Operating a doggy daycare can be a rewarding occupation for dog lovers. In 2009, Americans spent nearly $3.4 billion on pet grooming and boarding, according to the American Pet Products Association. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects high growth in the animal care industry over the next decade, so a doggy daycare is a promising business venture for those who are adequately informed and prepared.
A business plan is an important first step for any start-up, operating as a blueprint for how you foresee running your doggy daycare. Most lenders ask to see a business plan before loaning money to a prospective small business owner. A basic business plan details the costs of running your doggy daycare, including initial licensing fees, operating costs, supplies and marketing. If you will have employees, your plan should cover management hierarchy, salaries and responsibilities. You will also need to plan for additional services your daycare will provide, such as grooming and emergency veterinary care. The plan should outline projected income as well as how you intend to repay a loan. Based on your plan, you should be able to identify approximately when your business will become profitable.
Due to zoning restrictions and local laws, animal care facilities are not permitted in residential areas in most cities and counties. If you are planning to operate the daycare from your home, first check with your county or city government. In most cases, you will need to rent or purchase commercial space. State or local laws may dictate factors such as minimum square footage per dog, and many locales require you to have a waste disposal plan. You will need areas for food, play, exercise, rest and waste elimination as well as a system to separate dogs when behavior problems arise.
No federal laws govern animal care facilities, so licensing requirements vary by city or county. Some locales, such as Brock, California, require a license specifically for doggy daycare, while others generically classify all non-medical animal care facilities as kennels. Your city may require kennel licensure if you plan to offer overnight stays. Licensure may be contingent upon inspections by various state and local governmental authorities, such as the health department. For example, Brock requires inspection by the city’s Canine Control Officer. Many locales also require that all dogs at the facility have current rabies vaccination records on file.
Before purchasing supplies for your doggy daycare, first determine maximum occupancy and the average number of charges you expect to care for per day. At minimum, you will need food, dishes, bedding, toys, leashes, emergency medical care supplies and animal-safe cleaning supplies. If you plan to offer additional services such as grooming or vaccinations, you will need to purchase additional materials. You will also need things such as a cash register, filing system, software and office supplies for running the business end of your doggy daycare.
2016 Salary Information for Animal Care and Service Workers
Animal care and service workers earned a median annual salary of $23,040 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, animal care and service workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $19,540, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $29,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 296,400 people were employed in the U.S. as animal care and service workers.
- American Pet Products Association: Industry Statistics and Trends
- BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook: Animal Care and Service Workers
- Paws Dog Daycare: What Is a Dog Daycare Business Plan?
- Paws Dog Daycare: Supplies Needed to Operate a Dog Daycare
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Animal Care and Service Workers
- Career Trend: Animal Care and Service Workers
Layne Wood began writing in 1990. Her work has appeared in publications by the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium and Appalachian Writers Heritage Symposium. Wood specializes in articles on Appalachia, literature, dogs and relationships. She has a Bachelor of Science in English from Radford University.