Dogs naturally evoke a warm and happy emotion in most of us, and because of this, there is a lot of demand for day cares for the corporate pet owners who have no choice but keep their dogs locked up all day.
That’s a feeling that pet owners can do without. As dogs grow older their needs change bringing more responsibilities. If you do not properly respond to their needs, things could end quite sourly. Puppies especially are extra work, much like human infants and toddlers.
Related: How Much Can You Make as a Dog Walker and Dog Sitter?
Scary to say, from my experience, my furry customers have been underexercised due to busy but well-meaning owners.
Malnourished dogs or obese dogs who don’t get enough exercise happens more often with age; this could also lead to destruction in homes since dogs have a lot of wrecked energy.
If you have a compound or a large area where dogs can run wild, socialize, play etc. and you want to work from home, then you should definitely think about opening a doggy daycare.
It’s less active work than dog walking, and less troublesome than overnight boardings for families that come home at night. Usually, pick up and drop off times are at 7/8AM to 5/6PM.
It’s an amazing alternative and a terrific way to make money. You can also help dog owners take better care of their favorite furry loved ones.
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Profitable Pet Day Care
Dog daycares take care of your furry little friend till owners pick them up – typically after work or after school hours. The professional environment is usually a safe and secure one where dogs can have fun and also make friends with the other dogs with personal supervision.
If you’re passionate about dogs or even have a dog, then this is the job for you.
You can measure local demand by looking up Rover or business of existing, nearby day cares.
You can start right in your home with three to five dogs. Many dog owners opt for doggy daycares with fewer dogs because it assures them of their dogs’ safety. Your pricing will naturally flow up higher when you don’t need a long client list since you can afford to be picky with clients.
In fact, I started my dog daycare because I noted our local dog kennels were often beyond crowded for maximum profit at the expense of the dogs. Especially during the Christmas season. But the demand was so high, owners had no choice, so I decided to have a go at my own doggie day care.
Doggy daycares charge around $20 to $35 dollars a typical day at the lower end. Higher end (often depending on pooch size, age, and breed) cost upwards to $70.
If you take care of just 5 dogs during the day, you’ll make $100 and $200 every day by working no more than 9 hours. That’s a full-time income of $5,000 a month at $1,250 per week.
That puts anyone comfortably well above minimum wage at $60,000 per year.
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Dog Pricing Rates
These are rough general ranges since location and experience vary.
- Dog Walking Prices: $8 to $20 per dog for a 30 minute walk session.
- Dog In-Home Checking: This is when a trusted sitters come during the day to let your dog out and exercise them. Similar to dog walking rates except with more responsibility and trust.
- Dog Daycare Prices: $25 to $60 per dog for a regular work day. Sometimes holiday rates can go up to double between $55 to $120.
- Dog Overnight Prices: $30 to $75 per dog per night; similar to a range of daycare prices but higher. It’s normal to add on a partial cost for overnights.
If you’d like to start a dog daycare at your home, here’s what you need to know:
1. Local Authority
Checking out what your local authority says concerning the subject is the first thing you should do.
This will show you the proper steps and guidelines to follow that will assure that your business is legal and upright.
Before doing anything at all, including talking about it, make inquiries about how many pets you can keep under one roof in your neighborhood and also make inquiries from the landowners or homeowners association concerning a commercial business in a residential location.
You must be completely sure that this will be permitted in your city or town before you make any purchases or publicize your business.
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2. License and Insurance
You must purchase business insurance, specifically a business liability insurance or one that is even more suited to you, that is if your insurance offers such services.
A business liability insurance will ensure that in case of injury or a major loss, you will be covered. You will also need to purchase a business license for your doggy daycare. Most cities require you to be licensed before starting a dog daycare whether it be in your home or an office.
However, before you are given the license, you will be required to pass the on-site inspection of the place where you intend to conduct this business, which in this situation will be your home.
Your home will be inspected to make sure that it is well equipped and safe for the dogs. This inspection will be thorough so you would want to make sure that everything is set and in its right place.
This is usually the last step before you’re permitted to start your daycare business; however, it is second on the list to stress its importance. If the license exam and inspection goes wrong, all the work you’ve been doing concerning your dog daycare could go down the drain.
Working on Rover
Rover sitters are different, Rover offers comprehensive liability insurance for both client and sitter for any damage or accident. It’s one of the most attractive features about starting on Rover. It’s easy as signing up for an account, getting verified, and earn money.
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3. Get Dog Supplies
You don’t have to possess a large acre of land to run a doggy daycare. Like all things, you can start small. Some owners just want their dog to be in the company of a human so they don’t get lonely etc.
Don’t dump the idea of an at-home pet daycare just because of reason X or Y. There are always clients out there with variable situations.
For personal daycares that are small, the supplies list are a little shorter than commercialized ones. You’ll need to purchase
- Extra Leashes – include no tangle leashes to walk multiple dogs at once.
- Food Bowls
- Lots of Toys (2 or more of some to prevent fights).
Although you will not be able to dogsit more than five to seven dogs depending on the size of your compound, it is safer to have extras in case of an accident or damages. Start small; I started with just hosting 1 dog.
Depending on where you live, another way to get dog supplies is to visit your local dog shelter and ask if they sell you any extras.
You can negotiate to buy the items you need at a discounted price since most shelters need money for food or treatment before anything else. This will help you save some money and help out local shelters.
Or more definitively, go to the local thrift store or home goods store (like Marshall’s).
Check the local “Buy Nothing” groups on Facebook goes by your neighborhood. Every local group has a different level of activity, some are a gold mine for great grabs.
E-commerce platforms like eBay and Etsy are also great places. Other options for extra dog swag include
4. Prepare The Space
You need to make sure your fence is durable and of good quality so that you don’t end up having a dog escape through a loose plank.
Dictate to clients if dogs are allowed on your bed/sofa.
Skip the puppy potty pads, they don’t work or train for correct behavior, especially with younger dogs.
Tell owners it’s OK to bring their dog’s favorite toy, blanket, or toy in case they get separation anxiety.
Clear your backyard and make sure there are no wild animals or (potentially poisonous) plants that could be harmful to the wellbeing of the dogs that will be in your care. This includes mowing the lawn and reinforcing already present structures.
You might also want to invest in a divider in case you have a dog in heat or rut. Typically American daycares do not take dogs in heat or rut – but dividers don’t hurt.
Lastly, if you have a tool shed or a shack, make sure the shed is tightly locked at all times.
Writing and separating these tasks down into the outline of a checklist will help them seem less like one huge task and more like little tasks that can easily be done.
Set Ground Rules
Daycares can double up as pet boarding. But I’ve seen daycares that do not board overnights because the sitters’ personal lives don’t dictate the freedom with kids or families coming home after work or school.
Setting the ground rules, such as available holidays, holiday pricing, pick up/drop off times, style of accepted dog behavior, allergy requirements etc.
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5. Types of Customers
Having the right type of customers is
Picking bigger dogs will mean more money but also more effort and resources.
It is important to know the type of customers and dogs you want to cater to.
Loyal repeat customers with stable payment, non-fussy dogs, easy going lifestyles are your best bets. The easier going the dog, the easier your job.
If a client dog is constantly under-exercised, overdue for shots, misbehaving – it will make it worse for everybody. Especially you and the other dogs/dog owners.
You must also ask for a full medical background for new dogs before they can be accepted into your daycare.
You don’t want one dog infecting the others with lice or bugs; this is the fastest way to kill your business.
Make sure they are vaccinated and if they aren’t, do not accept them. You should also be sure to check if the dog is possibly aggressive.
You do not want dog fights breaking out and potentially injuring one of the dogs.
A good way to determine this is by having a sort of temperament test to know how the dog reacts to other people and most especially other dogs. An easy way to tell is the dog
When numbers 1 through 4 have been achieved, it is finally time to advertise and start your business.
The best and most effective way to advertise is through word of mouth. Start by telling your friends who have dogs or going to your neighbors’ houses and asking if they’d like to register their dog in your daycare while they are at work.
Starting your business with people who are already somewhat familiar will help you more than you imagine. Friends are more likely to help advertise your business especially if you’ve done a good job.
Printouts, display posters, flyers, mailers are all good but traffic loaded sites like Rover and word of mouth is your best bet if you’re super new.
I barely did any advertising myself actually.
I got on Rover, set my median/reasonable price, filled out my profile and started getting requests within 3 days. That’s why I strongly recommend Rover.
The money is in stable, consistent, easy, repeat clients. When you have a set of clients (5 to 7 clients needing full-time day care) it’s just about the EASIEST money you can ever make.
The tricky thing is to seek out enough dogs and clients while making sure new clients are the best match for your daycare pack.
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7. Pricing & Stability
You have to be cautious when setting your prices by taking account of your experience and local demand. Urban cities with working professionals, limited land, have
The average doggy daycare charges between $20 to $35 dollars depending on the size of the dog. If you cater to larger dogs, then you’ll be charging more since it’ll take more effort to care for them. I’ve seen it go up to $70 for husky size dogs in Seattle, Washington locally.
The trick to pricing is to make sure you don’t go so low that you end up having to fold while making sure that your prices aren’t so absurd that you don’t have any customers.
The demand you get will let you know your price range.
The money of dog daycare is not in the exact figure charged but how stable your list of clients
Remember: nothing is more expensive than occupancy.
Picking either of both price extremes will end in defeat. You have to remain in the middle ground where you charge fairly for your services while making sure your prices aren’t too different from other doggy daycare centers in close proximity.
8. Growing Your Business
A lot of people make the mistake of expanding their business at once without being sure that they can handle it. As your daycare grows and more people want to bring their dog to you, you will be required to move spaces and get a larger space to accommodate more dogs, but even when doing that, it must be done slowly.
Don’t move from taking care of ten dogs to one hundred. Pace yourself and your business so that it doesn’t collapse on itself.
It’s often a feast or famine business depending on the economy when it comes to pets.
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9. Brand an Empire with a Website
Invest in a website. It’s free with Weebly if you’re not planning to spend money designing an official website. This doesn’t have to be immediately, but as your business grows the more, you’ll be getting customers who aren’t your friends or acquaintances.
These people will want something tangible to look at, like a website.
Rover will get less lucrative as you grow because the fees they take out (15-20%) become a bigger bite.
Set up billing, insurance, and payment system on your own website once you get to a point.
A suggestion is ordering VistaPrint business cards (remember to use coupons; they always have discounts.)
These cards and websites will showcase your offers, pricing, legitimacy. The website can have a gallery showcasing long walks or a visit to the park or even a trip to the vet if the owner isn’t free on the day of the appointment.
Give yourself more control by providing discounts in exchange for recommendations. If a customer tells his friend about your daycare and that person brings their dog, you can give that customer a discount in appreciation.
Loyalty rewards have proven time and time again to be a great motivation for customers. Large companies like Uber, Amazon, and Dosh make use of this method, and it is extremely effective.
The topic is super broad based on region – we hope that this article is informative enough and helpful for you. If you have any more questions or information concerning opening a doggy daycare be sure to let us know in the comment section and I can give you my personal experiences.
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Calvin Arnold says
Owning a dog means having unconditional love; however, it also means having added responsibility. Doggy day care can be quite lucrative- most centers charge an average of $25/day. As I’m pet lover and already runs a Dog care club in Virginia. So I would recommend few tips. Before you start caring for any dogs, check your city/town or county ordinances for limitations on home-based businesses.
Lucas Burgess says
The amazing blog you shared is really very informative and makes us aware. Thanks for this awesome info.
I must say that you have shared some really important information that will surely going to help many who wants to invest in dog daycare business. Thank you so much for sharing, keep posting.
I’ve been in business partner with my relative and one of our investment and taken care of business is a dog day care. I have a fair share of tips and advice on how it could be a successful business but definitely what’s worth looking at is the place where you plan on putting up the dog daycare business. If you are in an average to high-income community, you should definitely consider doing this kind of business. While this is quite a helpful tip for a family business, it is still good to share the same passion for animal care. I influenced my sons and daughter to love dogs as much as I do by introducing these lovely animals at a very young age. If you want to know how I saw this app that will completely let you understand dog care and even know some dog breeds while playing and learning. Check it out here. It’s called Pet Care: Dog Games:
Teresa Gwyn says
I’m very interested in starting daycare in my home! I have some questions maybe you could answer for me thank you
This is an amazing article!
Thanks for sharing!
Gloria Dippi says
Thank you for the informative article. It puts into perspective the ins and outs of managing a doggie daycare. I am researching doggie day cares and doggie boarding. I haven’t decide which route I want to take yet.