Congratulations! You’ve made the exciting decision to start a dog daycare combining your love of animals with your ambitions to own your own business. Now you just have to figure out everything that goes into running a dog daycare business. Not to worry! While opening your own business can certainly seem overwhelming, the first place to start is education and planning. Here we’ll go over some of the critical details you need to actually operate your dog daycare and boarding facility. Successful businesses aren’t built overnight, but plotting out your plan and gathering all the information on the necessities is a great jumping off point to your business ownership adventure.
If you’ve chosen to open a dog daycare franchise, you already have a leg up on the competition! Franchises come with built-in training, support networks and assistance that can help you determine what goes into running a dog daycare and how to be successful at it. However, they don’t do all the work for you. If you’ve made the choice to open a dog daycare or you’re in the beginning stages of research, here’s what you should expect to need to get your business off the ground.
While you’ll need a lot of different things for starting a dog daycare, staff might be the most important part of the process. Finding qualified, talented and passionate staff members to help run your business is the key to success in the pet care field. Not just anyone can work at a dog daycare or boarding facility. Your staff should be well trained in animal care and dog behavior. In addition, it doesn’t hurt to require certain accreditation and certifications so that your clientele know exactly how knowledgeable your staff is. There are a variety educational opportunities and certifications that can be granted by organizations like International Boarding and Pet Services Association and Outstanding Pet Care Learning Center, so it’s worth looking into for your entire team.
Not just anyone is cut out to work in dog daycare. Because pets are considered members of the family, their owners want to know they’re in trusted, knowledgeable and caring hands. Even beyond those basic requirements, you have to look for certain characteristics for the types of roles you’ll employ.
Managers – The managers of your dog daycare keep the operation running smoothly. They’re focused on the behind the scenes of business. Managers are also building up your other employees and ensuring they’re being the best pet caregivers they can be. You should look for managers that possess:
Daycare/Boarding Staff – These employees are focused on the care and enrichment of the pets that come through your doors. They should have an undying love for and dedication to dogs as they’ll spend their entire shift with them. Staff should truly be as passionate about animals as you are and it will show in their work. Additional traits to look for include:
The staff truly makes up the lifeblood of your organization. A great staff can propel your business far more quickly than lackluster employees will. Take your time. Do your research. And hire the most qualified and talented staff you can find.
The next topic to tackle in successfully running a dog daycare is equipment – what you need, what you don’t, and what you can’t live without. There are certain items that you’d probably assume would be key in operating a dog daycare:
But there’s a whole host of other administrative equipment you’ll need that you might not immediately think of. You’re still running a business, so you’ll need objects that assist you with keeping your appointments straight, handling payroll, finances and more. Beyond the necessities of the dogs, you’ll need an office with computer, cash drawer and software so that you can efficiently run your business. In theory, you’ll need software for booking, finances and general dog daycare management. Though the focus is the care of the dogs, you’ll need to have an office to facilitate it.
There are also things you may not think of when you’re running down the list of equipment needed for starting a dog daycare. Of course, there are always comfort items like a coffee maker and extra change of clothes on-site (things can get messy!), but what about an air purification system? One of the top complaints of any dog daycare facility is the smell. Obviously, it can’t smell like roses all the time, but investing in a quality air purification system can set your facility apart from the rest. You might also want to consider offering a camera that pet parents can access throughout the day to check in on their loved ones. Providing transparency builds a bond with pet parents and ensures repeat business.
You might not need as much space as you think you do for running a dog daycare business. While you do want plenty of room to accommodate dogs and their needs, depending on zoning you can locate yourself in a convenient place close to or in town. Since pet parents are willing to spend money on their beloved furry family members, they want the best. The days of kennels and caged dog daycare facilities are dwindling and people are moving toward using cage-free facilities. This means that dogs get to spend most of the day with animals of their own energy level and temperament in a stress-free environment. Many facilities have separated locations where they can let smaller dogs or lower energy dogs play together and then larger dogs or higher energy dogs play together. That means an ideal facility would have enough space to accommodate both.
Additionally, a premiere dog daycare facility will offer play areas – both indoors and outdoors – places to rest, and specified areas for overnight borders. Many dog daycares are also moving toward cage-free boarding where dogs spend the night with a handler and other dogs in an open space with the option to be crated, if they’re trained to do so. You’ll also need air conditioning and heating to control temperatures to keep the dogs comfortable. Don’t forget about designated feeding areas and spots where individual dogs can take breaks from the pack if needed.
If you want to offer dog training classes, you’ll also need to consider saving space for a training room separate from the rest of the facility in addition to carving out space for an office. Whatever the size and location of your facility, the focus of it should be providing a clean and comfortable spot for our furry friends to play and bond with each other. Dogs are social creatures and being able to mingle with humans and canines alike is incredibly beneficial. When looking for the perfect facility, consider how it will best serve the needs of the dogs you’ll care for.
If you’re looking for information on starting a dog daycare, contact us below!