Anyone own a Kennel/Dog boarding business?
I was considering opening one in the future and would just like to know some ins and outs and pros and cons before making any decisions or planning.
What do I need to know?
Average price of getting started?
How much do you like it?
Like I said, I was considering it for the future and would definitely like to do lots of research before anything.
I personally do not agree with people new to dogs running this. I am watching my old manager run his business into the ground and ruin his name because he tried to start a boarding facility thinking he knew enough.
Now he has kennel cough infections, giardia, coccidia, worms etc. running around his facility on top of dog fights with no real knowledge as to why, or how to separate let alone prevent this.
Start up cost entirely depends on the type of facility you are doing. How many kennels? Food storage? Grooming room? Play yard(s)? Small supplies.
Cons? Your dogs are more susceptible to getting sick no matter how careful you are. Some idiot WILL bring their sick dog in without a reservation and infect everyone.
Whether your fault or not you get blamed.
People are completely ridiculous in their specifications for their dogs. If you are not used to a customer service job, this will be a big surprise.
Dogs boarding get stressed, stressed dogs destroy things. You must bite the bullet and get top notch sturdy kennels and walls and floors and bowls and an and.
Some people try to board their old dog they think is going to die because they can handle it. You might be stuck dealing with dog deaths.
If you do a good job you have repeat customers every year.
The tax write offs are nice!
A relatively fun and easy job when you know what you are doing.
Tips? Do not get skimpy about drainage. This is the biggest thing with kennels. Make sure your drainage and slopes to the drain are immaculate and perfect. You will regret it more than you know.
Clean clean clean clean clean. Make sure everything ever is easy as cake to sanitize. No room for water to pool or seep under a wall even slightly to risk mold.
Outdoor kennels are loud an echoey. More sound proofing
Textured concrete is harder to clean poop out of. Smooth concrete is slippery and potentially dangerous but easier to clean.
Absolutely no wood in any part of the kennel exposed. It WILL get eaten.
Don't allow the dogs kennels to view roads, driveway, etc. or the barking will never end.
I'm sure there's more but I gotta go scrub my kennels now lol
Oh one more thing. I would highly recommend working at one or a few before starting. It's good to see the different ways people run things
I agree with all the stuff already posted.
I've worked in a few boarding kennels for a few years, and it is a very complex operation to run. I recommend you first work in a boarding kennel as an attendant for quite some time to get real insight into how it is run. The cleaning routine is ridiculous and hard, physical labour. It HAS to be done, very strictly enforced, for everyone's safety.
I remember one dog that used to board every weekend, we had to let them out in the big runs to potty at night individually before we left at 10pm-11pm. Some dogs make you chase them for seemingly hours until you finally wrangle them back inside.
I'm definitely done working in that environment, it's not easy. I came home late and exhausted every day, smelling absolutely awful and looking like I ran a marathon in mud (spoiler: some of it wasn't mud). Some days I had big bruises from dogs crashing into me, knocking me over, fighting and hitting me, etc. It was great experience, and I learned so much, but not a job I wanted to keep for more than 5 years.
Unless you have the funds to have staff right away.
I've never worked at one, but I can tell you what I like about the person I use and what I don't like about others.
For one, I will not board my dogs anywhere they have to potty in their run. I have indoor dogs, they are naturally very "clean" and will hold it for forever rather than soil their run. This is stressful for them and can even make a dog sick (UTI). Some dogs live in kennels and are used to this so it's no biggy. It's not that I think it's too gross, it's just not how my dogs live. I'll only board at a place that will let my dogs out at least once every 8 hours, but most places around me leave dogs unattended from closing time until they open again in the morning. In MI I haven't seen boarding places that have indoor/outdoor runs, only indoor where the dogs are occasionally let out but basically expected to potty in their run and then it gets hosed down. There is one newer place that has someone at the building 24/7, might check them out.
I currently board my dogs with a friend who has a very small operation. She has a few kennel runs in her basement. Normally I "rent" the two small ones, or one large one and have my dogs share it. Her kennel runs are in a walk-out basement that opens into a large yard that is double-fenced. If the weather is good my dogs get lots of outside time. I like that she lets my dogs out together, but not with her dogs or other boarding dogs. They get let out several times a day. Her dogs go out once at night and she will let mine out if I want. She feeds them whatever food I bring, but also gives them peanut butter stuffed kongs and marrow bones for treats (and she separates them for this even if they are sharing kennels). She has an LLC and is licensed and insured so I know everything is "legit". She is a CPDT (certified trainer) and also certified in canine CPR and first aid. I've trained with her and I know how she treats her own dogs and we use similar techniques for training and managing dogs. She lives on a small farm so my dogs love being able to fence-run with her sheep and llamas. Being a city person I like that they get their occasional week of fresh air and farm living, lol. When I drop off my dogs I sign a document stating how much money she is allowed to spend on emergency vet care before requiring my consent.
I think it's $17 per day for the small kennel and $25 a day for the large kennel. Not sure if I'm getting a "friend" discount. This is not her real job (she has a day job) but since the house is setup with these extra kennels, she offers boarding.
Not to get off track with this thread,but I remember calling a new kennel that just opened to ask if they took their dogs out.The answer I was given was ' we don't let the dogs outside,we have an indoor area that they can run around in.'
I did repeat the question to make sure I heard right,and I did. Anyway I chose not to go there.
I was about to say, don't start up your own business until you have a lot of experience working with other people's dogs in a professional setting--sounds like you already know that, and are planning to work as a vet tech to gain that experience. So far, you're going down the right path!
First and foremost, you have to get used to the idea that, unless you have GOOD, trustworthy staff, you can never take holidays off and you can't call in sick. Vacations must be planned months in advance; no last-minute trips to the mountains or the beach when you own this type of business. If business is good, and there is always demand, you'll find it very difficult to even take one day of the week off. It's kind of like being a mother, it's a 24/7 job.
I do grooming for a living, but I will also board my clients' dogs. It's not something I advertise, it's just a convenience I extend to clients only, as I do not have a kennel license. Just with the very limited amount of boarding I do, I've found that major holidays are always the busiest times, so if you want to have a nice Christmas visiting the family, forget it. :)
For me, the hardest thing about boarding is dealing with liability issues. Even though I've never had anything bad happen, I always worry and imagine worst-case scenarios. You have to engineer in a lot of redundancy into your safety and security measures.
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