How Do I Start a Dog Daycare Kennel? (Solved & Explained!)

Starting up a doggy daycare business is going to require breaking down your tasks into easily-digestible chunks so that you have a basic checklist. Here is an example of how you might do this:

  • Decide on your budget and consider an SBA/Small Business Administration loan – if you qualify, this can help you to start off your business with a lot more offerings and a nicer space.
  • Decide on your location and whether your business will be ‘home grown’ or you will purchase an existing location or franchise
  • Decide on your offerings – aside from day boarding, it’s good to offer things like training, grooming, and products (especially those produced from home –they’re uniquely yours and cheap to make!)
  • Obtain necessary business licensing, planning permissions, and general liability insurance
  • Promote your business through Social media, Google business, and local advertising
  • Staff accordingly – too small a staff and your business will look impersonal, too large a staff and you won’t have a lot of profit. This means that you need a tight business model and we recommend studying successful franchises such as ‘K9 resorts’

These basics can get you started and after this, it’s a long process of building up client trust and a solid base of returning customers. For the remainder of this article, we’re going to focus on frequently asked questions when starting and running a doggy daycare.

It’s definitely a profitable venture if you do it right, so be sure to read on to see what other people just like you have been asking the most this week on the subject of doggy daycares!

How much does it cost to start up a dog daycare?

Starting up a doggie daycare can run you anywhere from $2000 up to $50,000 or even more, and average running costs are typically around 10k per year.

On the lower end, we are talking about doggy daycares that expand an existing property and build their own kennels, while the higher end costs are for taking over an existing daycare or purchasing a franchise location.

To give you a little more idea of ‘home grown’ vs. ‘franchise’, consider the cost of a modest 6 foot by 12 foot kennel. You can have one of these built for around $480, while a larger kennel designed to house around 27 dogs and measuring 30 feet by 60 feet would run you closer to 22.5k!

Ultimately, it is going to depend on location, capacity, and how much construction can be done in house, rather than outsourced through a more expensive contractor.

How much money can you make owning a dog daycare?

Depending on location and demand, a dog care can make as little as 25k per year, to as much as 125k per year for a personally owned and grown doggy daycare business.

Franchises can make even more, with popular ones like ‘K9 resorts’ reporting closer to 400k per year in boarding and services and even more in product sales!

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These more successful franchises make extra bank by offering products and additional services, such as training, and are a great model to study when you are making your own business plan.

Is owning a dog daycare more profitable than an overnight kennel?

It really depends on what is being provided. While you do get more money for overnight boarding, doggy daycares that only provide boarding during the day save on night costs and can certainly make up the difference by selling products, socialization and obedience training, and even their own toys and treats.

A doggy daycare that provides excellent attention and stimulation to keep dogs happy during their time away can definitely make as much or even more than a comparable overnight kennel – in this business, it’s more about the experience and the feel of personal care for the customer’s dog.

What size should a boarding kennel be?

It really depends on the style and types of kennels that you are including in your business model, but by way of example, individual kennels for one dog only will often be a standard 3 feet by 4 feet minimum, while outside kennels designed for up to 27 dogs would be around 30 feet by 60 feet.

You’ll want a combination of both, as dogs don’t always get along and sometimes you’ll need to house them individually to ensure that all of the dogs are happy and safe.

What are the different types of kennels?

Kennels actually come in a number of ‘flavors’, with ‘doggy daycare’ just being one of them. Your own doggy daycare might even incorporate elements of the other types of kennels. Here are some of the more common examples to give you a better idea of the market:

  • Luxury  type kennels (heated pools, massages, even daily fresh-baked treats)
  • Traditional kennels (overnight and minimal attention beyond feedings and exercise)
  • Private kennels (less dogs, more attention – think along the lines of 10 dogs with 4 or 5 acres to play on)

These are just a few examples, but they give you a good basis to expand on your original business plan for building the perfect doggy daycare.

Do I need insurance to run a doggy daycare?

At the bare minimum you will want to have professional-grade liability insurance, such as you would find form providers such as Insureon or KennelPro. Liability helps to pay if any dogs hurt each other or the staff and can help you to get legal assistance or even help with settlements if the court finds you at fault.

Do I need a permit or license for a doggy daycare?

While there are no federal licensing requirements, you will definitely need to get a business license and an animal care license in accordance with your state and city laws. This generally requires that you fill out an application and you’ll want to state that it’s for doggy daycare.

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This is important, because an overnight kennel and a doggy daycare have different licensing – with a doggy daycare only authorized for animal care during the daytime. Expect an inspection of your location to be part of the process, but once you pass the inspection then you can get your license and start doing business.

Do you need planning permission to build a dog daycare at home?

Yes, planning permission is going to be required if you are going to be housing 5 or more dogs at a time. This is going to require that you fill out an application and that the premises are inspected before you can start running your doggy daycare from home.

There are no federal requirements, but you will have specific licensing requirements based on your city and state, so check with your local city planning department before you begin any construction on your home property.

How can I improve my doggy daycare business?

There are lots of easy ways to drum up business, as it’s mostly a game of improving visibility and offerings. Here are a few examples of what you can do:

  • Advertise your business on Google business for reviews and feedback from your customers and making your business easier to find
  • Advertise on Facebook groups and consider posting promotional videos of your services and even useful training tips to attract viewers
  • Add training services, such as socialization an d obedience training
  • Consider offering grooming and things like fresh-baked treats for dogs in your care (even a little free or discount treat package to send them off with can get a lot of attention and return customers)

What is the easiest way to advertise my doggy daycare business?

Social media is the easiest way to get word around. In Facebook, if you do a search for your city name and ‘dogs’ then you can find a number of local groups and many of them will allow advertising.

Post information about your services here and you can get the word out with the only cost being the time it takes to prepare your ad and the interaction with group members while you build up your online presence.