Starting Off On the Right Paw: What You Need to Know About Starting a Doggie Daycare Business
According to a recent survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1 in 5 American households added a new cat or dog to their families since the beginning of the pandemic. Now, doggie daycare centers are in high demand as pet owners return to work or seek ways for their pets to socialize and make new pals.If you love dogs, starting a doggie daycare business is a great idea. However, it’s important to take all factors into consideration first to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before starting a doggie daycare business.
Create a Business Plan
There are a lot of costs associated with starting a doggie daycare. It’s best to start by creating a business plan.
A business plan will 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 doggie daycare.
Creating a business plan will help you determine if starting a doggie 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 doggie 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 run your doggie daycare out of your home, be sure to check your city/town/county ordinances for any limitations on home-based businesses. You may find that you can’t run one from your home.
If you can’t run your doggie daycare from home, look for a 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 doggie 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. However, 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 doggie daycare. However, there is no federal licensing requirement.
You can’t purchase your license until your doggie 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, as 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 keep in mind that it will be more expensive than regular trash service.
You’ll also need cleaning supplies to keep your doggie daycare facility safe and clean. You may want to use green cleaning supplies to ensure that no toxins negatively affect your staff, the dogs, or the environment.
If you plan on offering other services such as grooming, you’ll need additional supplies like shampoo and clippers.
Business Management Software
Once you’re ready to open your doggie daycare and start booking appointments, you’ll want to sign up for business management software to help you manage appointments, payments, customer communications, and more. With DaySmart Pet, you can easily manage all aspects of your doggie daycare from one, easy-to-use platform.
Once you have your facility up and running, it’s time to start getting a few clients. Your doggie 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 an influx of phone calls.
You’ll also want to make sure it’s 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. Better yet, 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 build relationships with current and 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 website, Google business listing, or another review site like Angie’s List.
These days, people trust reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation. You want to get as many positive reviews as possible to build customer trust and loyalty, increase sales, and appear higher in search rankings. Plus, customers are willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews.
And don’t be afraid if you get a few bad reviews. While you want to avoid getting a lot of negative reviews, a few here and there 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 doggie 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.
Whether you’re planning on opening a new doggie daycare, or looking for ways to optimize your existing business, we’re here to help. Learn more about how DaySmart Pet can help grow and streamline your business.