounds Town family. And we are a family.
2. Who is your ideal candidate for a Hounds Town USA franchise?
Someone who has always dreamed of being a master of their own destiny! Being a small business owner in the pet care business allows people to achieve so many things, whether it’s a lifelong dream of working with dogs, being an entrepreneur, or being your own boss. Many people ask if having experience working with dogs is necessary, and the answer is no. It’s actually better if you don’t have any experience with dogs; of course, it does help if you like dogs!
3. What type of training and support do you offer Hounds Town USA franchisees?
We do a full two week training course that covers everything from the POS system, marketing, operations, cleaning, daily routines, and facility layout, to the core of our business: grouping, managing, and caring for dogs. We also offer a paid internship program for franchisees, which enables new franchisees or their managers to learn the business first hand.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a Hounds Town USA franchisee?
Unlike most other pet care facilities, we are family owned and operated and we do things differently than other places. With 35 years of commercial dog training experience from my career in canine law enforcement, I have a deep understanding of canine behavior and the dog brain and it’s enabled me to develop a particular method for grouping dogs in play groups that has proven very successful. So, the main advantage is that franchisees get first hand knowledge of and training in how to apply this method in their businesses. Secondly, unlike any other pet care facility I know of, we do not breed discriminate. This allows franchisees to tap into the millions and millions of pit bulls, boxers, rottweilers, German Shepherds, and any other bully breed in their community to greatly expand their customer base. It’s a revenue stream that most other pet care facilities cut out simply because they don’t understand the nature of dogs.
5. Are you a member of any Associations?
Yes, I am a graduate of the FBI National Academy and I’m a current member of the FBI National Associates. I’m also a member of the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) as well as the Nassau County Police Superior Officer’s Association, and the United States Navy Reserve Association. Each location is a member of various local community organizations, including the ASPCA and other dog-related associations.
6. Tell us a little about the pet care market?
The pet care industry is a $60-billion-a-year business and growing exponentially by very impressive numbers each year. More than 70% of households in the United States own a pet, and the demand for reliable pet care services has never been greater than it is today. The industry is recession resistant, and offers many various potentials for revenue streams including daycare, boarding, grooming, retail, veterinary care, cat care, pet taxi, and more.
7. How successful is your company today and what are your future growth plans?
All of our franchise locations, as well as our corporate location, experience double digit growth each year (and some more than that). We continue to be impressed by the growth we experience, even after being in business for nearly 15 years. As our brand continues to grow outside of our local area, we plan on partnering with passionate franchisees across the country to establish Hounds Town USA locations and become a national brand. There’s no reason we can’t compete with the existing pet care franchises, because we bring a fun and unique brand to the table, backed my 35 years of real life experience. And frankly, we just do things better because we truly understand the nature of dogs.
8. What are your franchisees saying about the business?
“The emotional bond between our customers and their dogs made it clear to me that pet care is my passion. Watching pit bulls play with poodles made me realize we have something unique here and I wanted to be part of something different.” – Jennifer, Hounds Town USA franchisee
“When the opportunity to purchase the franchise came I couldn't resist turning my passion into a career.” –Candice, Hounds Town USA franchisee
“I loved the concept when I heard about it. After bringing my dog to daycare as a customer and seeing how much she loved it, I was sold. You wouldn’t realize how vital doggie daycare is to working people, and now I now get to bring my dog to work with me.” – Maria, Hounds Town USA franchisee
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
Visit our franchise web site at www.houndstownfranchise.com, as well as our corporate web site at www.houndstownusa.com to learn about all of the things we do. On the franchise website, potential franchisees can read articles about the pet care industry to learn for themselves what a relatively untapped market it is. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself! Speak to our existing franchisees and ask them for their feedback on our system and how well it’s worked for them.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that Hounds Town USA would be a great opportunity for someone?
The pet care industry is a $60-billion-a-year industry that offers so many opportunities. I started Hounds Town USA in 2001 because I acquired a vast knowledge about dogs from my 35-year career in canine law enforcement, so our opportunity is unique because of our formula that enables dogs to interact in natural pack environments safely, translating into monetary success for franchisees. Our unique brand, coupled with our true understanding of dogs, has proven a recipe for success. The difference between our brand and others is that we have a very rich understanding of dogs, without that specific support most pet care facilities struggle.