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Is A Doggie Day Care Business Right For You?

Aug 17, 2007
Some of the reasons you may be considering starting your own doggie day care business are because you love dogs and want to be in business for yourself. Or maybe you want to take more control over your own life and are simply sick and tired of the corporate world.

While these are perfectly good reasons to consider this business, it's important to take a realistic look at the rewards as well as the challenges of starting a doggie day care business and what you should look at to determine if you have the "right stuff".

First, let me say that focusing on the doggie day care business is a smart choice since the shifting demographics in the United States show lots of promise for this type of a service.

The typical client is two adults who both work and have no children. These two-income "families" have, in effect, made the dog the child of the family and are quite willing to pay for their pet's happiness and wellbeing. These types of owners know that a happy dog is a tired dog and understand the pitfalls of leaving their dogs home alone all day while the're away at work.

With 38% of all households owning at least one dog, this positive trend of more dogs and less time bodes well for the industry.

People in the doggie daycare business come from a wide variety of backgrounds. What they all share is a love of dogs, a desire to run their own business, are self-motivated and have good people skills. While dogs will be your focus during the day, keeping the person on the other end of the leash happy is just as important. No dog has ever been known to write a check!

It's also important to understand that owning and operating a doggie day care business requires long hours and lot's of hard work. Since most people drop off their pets on the way to work and pick them up on the way home, you, or someone on your staff, will need to be there when your first customer arrives until the last one goes home. 6am - 8pm days are not uncommon.

How much will it cost to create a doggie day care facility and get it up and running? Well, a lot depends on how many improvements you plan on making to your space. Extensive build-outs will cost more while a medium amount of modifications will cost less.

According to a cross section of active doggie day care business owners interviewed on the Doggie Day Care Business DVD, some have opened their businesses for as little as $10 - $15,000 while some spent as much as $100,000. According to information provided by the American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA) a non-profit trade association, 50% of doggie day care owners spent $50,000 or less in start-up capital, while 24% spent $25,000 or less.

What they all agree upon, however, is the importance of having at least 6 months of working capital to keep you afloat until the business begins to catch hold.

Probably the biggest mistakes that new doggie day care business owners can make is starting too big with too many dogs. Other pitfalls include taking in inappropriate dogs (unneutered males, aggressive dogs, dogs that are too shy, etc) and not training the staff properly to anticipate problems before they occur.

Most successful doggie day care business start small, establishing procedures and systems that they know are successful, and then gradually expand by adding more dogs per day.

Joining an association like the American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA) will also help connect you with other doggie daycare owners and can assist you in acquiring group liability insurance as well as providing ongoing education and promotional opportunities.
About the Author
Molly Locklin is the creator of the "Doggie Day Care Business" DVD as well as other educational DVDs on starting your own pet business. http://www.mypetbusiness.com
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