Table of Contents
Create a Business Plan
Every successful business began with a business plan. Before you purchase a property for your kennel or start advertising your surfaces, you should first determine the demand for a kennel in your area. If the market is already saturated, then you may not have much success. However, if there’s a niche in the market that you can satisfy, then you may be able to move forward with your plans.
Looking at the market can also help you determine the prices of your business. Are you building your business for any kind of pet owner that needs doggy daycare? Or are your clients more high-end and require special treatment and custom plans?
You also need to consider the costs of opening a kennel. The start-up costs for opening up a kennel range anywhere from $21,000 to $81,000. A lot of those costs depend on your geographical location and the legislation for pet boarding in your area. It also depends on the quality of care that you provide. Adding extra things like soundproof doors, heated floors, etc may improve the quality of the pet’s stay, but they’ll also increase your starting costs.
Once you determine what your starting costs are, you’ll also need to consider your funding. Where is it going to come from? Are you going to be able to pay those funds back? How do your taxes factor in? All of these funding questions should be answered as part of your business plan before you start to take actual action.
Choose a Name For Your Kennel Business
One of the most important aspects of opening a business is naming your kennel business. Your business’s name is an advertisement in itself. It needs to be catchy. If you ever plan on selling merchandise with your kennel, then the name needs to be something that would make sense on a shirt or a coffee mug.
In particular, you should consider the purpose and personality behind the name. Is your kennel strictly for dogs? Does it cater to other animals? Does your kennel include other services like grooming or walking? Those answers can influence the name of your business. Adding some personality to the name can make it stand out from the other kennels in the area.
Register Your Business
The steps to register your business are primarily based on where you live or where the business operates. The process of registering your kennel and obtaining LLC status is simple, otherwise. You just have to register your business name with both local and state governments.
You don’t always need to register with the federal government either. Some do in order to receive tax-exempt status or to have their trademark protected. Most often, you just need to file with the IRS to get a federal tax ID. Otherwise, if you want to have your business name trademarked, then you’ll want to file with the US Patent and Trademark office after your business is fully formed.
Registering with your state can be done either online or through the mail. You’ll have a series of paperwork that needs to be completed in order to receive your LLC status.
You can expect to pay some sort of fee in order to register your business. That fee rests around $300.
Open a Business Bank Account
Your next step is to open a bank account specifically for your business. This can be done at practically any bank that deals with businesses. Some may offer better benefits than others. It pays to do your research and determine if there are any local banks in your area that offer incentives for small business owners.
It may be worth it to hire an accountant or a financial advisor at this juncture to help you determine which bank you should choose.
Get a Kennel License
One of the first steps you should take towards opening a dog kennel is obtaining a kennel license. This license proves to others that your kennel is a safe place to host dogs overnight or over several days. The exact requirements you need to meet are dependent on the state that you’re in. Some have strict requirements while others are a bit more lenient.
Either way, you can expect to fill out more paperwork. You will likely also need to have a representative explore the kennel to ensure it meets all safety and sanitary standards.
Having a license not only gives your business the professional appearance it needs, but it’s a legal step that has to be taken. You’ll face heavy fines otherwise.
Purchase General Liability Insurance
While you may do everything in your power to keep the dogs in your kennel safe, there’s likely going to be an accident at some point. Perhaps an old dog dies peacefully in their sleep while they’re in your care. Perhaps two dogs fight in the yard. To protect yourself and your business, you should purchase general liability insurance.
You’ll want to take the time to investigate different rates and coverages. They need to be specific enough to cover your business but general enough to be able to used in various applications. The rate also needs to be something that your business can afford.
Build a Website
At some point you’ll want to setup a website as your online business card and a place for potential customers to check you out before they call.
Focus on local marketing first (see below) before the website as creating a website can be a bit of a distraction from the core business.
When you’re ready we recommend hosting your website on bluehost.com and using a freelancer on fiverr.com to build the site for you.
Bluehost has a great beginner plan for $3.95 a month (click here to check the current price). It’s where we start all our new websites. That’s our affiliate link and we may make a small commission at no cost to you if you sign up.
At long last, you can start worrying about marketing. One of the first places you should start marketing is with your friends and family. If they have a pet, then have them stay at your kennel. Then you can encourage your family and friends to write testimonials. Those testimonials should be pasted on your website and on social media.
Speaking of social media, you’re going to want to have several accounts for your kennel. Social media is a free and impactful way to spread the word about your kennel. Instagram can show off the cute dogs inside of your kennel. It also gives potential customers comfort in seeing dogs having fun at your boarding house.
Twitter and Facebook are effective in obtaining appointments and asking questions from your clients at a rapid pace.