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The 10 Pros and Cons of Owning a Dog Daycare & Kennel Boarding Business

Last Updated: January 25, 2019


For many people, owning a doggie daycare or pet boarding kennel is one of their main career aspirations. The culmination of years of hard work, saving and planning. If you're one of these people, this blog post should get your blood flowing. :)

We totally get it. DoggieDashboard is used by over 3,000 extremely passionate pet business owners. Since launching our business management application in 2014, we've had plenty of time to talk with our users about the pros and cons of owning a pet business. Below are a summary of the top 5 pros and top 5 cons for owning a pet daycare or boarding business.

You'll notice that each pro tends to have its equal con. Just like Newton's Third Law, every action has an equal or opposite reaction.

The Pros of Owning a Dog Kennel Business

1. You Get to Spend Time with Dogs All Day

If you're a lover of pets, there's nothing better than being able to spend all day, every day, with your furry friends. There's something extremely therapeutic about being around animals. Their undying love and affection for humans is a beautiful thing. There are even medical benefits of being around pets. If you haven't heard about it yet, check out this dog rescue operation in Costa Rica. They have a herd of several hundreds dogs. Imagine all that puppy love!

2. You Get to Set Your Own Working Hours

If you're like most of us, you've been working a 9 to 5 for the better part of your life. You didn't get to choose those hours, they chose you. One of the benefits of owning a small business is that you get to pick the hours that you want to work. Maybe you want to take Mondays off (like most restaurants), because you've had a hectic weekend and you need a little R&R. Do it! When you own your own pet boarding business and daycare, you're able to set the times you work and no one can do anything about it. If you decide that you want to take a vacation in the middle of the week next month, simply block out some dates on your calendar, and you'll have an entire week of freedom all to yourself.

3. You Get to Hire your Own Employees

We've all been there before. Lazy, no good coworkers that always slouch off and push their work off onto other people. One of the main benefits of running your own dog daycare is that you get to do all the hiring yourself. No more worrying about having bad coworkers, you're going to be the one in charge of putting together your business dream team. Hiring can be a bit tough, it's not all easy, but there's a good chance you'll enjoy it much more than being forced to work with some slackers that take all the credit and don't do any of the work.

4. You Have the Chance to Become Financially Independent

Financial independence. It's a beautiful phrase. It's also something that the majority of Americans will never achieve. We're, unfortunately, a country known for living beyond our means. Credit cards aren't all they are cut out to be. However, when you're finally the owner of your own pet boarding kennel, you'll have a chance to become financially independent. You'll no longer be required to wait on a paycheck from the boss. You are the boss now. There's something beautiful about knowing that, based on your daycare profit forecast, you're going to be making $10,000 a month by the end of the year.

5. You Can Help Pets in Need in Space Allows

One of the most beautiful things about owning your own dog daycare is that you can use your extra space to help out rescue operations, or you can even start your own. My parents use a well-known dog daycare in Northeast Wisconsin, and she always uses the extra kennel space for her sheltie rescue operation. If you have a large enough kennel, and you always notice that you have a bit of extra capacity, think about using some of your space to help those dogs in need of a home. You'll be able to help get these pets adopted, and you'll also, perhaps, gain some new clients once the parents of those adopted pets want to go on vacation for a week and need a place to leave their new fur baby.

The Cons of Owning a Dog Kennel Business

1. You Might get Sick of Your Old "Hobby"

There's some good advice out there that says don't turn your hobby into your job. Never have wiser words been spoken. Think of someone that enjoys cooking meals for friends. They take great pride in cooking dinners for groups of friends and they eventually decide to start a restaurant. Their love of cooking turns into a nightmare when they realize that owning a restaurant is nothing like cooking for friends. The last thing you want to do is take your love for watching pets and turn it into a job that you eventually start despising. The reason you got into starting your dog daycare was to be around pets more, and now you're so sick of constantly being around dogs that you just need a break.

2. You Won't Have as Much Free Time Anymore

One of the main reasons that you started your business was so that you would have more free time. Now, you're six months into running your business and you realize that you haven't taken a day off in six months. What the hell!? Wasn't this supposed to be less work than my old job? That's a common problem for new business owners. They don't realize that they need to create a bit of separation between themselves and their business. You're going to find yourself thinking about your kennel operation on Saturday night when you're out for dinner with your partner. That's not what you need. Do your best to not let your business take over your life.

3. You'll Eventually Have to Fire a Friend

Just like we talked about in the beginning, where every action has an equal or opposite reaction, here we are on the worst possible reaction. There will come a time, unfortunately, when you're going to need to fire a friend. You most likely hired this employee when business was strong. They worked well for you and you really became good friends over the course of the past few months or years. Maybe you've even promoted them to manager. Then, they either start to take their job for granted or business starts to slow down. Either way, it's time to do some downsizing and there's nothing as hard as telling a friend that they're fired and they'll need to find a new job. You've been there before, you know how hard it can be to get let go. It's never any fun, but being a business owner means that you're going to need to fire people just like you hire them.

4. You Could Potentially Fail and Go Bankrupt

Not to be a debbie downer, but owning a small business isn't always the most risk-free way to make money. If owning a successful business was so easy, everyone would be doing it. Unfortunately, the majority of small businesses fail within a matter of years. That said, there's a chance that your business might not be as successful as you planned. You might have taken out some large loans to pay for your initial setup cost and now you're stuck with loan payments and a failed business. Make sure you do a financial health checkup before you start your dog daycare. Starting a business is always a bit risky, but being financially sound before starting your boarding kennel is always the smart choice.

5. Friends Might Not Respect Your Need for Time Off

When you own a business, especially a successful one, everyone will assume that your life is just cruising down easy street. People don't see the amount of work you put in outside of prying eyes. They just see the new car you're driving and the fancy apartment you just started renting. They're going to assume you have 100% free time whenever they're free. If they happen to have a random Tuesday off, they're going to automatically assume that you're free to hang out with them because, come on, you own your own business and don't have to work, right? Wrong! Owning a small business is about working when you don't want to, because if you're not getting it done, no one is. So, just be prepared to tell numerous people that you're busy working, because they're going to assume it's easy running your business and you can take time off whenever.

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