Last Updated: February 8, 2023 • Visit Blog Homepage


Starting a dog daycare can be a fulfilling and profitable business (if not a bit stressful), but it also comes with several risks that need to be considered. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or a first-time entrepreneur, it is essential to understand the challenges and obstacles you may face when starting a dog daycare. Starting a small business is always a difficult task, and opening a doggie daycare is just the same. Even if you've already worked for a dog daycare, it's quite a bit different when you decide to branch out on your own and open your own place.

Here are five of the most significant risks that you should be aware of when starting this type of business.

1. Liability Risks

One of the most significant risks when starting a dog daycare is liability. Your daycare will be responsible for the safety and well-being of the dogs in your care, and if anything were to happen, you could be held liable. Dog fights are a constant issue at doggie daycares and if a clients small dog is severely injured by one of your larger dogs, it's most likely going to be your business on the hook for any medical bills. You might be able to write something into your boarding/daycare contract, but you'll need to talk to your lawyer about that since we're just giving general advice. It is crucial to have liability insurance to protect yourself and your business in the event of an accident or injury. This insurance should cover medical expenses, legal fees, and any other costs associated with a liability claim. It doesn't take much searching to find cases of dog daycare liability cases or people looking for advice about filing a lawsuit.

2. Health Risks

Another significant risk when starting a dog daycare is the health of the dogs in your care. It is crucial to ensure that all dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations and are free of any communicable diseases. As a reminder, it wasn't too long ago that there was a kennel cough outbreak in Florida. Additionally, you need to have a system in place to handle any health issues that may arise, such as providing first aid or contacting a vet if necessary. Having an online system that keeps track of pet vaccines is essential so you could see when the vaccines expire for all of your clients. DoggieDashboard notifies you on the homepage when you log in of any pets that have vaccines issues in the coming months.

3. Financial Risks

Starting a dog daycare is a significant financial investment, and there is always a risk that the business may not be profitable. Starting a dog kennel boarding business can range anywhere from $2000 to as much as you're willing to spend. To minimize this risk, it is essential to have a well-researched business plan, a solid understanding of your target market, and a marketing strategy that will attract customers. Additionally, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the costs associated with starting and operating a dog daycare, including rent, utilities, staff salaries, and supplies. You're going to want to have some good projections as to how much your business will be able to earn in both the short term and the long term. It's always easy to overestimate how much you're going to make, but it's best to favor the low side so that even if you're not doing that well during the first few months, you'll still be able to pay your rent and bills.

4. Staffing Risks

Staffing is a critical component of any successful dog daycare, and finding the right employees can be a challenge. There's a good chance that you're going to start out on your own. Most doggie daycares tend to start in people's houses and then expand as they get more customers. Until you have to make your first hire, you're good to go. Once you need to make that first hire, you need to have a clear understanding of the responsibilities of each staff member, as well as the skills and qualifications required. Additionally, you need to have a system in place to handle any staffing issues that may arise, such as employee turnover or performance issues.

5. Competition Risks

The dog daycare industry is becoming increasingly competitive, and it is essential to be aware of the competition when starting your business. You need to have a clear understanding of your competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and how you can differentiate your daycare from theirs. Additionally, it is essential to stay up-to-date on industry trends and to continually innovate your business to stay ahead of the competition. There's nothing wrong with competition. It can actually help your business. However, if your city already has four dog daycares and the neighboring city doesn't have one yet, maybe it's a better idea to open your business in that city where there are more clients available.

Starting a dog daycare and boarding kennel is a significant undertaking. You're going to invest blood, sweat and tears into your business and it is essential to be aware of the risks involved. The last thing you want is to put your life savings into your business, only to have it fail within a year and then you're out your entire investment. By understanding and preparing for these risks, you can increase your chances of success and build a thriving business that provides a safe and fun environment for dogs.

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