Government and private grants available to the animal and pet-care industry may be limited, but funding is still possible. Depending on the goals of your dog kennel or training business, you may be a able to qualify for several small grants to fund a larger project. Getting grants for your small business will require a sound business plan and plenty of persistence and patience.
Develop a basic business plan. Determine your goals for starting your dog kennel or training facility before beginning the grant-finding process. This is because when you start applying for grants, you may be tempted to add extra services to your business to obtain more grant money. If you already have goals in mind, you can avoid overstretching yourself. For instance, you may find a grant to help endangered beagles. As long as your main goal is not affected, you can consider adding that on to your objectives. Beware of adding too many services to your startup, however, as this will make grant founders leery. It is best to start small and plan to go big.
Know your demographic and your competition in the dog kennel or training business when applying for grant funding. It will be important for the foundation to know if your target market is feasible. Grants usually cover only a short time period, so foundations want reassurance that the facility they help start can survive on its own.
Determine your basic startup cost needs. While these will change, it is important to go ahead and start a list. Some companies going out of business and nonprofits closing their doors may have supplies they no longer need and that you can get for free or at a reduced price. Even though this is not considered grant funding, finding low-cost and no-cost items to start your business will lower your startup costs. Before awarding grant money, foundations determine if the applicant is a good steward of money. Being frugal with the money you have will help show you are responsible.
Go to Grants.gov and search for grants offered to groups or individuals for dog care. Look in your immediate area, but also look state- and countrywide. Do this to get an idea of what is out there in terms of grant programs. For instance, if grant programs for your field of interest are offered outside of your area, you can contact the same or similar organization in your area. While the organization may not have the same grant available, it may have something similar or it may be interested in your new startup. If interested in your business, it may be able to give you some pointers, which sometimes can be far more valuable than money.
Look for private grant funding for your dog kennel or training facility. Many publications offer lists of large private foundations that offer grants. Look for businesses and groups that are interested in animal and pet care, but do not limit yourself there. For instance, many people might assume that a candy factory would have no interest in a dog training facility. This would be an unfortunate assumption if the CEO is a dog lover and belongs to an animal activist group. With a simple letter and follow-up call, you could end up with funding.
Organize fundraisers. If your dog boarding or training facility has anything to do with the rescue or sheltering of animals in need, consider starting an annual fundraiser. Every penny can add up fast, and the free advertising you receive can be much more profitable than the donations raised.
Get accredited through the Pet Care Services Association (formerly the American Boarding and Kennel Association) after your business is established. If you need to look for grant assistance after you have started your business, grant founders will want proof that the business they're helping is legitimate.
Foundationcenter.org has a database that lists more than 100,000 of the largest grant-awarding foundations and donors in the U.S. This is a great way to find out which companies have grants available for the public. When seeking government and private grants, it is important to look professional.
Never use grants in an unethical manner, as grant fraud is serious and can lead to terrible legal problems.