This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue
The Do’s and Don’t’s of Starting a Kennel at Your House
You should build a business around something you love. As a dog lover, it would stand to
reason that a kennel business would be the perfect choice! However, there’s a big difference
between having one or two of your own dogs, compared to an entire yard full of them. Just ask
any person who’s turned their home into a day care business for children how big that fference
There are many things that need to be addressed when considering opening a kennel at your
home. These include noise ordinances in neighborhoods and possible annoyance to neighbors, zoning laws, safety, and a host of other things you’ll need to be aware of if your plan is to turn your yard and home into a doggie kennel business.
If you are hoping to get into the dog boarding business, here are some of the things you
need to know to get you started.
How to Start a Home Kennel
Before you get started, it’s important to realize what a tremendous responsibility it is to look after someone’s pet.
Petful recommends a few considerations before diving in and buying a bunch of equipment.
- Zoning laws: You have to find out if it’s legal in your area first, and this may include your homeowners association, if you have one.
- Insurance and regulations:Legal regulations can vary, so research your jurisdiction’s requirements and which insurance coverages you may need.
- Check with neighbors:You may have neighbors who are prone to complaining about noise and other perceived annoyances. Checking in with them before you get started could save you a lot of headaches later.
- Dog size matters:Big dogs have different equipment needs than smaller dogs. You
may want to choose to cater to one or the other. Otherwise, be prepared to spend more in order to properly segregate the sizes and/or the energy levels.
- Equipment: At the very least you’ll still have to purchase dog crates, leashes, collars,
food, food and water bowls, etc. You may even want to create dog runs, play areas, and ennels. Don’t forget that dogs can be messy. In fact, consider whether or not you will need to do some remodeling to accommodate your furry clients.
- Dog training: If you are going to be housing a variety of dog breeds all day, be sure you
are well-versed in humane dog training and commands as well as how to read canine body language. This will help you combat issues among your doggy clients before they start.
- Customer requirements: Will you be asking for vaccination papers, contact numbers,
and vet information for each dog you watch? It’s important to have a record-keeping system in place.
Doing your research on logistics and making sure you are really prepared to go all in will save
you a lot of stress and time. Starting any business can have a lot of considerations, but here
are definitely some special ones in regards to dog boarding.
How Much to Charge?
Before you set your prices, be sure to conduct market research. Just like location affects the prices of real estate, it does the same to the prices of any business service. If you are in a metropolitan area and are serving upscale doggy clients, your services might be greater and more high-end.
Likewise, if you are serving a rural community full of big dogs who need lots of room, the
overhead of creating those kennels, dog runs, and play areas will need to be offset by your
Above all else, take into account what your target market can both afford to pay and is willing to pay. These indications will help you evaluate your markup on services and upplies.
How to Market Your Home Kennel
Because this is a personal service in a local community, focus on grassroots marketing such as:
- Classified ads in the local paper
- Flyers hung around town
- Bulletin board adverts
- Door hangers in local neighborhoods
- Signage on your vehicle
- Posters in local pet shops
- Social media marketing
Some of the most popular accounts on social media are those focused on pets. If you don’t
have a Facebook page or an Instagram account, start with those. A picture is still worth a
thousand words, and it can often say more about your business than a traditional website can.
If you really want to charge more, you’ll need to offer more, and this is the biggest benefit of offering additional services. Plus, some customers may come to you specifically for those services, which can include:
- Nail trimming
- Pick-up/drop-off services
Consider what you would want to see in a home kennel, and keep in mind how difficult it would be for you to board your dog. Create an experience that will keep pet owners as well as their pets happy. There’s a little something in marketing called empathy. Thinking how your customers think will aid you greatly.
Question to Ask Yourself
Don’t leap into a kennel or pet boarding business without looking. Just because you love dogs and have the necessary capital doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you.
Before you sign all those permits and documents, you need to answer the following questions, at the very least:
- Can you cope with the stress?
- Do you have a good amount of dog-care experience?
- Can you run your own business?
- Will you enjoy running your own business?
- Is there a market/need for your home kennel?
- Can you weather the rough times, emotionally and financially?
Do you have any medical experience?Medical experience isn’t a requirement, but it would add a lot to your marketing efforts. Even a small amount of experience would go a long way, like being able to diagnose kennel cough and being certified in pet first aid. Though, just being aware of how your doggie customers are feeling will likely be enough.
If you answered all of those questions, aside from medical experience, with a resounding, yes, we say jump in and go for it.
Owning your own business can be a very rewarding experience, and when you can combine
your love of dogs, it’s even better. Doing research on logistics and the market, as well as asking yourself good questions to assess your readiness, will ensure that if you do jump into the dog boarding business, you will be a shining success.
Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.