The pet industry is estimated to generate more than $75 billion this year. And that number has risen consistently year after year.
It’s clear — people love their pets. And they’re willing to spend a lot of money on them. This means that there are plenty of business opportunities for animal loving entrepreneurs.
If you think that spending time with people’s dogs all day while they’re at work or traveling sounds like a good time, you might consider starting a doggy daycare business. These companies are popping up all over the countries to offer care to animals and peace of mind to pet owners who can’t be with their dogs 24/7.
Starting a Doggy Daycare Business
If you’re wondering how to start a doggy daycare business, here’s a quick guide to help you get started.
Create a Doggy Daycare Business Plan
Before you take any tangible steps, it’s important to outline exactly what your business is going to provide to people. Your service list might include things like dog walking, bathing and training. Others simply offer set hours where people can drop off and pick up their pets in exchange for an hourly fee. You’ll need to narrow down what you offer, set prices and hours, and determine how many dogs you’ll be able to serve on a given day.
Your business plan should also include considerations like any local competition you might face, marketing, funding, and expenses. If it helps, find a business plan template online that you can use as a starting point to fill in all the relevant details about your doggy daycare business idea.
Find a Suitable Location
Dogs need space to run and play. But you may also need some kennels or facilities so you can separate different types of dogs for playtime. Specifically, many daycares do separate puppies from larger dogs to keep everyone safe. So you will likely need enough space to accommodate a few different groups and give them enough room to exercise.
Some people do run doggy daycare businesses from their homes, provided they have a sizable property to work with. But you may need to find a separate facility that offers enough space both outdoors and indoors. Then you have to factor those costs into your dog daycare business plan.
Invest in Quality Supplies
People want the best for their pets. That means they don’t want to drop them off and have them just sit around a kennel all day. To make them truly happy and comfortable, you’ll need supplies like quality food, treats, toys, beds and grooming products. You may also need to create policies surrounding food and treats, since some dogs may have food sensitivities or owners may want them only consuming certain types of ingredients. In those cases, you might allow people to bring their own food for their dogs or charge an additional fee to stock their specific preference.
Complete the Necessary Paperwork
When starting any business, you need to make sure that you’re fully licensed and compliant with the rules and ordinances of your local community. Every state and city has different rules for setting up businesses. So check with your local government to obtain the necessary forms or applications. It’s also a good idea to set up an official business structure like an LLC.
Business insurance is also incredibly important, especially for a business where you’re dealing with people’s pets. Connect with a local agent who can help you cover any liabilities you might face.
Hire Experienced Team Members
If you’re going to be working with more than a few dogs at a time, then you probably need a team to help you with their care. With a doggy daycare business, it’s essential that the people you hire are good with animals. Look for people who own pets, as well as those with experience in things like pet sitting, dog walking, grooming or training.
Advertise to Local Pet Owners
Once your facilities and services are all set up, it’s time to start bringing in customers. Meet pet owners where they are when it comes to advertising. Set up signs around local dog parks, pet supply stores and veterinary clinics. You might even connect with other local service providers like dog walkers or groomers so you can bring in referrals through them.
It’s also important to set up an online presence including a website and profiles on directories like Google My Business. Include relevant keywords like “doggy daycare” and your location so people who are searching for that specific service near you are able to quickly find you online. Then make it very easy for them to contact you through your website, email or phone number so they can set up an appointment.
Vet New Customers
Unfortunately, many dog daycare business owners face challenges due to some of the dogs they bring in. If a dog is sick or not able to socialize well with other dogs, it could cause problems for your other clients and derail your business. To avoid this, you should have a thorough application and interview process where you actually spend time with the dog. You might even consider a trial run where the dog receives some extra supervision.
It’s also a good idea to have clear contracts in place with clients so they know exactly what you provide and what it expected of them as well. This can help you protect your business and keep all of your human and dog customers happy and healthy long term.
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