Opening a dog kennel business could be a great way to turn your love for furry friends into a profit-making venture! In 2021, the demand for pet care services is at an all-time high, with 67% of United States households owning a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. With more than 90 million dogs in the US alone, it is safe to say that the dog kennel industry is a booming business, with a market size of over $5 billion. But starting a dog kennel business from scratch can be daunting and time-consuming. There are several key steps you need to follow to ensure a smooth launch of your business. This blog post will provide you with a checklist containing ten essential steps to take in order to start your dream dog kennel business. By the time you finish reading this post, you will have a complete understanding of how to prepare a strong business plan, secure funding, obtain necessary licenses, acquire premises, develop business terms, advertise and acquire clients- all while maintaining a steady customer database for the long-term growth of your business! So, let’s get started on your new entrepreneurial journey!

1. Prepare A Business Plan

Opening a dog kennel business can be a profitable venture if done correctly. Like any business, it requires a plan that outlines the details of the operation. The first step to starting your dog kennel business is to prepare a comprehensive business plan.

The business plan should start with an executive summary, which presents an overview of the business. Then, include a company description that outlines your business structure, goals, and objectives. The marketing section of your plan should outline the target market and the marketing strategies to attract customers.

Next, include financial projections detailing your income and expenses for at least the first three years. Include cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements. Finally, add an appendix with supporting documentation like leases, licenses, permits, and other registrations.

  • TIP: Your business plan should be a living document that evolves with your business. Review and update it regularly.

Once your business plan is complete, move to the next step in launching your dog kennel business.

Excel financial model

Dog Kennel Financial Model

  • 5-Year Excel Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support

2. Develop A Financial Model

One of the most crucial parts of starting any business is developing a financial model. Before you can even think about opening your dog kennel, you need to have a solid understanding of your financials. A financial model will help you determine your start-up costs, projected revenue, and cash flow. Here are the steps to develop a financial model for your dog kennel business:

  • List Your Start-Up Costs: This includes the cost of rent, utilities, supplies, construction, and any other expenses you will need to open your business. You should also include a contingency fund in case unexpected expenses arise.
  • Determine Your Revenue Streams: Outline all the potential revenue streams for your dog kennel business. This could include boarding fees, grooming services, training classes, and retail sales. Be sure to research local rates for each service to ensure your prices are competitive.
  • Create a Sales Forecast: Based on your revenue streams, estimate how much money you believe your business will make in the first year and beyond. This will give you a clear picture of your projected revenue.
  • Calculate Your Breakeven Point: Determine how many services or products your business needs to sell to cover its expenses. This will help you understand when your business will start making a profit.
  • Develop a Cash Flow Analysis: This will show how much money is coming in and going out of your business on a weekly and monthly basis. It will help you understand when you will have surplus funds and when you will need to cut back on expenses.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Be realistic and conservative when estimating your revenue and expenses.
  • Research your competition and their pricing to ensure you are pricing your services competitively.
  • Take advantage of free financial planning tools online to assist you in creating your financial model.

By developing a financial model, you will have a clear understanding of your start-up costs, projected revenue, and cash flow. This will allow you to make informed decisions and set your dog kennel business up for long-term success.

3. Research & Acquire Necessary Permits & Licenses

Before starting a dog kennel business, it is crucial to research the pertinent permits and licenses required in the locality. Obtaining necessary permits and licenses is an essential legal obligation for ensuring a successful dog kennel business launch.

The permits required would vary based on location. However, the majority of kennel businesses would require zoning approval permits, animal welfare permits, local health department permits, and/or any permits required for dog breeding. Such permits are dependent on the locality and the number of dogs kept.

Tip & Trick: Research the regulations in the state of operation, a municipality, that sets forth any provisions or limitations concerning dog kennel businesses. It is imperative to get the accurate information that will ensure the operation and legal compliance of any kennel business.

As a general rule, starting a kennel business comes along with the need for a license. Licensing should be completed both locally through the city or county authorities and through state animal welfare or health departments.

It is necessary to have all the necessary permits and licenses in place before starting a dog kennel business. Most states would not grant a kennel license without first having approvals from the local health department, zoning board, or any other necessary local authority.

Tip & Trick: Inquire about any specific information regarding the licensing and permit fees as early as possible to get an idea of the costs.

  • Research the regulations in the location of operation
  • Obtain zoning approval permits
  • Acquire animal welfare permits
  • Get local health department permits
  • Research any permits required for dog breeding
  • Complete licensing both locally and through state animal welfare or health departments
  • Ensure all necessary permits and licenses are in place before starting the business

Tips & Tricks

  • Research the regulations in the state of operation, a municipality, that sets forth any provisions or limitations concerning dog kennel businesses
  • Inquire about any specific information regarding the licensing and permit fees as early as possible to get an idea of the costs

The permit and licensing process can be arduous and requires careful attention to details. However, it is possible to navigate the process without hiccups with the right amount of preparation and research.

Successful acquisition of permits and licenses not only ensures the legal compliance of the kennel business but also offers protection for the business, customers, and dogs.

Tip & Trick: It is best to work with a lawyer to make sure the licensing meets all the legal requirements in the state of operation, including state laws, local zoning laws, and any other legal paperwork.

4. Source And Secure Suitable Premises

When it comes to starting a successful dog kennel business, securing a suitable premises is key. Here are some essential steps to consider:

  • Determine Your Business Needs: Before you start looking for a location, you need to determine what your business needs are. How many dogs do you plan on boarding? What facilities do you need? What kind of zoning and permits will you require?
  • Choose The Right Location: Choosing the right location for your dog kennel business is critical. You need to find a location that is easily accessible for your customers and their furry friends. Consider a location that is away from residential areas to avoid noise complaints.
  • Check Zoning Regulations: Different states and local governments have different zoning regulations for dog kennel businesses. Make sure you check these regulations and have all the necessary permits to operate.
  • Ensure That The Premises Are Safe: Safety is a top priority in a dog kennel business. Make sure that the premises are secure with proper fencing, gates, and locks. Ensure that the kennels are well-maintained and clean.
  • Consider The Size Of The Premises: The size of the premises will depend on how many dogs you plan on boarding. Consider the space required for outdoor activities and exercise for the dogs.
  • Plan The Layout: Plan the layout of the premises to be efficient and easy to navigate. Separate areas for different sizes and breeds of dogs, a reception area, and a grooming area.
  • Investigate Insurance Requirements: Find out what kind of insurance you will need to protect yourself, your staff, and your furry guests.
  • Set Up A Budget: A dog kennel business requires a significant investment. Set up a budget for expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance, and staff.
  • Provide Adequate Staffing: Ensure that you have enough staff to look after the dogs, clean, and maintain the premises.
  • Plan For Expansion: Plan for expansion in the future. Make sure that there is enough space to add new kennels and facilities as the business grows.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Consider hiring a professional real estate agent to find the perfect location for your dog kennel business.
  • Make sure that you have adequate lighting and ventilation in the kennels.
  • Invest in a backup generator to ensure that the kennels have power during an outage.

Securing a proper premises is an essential factor in launching a dog kennel business. When choosing the right location, ensure that it is in compliance with local zoning regulations and permits. You must plan the layout to maximize the efficiency and safety of the premises, providing adequate space for outdoor activities, a reception area, and a grooming area.

A dog kennel can be a profitable business if done right. Take the time to plan, budget, and invest in your business to ensure that it is successful.

5. Prepare And Staff Premises

Once you have determined the legal and financial aspects of starting your dog kennel business, it is time to prepare and staff your premises. The preparation of your kennel area is crucial to the success of your business.

Firstly, you need to identify the location that is easily accessible and suitable for your business. Ensure that your location has adequate space to accommodate not only kennels but also play areas, offices, and storage facilities. Also, check that your location meets the local zoning regulations and that your business license allows you to operate in that area.

After finding the perfect location, it's time to start the renovation process. You will need to create designated areas for your kennels, reception, office, play area, and storage; each with its own purpose. Invest in high-quality equipment, such as kennels, crates, flooring, and fencing that are safe and secure for your furry guests. Hire professional contractors to take care of the renovation process.

Your dog kennel business’s success depends on the skilled and caring team who will take care of your customers' pets during their stay. You need a team of professional, experienced, and animal-loving employees. Their duties should include feeding, grooming, administering medications, and providing daily exercise for the dogs. Consider providing regular training sessions for your employees to keep them updated with the latest pet care practices.

In addition to experienced employees, you should have a manager who will oversee the entire operation of your business. The manager will ensure that your customer service is top-notch and that your business is running smoothly. Once you have hired your team, ensure everyone is properly trained and understands their role in your business.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Ensure that your facility is clean and odor-free to keep your guests happy and healthy.
  • Provide a comfortable environment with temperature control and proper ventilation in all seasons.
  • Consider offering webcam access for owners to check on their pets while they are away.

By preparing and staffing your premises with skilled and caring professionals, you will build a loyal customer base for your dog kennel business. Take your time and invest in quality equipment, location, and employees to guarantee a successful start of your business.

6. Advertise And Get The Word Out

Opening a dog kennel business requires extensive planning, market research, and investment. However, once you have completed all the legal formalities and set up your dog kennel business, you need to promote it to attract customers and establish your brand name. Here are some ways to advertise and get the word out about your dog kennel business:

  • Create a Website: In today's digital age, having a website is essential for any business. A website promotes your brand, gives detailed information about your services, and is the first point of contact between you and your clients. Hire a professional web developer to create a user-friendly and responsive website to attract more customers.
  • Engage in Social Media Marketing: Creating social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help you reach a wider audience. Share regular updates such as pictures of the dogs in your care, promotions, and events to keep your followers engaged and informed about your dog kennel business.
  • Offer Referral and Loyalty Programs: Encourage your customers to spread the word about your dog kennel business by offering referral discounts. You can also create loyalty programs to reward your regular customers and build a long-term relationship with them.
  • Attend Local Pet Events: Participating in pet events such as dog shows, adoption fairs, and charity events is an excellent way to showcase your dog kennel business to potential customers and network with other pet businesses in your area.
  • Create Business Cards and Flyers: Produce professional business cards and flyers that promote your services and contact information. You can distribute them to pet stores, veterinary clinics, and other relevant businesses in your area.
  • Partner with Other Pet Businesses: Collaborate with other pet businesses such as dog walkers, pet groomers, and pet stores to increase your reach and offer cross-promotional deals to attract more customers.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave online reviews and testimonials to attract more customers.
  • Consider paid advertising options such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach a broader audience with specific demographics.
  • Create eye-catching visual content such as photos and videos of your happy dogs to showcase your services and build an emotional connection with your customers.

7. Source And Secure Funding

One of the most crucial steps in starting a dog kennel business is sourcing and securing adequate funds to make it viable. Whether you plan to start small or are aiming for a larger operation, you need to have a solid understanding of how much capital you will need and how to obtain it. Here are several strategies to help you secure funding for your dog kennel business:

  • Create a Detailed Business Plan: A detailed business plan will help you identify the costs associated with starting a dog kennel business, including building expenses, equipment, staffing, and marketing. The plan will also help you identify areas where cost-cutting measures can be implemented.
  • Seek Assistance from Lenders: Many financial institutions offer small business loans to entrepreneurs. However, these loans can be challenging to secure, and you need to have collateral to qualify. Some lenders also require a personal guarantee from the business owner before lending any money.
  • Apply for Grants: There are several government and private grant programs available for small business owners. However, these grant programs can be competitive, and you need to have a well-developed business plan in place to be considered.
  • Consider Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a new funding model that allows people to contribute small amounts of money to a business idea in exchange for rewards or equity in the company. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are popular options for entrepreneurs seeking to raise capital in the early stages of their business.
  • Partner with Investors: Bringing on investors is an excellent way to secure the funding you need for your business. However, it means giving up part of your business to someone else. If you choose to go this route, make sure that you have a solid contract in place that outlines all obligations and responsibilities.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider partnering with non-profit organizations that align with your mission and values. They may be more willing to donate money or help you secure funding.
  • Remember to practice effective communication with your lenders and investors. Make sure they are aware of your financial situation and progress at all times.
  • Don't forget about alternative funding sources like microloans, online lenders, and credit unions. These options can offer lower interest rates and more lenient terms than traditional banks.

Ultimately, securing enough funding to launch and maintain a dog kennel business requires a combination of determination, research, and creativity. By planning carefully and exploring a variety of funding sources, you can increase your chances of obtaining the capital you need to build a successful business.

8. Obtain Veterinary And Other Support Services

One of the most important aspects of starting a dog kennel business is ensuring that you have access to reliable veterinary and support services. This includes not only veterinary care, but also grooming, training, and other services that may be necessary to keep your dogs healthy and happy.

  • Find a reputable veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be one of your most important partners in your kennel business, so it's essential to choose someone who is experienced and highly recommended. Do your research and ask for referrals from other pet professionals.
  • Develop a relationship with other pet professionals. In addition to your veterinarian, you'll want to develop relationships with other pet professionals in your community, including groomers, trainers, and pet sitters. These professionals can provide valuable support and referrals for your business.
  • Invest in high-quality supplies and equipment. From dog kennels and beds to grooming supplies and cleaning products, you'll need to invest in high-quality supplies and equipment to ensure that your dogs are comfortable and safe. Don't skimp on quality, as this could lead to unhappy pets and potential liability issues.
  • Create an emergency plan. Despite your best efforts, emergencies can happen in any pet care business. It's important to have a comprehensive emergency plan in place, including procedures for medical emergencies and natural disasters.
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and regulations. As with any business, it's important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and changing regulations. Attend industry conferences and workshops, and subscribe to industry publications to stay informed.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider offering on-site grooming and training services to clients, as this can be a profitable additional revenue stream.
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your business, including liability insurance and workers' compensation.
  • Consider partnering with a local animal rescue organization to help adopt out dogs that are unable to stay at your kennel.

9. Establish Terms Of Business

Once you have decided to start a dog kennel business, it is crucial to establish clear terms of business to ensure the smooth running of your operation. Your terms of business should outline your pricing strategy, procedures for booking appointments, and payment methods, among other details.

Below are some essential chapters to consider when establishing terms of business for your dog kennel business:

Chapter 1: Pricing Strategy
  • Decide on your pricing model. Will you charge by the hour, day, or a set fee?
  • Determine the price for each service you offer, such as boarding, grooming, and training.
  • Consider offering packages or bundle deals to incentivize customers to use multiple services.
  • Be transparent about additional fees, such as late pickup or medication administration.

Chapter 2: Booking Procedures
  • Decide on your preferred method of booking appointments, such as over the phone, via email, or online.
  • Establish minimum lead times for appointments to ensure adequate preparation time for each dog's arrival.
  • Consider implementing a cancellation policy to manage no-shows and last-minute cancellations.
  • Be clear about your check-in and check-out times and any after-hours services you may offer.

Chapter 3: Payment Methods
  • Determine your preferred payment methods, such as cash, credit/debit card, or online payment platforms, like PayPal or Venmo.
  • Consider offering payment plans or installment options for long-term services, such as training packages.
  • Provide a clear breakdown of your fees and be transparent about any additional charges that may apply.
  • Ensure that your clients receive an invoice or receipt for their records and your own.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Offer referral discounts to incentivize your clients to recommend your services to their friends and family.
  • Provide a welcome package or orientation for new clients to ensure they feel comfortable leaving their beloved pets in your care.
  • Utilize social media platforms to promote your business and engage with your clients.

Establishing clear terms of business is critical to any successful dog kennel operation. It can help manage expectations, streamline operations, and ensure that your clients and their furry friends receive the best possible service.

10. Develop And Maintain A Customer Database

One of the essential steps in opening a dog kennel business is developing and maintaining a customer database. This database will help you keep track of all your potential and existing customers and enable you to reach out to them when necessary.

To create a customer database, you will need to research and identify your target market. Start by collecting contact information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, and social media handles. You can gather this information through your website or social media platforms, networking events, and referrals.

Tips & Tricks:

Tips for creating an effective customer database:

  • Use a reliable customer relationship management software to simplify the process of data collection and management.
  • Ensure that all data collected is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Segment your customers based on their preferences, behavior, and demographics, and personalize your communication with them.

Once you have a customer database, it is essential to maintain it regularly. This involves regularly updating your database and ensuring that it is complete and accurate. A reliable database will help you create targeted marketing campaigns and provide better customer service.

Tips & Tricks:

Tips for maintaining your customer database:

  • Regularly update your database with the latest contact information of your customers.
  • Avoid duplicating data to prevent confusion and misunderstandings with your customers.
  • Regularly analyze and segment your customers to personalize your marketing campaigns.

In conclusion, developing and maintaining a customer database is crucial in the success of your dog kennel business. It will help you create targeted marketing campaigns, retain loyal customers, and improve your overall business operations.

In conclusion, opening a dog kennel business can be a profitable endeavor, especially given the high demand for pet care services in the US. With a market size of over $5 billion, there is plenty of room for growth and success in this industry. However, starting a successful dog kennel business requires careful planning and execution, and it is crucial to follow the ten essential steps outlined in this checklist. From developing a strong business plan to securing funding, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, sourcing suitable premises, and establishing terms of business, every step is essential to ensure the smooth launch and long-term growth of your business. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, remember that customer satisfaction is key to success. Developing and maintaining a steady customer database is vital for the growth and sustainability of your business. By following these steps and focusing on providing high-quality pet care services, you can create a thriving dog kennel business that stands out in a crowded market.

Excel financial model

Dog Kennel Financial Model
  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support