How to Start a Dog Daycare Business

By | April 3, 2016




It’s relatively easy to start a dog daycare business.  We’ll show you exactly how to get your new business off of the ground.  If you are unclear as to whether or not this is something that you can handle, contact a local rescue and see if they would let you take some dogs for a week or so.  They’ll love to have someone else to take a little bit of the load.
start a dog daycare business

Dogie Daycare License

Before you open your doors, you’ll need to get a business license.  Most states require one, even when doing business from your home.  If you don’t it’s only a matter of time before you  are fined and shut down.  If you are watching a friends dog for cash, maybe you could get away with it.  But your not.  You are opening a legitimate business.  I love SBA.gov.  It is a fantastic resource for someone wanting to start a business.  You should really check it out.  This link will get you within a click of each states business license page.  If there is a specific license (as opposed to general) license to be had, you should be able to get it from there.

What You’ll Need to Provide Your Customers

When You need to provide an environment where they feel comfortable dropping of their dogs.  Your home should have a fenced in dog run.  You should also have a decent area to let the run in the event of rain.  An unfinished basement filled with toys should suffice.

You’ll need to have kennels to let the dogs rest.  It’s not really essential to have a kennel for every dog.  Unless you are planning on offering overnight boarding.  You may as well expect to be keeping a dog overnight every now and then anyway.  Sometimes emergency situations come up and you’ll be stuck with a dog for the night.  It is important to establish rates for these sort of emergency situations.  Being lenient with this sort of thing can lead to a lot of abuse from your clients.  They won’t be late to pick up there K-9 if they think that it’s costing them extra money.

You can also offer them services while the dogs are at home.  Even if you are not a professional groomer, you can become proficient at the basics of de-shedding.  You’ll be spending a lot of time feeding and paying attention to the dogs that you currently have.  You can also offer bathing service.

How much money do you need to start a dog daycare business?

You won’t need a whole lot of money to start out.  Since this is a home business, you’ll really only need to invest in a few things.  If you don’t have any of the stuff listed below you should expect to spend at least $4000.  If you have a quality fenced in yard, you’ll save a ton of money right there.

Kennels-  You’ll need to have a kennel for your maximum capacity.

Miscellaneous-  You’ll need to have lots of cleaning supplies, this includes rags, mops, counter spray etc.  You’ll also need quite a few food bowls, as well as the food to actually give the dogs.   Often a owner will bring over special food, toys, or treats.  It’s a good idea to get a plastic sealable tub for these personal effects.  Make sure that you label it in order to avoid confusion.  You’ll also want to have plenty of toys.

Fencing-  You’ll need some sort of fencing to keep the dogs corralled in.  Never trust that a dog is going to stay by the house.  You’ll have to many dogs to deal with to give any of them that sort of leniency.  Besides, one lost dog and you’ll be in hot water with all of your customers. It’s also a really great idea to divide out a section of your yard so you can keep dogs that don’t get along together apart.

Advertising-  This should be one of the larger parts of your budget.  We’ll discuss this in depth a little bit further down the page. How much you are going to need is really going to depend on how many dogs you need to ad.

Offering Cage Free Dog Boarding is a Good Way to set Yourself Apart

If are planning on offering all night pet boarding services, consider offering cage free boarding.  As a society we have become more conscience of the welfare of our animals.  Many people have come to believe that when they go out of town, that their dog should not have to spend that time locked up.  There is a growing number of businesses that focus on this niche.  If you are looking to focus your business on this, here are some important take aways.

What People Look for in a Cage Free Dog Boarder:

  • You should obviously expect an open environment for the doggie to play in.  They should also not be kenneled at night.
  • Many cage free boarders will have a live webcam of the doggie play area for their customers to tune into what is going on.  Think “dog Nannie cam”.
  • They should provide a good indoor play area for when the weather turns bad.
  • These businesses are often run from people’s homes with a smaller amount of dogs than a normal Kennel.
  • A minimum number of hours for play.  It doesn’t matter how nice of a place it is if the accommodations aren’t ever utilized.
  • The dogs should be allowed to have a nice private place to sleep.

Marketing

Marketing Doggie Daycare

You will really want to focus your efforts on word of mouth advertising, and building a reputation.  As long as you keep customers happy, you won’t really have that high of a turnover.  If you did contact a rescue group, you can offer to host one of their adoption events.  This will really help people see what kind of a business you are running.  If you are near any major roads, make sure that you have some signage up.  There’s a really good in depth guide here.

Drawbacks

No matter what you do your home is going to smell a little bit like a dog.  Also, people will often get stuck doing other things, and you will in turn be stuck with their dog.  This sort of thing is just going to happen.  I suggest a policy of forgiveness until they become chronic offenders.  You’re probably also going to be bitten at some point.

Example Dog Daycare Business Plan

I have taken the business plan on SBA.gov and written a good example of how you would purpose it for dog daycare.  If you are going to do a funding request, please take the time to read the article on SBA.gov.  You’ll certainly need to change it to suit your needs.

Executive Summary:  I have been providing dog care for the last fifteen years.  There is a lack of available dog boarding here in Jefferson County.  I will be leveraging that experience to provide world class day care in my home to fill that gap.

Company Description:  We will be providing dog care to the greater Jefferson County area.  There is an underserved market in this community.

Organization & Management:  I will be running the business as an llc, and have submitted the appropriate paperwork (by the way here’s a great resource on just that).  I plan to be the sole employee for the first 3-5 years of business, at which time I project that I’ll need another employee.

Service or Product Line:  We plan to offer dog sitting service in our home.  We will offer full service bathing, nail trimming, and grooming.  The average weekly rate is $80 a dog, and we can take 15 dogs.

Funding Request:  I formally request $10,000 to start my business.   This will include monies for the purchase of a van, as well as grooming equipment.  As this is a very low overhead business, there will be no future requests for monies.

Financial Projections:  We project that we will do $160,000 in business, while retaining $80,000 in profit.

Starting a dog daycare business can be one of the easier dog related career paths for you to get into.  Just make sure that you are insured, and own your own home.




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