If you love animals, you could consider earning a living by caring for other people’s pets. Running a pet daycare can be a fun and profitable business for the right entrepreneur.
Let’s look at why the pet industry offers a tempting opportunity for animal lovers and what factors might influence how much income you can earn.
The pet industry is big business
Most pet owners spend a good portion of their paychecks on their furry companions.
Canadians spent $756 per household on pet care in 2019, which is up from $590 in 2015.
This 30% increase shows that pet parents are buying more toys and accessories, while focusing on products and services related to pet health and well-being. Common purchases often include:
- Enrichment toys
- Designer bedding
- Gluten-free or raw food
It’s also common for dogs to visit a groomer or dog spa regularly. This type of service, combined with a doggy daycare, has the potential to draw in additional business.
Recent statistics show that the pet grooming and boarding industries grew 3.7% a year from 2015 to 2020.
In many households, a pet is an integral part of the family. As a result, there‘s a solid opportunity for business owners to offer quality care for pets when owners can’t be around to take care of them.
People who spend all day at work feel guilty leaving their pets alone and are happy to pay for the care, attention and exercise that a pet daycare provides.
8 key factors for a profitable pet daycare
The biggest question you should have when considering any business opportunity is profitability. Can you turn it into a money-making business?
First, you’ll need to calculate what you could charge, add up your potential earnings, and see if you can cover the likely expenses.
If you crunch numbers before taking the plunge, you can protect yourself from starting a business that loses money.
Here are eight factors that could affect your income when opening a pet daycare:
- Population and density of pet owners in your location. Research how many people living in your area are pet owners.
- Competition and market rates in your area. You’ll need to compete with existing pet daycares. If you want to charge more than the market rate, you’ll need to offer more value.
- The level of service and rates you are willing to offer. Once you research what competitors are charging, you can consider what types of services you want to offer and how much you could charge.
- Operational expenses. This includes the cost of rent, utilities, supplies, marketing, insurance and whatever you pay staff if any (details below).
- Franchise or startup costs. Will you start your own business or pay franchise fees? Of course, there are pros and cons to both, so do your research.
- Payroll and management costs. Who will manage the business? Will you be there every day, or will you hire staff?
- Number of pets you can care for at once. Each building or location you consider will be able to house a different number of pets. Therefore, for each potential site, estimate how many pets you can reasonably contain.
- Types of pets you want to allow. Will you welcome dogs, cats, or both? Will you accept small pets for more extended boarding? You’ll need space for each type of animal you allow.
Although many people look at this opportunity as a passion project, it’s important to weigh out the expenses before committing to a business in pet care services — especially if you want to make a profit.
How much income can you earn running a pet daycare?
We now know that a pet daycare could be a viable business option, depending on a few variables. So let’s look at how much income you could bring in if you opened a pet daycare.
Rates for pet care can vary across the country, especially when you compare urban and rural areas.
Let’s have a look at daycare rates for dogs first. It’s more common for families to opt for daytime care for their dogs, who likely need more exercise and supervision than their cats or small animals.
On the other hand, if you can manage 25 dogs per day, you could bring in $500 to $1125 per day or $14,250 to $33,750 per month.
Overnight boarding can bring in even more income, with rates ranging from $65-$75 per 24-hour stay. During their owners’ week-long vacations, welcoming 10 canine guests could earn you another $4550 to $5250 per month.
Rates for different species
To care for different animals, you’ll need separate areas to ensure you’re offering your furry guests the best care. For example, you might decide to have a cat room so people can board their cats with you for overnight travel or vacations.
Boarding fees for cats can range from $19 to $45 for overnight stays. If you were to care for 10 cats in a portion of your facility set aside for cat play and comfort, you could bring in another $190 to $450 per day, or $5700 to $13,500 per month.
How to boost profits even further
You can also consider other income streams related to your pet daycare business that may offer higher profit margins. Below, we’ll discuss additional services and products you can add to your business model to maximize profits.
Tapping into additional services
There may be related services you can provide through your pet daycare. For example, some pet daycares offer:
- Overnight stays
- Long-term boarding for vacationing families
If you can provide more services that families want for their pets and become their trusted resource for all types of pet care, you can boost how much income you bring in per customer.
Offering related products for the upsell
Many retail products have a higher profit margin than services. Therefore, pet care products can be appealing additions to your pet daycare. Some examples include:
- Specialty food
- Bath products and more
With a curated collection of quality products, you could increase how much pet owners buy from your business each year.
Don’t forget to estimate your expenses
Once you calculate potential income levels, list all possible expenses and see how many animals you’d need to care for to cover all your costs. You may want to map out a few different scenarios with different options. Doing so will allow you to compare different sizes of facilities with their respective costs and see what combination works best for you.
Potential expenses could include, but aren’t limited to:
- Rent or mortgage on a building for your pet daycare
- Building maintenance
- Vet fees to have a veterinarian on call
- Employee benefits
- Training for yourself or staff
- Taxes and business licensing
Be sure to include payment for your own time as well. How much should you plan to pay?
As a guideline, the average salary for managing a dog kennel in Canada is $38,794.
You can use this in your planning for compensating yourself or whoever will manage the facility.
Of course, it would be wise also to calculate the minimum you need to earn to keep your business afloat. As much as any business could be a roaring success, it also will take time to get to the point where you’re fully booked.
In addition, you may have certain times of the year when you are less busy. Calculate a few different scenarios to help get an idea of how manageable this business would be year-round.
Make your pet daycare stand out
The pet industry is big business and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. There is an opportunity for motivated entrepreneurs to find their niche in the business.
Consider if your location is a good choice for a pet daycare and if pet care appeals to you enough to do it every day.
Additionally, it’s important to plan how you can differentiate yourself from competitors with attractive rates, related services and in-demand products to help boost your profit margin.
If you love pets and have always wanted to start your own business, there’s a good chance you could run a profitable pet daycare!
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