How to find the best location for a dog daycare or boarding business?
This is part of a series of blog posts about starting your own dog daycare or boarding business. Click here for the entire series.
Starting your own dog daycare or boarding business can be ruff.. just a little doggie humor!
In all seriousness, we know that starting a dog business can be a very overwhelming process. While, we are not experts, with our experience and research, we hope to offer some ideas, suggestions, and resources to help you along the way. There are many steps in the process but the order in which you start and complete them is up to you, the steps are not set in stone. In fact, many steps will be revisited and changed multiple times. This blog will focus on finding the perfect location for your new business venture.
Let's start with a few suggestions when considering a location:
This is an important thing to consider, the easier it is to get in and out of the location the better it can be for your business. Think about when you are craving a Starbucks Frappuccino, you make a special trip just for the treat only to find the nearest Starbucks is across a median and you have to go down 3 blocks in order to make an U-turn legally!? Ugh! Chances are your craving is not as strong as before! The same can be said for the traffic flow, the ease of entering and exiting the location. If it is cumbersome to access, potential customers may avoid the hassle and seek out a competitor.
(Residential Suburb) (Business Suburb)
Parking is similar to the traffic flow issue and is equally important. While a full parking looks great for business, it can also be a deterrent as well. Envision that Starbucks Frappuccino again, so the closest store was easy to access but the drive-thru is 10 cars deep and is spilling out onto the main road plus there is not one single open parking spot! Well, either that craving has vanished or it is onward to the next more accessible coffee shop! See where we are going with this?? Parking is not only important for customers but for your employees as well.
City vs County
This might not be an option for you, think downtown San Francisco, or it could be a tough decision to make, think a smaller city in Florida or the great plains of Oklahoma. If it is a consideration for you, chances are the traffic flow won't be an issue and the parking will be abundant, but ordinances might look different outside of city limits, good and bad. Also keep in mind, how far is too far outside of town.
(Downtown San Francisco) (Smaller City in Florida) (Great plains of Oklahoma)
Things To Think About
1. Industrial Parks - defined as "zoned and planned for purpose of industrial development," do not have noise ordinances - or at least much looser restrictions.
(Small industrial parks) (Large industrial parks)
2. Square Footage - You need to have enough space to house the dogs, exercise the dogs, a lobby of some sort, storage for food, etc and space for cleaning. Also, when the buildings get over a certain square footage other restrictions may crop up - such as a requirement for a sprinkler system for fire control (check the local requirements on this)
3. Drain System - where will all that water and waste go when spraying out and cleaning kennels and play areas?
4. Laws and Ordinances - becoming familiar with the laws and ordinances from the begin will greatly behoove you and save you money in the long-run.
An article found online called "10 Fundamental Ways to Identify a Successful Business Location" ( Heitzman, 2016), has some great thoughts. Please note that knowing your "target audience or customers" will help the below suggestions easier to consider.
- Demographics of the area - are you in the "right spot" for your target customer base?
- Nearby competition - are you next door or down the street from a doggie daycare like yours?
- Foot traffic in the area - if applicable or if you will be accepting drop in guests.
- Research the success of other businesses in the area - are they thriving or struggling?
- Building quality - is the building high quality with good history? Talking to past tenants and neighbors can help.
- Monthly cost and Lease - also pay attention to the details (out clause, forbidden restrictions:artwork, hours, etc.).
- Parking & Accessibility - for customers and employees. Is the lot well maintained? Is the lot well lit?
- Does it match your "vibe" - will your business have a formal or casual feel?
- Size - does the location match your desired size of business? This may change your initial business plan.
- Employees - are there qualified employees in the area? A college town could provide an abundance of workers.
(Custom Front) (Utilizing Existing Front)
We mentioned a few times about your business plan. A business plan is defined as a document that sets the business's objectives for the future and ways to accomplish them. There are many resources to help you start your business plan, we will have a blog on this subject in the near future with suggestions as well. But there are a few things to remember about your business plan in terms of scouting a location.
- Realize that your business plan will probably change multiple times, so having areas of the plan flexible is important but having firm and inflexible areas is dire, budget for example.
- Having your business plan written in a google document format will make it easy to access from many places, your home computer, laptop, phone, or tablet. This will help you to refer back to your business plan often to remind yourself of those areas where variances are available.
- You might be shown an amazing brand new location and all your visions for your future dog business will be met and then some. Take off the rose colored glasses for a moment and revisit the bright lines of your business plan.
Again, we understand starting a dog daycare or boarding business is a huge undertaking but getting your "ducks in a row" and being flexible but firm will definitely help the process to be smoother. While Gator Kennels can't find your perfect location or help with the outside appearance, we can definitely help with the inside kennels for your guests. With Gator Kennels products we take the frustration and stress away with our easy to assemble, custom and professional kennels that are easy to maintain for many years to come.
We love what we do and we would love to help you in your new business venture!
Give us a call and let us help you with all your kennel needs. When you call you will always reach a live person! One less hassle on your never ending to do list!