Louis Sabin once said: “No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich” but the saying needs an amendment for today’s wealthy. It would be apt to say: “No matter how wealthy and countless possessions you own, having a European Shepherd makes you super-rich.”
$230,000 for a European Shepherd? Yes the wealthy have been spilling over volumes of currency inking deal with the Harrison Prather, Founder, Harrison K-9 Security Services, LLC for European Shepherd nurtured to ensure the protection of their families. Here Harrison unveils all the mysteries of the pet security industry and clears all the doubts of the ordinary men that he is successfully running his business for past 36 yrs by selling European Shepherd in the range of $40,000 to $230,000. Surely, there is a market.
1) Introduce yourself to our readers and take us through your usual flow of the day.
My name is Harrison Prather and I am the founder & CEO of Harrison K-9 Security Services, LLC located in Aiken, South Carolina-USA, founded in 1975.
2) What is the thought behind naming the service “Harrison K-9”?
In business it is much easier to identify yourself with a brand that is simple to remember. In the history of working with multitudes of clients I have always been called “Harrison” never Mr. Prather, so the name Harrison K-9 fits.
We even addressed a completely trained dog having finished our training program as “Harrison K-9”
3) What made you enter the home security services around 36 years ago and develop such unusual means to meet the security needs of affluent class?
The plans for Harrison K-9 have evolved over the years. We started as a facility designed to train and sell dogs to the Military and Police force as well as provided puppies and trained home security K-9s to individual clients. Gradually over the years and through intense marketing we have developed into a company that imports, trains and sells the European German Shepherd to affluent families throughout the world and we no longer train for Military or Police Departments.
4) Was there is market then or is the market scope much better now?
Everything has evolved and become better with time.
5) Do you ever foresee saturation in the industry?
There is always potential for saturation in the market place and we have seen many companies through the years come and go in this industry. One peak time for Home Security K-9s was immediately after the 9-11 Trade Center bombing in New York City. Also with the invention of the Internet we have seen many “backyard-home based trainers” selling a variety of different breeds to unsuspecting individuals. As we all know, anyone can have a professional webpage designed to deceive people into believing they are a large high-class facility.
6) Take us through the training time and efforts you invest in European Shepherds, thereby producing assets to your company.
The average age for European German Shepherd to be imported is between 2 ½ -3 ½ years old. Once the dog enters the facility it undergoes rigorous training and evaluation before being placed up for sale. Each dog’s personality and abilities are considered when they are placed with a family to closely match the personality of that particular environment.
7) Tell us about the physical appearance (height and others), average life and personality traits of your European Shepherds and name few of them for us who were your favorites?
The European German Shepherd differs from the American German Shepherd in many different ways. The European is shorter and more broad through the body and the head is wider and ears more compact to the head this is a dog that is built for ability to handle a multitude of tasks. The regulations for breeding in Europe and much stricter than American regulations and include mandatory working, conformation and temperament titles to be bred as well as mandatory hip x-rays and DNA records on file. This makes for a German Shepherd that is not only healthier than average but has the intelligence and temperament of a champion. The average life span is 13-15 years due to the years of documented breeding and training in Europe to preserve the foundation of the European German Shepherd as a working dog. It is hard to declare a favourite as they all have different personalities that make them unique. The breed alone is a favourite.
8) Who is your key clientele? Specify us in terms of a) income group b) geography c) nature/mindset?
Our average clientele is a family on the upper scale of affluent lifestyle that is made up of a husband/wife and usually children or grandchildren. The husband is often gone for extensive periods of time and the wife is left alone with the children/grandchildren. The dog provides companionship to the kids and wife as well as security inside the home. Many of our clients are looking for companions that can act as a pet to their children but also provide the protection to the family incase an intruder enters the home.
9) How easy or difficult it was for you to spread awareness about security services via European Shepherd against traditional security systems?
You cannot bribe or unplug a trained Security K-9. They cannot be turned against you and they have no idea they can be defeated, once it is explained to our clients they understand that a highly trained European German Shepherd is an asset far beyond the ability of other “common” security systems.
10) How many dogs you supply per year and what has been a %age rise in past 3 decades?
We sell on average 130 to 140 dogs per year.
Each year we have seen a substantial increase in sales and profit. We are up 70% in sales revenue since the start of the recession in late 2007.
11) What is the starting and highest cost of the dog you have supplied so far and what determines their price?
Our K-9s start at $40,000.00 USD and can increase in price from there. The most expensive dog we have sold to date has been for $230,000.00 USD. Prices are determined by a multitude of different criteria including, pedigree, ability, titles, purchase price and overall abilities.
12) Whom do you see as your competitors in the market? And what remains your USP that assures the success of your business model?
Competitors come and go but we have yet to compete against a company as World renowned as we are. They “competition” just cannot bring the whole package together for any duration of time. We are always working to stay ahead of other agencies and provide the best European German Shepherd protection K-9 we can.
13) Are there any services associated post delivery? Like Visiting vets at regular intervals or….
We provide telephone consultation and try our best to respond to every concern, regardless of the question and annual refresher training for every trained dog we sell for the life of the dog.
14) Your business comes largely from repetitive demands of old customers or there is a pool of fresh applicants?
We see a split of both repeat clients and new clients. We believe in keeping our current clients satisfied as well as bringing new clients into our company.
15) How does Harrison K-9 train so different from other companies, what’s one of the secrets?
Besides the variety of methods we put to test while training and handling the German Shepherd, our USP is that majority of training staff comprises of females. It is to ensure that anyone in the family whether they are children or a family member that would otherwise be intimidated by a large dog can deal with the German Shepherd. We train them thinking all you want in your home is a dog that knows how to behave with “regular, normal people”.
16) What next for Harrison?
Our hopes are to expand to a more global market that will allow the importation of European German Shepherds into their country. We would like to offer our K-9s to clients all over the world as we feel they are an asset in every home that is concerned for their safety and security.
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