Bubbly Paws —

How Bubbly Paws Franchised 10+ Locations With the Square Ecosystem

How Bubbly Paws Franchised 10+ Locations With the Square Ecosystem
This pet grooming salon has over 15 locations with several more in the works. Learn how the Square ecosystem helped support its growth.
by Maya Rollings Apr 25, 2024 — 4 min read
How Bubbly Paws Franchised 10+ Locations With the Square Ecosystem

“There has to be a place to clean this [up],” Keith Miller said in 2011 after a messy situation with his Bernese Mountain Dog Roxy at the dog park. He questioned the lack of grooming shops around them and decided to open their own. The first Bubbly Paws opened later that same year. But the ‘bubbly’ in Bubbly Paws represents more than just the lather on their furry clients. It represents the bright and fun atmosphere that sets this dog spa apart from its competitors. 

“We wanted bright, open, bubbly, [like] where you’d get your hair done. And that’s really what we tried to focus on,” explained Miller. Everything is purposefully light in color and out in the open, creating the resemblance of hair salons. With the option to use a self-service tub or book a professional groomer, Bubbly Paws also helps facilitate community amongst pet lovers, in the same way salons create community amongst hair lovers. 

This warm and welcoming concept was quickly embraced in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, ultimately leading to three more locations in under four years. 

The challenge of finding a reliable point-of-sale system

To sustain its growth, the business needed to make a switch to its business tools. And a major outage just days before Christmas made the need to switch urgent. “[The system had] no backup plan,” Miller said of his former POS system. “I remember sitting at the front. I was working our desk at the time, and I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Oh God, I have 20 post-it notes with people’s credit card numbers and amounts I need to charge when the system comes back up. This is nowhere [near] secure,’” he recalled. After shopping around for a new system, he knew it needed to have several key features, among them ease of use and a backup plan in the event of an outage

“The one thing that brought us to Square was the fact that you could run cards if the internet goes away. And to me, that was the biggest selling point,” Miller shared of his decision to switch to Square in 2017. The business later adapted other products, including Square Online, Square Marketing, Square Payroll, and Square Gift Cards. Today, Bubbly Paws is a thriving franchise with a total of fifteen locations across the country and nine in the works, all powered by Square. 



The ease of franchising with an ecosystem

The decision to open their business up to franchising opportunities was born out of the pandemic, along with their desire to help those who dreamed of owning their own business. And just because other entrepreneurs buy into their concept, Miller makes it clear that franchise owners are encouraged to make it their own. “We go about it a little bit differently than a lot of franchises do, whereas I want it to be your business. I don’t want it to be Keith’s dog wash in LA. This is Bill’s dog wash in LA, just with our concept,” shared Miller. The individuality of each store ultimately adds to the value of the Bubbly Paws brand because each store connects to the parent store. 

We require [each franchise] to use Square. Our software ties into Square, it’s all intertwined.”

Keith Miller founder and owner of Bubbly Paws

Implementing this requirement ultimately makes it easy for the business to function as a whole. Offerings like gift cards are able to be used across all locations, and software like their custom-designed booking system, Pawtastic, is able to be utilized in the same way. This keeps the business cohesive and the one-of-a-kind customer experience the same. 

For instance, Pawtastic makes it easy for customers to track the progress of their pets’ grooming appointments in the same way a meal on a third-party delivery app can be tracked. Everything from booking to payment to completion of service can be tracked on Pawtastic. After the appointment, an electronic report card is sent to the customer that highlights any issues the groomer found to help keep the pet healthy and happy. 

The impact of marketing automation

Staying in touch with the needs of the pets is just as important as staying in touch with the needs of the pet parents at Bubbly Paws, and this is the lens through which they approach their marketing. Because Square Point of Sale makes it easy to capture customer information, sending customers messages when it’s time for the next appointment is a breeze. “For some of the stores, we’ve got it set. So it’s like, ‘Hey, we haven’t seen you in six weeks. Let’s send you a quick reminder text,’” said Miller. This method of connecting with customers is fruitful, according to Square data, which found that Square sellers who use text message marketing see 21% more repeat visits on average. 

They also use the Square Marketing text message feature for other time-specific outreaches, like unforeseen store closings. Earlier this year, they sent a message to customers letting them know they were closing early for a blizzard and added in a special offer that saw a significant impact on revenue. “We sent out a message saying, ‘We’re closing early today, and by the way, we’re doing a gift card sale.’ So I think we sold 10 grand worth of gift cards that day,” he explained. “We did buy a hundred, get 25 free, or something like that. But I mean, very rarely do we do that. And I’m like, let’s just try it. Let’s see how that works. And it worked really well,” he added. 

The bright and bubbly future of a burgeoning business

With ten grand worth of gift cards sold and nine pending franchises in the works — all in the first quarter of the year — Bubbly Paws has a lot to look forward to. But for now, its main concern is ensuring they’re not growing too fast. “We’re [focused on] making sure all of our open stores are getting the support they deserve,” emphasized Miller.

As Bubbly Paws works to take care of all of its existing stores, it’s also focused on learning so they can create a better experience for future stores. “Every grand opening we did last year, we changed our grand opening strategy every single time,” he said. From time of year to day of the week, they examined which way worked better and noted any and all learnings (so far, weekdays are the best day). They also examined how they approached grand openings. They tested VIP nights that were more influencer-focused versus having an integrated event that included the community and influencers (the latter was the most successful). 


new locations on the way

But adapting and changing is what it’s all about for Bubbly Paws, and they have no plans on changing that. “You have to do things a few times to really learn,” shared Miller. “That’s what I like about being a younger brand — you get to learn. When new people come into our system, I always say, ‘Look, we’re young. We’re new. We’re going to change a lot.’”

Maya Rollings
Maya Rollings is an editor at Square where she writes about all things customer experience, from building a solid customer base to leveraging tools and technology that meets them where they are in their journey.

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