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How To Start Your Own Dog Daycare

Starting a dog daycare can be fulfilling for those who love pets and are looking for a business opportunity. 

It’ll interest you that the global pet daycare market was valued at $4.06 billion in 2023. The market is projected to reach $8.84 billion by 2033, according to Future Marketing Insights. That’s enough data to prove that your daycare business can be profitable.

One contributing factor to this boom in the pet daycare market is that pet owners who work long hours typically need someone to care for their pets— or dogs. 

Before starting your dog daycare business, you may need to consider a few things. One such is the right or most effective way to get started. We created this guide to teach you how to establish a successful dog daycare business.

But first…

What is a dog daycare?

A dog daycare is a safe and stimulating facility where professionals take care of dogs while their owners are away at work, running errands, or engaged in other commitments. These facilities offer various services such as feeding, walking, or creating an engaging playtime for the dogs. They may also provide additional services like grooming and training. The daycare staff will also closely monitor the dogs to ensure they're safe, healthy, and comfortable.

Usually, dog owners register with the daycare and choose the services they want. For instance, dog owners may drop off and pick up their dogs at designated times. Or, they could have the daycare staff pick up the dogs from a preferred location.  

The daycare is also responsible for communicating with the pet parents to provide feedback on their dog's behavior, mood, or health. For instance, if you notice that there may be some health concerns, you could recommend that the pet be taken to a vet (if that’s not part of your services), who will then recommend the right pet health products to the owners.

5 Steps to start a dog daycare business

As promised, let’s dive into five strategic ways to start a dog daycare business.

1. Conduct thorough market research

This is the first thing you need to do when starting a business because it informs your next steps. Market research is crucial to getting you started on your dog daycare business. Not only does it help you determine the demand for dog daycare, but it also allows you to assess competitors and potential market gaps—customer needs that are yet to be met—for example, the need for extended hours or specialized daycare packages.

Here’s how to do thorough market research for your dog daycare:

Start by assessing the current level of competition in the marketplace. Look for information concerning how easy it is for a new dog daycare business to enter the industry. Also, see if there are existing alternatives to the services you offer.

Next, survey the market to see how attractive it is. For instance, How large is the market, and how fast is it growing? Or, how do existing regulations impact the business? You’ll get this information by reviewing industry reports from Statista, GlobeNewswire, or Zippia.

Finally, you can run a personal survey using online platforms and tools like SurveyMonkey or GoogleForms. If so, you must use the right platform to distribute this survey. You can share it on your social media page, as an email, or put it up on your website. You can also communicate with an online community for dog owners for a wider pool of responses. You will likely find these communities on X, Facebook, Reddit, or Instagram platforms. 

2. Secure a suitable location

The next step in your dog daycare business plan is to find a suitable location. Ideally, the site of your dog daycare should be easily accessible to your target market. You also want to choose a place that’s easy to find from the street. It may be tough to find you if you’re in a hidden area.

Your dog daycare facility should be safe for dogs to play and rest comfortably. The facility should also be clean and well-ventilated. Ensure that there is proper outdoor space for setting up your playground equipment. 

Research the neighborhood to ensure a good fit for your services. Ideally, you want to visit areas with more families and pet owners. 

Before settling on a geographic location, verify that it complies with local zoning laws for a pet care facility. Some areas may restrict the type of business operations allowed, so doing your due diligence is essential.

Select an affordable location to ensure your business venture can generate revenue after accounting for rent or mortgage payments and other operating costs. 

On a side note, you should also insure your assets in case of accidents or natural disasters.

3. Obtain the required licenses and permits

Licenses and permits are legal requirements for operating your dog daycare business—some essential licenses to obtain include a kennel license, business license, and health department permit. The licensing requirements for dog daycare centers may vary depending on your location so that you can check with your local government. However, here are some general conditions that you may need to look out for:

Ensure your facility meets the criteria for a safe and comfortable environment for the dogs in your care. You may need to install proper fencing, ventilation, sanitation, and waste disposal systems. You may also need to provide the dogs with adequate space, bedding, toys, and equipment.

Fill out the application form and pay the required fee to obtain a license from your local authority. You may need to provide your business name, address, contact details, services offered, and the number of dogs you can accommodate. You may also need to submit proof of vaccination records, insurance, and staff qualifications.

Before granting you a license, the local authority may inspect your facility to ensure it meets the standards and regulations. They may also check your records and procedures for dog care and customer service. 

Once you obtain a license, you should renew it periodically and comply with ongoing requirements. You may also need to obtain additional licenses or permits for grooming, training, or boarding services if you plan to offer them.

4. Recruit and hire competent staff

Recruitment is another essential aspect of running a new business. Competent staff ensures the dogs are in good hands and helps build trust with your clients. Look for individuals with a genuine love for dogs, experience in animal handling, and excellent communication skills. Consider certifications in pet CPR and first aid to ensure the well-being of your furry guests. 

A well-rounded dog daycare team should include roles like dog attendants, kennel managers, dog trainers, and similar functions. You may also need to employ accountants who’ll help you maintain financial records.

Creating clear and detailed job descriptions is essential when putting out job vacancies. Highlight the necessary qualifications, such as experience with animal care, certifications, or specific skills like dog training. Also, mention the personal attributes you’re looking for, like a love for animals, patience, and the ability to work in a team. Here’s an excellent example from a Kennel attendant job post on Indeed:

To attract suitable candidates, advertise your vacancies on platforms frequented by pet care professionals. Online job boards like Indeed and Seek are a great place to start. Consider posting on social media, pet care forums, and even pet stores.

5. Promote your dog daycare services

Promoting your dog daycare services is essential to attracting and retaining customers. You can focus on building a solid online presence for an effective marketing strategy. Consider setting up a website or landing page where you can provide complete information about your services and daily operations. Providing details like services, pricing, testimonials, and contact information can help to persuade prospective clients. Here’s an example from CageFree K9 Camp:

Use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or X. Maximize these platforms by sharing engaging, entertaining, and relevant content in images, videos, and other content types. You can run special promotions or discounts to attract potential customers. In the example below, Dallas Dog Daycare offers a free daycare day. This is a good idea for luring dog owners in.

Additionally, you can use targeted email campaigns to promote your dog daycare services. To build an email list, encourage visitors on your website and social media accounts to sign up for your newsletter. Use this list to send updates, educational content, and special offers. 

Also, consider using traditional marketing methods like local directories and advertising via newspapers, radio, or bulletin boards. Sharing flyers and posters is a great idea, too. You can place them strategically where pet owners are more likely to see them—for example, parks, pet stores, or vet clinics.

Lastly, you can use referral programs by telling friends or current customers to recommend your daycare services to their networks for rewards like bonuses or discounts. 

In Closing

Operating in the dog daycare industry requires dedication, planning, and a genuine love for our canine companions. Running a daycare for dogs can be a profitable venture into the pet industry when you follow the right approach.

In this guide, we explored how you can start your own dog daycare business. Here’s a quick recap: conduct market research to understand the market needs and assess the level of competition. Secure a suitable location for running your business. Obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Recruit and hire competent staff. And promote your dog daycare services.

So, if you’ve meant to start a pet care business, here’s your cue. Follow the steps we’ve discussed and get started on your dog daycare.

Good luck!

Hello, Fellow Animal Lovers! I'm Adrienne Schaffner, the proud pack leader of Pet Control HQ and Pet & Livestock HQ. Growing up as a vet's daughter, my lifelong passion for animals was nurtured at a very young age. Assisting in my father's pet shop, I combined knowledge and love to create Pet Control HQ and Pet & Livestock HQ, providing top-notch care for your beloved animals.

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