For dog lovers, the idea of opening a doggie daycare in their community seems like a dream come true! Imagine spending every single day watching fluffy, adorable pups run, jump, sniff, and play in a safe, welcoming environment! It certainly takes a certain level of patience, passion, and dedication to want to open a dog daycare business from scratch, but with a lot of hard work and perseverance, the right person can turn their dream into a reality! Articles like this one from Small Business Trends, as well as how-to videos like this one are valuable resources for entrepreneurs who dream of opening a doggie daycare in their neighborhood.
Here are some of the most important things you’ll need to think about prior to getting your pet care business off the ground.
Hatch a (Business) Plan
As with any company, before opening the doors to your doggie daycare, you will first need to create a business plan. This plan outlines all of the services your dog daycare facility will provide, hours of operation, procedures for dropoff and pickup of the dogs, and pricing, among other essential aspects of your business. By creating a business plan, you will not only be able to construct a clear, detailed blueprint of your doggie daycare, but you will also have something concrete to present to potential investors if you plan to seek additional financial backing for financing your initial overhead costs. Here is an example of a good business plan template for you to follow if you’ve never created one before.
Location, Location, Location!
Now that you’ve come up with your business plan, you should start sourcing ideal locations for opening a doggie daycare in your community. Since your business will provide dogs with a fun, safe place to run and play, as well as additional space for overnight boarding, grooming, and any other additional services in your plan, it is essential that you find a location that meets your size requirements. Here at Hounds Town USA, the average size of one of our dog franchise locations is between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet. In addition to adequate space, it is in your best interest to find a location with high-visibility, so it can be seen from the street. This will help boost your customer traffic and go a long way toward making you a well-known business in the neighborhood!
Buy Doggie Daycare Essentials
As a reputable owner of a doggie daycare facility, of course you will want to ensure that the products you buy for your four-legged clientele, such as toys, treats, bedding, and grooming products, are of high quality. This will help attract customers who only want the very best for their pooches, as well as solidify your outstanding reputation as a doggie daycare owner.
Make it Legal
Any new business needs to be fully licensed and in compliance with local rules and ordinances prior to opening. Make sure to file all necessary paperwork to ensure that your doggie daycare is on the up-and-up. Since every state (and every city!) has its own rules when it comes to opening a doggie daycare, be sure to check with your local government. You can find out more about the forms and applications you will need to complete here.
Hire a Great Team
Selecting a high-quality, caring staff of pet care professionals is far and away the most important thing you can do as a doggie daycare owner. After all, these are the people who will be responsible for the dogs who come to play and stay, and it is crucial that you hire just the right people for the job. At Hounds Town, we recommend a staff of approximately 6-8 employees total, with 3-4 working at any one time, since we find that a dog to employee ratio of 15:1 is ideal. Our Franchise Owners have been trained by our outstanding corporate support team to select the best, most competent team members in order to make each customer’s experience outstanding, whether they have two legs or four! Be sure to reference this list of essential qualities that the ideal pet care worker should possess when hiring your staff.
Get the Word Out
Advertising is one of the most critical aspects of running a successful and lucrative doggie daycare business- and, unfortunately, it is often one of the most overlooked. It can be difficult for a pet care business owner to find the time to effectively advertise on social media channels, local TV and print news outlets, and pet-themed events in town, but it is worthwhile to make the effort. Hounds Town USA provides our Franchise Owners with consistent, ongoing support with social media marketing, web content creation, and other necessary digital marketing strategies. Our Owners also receive one-on-one guidance from our President, Jackie Bondanza, to assist with developing exciting local ongoing and seasonal marketing campaigns. As the owner of an independent doggie daycare, it’s up to you to devise effective marketing strategies to build awareness of your facility among interested dog owners within your community.
Vet Your Customers (Pun Intended!)
Let’s face it: not every dog who comes into your daycare is going to play well with others. It’s vital to know how to deal with the pups who can’t handle playtime, due to aggression, anxiety, or other socialization issues. At Hounds Town, each dog who comes for a daycare session or overnight stay is thoroughly evaluated by trained staff members, in order to determine the best “pack” for them to be placed. Having an evaluation system in place for incoming dogs can help you to avoid serious liability issues. It’s also important to maintain transparency with your two-legged clients, so that they know what they can reasonably expect from your establishment, as well as what you expect from them. This can help foster strong, loyal client relationships that can lead to referrals and repeat business.
If opening a doggie daycare sounds like a bit more than you bargained for, you may wish to consider looking into a franchising opportunity with Hounds Town USA. You can still realize your dream of owning a high-quality pet care facility in your community, without having to figure everything out for yourself. Our support team is the best in the business, and our Franchise Owners receive assistance with everything from real estate and construction to marketing, while still being in control of the day-to-day operations of their location. It’s basically the best of both worlds- owning a business without having to go it alone!
We’re expanding to various territories across America in the coming year, and are currently on the lookout for prime candidates for franchise ownership. If you would like to be considered for the Hounds Town opportunity, click here to be directed to our franchise website, where you can begin our no-obligation Education Process.