Starting a dog boarding business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching a successful dog boarding business.
Importantly, a critical step in starting a dog boarding business is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template here.
14 Steps To Start a Dog Boarding Business:
- Choose the Name for Your Dog Boarding Business
- Develop Your Dog Boarding Business Plan
- Choose the Legal Structure for Your Dog Boarding Business
- Secure Startup Funding for Your Dog Boarding Business (If Needed)
- Secure a Location for Your Business
- Register Your Dog Boarding Business with the IRS
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Get a Business Credit Card
- Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
- Get Business Insurance for Your Dog Boarding Business
- Buy or Lease the Right Dog Boarding Business Equipment
- Develop Your Dog Boarding Business Marketing Materials
- Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Dog Boarding Business
- Open for Business
1. Choose the Name for Your Dog Boarding Business
The first step to starting a dog boarding facility is to choose your business’ name.
This is a very important choice since your company name is your brand and will last for the lifetime of your business. Ideally you choose a name that is meaningful and memorable. Here are some tips for choosing a name for your dog boarding business:
- Make sure the name is available. Check your desired name against trademark databases and your state’s list of registered business names to see if it’s available. Also check to see if a suitable domain name is available.
- Keep it simple. The best names are usually ones that are easy to remember, pronounce and spell.
- Think about marketing. Come up with a name that reflects the desired brand and/or focus of your dog boarding business.
2. Develop Your Dog Boarding Business Plan
One of the most important steps in starting a dog boarding business is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to funding sources to raise capital for your business.
Your business plan should include the following sections:
- Executive Summary – this section should summarize your entire business plan so readers can quickly understand the key details of your dog boarding business.
- Company Overview – this section tells the reader about the history of your dog boarding business and what type of dog boarding business you operate. For example, are you a traditional boarding kennel, an in-home dog boarding service, or a pet hotel?
- Industry Analysis – here you will document key information about the pet industry. Conduct market research and document how big the pet care industry is and what trends are affecting it.
- Customer Analysis – in this section, you will document who your ideal or target market are and their demographics. For example, how old are they? Where do they live? What do they find important when purchasing services like the ones you will offer?
- Competitive Analysis – here you will document the key direct and indirect competitors you will face and how you will build competitive advantage.
- Marketing Plan – your marketing plan should address the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotions and Place.
- Product: Determine and document what products/services you will offer
- Prices: Document the prices of your products/services
- Place: Where will your business be located and how will that location help you increase sales?
- Promotions: What promotional methods will you use to attract customers to your dog boarding business? For example, you might decide to use pay-per-click advertising, public relations, search engine optimization and/or social media marketing.
- Operations Plan – here you will determine the key processes you will need to run your day-to-day operations. You will also determine your staffing needs. Finally, in this section of your plan, you will create a projected growth timeline showing the milestones you hope to achieve in the coming years.
- Management Team – this section details the background of your company’s management team.
- Financial Plan – finally, the financial plan answers questions including the following:
- What startup costs will you incur?
- How will your dog boarding business make money?
- What are your projected sales and expenses for the next five years?
- Do you need to raise funding to launch your own business?
3. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Dog Boarding Business
Next you need to choose a legal structure for your dog boarding business and register it and your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.
Below are the five most common legal structures:
1) Sole proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is a business entity in which the pet boarding business owner and the business are the same legal person. The owner of a sole proprietorship is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. There are no formalities required to establish a sole proprietorship, and it is easy to set up and operate. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it is simple and inexpensive to establish. The main disadvantage is that the owner is liable for all debts and obligations of the business.
A partnership is a legal structure that is popular among small businesses. It is an agreement between two or more people who want to start a dog boarding business together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business.
The advantages of a partnership are that it is easy to set up, and the partners share in the profits and losses of the business. The disadvantages of a partnership are that the partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, and disagreements between partners can be difficult to resolve.
3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A limited liability company, or LLC, is a type of business entity that provides limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The advantages of an LLC for a dog boarding business include flexibility in management, pass-through taxation (avoids double taxation as explained below), and limited personal liability. The disadvantages of an LLC include lack of availability in some states and self-employment taxes.
4) C Corporation
A C Corporation is a business entity that is separate from its owners. It has its own tax ID and can have shareholders. The main advantage of a C Corporation for a dog boarding business is that it offers limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The disadvantage is that C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation pays taxes on its profits, and the shareholders also pay taxes on their dividends.
5) S Corporation
An S Corporation is a type of corporation that provides its owners with limited liability protection and allows them to pass their business income through to their personal income tax returns, thus avoiding double taxation. There are several limitations on S Corporations including the number of shareholders they can have among others.
Once you register your dog boarding business, your state will send you your official “Articles of Incorporation.” You will need this among other documentation when establishing your banking account (see below). We recommend that you consult an attorney in determining which legal structure is best suited for your company.
4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Dog Boarding Business (If Needed)
In developing your dog boarding business plan, you might have determined that you need to raise funding to launch your business.
If so, the main sources of funding for a dog boarding business to consider are personal savings, family and friends, credit card financing, bank loans, crowdfunding and angel investors. Angel investors are individuals who provide capital to early-stage businesses. Angel investors typically will invest in a dog boarding business that they believe has high potential for growth.
5. Secure a Location for Your Business
To find a location for your dog boarding business, you’ll need to do some market research to determine the best place to set up shop. Look at the area’s demographics – is it a family-friendly neighborhood with lots of dog-owners? Is the population-dense enough that you’ll have a steady flow of customers? Once you’ve narrowed down your options, take a look at the competition and make sure you can offer a unique service that sets you apart.
6. Register Your Dog Boarding Business with the IRS
Next, you need to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will result in the IRS issuing you an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Most banks will require you to have an EIN in order to open up an account. In addition, in order to hire employees, you will need an EIN since that is how the IRS tracks your payroll tax payments.
Note that if you are a sole proprietor without employees, you generally do not need to get an EIN. Rather, you would use your social security number (instead of your EIN) as your taxpayer identification number.
7. Open a Business Bank Account
It is important to establish a bank account in your kennel business’ name. This process is fairly simple and involves the following steps:
- Identify and contact the bank you want to use
- Gather and present the required documents (generally include your company’s Articles of Incorporation, driver’s license or passport, and proof of address)
- Complete the bank’s application form and provide all relevant information
- Meet with a banker to discuss your business needs and establish a relationship with them
8. Get a Business Credit Card
You should get a business credit card for your dog daycare business to help you separate personal and business expenses.
You can either apply for a business credit card through your bank or apply for one through a credit card company.
When you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to provide some information about your business. This includes the name of your business, the address of your business, and the type of business you’re running. You’ll also need to provide some information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.
Once you’ve been approved for a business credit card, you’ll be able to use it to make purchases for your business. You can also use it to build your credit history which could be very important in securing loans and getting credit lines for your business in the future.
9. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
To start a dog boarding business, you will need to obtain a business license and a pet boarding permit. These requirements vary depending on whether your business is indoors or outdoors.
Indoor kennel businesses require a permit from the Department of Animal Care & Control. Outdoor animal boarding facilities require a permit from the City Planning Commission and Building & Safety.
10. Get Business Insurance for Your Dog Boarding Business
There are various types of insurance that are necessary to operate an animal shelter business.
Some business insurance policies you should consider for your dog boarding business include:
- General liability insurance: This covers accidents and injuries that occur on your property. It also covers damages caused by your employees or products.
- Auto insurance: If a vehicle is used in your business, this type of insurance will cover if a vehicle is damaged or stolen.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: If you have employees, this type of policy works with your general liability policy to protect against workplace injuries and accidents. It also covers medical expenses and lost wages.
- Commercial property insurance: This covers damage to your property caused by fire, theft, or vandalism.
- Business interruption insurance: This covers lost income and expenses if your business is forced to close due to a covered event.
- Professional liability insurance: This protects your business against claims of professional negligence.
Find an insurance agent, tell them about your business and its needs, and they will recommend policies that fit those needs.
11. Buy or Lease the Right Dog Boarding Business Equipment
To start a dog boarding business, you will need a lot of equipment. This includes boarding kennels, food, water dishes, toys, leashes, and collars.
12. Develop Your Dog Boarding Business Marketing Materials
Marketing materials will be required to attract and retain customers to your dog boarding business.
The key marketing materials you will need are as follows:
- Logo: Spend some time developing a good logo for your dog boarding business. Your logo will be printed on company stationery, business cards, marketing materials and so forth. The right logo can increase customer trust and awareness of your brand.
- Website: Likewise, a professional dog boarding business website provides potential customers with information about the services you offer, your company’s history, and contact information. Importantly, remember that the look and feel of your website will affect how customers perceive you.
- Social Media Accounts: establish social media accounts in your company’s name. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or other social media networks will help customers and others find and interact with your dog boarding business.
13. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Dog Boarding Business
To run a dog boarding business, you will need software to manage reservations, payments, and customers. You may also need software to help track your inventory of dog food and supplies.
14. Open for Business
You are now ready to open your dog boarding business. If you followed the steps above, you should be in a great position to build a successful business. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that might further help you.
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How to Start a Dog Boarding Business FAQs
Starting a dog boarding business can be difficult, as you'll need to ensure that your property is secure and safe for dogs, as well as find responsible dog-sitters. However, if you're passionate about dogs and have the right space, it can be a rewarding business venture.
There are a few things you can do to get started in the dog boarding business with no experience. You can start by doing some research on the industry and learning about the different aspects of running a boarding business. Additionally, you can reach out to experienced dog boarding business owners for advice and mentorship. Finally, you can start small and gradually grow your business as you gain experience.
The most profitable type of dog boarding business is a facility that offers pet services for both short-term and long-term boarding. This is because you can charge long-term boarding fees for overnight stays as well as short-term fees for half-day and full-day stays.
It typically costs between $10,000 and $30,000 to start a dog boarding business. The startup costs involved with this business are similar to most businesses in the service industry. The following is a list of potential costs involved with starting a boarding kennel:
- Initial advertising
- Building or buying a facility
- Office furniture and equipment
- Kennel equipment (metal runs, food and water bowls, beds)
The ongoing expenses for a dog boarding business include things like rent, utilities, employee salaries, dog food and supplies, and marketing costs.
A dog boarding business makes money by charging dog owners a fee for keeping their dog for a certain amount of time. This fee can be based on the size of the dog, the number of dogs being boarded, or by how many nights the dog will be staying. Boarding businesses may also offer add-on services such as daycare, walking, or bathing.
There are a number of reasons owning a dog boarding business can be profitable. One reason is the growing number of dog owners. This means that there is a large market for dog boarding services, as people are often looking for safe and reliable places to leave their pets while they are at work or traveling.
Additionally, dog boarding businesses can be relatively low-cost to start up, which makes them an attractive investment opportunity. Pet owners often look for dog boarding businesses that offer flexibility in the services they provide.
Finally, dog boarding businesses typically have high margins, meaning that they can be quite profitable with relatively small amounts of revenue.
Here are a few things that you can do to make your pet business more profitable, such as:
- Offering additional daycare services, such as dog walking, bathing, and grooming
- Charging a premium for grooming services during busy times, such as holidays and weekends
- Offering discounts to regular customers
- Investing in quality equipment and supplies
- Educating yourself on the latest trends in pet care
One of the most common reasons most pet boarding businesses fail is a lack of marketing. Without a strong marketing strategy it can be difficult to attract new customers, and without new customers, the business will eventually fail.
Additionally, some dog boarding businesses fail because they are not run efficiently or their pet sitters do not offer good customer service. If the business is not able to meet the needs of their customers, they will likely lose them to a competitor.
Finally, dog boarding businesses fail due to financial difficulties.