Peter Carlson, Partner at Pet Evolution Franchising, considers himself very blessed to have been in the franchising industry for 20 years. He started out as a franchise consultant, helping thousands of people by getting into different kinds of franchise models — and not only evaluating their skill sets, but also taking a look at their passions. 


How it all began

Four to five months before the pandemic, Peter was sitting at home, brainstorming what the next chapter for himself could be.  He realized that he had not had the time to really sit and organize his thoughts for almost two weeks. He was so used to putting one fire out then jumping right back into another that it took spending an extended period of time at home to discover a substantial fire at his doorstep. One with a substantial opportunity. It all began with his dog Leo, the fourth Standard Poodle he’s owned.

Leo’s digestion was struggling, and he was getting sick all the time as a result. He also started having allergies and needed to take Apoquel to appease him. Peter did some research online to find a solution because something didn’t feel right. He ended up discovering Dr. Marty, a man who got his start from Oprah. Dr. Marty was a very bright marketer, so Peter ordered all of his dog food. But it was freeze-dried, and instead of treating it like a steak, Leo treated it like it was trash. There was no way Leo was going to eat that dog food, so Peter had to package it all up and send it back.


A new food leads to a new dog

Fast forwarding, Peter found himself in a dilemma. He brought Leo to where he gets him groomed, at a place called Pet Evolution. When he was there, he realized that they specialize in nutritional dog food. An associate named Kaylee walked him through their food options while explaining that Leo is like a wolf. Basically, wolves are pack animals, and what do pack animals do? They kill their prey and then go ahead and eat raw food, so the best thing for Leo was raw food.


The origins of the Pet Evolution franchise

At Pet Evolution, they have regulations on dog food, and the first ingredient in the formulation Peter got was deboned chicken. After he started feeding Leo the new food, after just seven to 10 days he felt like he had a new dog. His transformation was night and day — no more allergies or sicknesses, and his coat became healthy again. Fourteen months passed and Leo didn’t get sick once, and it had all started with the food. The success of the product drove Peter to believe that this was what he wanted to get involved with. The guys running Pet Evolution didn’t have any real plans or thought process around franchising — they were simply sinking their teeth into something they believed was an excellent product. That’s where Peter’s franchise experience came into play. He suggested that what they had to offer was a superior product worth growing. 

They had actually already been approached several times about franchising, but they loved the fact that Peter was a customer. When he approached them, he wasn’t doing it for the heck of it. He genuinely felt that their product was something they could bring to the world on a larger scale and solve a problem that a lot of people are struggling with. When he was approached by Rian Thiele, one of the co-founders, he was “tested” to see if he was just there to make money. Rian recommended a company up the road for Peter to talk with as well, and Peter stuck to his guns, proclaiming that he had no interest in talking to them. He doubled down on his interest in Pet Evolution because he believed that what they were doing could change the lives of not only dogs and cats, but of people who have struggled with what seems to be a relatively common issue. They registered the franchise in March, and now already have seven regionals sold across the country and nine additional licenses in their city. The trajectory is powerful.


The challenges of being a franchisor

The biggest potential bottleneck from the investor’s side of things is that a Franchise Disclosure Agreement can appear one-sided, in a way that only favors the franchise. The reason that could be the case is that there has to be some type of consistency. For example, that consistency would be something where the brand will hold up whether it’s in Tennessee, Minnesota, or Oklahoma. As they were going through this process, they created what Peter calls a “more franchisee-friendly document” and started with that. 


Peter dreams big

For Peter, he didn’t invest into this franchise to just put up 100 units — he wants to help build the biggest and the best pet wellness brand in the country. That begins with having the right partners, because a lot of business, at some basic level, comes down to whether or not you like somebody — this will inform your decisions thereafter. The success of a franchise has always boiled down to people. In addition to people, it may seem obvious to a lot of franchisees that they need to have a great legal team, because if things aren’t properly set up behind the scenes, failure is inevitable. You have to have a product that you actually care about and that you know for a fact works. Between solid, developed relationships and well-established legal connections, your chances of success increase significantly.

People still want to do business with people they like, and a lot of chemistry has to do with the culture a franchise operates within. What Peter is trying to do is take what he learned from others and incorporate it with not only those he has hired, but with his market partners too, as regional developers. He wants to make sure he’s not just bringing in somebody who can fog a mirror and write a check, but somebody who can really make a difference, be a brand ambassador, and a team player. At the end of the day, Peter believes that he’s only going to be as good as his regional developers. If they can bring in and attract more quality people, he sees no reason why they won’t become the biggest pet brand in the country.


Connect with Peter Carlson: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-carlson-b4246ab/

Learn more about Pet Evolution and their franchising options at https://petevolutionfranchising.com/

Find out how you can take your business’ online marketing to the next level at https://lsm.works/

Subscribe and listen to our podcast at https://www.franchisorbust.com/