Learn about the newest kennel building designs incorporating grassed outdoor runs as well as points to consider before starting a boarding kennel business. These building designs are suitable for breeding kennels as well as commercial facilities.
LOCATION & PERMITS
If you have your eye on a location for your new kennel, you will first need to research the governmental requirements which vary drastically from site to site. Investigating drainage permits, building codes, use permits and zoning requirements can be very time consuming, making this the most important step. There are consulting companies that specialize in permiting, but you can do it yourself by asking questions to planning or permitting departments in your local City/County.
Once you have researched and decided on a location where a kennel would be allowed, consider these additional points before buying:
- Noise issues - Dogs do not like a lot of noise and neither will your neighbors. It is important to keep in mind your neighbors may be potential clients!
- A high traffic area is not always the best, as it could be dangerous for people dropping off and picking up their pets.
- Room to expand is important and more room looks more inviting.
RECOMMENDED FEATURES OF YOUR NEW DOG KENNEL BUILDING/S AND BUSINESS:
Plan for less than 20 Runs per building. It is more effective to have multiple smaller buildings than one giant building. This set-up will be quieter for the dogs and as a consequence they will tend to bark less. Smaller buildings also mean cost savings when it comes to your utility bill. If you have only a small number of dogs in an off-peak period, they can all be accommodated in one building saving on A/C or heating bills.
Offer a variety of extras and options. Additional Services you could provide include training, grooming, agility equipment rental, a public Dog Park, retail sales, dog walking, doggie daycare, transportation, accommodation for cats and web cams.
Use welded wire for fencing instead of chainlink. It is a safer alternative as the chainlink can catch on dogs nails.
Provide access to outdoor areas. Ideally, each kennel should be equipped with a doggie door out to a private grassed outdoor area. These grassed backyards will set you apart from your competition. You can also offer multiple playtimes or potty breaks.
Provide group playtime sessions for well tempered guests. Interactive play decreases stress, helps prevent cage fighting, provides mental stimulation as well as physical exercise for the dogs so that when it's time to rest, they will do just that!
- Create a home like feel. Internal walls of the kennels can be covered with tile, linoleum or rubber for an easy clean smooth surface with a more domestic feel. The kennels should be designed to make the best use of natural light, existing trees and grass. Provide heating/cooling, comfortable bedding for dogs as well as soothing music as background noise.
For photos of kennel buildings that incorporate the above features, go to www.dogsuites.com.
Decide whether your kennel will be all-inclusive or base price plus charges for extra services (feeding, medicating, playtime etc). Research services offered at surrounding kennels and compare their pricing structures.
Although it does save a little upfront to keep paper records instead of a computer based system, even a small kennel will eventually have thousands of records and it could become tedious to upkeep. Specialized computer software that does everything (reservations, invoices, payments and reports) makes it easier in the long run.
If you are going to be an owner-operator, consider opening by appointment only. You can be quite flexible with appointment times to make it convenient for your customers, but this system also allows kennel owners more freedom as you are not manning an empty office for hours each day.
Maintaining a good working relationship with surrounding kennel operators can be a very good thing (even though they are your competition!). If you are an owner-operator and need to close your kennel for a period (ie: vacation), you can refer your clients to a surrounding kennel during this time. They can, in turn, refer their clients to you if they are away. This way, you are not turning away customers who then have to find another kennel on their own and they will most likely be very grateful for a recommendation.