How it all got started
Max and Neo is named after my dog Neo (right) and my brother's dog Max (left). Neo lived with me in Arizona and Max with my brother in California. Both dogs passed away on the same day in February 2013, Neo from old age and Max from a heart condition.
When Neo passed away, I decided to wait a little while before I got another dog because I did a lot of traveling. I have had dogs since I was 14 years old. For those of us, who have had dogs, you know it’s pretty much impossible to get used to not having one.
A friend suggested that I begin fostering, because I can take care of dogs when I’m in town, and travel after they’ve gotten adopted. After about a year of fostering and regularly going to the dog rescue it quickly became apparent to me that running dog rescues required a lot of resources in both time and money.
While I could not devote as much time as I would have liked, I felt that I was able to donate items and money. But I also felt like I was just patching a wound that reopened every month when the rescue would need more supplies and/or money. So I set out to find a way to resolve the issue in a way that would provide rescues with the equipment that they needed each month.
If you are a dog lover like me, you probably have dog rescue posts crossing your Facebook feed each day. While I loved seeing photos of cute dogs and reading stories of rescued and adopted pups, there are always posts by rescues requesting donations or dog supplies. Scrolling down these Facebook posts I would see time and time again, great wonderful people running out to big box pet shops, or their local pet store and purchasing whatever was requested.
I knew that there had to be a better way to supply rescues with what they need while providing value to both the donor and the rescue. This is how Max and Neo Dog Gear was born!
"Max and Neo was created to Donate Massively to Rescues"
Why We Are Different
Max and Neo is different because it was created to donate massively to rescues. It did not start as a dog collar business and then decide to donate a percentage of profits as a way to give back or as a marketing incentive. From day one the question was, how do we donate, what do we donate and when do we donate.
It is because of these roots that you will not see any other company that donates as much or as often as us. We are 100% transparent with what we donate and who we send the donations to. Every week we post the list of the rescues that will be receiving our donation box.
Because our mission is to help dog rescues, all of our decisions are based on that one goal. This is why we donate weekly. We don’t wait until the end of the year to calculate profits and then send out one check a year. We know that rescue owners and their dogs cannot wait until January to get help. The dogs need it today and they need a lot of help.
We donate to rescues whenever they ask. We know that if a rescue is asking for supplies, they really need them. There is no paperwork or red tape to jump through. They ask and we donate. It’s as simple as that.
Why Do We Donate Products Instead of Money
From the beginning, I knew that I did not want to donate a percentage of profits. Why? Because a company’s profit number can be manipulated. Here is how it works.
ABC dog company says that they will donate 10% of profits. Come tax time, let’s say that their company made $200,000 before they paid themselves. So in theory, they should donate $20,000 to their cause. However, as the owner of the company, they can easily decide to pay themselves a $200,000 salary that year. So now their company has made $0 profit and they don’t need to donate anything to their cause.
Another reason that most companies donate money is because it is easy. Writing a check once a year does not add any additional cost. To be honest, I totally understand why most companies do it this way now, as I’ll explain below.
The reason we donate products is because its leverages what we are good at. We can purchase the leashes and collars at much lower prices than a rescue owner. In fact, most rescue owners have to pay full retail at the pet store.
Going back to the above example, imagine if we made a profit of $5 per collar sold and we donated 10% of the profits. That means that for every collar sold, we would donate $0.50 to a rescue. We would need to sell 30 collars before our donation got up to $15. After donating this $15 to a rescue, they would be able to buy just ONE collar at a pet store! So in this case, 30 sold collars get the dog rescue 1 collar.
Our 1 for 1 program enables us to donate to the same rescue, 30 collars! We are leveraging our knowledge and purchasing power by 30 times!
What we quickly found out is that donating 1 for 1 is much more labor intensive than we imagined. We have the extra expense of storing and managing double the normal inventory. We have to manage, pack and ship donations which amounts to over 10,000 shipments a year. All these things required us to bring on new team members dedicated to just the donation side of things. In other words, the work on the donation side is as large, if not larger than managing the business. But we don’t mind. In fact, I love seeing the donation team continually grow!
So Many Collars and Leashes, Is It All Necessary?
You might be wondering why dog rescues would need hundreds of thousands leashes and collars each year.
Most people adopting from a rescue do not bring their own leash and collar. So when someone adopts a dog, most rescues will just give the new happy owner the collar that is already on the dog. Often times the new owner needs a leash too.
Therefore a rescue that adopts out 500 dogs per year would need 500 collars and leashes every year. Assuming that a collar and leash cost about $30 together, that is an expense of $15,000 on just leashes and collars! We are hoping to totally eliminate this expense for most rescues. We know that the $15,000 saved can be spent on other things such as food and medical care.