Nearly 64 million American households own a dog today. The pet industry is booming and there’s been a rise in healthy pet foods and treats and high-value pet care services such as dog-walking, boarding, training, and dog grooming.
5 Tips for Starting Your Own Dog Daycare Business
This explains the increasing number of pet-related startups and companies launched in the U.S. These companies want to take advantage of these trends in an industry that currently stands at $103.6 billion―and is projected to reach $109.6 billion in 2021.
If you’re a doggy lover looking for a new challenge, starting a dog daycare business might be a great option. You can leverage your passion to help overburdened or stressed-out pet owners in your neighborhood or city and generate some good income in the process.
A doggie daycare business is a great solution to combine financial gain and work you enjoy. Here’s how you can get started:
Create a Business Plan
Chances are you’re a pet owner yourself and already have an idea about what it takes to care for pets. But that isn’t enough to get you started with your company. The first thing you need is a comprehensive dog daycare business plan that will serve as a blueprint and road map for the business.
Your journey will be a lot easier if you figure out exactly what services you’re going to offer, what your unique value proposition will be, what the local dog daycare market looks like, who your key competitors are, and how you’ll address potential challenges and opportunities.
Creating a business plan will set expectations and priorities and help you see the business holistically. It’s also a necessary document that can help you secure funding from bank lenders or investors.
Decide on a Location
Look at your dog daycare business from the customers’ perspective. Chances are you’ve heard the phrase “location, location, location” when it comes to real estate. And the fact is, potential customers will make judgments about your business based on your location.
This is why it’s so important to choose a location that’s not only spacious and convenient but also gives your business a great first impression. Your location should also be in an area with a high amount of pet owners.
The available space should be sufficient enough to cater to the number of kennels you plan to operate and should include an outdoor play and waste area. When it comes to the location, you want to pick one that’s either within your target customers’ neighborhood or conveniently located on the way so it’s easy for clients to drop off their pets.
Lastly, you’ll also need to comply with all the local licensing and insurance requirements for your new dog daycare business in your municipality.
Hire Qualified Team Members
You may be planning to handle all the business responsibilities yourself, but that will only work in the first few days or weeks. In fact, you’ll need to forgo most of your day-to-day tasks and work extra hours to manage all the work. Obviously, that’s not sustainable, which is why you need to create a staffing plan that you can use to bring on additional employees to help out.
It’s recommended that you hire great employees who are good and experienced with pet-care-related tasks like dog walking, boarding, and grooming. Once you’ve hired your staff, do your best to provide them with adequate training opportunities that will help them improve their skills and bring more value to the business.
Acquire Equipment and Quality Supplies
You can’t expect clients to drop off their dogs with their own cages and kennels. And the last thing you want is to start sending your staff out at the last minute to fetch pet-related supplies. Lack of preparation will give a bad impression.
Make sure you acquire all the essential items you need for a strong start. This includes cages, kennels, play structures, cleaning supplies, dog beds, water bowls, toys, cleaning materials, and office supplies.
Take the time to evaluate different suppliers before choosing one that offers great prices for bulk purchases. Yes, you’ll need most of these items in bulk― and you’ll definitely use them. Plus, buying in bulk will save you time and money. Be sure to eliminate any safety hazards and fix damaged areas in your fencing and space before you start accepting reservations.
Start Promoting Your Business
Once you have your location and physical facilities set up and your team members on board, it’s time to get the word out. There’s no way your kennel business is going to survive if you don’t promote and market it to local pet owners.
Start by creating a well-designed website and social media pages so you can connect with people searching for your services. Setting up profiles on local directories will also make it easy for pet owners in your locality to find you online.
Use “Google My Business” to optimize your local SEO. Running ads on social media and Google will certainly bring in clients on a regular basis.
In addition to having a strong online presence, consider reaching out to local dog walking or grooming service providers for any referrals. And if there’s a pet store and dog park in your area, go ahead and put up good quality signs that passersby can read and know about your business.
Finally, don’t be afraid to hand out your business cards to people at local dog parks, pet events, and other related hangouts. You could also host a grand opening for your new pet business and invite people from your local community to see the services you have to offer.
There’s no doubt this is a good time to start a dog daycare business. The truth is that it’s no easy task and it will take a lot of work and effort from your end. But as you’ll soon realize it’s one of the most rewarding and fulfilling businesses you’ll even start as an animal-lover. Who wouldn’t want to be cheered up by a pack of hounds whenever they’re feeling down? Or just being surrounded by wagging tails all day― and being paid for it? With the above-listed tips, everything is paws-sible with your new doggie daycare business.
Dave Lavinsky is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of business planning, capital raising, and new venture development. He is the co-founder of Growthink, a business plan consulting firm that has developed a leading business plan template that has helped hundreds of thousands of companies start and grow their businesses.
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