Want to know how to start a doggy daycare business from home? Starting a dog daycare at home is a really fun job for canine-lovers.
If you love dogs and have the space, this is an amazing business opportunity that requires little money down and no formal training.
The pet industry is estimated to generate more than $75 billion this year and is ever growing.
Dog owners want to make sure their pets are looked after when they are at work or on vacation and they are willing to pay for that assurance.
With everyone migrating back to the office, doggy daycare owners are perfectly poised to make a lot of money while having fun with some furry friends. Follow this step by step guide to getting started.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Is A Doggy Daycare Profitable?
How much your daycare can charge depends on where you live.
The funny thing I found when researching this article is that doggy daycare prices in my area are almost identical to the prices that home daycares for kids cost.
In high cost areas, you can likely charge $75+ a day for one dog while lower cost areas will likely fetch around $25-40 a day.
The price you charge per dog will also depend on their size, breed and temperament.
If a dog cannot be around a lot of other dogs and requires private or semi-private daycare, then you can of course, charge more.
Let’s say that you decide to take 3 dogs a day at your home doggy daycare.
If you charge an average of $50 per dog, you’ll make $150 every day.
That’s a full-time income of $3,000 a month. If you can accommodate more dogs in your home, you can easily see how you can scale up your business.
Love Dogs? Here are two more side hustles for pooch lovers:
How To Start A Doggy Daycare at Home – 5 Easy Steps
It is actually really easy to start a doggy daycare, here are the steps you need to take in order to ensure success.
- Get Licensed
- Create your business plan
- Stock up on supplies
- Prepare your space
- Get clients
1. Get Licensed and Insured
Do you need a Licence to board dogs in your home?
One of the biggest concerns when starting a doggy daycare is making sure you’re following all the rules and regulations.
You want to make sure that you’re conducting your business in a way that’s both safe for your dogs and legal for your operation.
Check with your local authority to see what the specific rules are in your area.
Most cities do not require a license for an informal home daycare but if you move to a leased space, things will change fast.
Make sure to check what you need to do early on in the process because some cities require a site inspection before they will grant a licence.
This can take a while to set up so you want to do it early so as not to delay your business opening.
You will want to register your business with the municipality or State for tax purposes and at that time you can decide whether to be a sole proprietorship or whether to create an LLC.
What about Insurance for your doggy daycare?
Insurance is extremely important for any home business, especially when it involved looking after someone else’s family members.
You will want to look into different kinds of insurance including:
- Commercial liability insurance
- Property insurance (you likely have this already)
- Professional liability insurance
If you find your customers on a website like Rover, the insurance part will mostly be handled for you. Rover covers comprehensive liability insurance for both you and your client.
You will also want to make it clear to your clients that you do not have vet insurance and that they are expected to pay for any vet bills that incur under your care.
Although this is unusual, it is best to spell it out before the situation occurs.
2. Create Your Doggy Daycare Business Plan
This is where you want to work out your ground rules and the services that you will offer.
For example, will you take dogs overnight or do you have strict hours to work?
Will you offer a sibling discount for two or more dogs from the same family?
What about drop-in daycare? Can people drop their dog off for a random day?
You will want to create a contract for customers to review and sign before their dogs starts at your daycare.
The contract should outline your expectations and rules for the daycare.
Examples of rules might include:
- Vaccination Status of dogs in your care
- How you will handle behaviour issues
- The amount of notice you require for absences
Setting your prices
You’ll also want to set your prices. This is something that a lot of people struggle with but really it should be simple.
First of all, do some market research and gauge what other doggy daycares in your area are charging.
Next, decide on the services you will offer and go from there.
Your pricing will send a message to prospective clients about the level of service they’ll get. Too low and they will not be expecting much, too high and they will want white glove service.
Make sure to keep expectations realistic.
3. Get Dog Supplies
This is where you find out the cost to start your dog daycare.
How much does it cost to open a dog daycare?
The cost of opening a dog daycare can vary depending on the location, size, and the number of dogs.
However, most pet daycares are set up in commercial facilities that include buildings and equipment like play areas for dogs to run around when they’re not playing with other people or their pets.
Home-based businesses are generally far more affordable than those in commercial locations where you will have to pay for leases and taxes.
When you open your own doggy daycare at home, there is less start-up cost because it’s in your private space rather than a commercial building.
You’ll need an indoor area that keeps pets comfortable and out of the elements as well as having an outdoor space for dogs for them to run.
You will want to buy the following dog supplies:
- Bags for poop
Most doggy daycare owners also fill their outdoor spaces with playground equipment, toys, water features and kennels.
To save money, check out thrift stores as they often have plenty of old dog beds and leashes.
You could also look for Facebook groups for used dog items to buy or even look at Buy Nothing groups for free items.
4. Get your home ready
You have to decide if you want dogs in your home or not.
Most people will expect their dogs to be treated like one of the family in a home doggy daycare so if you can have the doors in the house, that will be an easier sell.
If you do allow dogs in your home, it’s important that the space is cleared for them and they’re safe.
You can purchase specific doggy proofing items from Amazon. Some popular things you might want are:
Cord Covers – to prevent dogs from chewing through electric cords.
Baby Gates – these are great for fireplaces and blocking off other unsafe places.
Doggy Playpen – great for puppies
The backyard should be free of wild animals and potentially poisonous plants that could harm the wellbeing of the dogs in your care.
Also make sure that your backyard fence is sturdy and the gate is secure.
5. Get Your Doggy Daycare Clients
The best and most effective way to advertise is through word of mouth when you are first starting out.
The easiest way to let people know about your new doggy daycare is to let as many people know as possible.
Tell everyone you know that you have a new business and ask them to share the news with their friends and neighbours.
You could also use printouts, display posters, flyers and mailers to spread the news in the traditional way.
Vistaprint is a really cost-effective place to buy marketing materials.
Promoting your doggy daycare on Social media
Another place where you can get new clients is on Facebook.
Create a Facebook page for your business and promote it on local Facebook groups.
A lot of prospective clients will look for a social media presence when checking out your business.
Once you are up and running, you can use your Facebook page to show pictures of the things you do with the dogs.
You can also create a gallery showing the daycare space so that clients can see what to expect.
Advertising your business on Rover
Rover is a marketplace that matches dog owners with dog walkers and doggy daycares.
You can sign up for free and create a listing or look in the wanted ads.
Rover is also a really great site to use if you want to start a dog walking business. This can be a great way to make some money while your daycare gets going.
Creating your own website
If you want to launch a really professional doggy daycare, then consider creating a simple website so that customers can check out your business virtually.
As your business grows, having your own website will allow you to take bookings for dog boarding without having to pay the 15-20% fee from sites like Rover.
The truth is, if you want to maximize your profits, creating your own business rather than using a dog sitting site is the way to go.
It only costs a few dollars to create a website and it can really elevate your business to look more professional.
On your website make sure to include the following pages:
- About – all about you and your experience with dogs
- Gallery – show pictures of your space
- Contact Information
How To Start A Doggy Daycare From Home FAQS
How much does a doggy daycare make?
The cost to care for a dog can vary depending on the daycare provider’s location, size of the facility and other factors.
A typical daycare charges $25-$38 per day. There are many ways to calculate business profitability and will help you decide if it is worth it.
First of all you need to work out how many dogs you can take every day and how much it will cost you to get up and running.
Now factor in the costs of food and other consumable supplies that will need to be replenished regularly.
Factors that will determine how profitable your daycare is include:
- Your local market size (how many potential clients are there)
- The services you offer (extended stays, overnight care, private accommodation etc)
- How many dogs you can accommodate
Do I need a lot of acreage to start a home doggy daycare?
Obviously, the more space you have, the better but this will really depend on where you live.
No one is expecting a doggy daycare in Manhattan to have a ton of space but similarly, it will be hard to run a daycare out of a apartment in rural Montana.
Make sure to outline to potential customers how often you will be walking the dogs if you don’t have a large outdoor space.
Will my neighbors complain about the dogs on my property?
If you are thinking about starting a doggy daycare at home, keep in mind that your neighbors may be not be too happy.
If you have some dogs who bark a lot, you may get noise complaints and can even get in trouble for breaking by-laws.
Have a plan in place either by setting ground rules with clients or having an indoor spot for all your dogs.
Do Zoning Regulations Permit Doggie Daycares in Residential Buildings?
Each state has different zoning requirements and regulations
. You’ll need to contact your local city government and ask them how these work for doggie daycares in residential properties.
In many cases, a commercial business is not allowed to be run from a residential property.
You may have to apply for your home to rezoned to commercial if this is the case.
What about the day to day aspects of running a doggy daycare?
Bear in mind that as a business owner, you will be responsible for handing your own bookkeeping.
You can either hire a CPA or a bookkeeper or make sure to keep meticulous records.
You’ll need to keep track of client payments, information about your dogs such as diet restrictions and allergies as well as have a system for managing schedules.
You can use something as simple as Google Sheets to manage all your business details or you can use a specialized program for doggy daycares such as Doggy Dashboard.
Doggy Dashboard is a software that allows you to track the following:
- Pet & Client Databases
- Expired Vaccine Reminders
- Online Pet Registration
- Document Uploading
- Printable Pet Info Cards
- Appointment Calendars
- Multi-Pet Appointments
- Pet Report Cards
- Kennel & Run Calendars
- Receipts & Invoicing
Doggy Dashboard is free for the first 10 pets that you record and then is $25 if you need to upgrade. You can check it out and sign up for free here.
Do I need to take a training to start my own doggy daycare?
Although you don’t really need any formal training to start your own dog boarding business, it can help to boost your credibility with potential customers.
If you do want to take a short course to learn the ins and outs of starting your own doggy daycare, there is a really affordable course by IAP college called “Dog Daycare Owner Certificate”
This is a 6 week, online course that you can complete from the comfort of home.
This course is self directed, which means you may study and complete assignments at times that are most convenient for you from the comfort of your own home.
Through this online course, you will learn how to start a doggy daycare in as little as 4 weeks.
The Dog Daycare Owner Certificate Course covers important topics in depth such as:
How to Start and Open a Dog Daycare
- How to create a business plan for your dog daycare
- Licensing and insurance requirements for a dog daycare
- How to calculate the start-up costs for your dog daycare (includes sample budget forms) plus ways to save money when starting a dog daycare
- What you need to consider when choosing a location for your dog daycare
- What equipment and supplies you need to start a dog daycare (includes a helpful checklist and list of suppliers)
- Interior design of your dog daycare with tips on areas you will need and issues to consider
- Helpful samples you can use in your dog daycare business
Running Your Dog Daycare
- Setting prices for your dog daycare service (and when you should charge a premium)
- Setting your hours and scheduling your four-legged guests in for the day
- Greeting clients of your dog daycare and intake of their pets
- Setting proper hygiene practices for a dog daycare
- Dog daycare health and safety considerations for both people and pets
- How to determine the staffing needs of your dog daycare (including industry-recommended staff-to-pet ratios)
- Tips for marketing a dog daycare business, including:
- How to find those first clients of your dog daycare when you are just starting out
- Developing promotional materials to market your dog daycare (print advertising, website, brochures, etc.)
- Low-cost ways to attract dog daycare clients through free publicity
- How to approach corporate clients about a strategic partnership with your dog daycare
- How to get repeat business (and referrals) from your dog daycare clients
PLUS, you will discover
- The top-three skills you’ll need to succeed when you start a dog daycare business
- Ways to keep employees happy and avoid staff turnover
- Ways to give your clients exceptional service that will get people talking about your dog daycare
- Samples of what you need to start a dog daycare business, including:
- Start-up and operating budget forms for a dog daycare
- Client receipt for dog daycare
- Press release for a dog daycare
- A supply and equipment checklist for a dog daycare
- How to increase your profits by adding luxury dog daycare such as:
- Transportation to and from your dog daycare
- Grooming and pet spa
- Onsite pet boutique (includes a list of suppliers of pet products)
- Obedience training
What Is Included in the Dog Daycare Owner Certificate Course
This all-inclusive Dog Daycare Owner Certificate Course package includes:
- Registration for the Dog Daycare Owner Certificate Course (learn how to start a doggy daycare)
- Access to a Faculty Member to provide you with personal teaching assistance and dog daycare business advice
- (Optional) 2022 membership in the IAPO International Association of Professional Dog Daycare Owners for only $2.99 per month
- Downloadable Dog Daycare Owner Certificate personalized with your name and the seal of the International Association of Professions Career College which you may print
- (Optional) Opportunity to order official certificates printed on fine linen paper and embossed with the gold seal of the college
- Textbook: IAP Career College Guide to Become a Dog Daycare Owner (e-book edition)
If you want to check out the full course, you can read all about it on the IAP website here.
Starting a Doggy Daycare at home – Final Thoughts
If you love dogs and want to start your own business, why not start a dog boarding side hustle?
This in-demand business is the perfect work at home opportunity for anyone who has the space and the desire to work for animals.
The start-up costs for running a doggy daycare are pretty low and with the right licensing and set-up you can be up and running in no time.
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