So you want to start a dog boarding business, but don’t know how to get started? The first thing you’ll need is a love and passion for animals, but if you’re reading this, you already have the first step checked off. Now that that’s taken care of, you’ll need to hone in on what you want to offer, and how you want to portray your business. You’ll need to do your research, define who you are as a company, tackle the nitty-gritty details, find the best kennel software, get yourself out there and throw a grand opening event.
Here are 5 simple steps to getting you started on becoming a dog boarding business owner.
DO YOUR RESEARCH AND START PLANNING
The first step of the process is the lengthy, tedious analytical stuff. You'll have to do your research and start planning out how you're going to get started. Depending on where you live, you'll have to check for business licenses and permits, finances, taxes, insurance and an accessible location. The ideal kennel is readily available off main roads with plenty of space for customers. If you already have the site- that's perfect! Now that that's checked off your to-do list, you'll need to plan out what you'll need to get started. Do you need toys, cages, food, leashes, supplies and accessories? Depending on your finances, this could be where things get expensive. Consider going to industry trade-shows because they'll teach you everything you need to know about the business, and they're saturated with like-minded people who want to start a pet business.
To start up any business, you'll need to do some research. The best way to start your research is to analyze the market. Who in your surrounding area will require your services? How many other dog boarding businesses are there in your city? How are they marketing themselves? Make sure to do a full competitor analysis to really see how in demand your services will be. After you examine your competition, you'll get a better idea of how to define your brand and your business.
DEFINE YOUR BRAND AND BUSINESS
Start planning out what you want your business to offer. Will your boarding business also entail training, grooming and daycare? You'll want to provide competitive pricing, and packages or services your competition doesn't have. This is why the first step is essential - research, research, research. Once you have all the nitty-gritty, business stuff out of the way, putting your vision into reality gets closer and closer, you can almost feel it.
Branding. Now, this is the fun part! You'll be able to get your creative ball rolling and mold your business into exactly what you imagined it would be. Pick a name that stands out to you, and defines who you are as an individual and as a business. Think of a name that's not too long and will attract your customers, and stand out amongst your competitors. Once you have a name in mind, you'll need to ensure that the website domain is still available. You want your URL and the name of your business to match. Imagine Facebook's website domain was Facebook123? That would reflect poorly on the brand. So make sure to keep this in mind when you choose the name of your business. In this step, you'll need to choose the colours and essentials (fonts and illustrations) you want your brand to portray. Brand consistency is an essential part of marketing your business. For example, ProPet's brand colours are Grey, Blue and White. ProPet uses this colour scheme throughout marketing materials, website design, and internal and external documentation. Keeping this in mind, you'll need a logo. If you're familiar with graphic design - great, it's time to design your logo. If this is something you're not familiar with, no fret, finding a graphic designer can be done online. Depending on their expertise, the price range for a logo averages out to be between $200-$600. Having a well-designed logo is an excellent investment because it'll be something you'll have for the longevity of your business, and used for everything you do.
FINDING KENNEL MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Running your pet business on paper won't be easy, so finding a software that will allow you to run your business anywhere, anytime and on any device is crucial. You're always on the go, so your business should be too. At first, choosing the right kennel management software could be intimidating because it's something you haven't used before. You want to find software that will cater to your needs and what your business has to offer. The right kennel software will make you work smarter, not harder. Try finding something that offers top-of-the-line support, automation, is easily accessible, and is continually pushing out new features to benefit their customers. By having a straightforward software that does the work for you, you’ll be able to step away from tedious admin work and get back to doing more of what you love. Let’s be real; you didn’t get into the pet service business to spend all of your time on admin tasks - you got in the industry to spend your time with pets.
GET YOURSELF ONLINE
No matter what kind of business you have, getting yourself online is essential to getting your brand known and recognized within your desired market. Social media allows you to connect and engage with your community, and portray your brand image amongst a broader audience. Some social media platforms you can use are:
Everyone that owns a business and sells a product or service needs a website. But, why isn't social media enough? A website is the backbone to your whole business. With every marketing effort, you want the end result to get your customers to your website and contact you. You want as much coverage online so that Google will love you. The more relevant content you have online, the more your brand will get recognized amongst search engines. If you're not a tech-savvy person and have no clue on how to build a website, it's okay - there's hope! There are plenty of people out there who can help you with that. But, you don't want just anyone building your site. You'll want to find someone who is familiar with the pet industry, and knows what they're talking about. Barketing Solutions is an excellent example because they solely work on pet business websites, so they have the expertise to know what your potential clients are looking for in a functional, easy to navigate website.
HOST A GRAND OPENING
Once everything is all set in stone, you should think about hosting a grand opening party to get yourself known in the community. Obviously, you'll want to show off your new business. Hosting an event doesn't have to scary and expensive. All you need is some decorations, some treats for your potential clients and their fur babies, some music and a good crowd. But how will you get the crowd, you might ask. You can promote this on a budget through your social media accounts, promote it on your brand new website, and completely free through word of mouth. Tell your friends and family who have pets to stop by. Supporting local businesses is becoming more popular amongst today's society, so this is something you should take advantage of. You can network with another local, similar business who have a shared demographic and invite them. Doing this will bring your target market right to your doorsteps. You should consider offering something that will entice potential clients to come in and check you out, such as promoting a surprise door crasher through your social media accounts, or an exclusive coupon if you sign yourself up as a customer. At the end of the day, this grand opening is to showcase what you've worked so hard for, to introduce yourself, and to welcome any new potential clients.
Starting a business is never easy, but if it's something you're passionate about - it's never considered work. Like you, there are plenty of pet lovers out there that want to make their passion for pets into their full time job. Connecting with a pet business coach, like Bella Vasta from Jump Consulting, to help you along the way can make this process effortless and manageable. With these simple steps on starting your pet business, your dream of doing what you love is closer than you think.
Are you thinking about starting a dog boarding business, or in the process of starting one? If so let us know in the comments below!