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my husband and i have wanted to do this for years. we have absolutely no where within a 40 mile radius to take the girls to play all day. they just built one about 10 minutes from my house but it's on a very busy road and my husband would worry himself sick about the girls finding an escape route and getting into the traffic. i am a teacher so i have the summers off to get the business started and if it really took off, my husband would quit his job and take over when school restarts. we would hire a few people to get us started depending on what the enrollment rate would be and want to make sure we provide the safest, most comfortable place for dogs and their owners. my husband also mentioned putting up video camera so the owners could monitor their dogs. we don't have any children that would need attending to and i don't mind the work (clean up and all that) and i'm excellent at bookkeeping.

where is a good place to start when thinking about doing a business such as this? anyone ever start something like this? we would definitely have to find a place with property to rent because our house is just too small.

any suggestions. Thanks.
 

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I think the first thing I'd do is look into permits/certifications.

Good luck, I wish I had the follow through to do that...it sounds like a blast.
 

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You will need a business plan if you want to borrow money from a bank. I'm sure you can find good information on making one on-line or at the library.
 

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Before you think about borrowing money, business plans or buildings, you either need to work at a daycare or find one that will let you come for an extended visit (open-close for a week or so). Do you have any animal behavior experience? There's a lot more to it than playing with the pups ;)
 

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Do you have any animal behavior experience? There's a lot more to it than playing with the pups
I agree. If I left my dogs at a daycare facility I would want to know about your qualifications and level of experience.
 

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clear said:
Insurance is another big thing!
And liability waivers, and contracts, and all sorts of legal things.

These are just some thoughts off the top of my head (sorry for the form of them).

I definitely agree with the animal behavior stuff. You have to be very, very good at discerning different types of play behaviors, fear behaviors, pain behaviors, etc. If you're not, you end up either overreacting to play behaviors or not preventing fights.

How are you going to temperament test? Are you going to not allow certain breeds (ie, pits, bully breeds)? Are you going to allow unaltered males? What about puppies? Are you going to separate dogs by energy level? By size?

You also have to be very good at emergency medical care. You end up with lots of emergencies- what happens when you have 10-15 dogs that cannot be left alone and you have a dog that needs to be taken to the emergency vet right now? What medical supplies (epi-pens, etc) are you going to keep on hand?

How many staff would you have? What would the dog-staff ratio be? I know that I refuse any daycare that has higher than 8-1 dog to human ratio. Are you going to provide benefits for your staff? Where are you going to find your staff? What will be your qualifications of your staff? Owners like me want to make sure that the staff also is qualified- I want to know that the person handling my dog isn't someone doing it because it's better than McDonalds, you know?

What's the maximum dog per day going to be? Do people have to make a reservation?

I grilled the staff for 30 minutes on experience, on what would you do if x happened (what is your plan for x), the dogs to human ratio, etc before I left Gabby.

It's a lot more than permits and space. It's a lot to think about. Good luck :)
 

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My first call would after reading the books above would be to the Small Business Administration. They are retired businessmen and a wealth of information on starting a small business.

I would also recomend double gates. Cinnamon doggie daycare has them the dogs have to get through 2 gates to get loose so it gives me a lot of comfort. Her doggie daycare does have web cams and I really like it.
 

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The American Boarding Kennel Association has a course on Doggie DayCare. If it's not offered near you, I believe they have several books on starting up. Check them out.
 

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Please work at a daycare first! I always thought it would be so fun, and so great and relaxing to be with dogs all day - and then I worked there for nine months. Hands down the most stressful job I have ever had. It would be fun and relaxing to be with my dogs all day, but not other people's bratty canines ;)

From dog fights and injuries (they temperment tested very well too - but poo happens), to how to kick dogs and their owners out, if it's not 100 degrees and dogs are overheating then it's -30 and it's snowing. Some of the owners were unbelievable with their requests, wanting a completely dry dog to go home when it was raining, but no the dog cannot ever go in a crate - ever. It was just - ugh! I could never do it again. Not to mention, I thought labs were hard on toys, groups of dogs destroy everything in their path at daycare. We went through toys and equipment in nanoseconds.

I can tell you some of the things clients really liked and some things they wanted that we didn't offer. Everyone loved reportcards and calendars and newsletters on activities. There was a theme each week (Beach week, Obedience week, trick week, Agility week, etc.). Many daycares in our area are moving toward sep. small and large dog areas, we did not have that and many newbies didn't do an eval because of it. (We never had a problem with small and large dogs together, the small dogs generally ruled the roost, it was just Owner perception of petite fluffy being in with my dopey labs). They also wished some of it was on grass, we had all concrete because it's easier to powerwash nightly.

I'm not trying to discourage you from following your dream, just letting you know how physically demanding it is (we were on our feet from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm or later) and mentally as well (crazy Mommies and Daddies!) :) Maybe you could get a summer job this summer at the one that just opened in your area to try it out?
 

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I think some really good advice here. I love dogs but it's the owners I wouldn't want to deal with. I don't know how other owners are at Tal's daycare, the ones I've seen seem ok. But I am sure there are some who are less than reasonable.

There's insurance, money, how much are you going to pay your help, etc. It's a great dream but ya have to go into it with your eyes wide open ao that it doesn't become a night mare.
 

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I've looked into starting a boarding kennel more than a daycare, but the same things would apply. You have to find land that will let you put a daycare there. You have to figure out what zoning allows doggy daycare facilities. It might be a good idea to ask doggy daycares in your town (but they might not want to make it easier for the competition). If not, you have to look in your city code. Most likely, doggy daycares will be allowed in agricultural or light industrial zone and then as a special use. Before you buy the land, you should really try to figure out what the attitude towards doggy day cares is on your city council.
 

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Please work at a daycare first! I always thought it would be so fun, and so great and relaxing to be with dogs all day - and then I worked there for nine months. Hands down the most stressful job I have ever had. It would be fun and relaxing to be with my dogs all day, but not other people's bratty canines
I agree 100%. I pet sit for other peoples dogs and I can tell you now, it is HARD WORK. And that is for only 1 or 2 dogs maximum. I can't imagine how much work it would be to look after 10+ dogs at any given time.

I was thinking about this thread last night. 2labsmom, I think a good idea would be for you to try pet sitting first. By pet sitting I mean dogs that live in your home for as little as 1 or 2 days or as much as 1 or 2 weeks while their owners are away or have other plans that don't involve the dog. This will not only give you an idea of how hectic the pet care business can be but it will also give you some practical experience. As myself and others have said, you will need some serious practical experience to point to before you consider opening a daycare facility. Dog owners will want to know your qualifications and experience.

You might also want to look into behavior courses. I know my local agricultural college runs a one-night-a-week course on canine behavior. It would be very wise to get yourself certified in this type of area.
 
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As Trickster already said, if she goes to a day care centre (or some thing like that), i just want to know they qualifactions and the experience they have with dog's ;)

And i think that's it's indeed hard work to manage a pack of 10+ dog's :)

Think about it, what do you do if they start a fight for example ???
 

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thanks so much for your replies. they have added some very helpful insight to our idea. i shared them with the husband last night and a few of them you never really think about. thanks so much for your help and advice.
 
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