One of the challenges of starting a Big Sky Dog Wash business is finding and securing locations to place your business. If you have an existing business and plan on adding a Big Sky Dog Wash to that business, that question is already answered. If not, you’ll need to find a business location that will allow you to place your unit on their business. That may seem like a challenging task, but, there are key benefits for businesses that host dog washes.

Key Benefits for Host Businesses

Hosting a dog wash business can be very beneficial for a host business. In addition to creating a partnership with the dog wash business owner, they help to provide an in-demand service to the local community. This generates good will from the community which is a key contributor to any successful business. Other benefits to the host business include:

  • Making revenue on land where they don’t currently produce income
  • Incremental business – you bring new people to their business when your customers come to use the dog wash
  • Free Marketing – when you market your dog wash, you are telling people to come to their business
  • Risk Free – since you carry insurance on your unit, the risk to the host business is greatly reduced
  • Good Will – The host business is seen as providing an in-demand service to the community

What Kind of Deal should I offer?

The deal that you offer a host business is really up to you, but, in most cases, the deal will follow one of three variations.

  1. A flat monthly rent
    • exactly what it sounds like – a flat amount each month regardless of other factors.
  2. A percentage of gross revenue
    • A predetermined percentage of your gross sales – as you do better, the host business does better.
  3. A combination of both 1 & 2
    • This is what we find is most appealing to the host business. You agree to pay a certain percentage of sales, but, you also ensure a guaranteed minimum payment in the event that business is slow. This ensures that the host business is never “losing” money.

What Types of Businesses make good Hosts?

The short answer is … it depends. The real answer is, the business that wants you there and provides the best chance for success for your dog wash unit.

There are some things we recommend looking for when selecting a host business. First, we strongly recommend that you use their utilities (if possible). Your monthly payments will cover their utility costs, and it simplifies the installation of your unit, and the removal of your unit, should you decide to move it to a new location.

Another key element, as with any business, is Location Location Location…. Good locations come in many flavors, and your knowledge of your city is the most important aspect. In general, you are looking for locations that have a good source of customers near by, such as neighborhoods, apartment complexes, etc. Next, you want to be in a highly visible location. The unit will help market itself if people can see it easily. Another key consideration is “are there dog people around this area?” Is this location near “dog-friendly” amenities such as dog parks, veterinarian clinics, pet boarding, etc. Are the nearby restaurants “dog-friendly”. These types of amenities greatly enhance the exposure of your unit to the “dog population”. Lastly, and this is the hardest to define, is to be open minded. Some locations may not check any of the boxes mentioned above, but, can still be great locations. One location that Big Sky Dog Wash currently occupies is at a radiator repair shop, on a road with not a lot around it. But…. this radiator shop happens to be on a primary access road that leads to two or three neighborhoods, and a couple of dog-friendly apartment complexes, so all of those residents drive by the unit every single day. On paper – doesn’t check any of the boxes, in reality it’s a fantastic location.

Local versus Chain Businesses

In general, you will likely find it easier to work with a local business than with a chain. The primary reason is that the decision maker is usually at the local business, and won’t have to convince a long chain of command that this is a good idea. That is not to say that you can’t approach chain establishments, just be prepared that getting approval from a chain could be a long and arduous task.

A Word about Utilities

As mentioned above, always use theirs if at all possible. Beyond that, how can you tell if a location has easily accessible utilities? How can you know if they have enough electrical capacity to support your unit? Great questions, and the answer is…. you don’t, but, their are signs. Most plumbing requires vent-stacks on the roof. If you can spot a vent stack, that will give you an idea of where there may be access to both water and sewer. Is there enough electricity? there is no easy tell, which is why we strongly recommend that you have your electrician (and your plumber for that matter) visit the host location to perform a site-inspection before you finalize the deal. During that inspection, your electrician and plumber can give you an idea of how easy/difficult it will be to install your unit, and can likely give you an estimated cost for installation. Ideally, you want to position your unit as close to those utilities as possible, while still ensuring good visibility, etc. of the unit. The closer you are to the host’s utilities, the lower the installation costs typically are.

Want to learn more?

Big Sky Dog Wash hosts on-line webinars that delve deeper into finding and securing host locations. You can sign up here: