In 2017, Americans spent $69.51 billion on our pets. $6.16 billion of that we spent on grooming and boarding.
Pet care is a growing business. Many Americans treat their pets as if they’re children. And Americans are busier than ever.
If you love dogs, opening up a dog daycare business is a smart idea. But if you want to start a dog daycare business, you need to know whether it’s right for you.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before starting a dog daycare business.
Make a Business Plan Before Starting A Dog Daycare Business
There are a lot of costs associated with starting a dog daycare. It’s best to start by creating a dog daycare business plan.
Dog daycare business plans help you understand what steps you need to take and when. You’ll also have a better understanding of the costs involved in starting a dog daycare.
Creating a business plan will help you determine if starting a dog daycare business is feasible. You’ll also avoid common mistakes by creating a plan of action ahead of time.
Find a Location
If you plan on starting a dog daycare business, you’ll need somewhere for them to come to. It needs to be a place where dogs are safely housed both day and night.
If you plan to do a home-based business, check your city/town/county ordinances for any limitations on home-based businesses. You may find you can’t run one from your home.
Instead, look for warehouse space with outside access that’s either fenced in or can be fenced in. You’ll also need to determine how much it will cost for equipment and any facility modifications you’ll need.
Between monthly rent, equipment, and modifications, your upfront costs can get expensive.
Insurance, Permits, and Licensing Fees
Once you’ve found the perfect place for starting a dog daycare business, you’ll need to see what types of insurance, permits, and licensing you’ll need to run your business legally.
Always invest in business insurance. This insurance protects your business against liability claims.
But you’ll need more insurance than just general liability or business insurance.
Property and Premises Insurance
Here are a few ways your property can end up damaged:
- Natural disasters
Property insurance varies depending on your geographic location. It also depends on how much coverage you want.
Permits and Licensing
States and counties vary on whether permits and licenses are necessary to start a dog daycare. However, there is no federal licensing requirement.
You can’t purchase your license until your doggy daycare facility passes its on-site inspection. Inspectors look to ensure your facility is free from physical dangers and toxic chemicals.
Inspectors also want to ensure you’re following proper sanitation procedures to prevent spreading disease.
Supplies for the Dogs
You need to know how many dogs you can keep at your business. Once you know that number, you’ll need a kennel, bed, leash, and food/water bowls for each dog.
Check local dog shelters and humane societies. They often have extra supplies you can use if you’re willing to make a donation.
Put in fencing to secure your perimeter to ensure no dog escapes. Check the land for other potential dangers so your dogs stay safe while in your care.
Utilities and Overhead Costs
Don’t forget about utilities and other overhead costs. You’ll need electricity, lights, and water for both the dogs and your staff.
Next, you’ll need to pay for trash disposal service. This will include dog waste disposal so it’ll be more expensive than regular trash service.
You’ll also need cleaning supplies to ensure your dog daycare facility is safe and clean. You may want to use green cleaning supplies so no toxins bother your staff, the dogs or the environment.
If you plan on offering other services such as grooming, you’ll need other supplies such as shampoo and clippers.
Once you have your facility up and running, it’s time to start getting a few clients. Your dog daycare business plan should include marketing costs and ideas.
Start by creating a website. Make sure it’s easy for potential customers to find your contact information on each page.
Create a list of services on your website. You may also want to include your prices so you avoid getting tons of phone calls.
Make it easy for customers to schedule appointments through your website.
Social media sites like Instagram are the perfect place to find locals in your area with dogs. You can use paid advertising which uses geotargeting to find your perfect target market.
However, you should also begin posting content on a regular basis. Start a blog and share your articles on social media.
You should also add photography and create videos as part of your content strategy.
It’s also a good idea to follow influencers in your niche and join online dog groups. Do not sell on social media. Instead, use social media to create relationships with potential customers.
Ask for Reviews
Once you start getting customers, ask them to leave reviews for you online. You can either point them to your own website, your Google Business Listing or another review site like Angie’s List.
You want as many reviews as possible because good reviews get people to spend 31 percent more. People trust reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation.
And don’t be afraid if you get a few bad reviews. Too many reviews are bad, but a few bad reviews are common.
Make it a habit to respond to all reviews as soon as possible. For bad reviews, remain calm and use it as a way to improve your business.
Consider Promotional Products to Give Away
One easy way for people to promote your business is through promotional products that you hand out. You can also sell these items at your doggy daycare facility.
Here are a few ideas:
- Pens with a paw print
- Reusable bags with your logo
- Pet-friendly water bottles
Just make sure your brand is consistent with all promotional materials. Also, always include your contact information on everything so people know how to contact you.