What steps do you need to take in order to start a dog daycare? If you are reading this, starting a dog-related business is likely a dream of yours, but you don’t know where to start. Getting any business off the ground can seem overwhelming. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of the tasks that you will likely need to take to get your dog daycare business up and running.
It is often a good idea to consult with a qualified attorney to discuss various options and considerations for forming your new business.
One of the first things to check off your list if you are starting a dog daycare is your business plan. This gets the ball rolling on the planning process, helps you explore business ideas, and can potentially help you secure funding for a business. So, where do you start with a business plan? A quick online search will turn up many templates, but here are the key points you will likely need to hit:
Once you write your business plan, the next step is finding out where you will start your business. One key factor to this decision is square footage. You will want to have enough room for the dogs to run and play safely. The amount of square footage you will need per dog will vary, and you will need to account for extra space if you are offering additional services like overnight boarding or grooming. Once you know how many dogs on average you will have at your business, consult industry publications on the amount of space you should calculate per dog.
While space is key for choosing a dog daycare location, where it is located is also important. Before you sign a lease or purchase a building, be sure to reach out to your local zoning board to see if there are any laws related to your business. Other factors to take into consideration are how convenient the location is, and how close it is to a veterinarian in case any pet emergencies arise.
Maybe you have a large home, or land you can build on, and are wondering if you can start your dog daycare business out of your home. First, you need to see if this would be allowed. Research to see if there are any zoning laws or restrictive covenants where you live. You will also need to contact your town or city to see if you need any special licensing. If you are looking to build, be sure to research any building permits that you will need, and how close to any property lines you will be. Check local ordinances to see if you can have an exterior sign on your property that can advertise your business, and if there are any restrictions on the size. You may want to consult with an attorney about these (and potentially other) issues.
Once you determine if you legally can start the business out of your home, evaluate the pros and cons of doing so. How much space could you dedicate to the business? You will need adequate room for the dogs to run and play. You will also need additional rooms and space if you need to separate dogs. How much renovation would be required? Consider how you would separate the business from the rest of your home. Another factor to consider is parking. Will you have enough space with your current driveway for the number of customers you wish to service in a day?
If you do decide to start your dog daycare business out of your home, insurance is an important factor to help protect your business and your property. You will need to call your insurance company to inform them of your plans and to discuss whether you need to obtain additional commercial coverages, since your homeowners policy might not cover (or might not provide adequate coverage) for a home-based business. In addition to commercial property insurance, you will also want to look at commercial general liability policies. Be sure to review your policy carefully to see if it excludes certain breeds of dogs. You should speak with an insurance agent to discuss whether there are other types of insurance products that you ought to consider as well.
Whether or not you need employees for your business is a personal decision that will depend on a variety of factors, and it is one that only you can make. However, if you do hire employees, be sure to speak to a qualified insurance agent to discuss workers’ compensation insurance. Depending on where you live, workers’ compensation insurance may be legally required if you have any employees.
The list of equipment, tools, and toys that you can purchase to start a dog daycare can seem overwhelming, but there are a few basic things that you should have on hand before you open your doors for business, although you may find you need additional items.
When it comes to insuring your dog daycare business, some common business insurance coverages are commercial general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. You can read our full article on the different types of insurance you should consider as a dog daycare owner here, or reach out to one of our offices to request a quote.
Spreading the word about your dog daycare doesn’t have to require a large budget. Some ideas to promote your dog daycare business online are building a professional website, utilizing social media, and paid digital advertising. To promote your business in person, think about exterior signage, and offering a loyalty or referral program for your existing customers.
Starting a dog daycare business requires research, a dedicated space, equipment, and proper insurance. This article outlines in summary fashion just a few—but by no means all—of the considerations you may want to think about.
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