The Tension Podcast
#25: Jacob Hensley and Steve Gaudio — Service vs. Scale

#25: Jacob Hensley and Steve Gaudio — Service vs. Scale

How District Dogs is Scaling From Small Business to Big Franchise

Jacob Hensley is the CEO and founder of District Dogs. Steve Gaudio is the Founder of District Equities Real Estate and Managing Partner at District Dogs.

District Dogs began as a dog walking business in 2014, which Jacob Hensley founded as the sole employee.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcastor your favorite podcast platform. Listen to the interview on YouTube here.

"Franchising is not just about expanding a business; it's about finding partners who share your passion and dedication." – Steve Gaudio, District Dogs

In the fall of 2016, Jacob opened a storefront in Washington, DC's Parkview neighborhood, fulfilling his vision of building a full-service pet care company. In the spring of 2019, they opened their second location in Southeast DC's Navy Yard neighborhood.

Show Notes


Recommended Books:

  • Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's by Ray Kroc | Amazon

  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen | Amazon


  • [00:00:00] Introduction to Jacob Hensley and Steve Gaudio

  • [00:03:25] The beginning of District Dogs and the journey of entrepreneurship

  • [00:07:40] Importance of risk-taking in entrepreneurship

  • [00:11:15] The evolution of District Dogs into a successful franchise model

  • [00:14:50] Criteria for selecting franchisees and the role of passion in business

  • [00:18:30] Unique challenges in the pet care industry and overcoming them

  • [00:22:00] The customer experience at District Dogs and the innovative services offered

  • [00:25:45] Financial considerations for potential franchisees and business growth strategy

  • [00:29:10] Book recommendations by Jacob and Steve

  • [00:32:15] Contact information and where to find more about District Dogs

  • [00:34:50] Closing remarks and episode wrap-up


  • "Entrepreneurship is about embracing risks and making your vision a reality." – Jacob Hensley

  • "Persistence and a high standard of personal accountability are key traits of successful entrepreneurs." – Steve Gaudio

  • "Our approach combines high-quality pet care with an exceptional human experience." – Jacob Hensley

  • "Franchising is not just about expanding a business; it's about finding partners who share your passion and dedication." – Steve Gaudio


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The Tension Podcast
The Tension Podcast is for those of us who’ve read every single leadership book and article that gives us just only one way to do things — but we’re ready to hold opposing ideas at once. It’s an exploration of where curiosity and wonder can take us.