If you love pets, and you fancy staying with them while their owners are traveling or at work, you may want to turn that into a business venture by opening an animal daycare at your home. The following tips will help you get started.
Make a Business Plan
Even if you think that it will be a small business, you need to have a general business setup or a business plan for your animal daycare. The plan is essentially a blueprint that you can use as a guide when making decisions or present to potential investors. In that plan, you need to explain in detail what your business is going to offer, so be sure to include things like dog training, walking, and grooming. If you want to charge by the hour, state that as well. You will need to explicitly explain your services, pricing, and how many pets you can handle every day. Ideally, you should also include other considerations like expenses, funding, marketing, and competition that you may face in your business plan. To have an easier time, find a business plan template off of the internet and fill out all the necessary details about your business.
Pick a Location
Since you want to open your business in your home, your options are quite limited here. In that regard, you want to focus on other things like your budget. You don’t want to break the bank paying for one thing and neglecting other things needed for your business. For instance, you do not want to invest too much in equipment and overlook salaries for your employees. Another thing you want to consider is the distance from your home to potential clients. If your home is far away from most dog owners, it is likely that you won’t get any pets to look after, which beats the purpose of the entire thing.
Learn about Licensing and Legal Requirements
Just because it is a new or small business, you will be tempted to think that your animal daycare will not require a business license or insurance coverage. While it is understandable that you would want to save money, you put yourself at risk of lawsuits or fines when you fail to get licensing and insurance for your business. As such, you want to check your state and local licensing requirements and do as required and as you do that, you want to learn about the laws governing such facilities in your area. Research laws that govern dog daycare in your area and, if you plan on hiring one or more employees, you will save yourself a lot of trouble by doing that.
Name your Business
The name you pick for your business plays a huge role in determining whether it will thrive or not. You, therefore, want to pick a name that sort of explains what clients can expect from your services. For instance, if you want people to know that your facility is an eco-friendly one, choose a name that exhibits your commitment to conserving the environment. If your goal is to attract higher-end clients, come up with a name that contains words that will appeal to such clientele, such as ‘pampered’ or ‘luxury’. On the other hand, if yours is only a storage facility for animals until their owners pick them up, pick a name that insinuates that as well.
Consider your Space
How much space do you have? This will determine how many pets you can accommodate. Ideally, you should have ample outdoor space for pets to run around and play, as well as for any equipment you may need to fit in. If you do not have as much space, you need to think about having stacked pet houses made to accommodate all the animals you will be taking care of. Your space should also be enough for any employees you may have to carry out their duties comfortably.
Prepare your Space
Okay, so you have the space required to accommodate all the animals that you will be enrolling in your daycare, but is the space suitable? You see, the animals will need a place to play and lounge and you need to ensure that what you are offering will be comfortable and suitable for them. For instance, you need to have grass growing there to reduce the chances of the animals suffering injuries while playing. If the same is not available and knowing that grass may take some time to grow even with natural fertilizer, you may want to consider buying synthetic grass as it will serve the same purpose.
Get the Necessary Equipment
You are probably one of those people that think an animal daycare is just about keeping animals safe and fed until their owners come to pick them up. However, as a serious business owner, you want your animal daycare to have several fundamental types of equipment, such as playpens, leashes, cleaning supplies, water and food bowls, as well as crates and kennels. Other than that, you want to invest in business software that will come in handy when it comes to managing your business. With the software, you will:
(1)Save time, seeing as you will not have to go through tons of files and documents to find information because all your data will be in one easy-to-access place.
(2)Manage employee schedules as well as book customer appointments seamlessly. You will not have to refer to a diary or notebook for the same.
(3)Retain clients by sending them messages with updates on their pets for the entire time they will be in your facility.
(4)Aid your marketing efforts in that you can create and send automated texts using the software to keep prospective clients and existing customers on upcoming promotions and business changes. With the business software and the equipment, you will be a step ahead of other animal daycare facilities within your region. You may need a managed tech provider to design the software for you but it will be worth it.
Unless you intend to admit one or two animals to your daycare facility, you will need help and it comes in the form of employees. As you search for the perfect candidates, you want to ensure that they are animal lovers before anything else. This is because it will be harder to work with individuals who are not passionate about animals and you will be dealing with cases of negligence and animal cruelty often and you do not want that, do you? As you search for employees, consider candidates who have experience in dog breeding, grooming, and first aid training. While at it, hire individuals who adapt to change and are flexible. This is particularly important if you intend to expand your business in the future.
Put Safety Measures in Place
You realize that with animals, you cannot expect the same level of intelligence as with human beings. Accidents are therefore likely to occur and you want to put measures in place to ensure that they are unlikely to happen. For instance, you want to enlist commercial locksmith services to install locks in your kennels and crates as well as your yard’s gate to ensure that the animals do not get away and that no one comes in to harm them or steal them. You may also want to have an emergency electrician service on speed dial in case you experience any issues with your power that may be detrimental to the animals in your care.
Evaluate Potential Pets
It is necessary to conduct temperament tests for the animals you intend to admit in your daycare even though the law doesn’t require you to. This is especially true for animals like dogs and cats, because they are known to be aggressive. Doing that will ensure that the other animals in your care as well as your staff remain safe. In that regard, you want to interview pet parents, conduct assessments and observations, as well as create scenarios just to see how potential daycare animals will behave. If an animal displays signs of aggressiveness as you evaluate, you may want to let its owner know that you will not admit them to your facility because of the safety concerns they pose.
Consider Diversifying Your Services
Opening up your home to be an animal daycare facility has a lot to do with your passion for animals, but you also need to be a smart business person. If you are making money from it, you might as well make a lot. In that regard, you may want to diversify your services from just feeding, walking, and grooming animals. For instance, if there are no dog breeders in your area, you may want to offer the service as well. You may need to train for this or hire people who know how to do it.
Train Your Employees
Sure, you need to hire experienced staff for your animal daycare, but you need to remember that learning is a continuous process. As such, you can have your employees trained on how to identify and respond to changes in animal behavior. This will go a long way in keeping both the animals in your care and your employees safe. Moreover, pet parents will appreciate the attention and care you put in to ensure that their pets stay happy, healthy, and safe.
Advertise Your Business
Upon buying the equipment you will need for your animal daycare and hiring suitable staff, you need to let the world know that you are in business so that they can reach out for your services. At this point, what you need to know is that an effective marketing strategy is what will take your business to the next level. To that effect, you may want to reach your target audience and ensure that they are aware of your offerings through different channels. For instance, you can send out emails to friends, neighbors, or family members who you think might need your services. Alternatively, you can visit a custom t shirt print shop to have several printed or put up a strategic custom LED neon sign in your front yard. While at it, remember that social media are a force to reckon with in the current world, so be sure to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to your advantage.
Price Your Services
You are in business, so you certainly have to come up with a price list for your services. Now to do this, it would be best to find out how much other animal daycare services in your region are charging and work around it, rather than pricing your services anyhow. An animal daycare can charge anything between $15 to $35 per animal per day. Of course, the costs can vary based on the location, and the services provided. As you price your services, you may also want to offer monthly membership plans and discounts for loyal customers.
Get Insurance Cover
Did you know that pets can be insured too? Well, that may be the case, but is it not their owners’ responsibility to take care of that? You see, the animals will be in your care most of the time and if something happens to them, you want to ensure that they are covered. The same applies to your employees. You may therefore want to get in touch with several health insurance brokers to see what kind of cover you can get for them.
With all the strategies and tips in this article, your home animal daycare facility should be ready to accommodate your friends’ and neighbors’ pets. You, on the other hand, should expect to make a decent amount of money from building an animal daycare at home.