Doggie Daycare - Anybody Use One?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by TupperMom7, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. TupperMom7

    TupperMom7 DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2004
    I am currently working as a pet sitter. While the hours are flexible and the pay is above minimum wage, there are several drawbacks that I am finding out make the job less attractive as time goes on.
    1. I work on all holidays, because that is when people are away on vacation.
    2. I have to drive to each home, thus using more gas than I would driving back and forth to one place of employement
    3. My schedule changes with the wind - it is never the same, so I never know how much money I will earn in any one week. If someone cancels or is home sick, I don't go there that day and I don't get paid
    4. I don't get paid for time I take off or sick days, etc.

    So, I have been tossing it around in my head the idea of opening a doggie daycare. But I know nothing about the business. I don't know:

    1 - How much people would be willing to pay to leave their dog someplace all day.

    2. How to run the business i.e. would I need employees? how much equipment would I need to buy? Insurance?

    3. Would it be profitable, or end up costing me money to run it?

    Plusses that I can think of right off the bat are I would be closed on weekends and all major holidays, just like a daycare for children.

    Does anybody take their dog to a daycare during the day? Can I have some help with this so I know if I am barking up the wrong tree or if I should pursue this? Thanks! :dogdance:
  2. mylilnikita

    mylilnikita DIS Veteran

    Oct 10, 2002
    I used to take my dog Nikita to doggy daycare for socialization and now it seems I babysit friends dogs so the dogs come to him. The place I used to take him was also a boarding place and the guy has been in business for years.
    I think now it is up to 9.00 a day per dog. He has 3 different areas of play. 1 area is for puppies and smaller dogs, then it goes up to sizes.
    Here is the website: to give you some idea. Click on daycare it might help.
    Good luck
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  4. PatriciaH

    PatriciaH I want to be an Imagineer!

    Feb 24, 2002
    Hi there. Most of the doggie daycares here are open on the weekends and holidays.
  5. Clemson Cruiser

    Clemson Cruiser Earning My Ears

    Apr 7, 2006
    LOL, I am a Petsitter too. A very tired, overworked one with no break in site with the holiday next week :eek:

    Do you have your own business, or are you working for someone? The place that I have my insurance is Pet sitters Associates,

    sorry tried to post a link but I do not have enough posts yet to do so.

    Their insurance is a minimum of $164 + an additional $155 for the daycare service, which is not bad in my opinion.
  6. roselark

    roselark DIS Veteran

    Aug 26, 2007
    A very good friend of mine works for a doggie daycare. Most of their business comes from vacationers, which typically include weekends and holidays. They have very, very few customers who drop off their dogs daily while they go to work.

    Unfortunately, you would seriously limit your business potential if you try to close during peak times.
  7. aynt79

    aynt79 "Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time

    Apr 23, 2003
    The only problem I would have with your idea is that your plan is to be only a daycare and not offer boarding (overnight and on the weekends/holidays) as well. Our pup doesn't use daycare, but we do board him when we go away. If we were to use daycare, I would choose someplace that offers boarding as well, so that both us and the dog wouldn't have to get used to and trust two separate places.

    You also need to know your area. Is there a market for a doggie daycare where you live? Price is also very geographically specific as too what people are willing and able to pay.

    Is it possible for you to get a part time job at a daycare that's already running? Then you can have an idea of what the business is like.
  8. Mocharilla

    Mocharilla DIS Veteran

    Feb 4, 2008
    I don't have much as far as suggestions, but I wanted to say that we went with one when we went on a family trip to Switzerland and Israel. We liked them at first, but please please NEVER do what they did.

    First, they stopped answering their phone. We could not get a hold of them. So, that totally freaked us out. When we got home, we were staying one night in Chicago before going home. We had a friend that lives near by stop by their house to check it out. Our dog had run away and instead of answering our calls, they ignored them. Then, we got told a date that she ran away. We found out that they had TAKEN HER COLLAR OFF! :scared1: So, we knew we were pretty much screwed. After 2 months of looking, we got a call from a guy who works for a road clean up service, saying he had found a border collie, but the day before she had run away, but nearby that house. So, we called to verify that they'd given us the right date. Another month and a half later, we found they'd given us the wrong date. The dog that the man had called about was our beloved dog. :sad1:

    So, anyways, just wanting to say, never do this to people. That being said, you should definatly try this if you think you can do it! Sounds great. :)
  9. christiane

    christiane <font color=darkorchid>Just another example of how

    Dec 16, 2007
    Mocharilla, what a sad, sad story. I'm sorry you lost your beloved dog.

    TupperMom7, I don't have a complete solution for you, but just a couple of suggestions:
    1) Charge for mileage for each visit. Calculate it as the distance from your home to the client's home, even if you go client's house to client's house because you need a consistent charge.

    2) Have a contract with your client so you will get paid if they cancel your services in the short-term. It can be month-to-month so you don't have to have long-term commitments & can plan vacations & time-off.

    3) Consider pet sitting in your home if you have the space. That way you can also stay home on holidays, albeit with a little extra work for the pets in your care. This is a premium service over home visits because the pets are rarely alone and you could charge for this accordingly.

    4) Do some market research etc to see if there is enough local demand. Talk to your local business development agency on how to look into the feasibility in your neighbourhood (eg demographics, market surveys etc). Also talk to other pet-service providers in your area to see if they know of any unmet demand (eg vet clinics, groomers, pet supply shops).

    Good Luck!! I know that in my area, there are many people looking for excellent pet care/sitting services and there aren't really any outstanding ones.
  10. AndyLL

    AndyLL DIS Veteran

    Jan 10, 2008
    While I know plenty of people that do use Doggy daycare for when they are at work they also tend to travel (for work) and my guess is they would prefer to use the same place for normal 'during the week' and when they are traveling.

    That said... I think Doggy daycare (and night care) is a fabulous business that will keep growing. There are a lot of competing franchises but I think the one that goes above and beyond will make a bundle.

    My 2 Golden’s always stay at my sisters for my trips (Disneyland) but once last year my sister’s dog had sugary and my sister said our dogs could not stay.

    We researched the 2 most popular Doggy daycares and also bringing in 2 pet sitters (we always have 1 for the cats) so the Dogs got enough attention.

    We did not like any of the options and were actually going to cancel our trip because of it.

    Here were our concerns with the Doggy daycare centers.

    1) The both shut down at 6-7 until 6-8 the next morning and no one was on site. Their main business was obviously for the working day center. Well my dogs are family dogs and are not used to being alone for 10-12 hours. If just 1 of them had a 15 minute playtime around 9-10 I would have used them.

    2) The facilities were cement. I mean all cement. (both of them) It looked like a prison and was depressing to me. I understand with 100 dogs you want something easy to clean. But put down linoleum. Have comfortable rest areas for dogs that don't want to play all day. Outside there should be grass.

    3) I have 2 big Golden’s. I want them to be able sleep together when they are thrown in strange place. Neither place would guarantee a big cage for both of them. And... it was cages. Row after row of cages. They claim the dogs are so tired that it doesn't matter. My dogs sleep on the bed or on the 2 doggy beds next to our bed. I'm sorry but a 10x10 cage will not make em happy.

    We would have paid a premium for these features.

  11. EverythingDisney

    EverythingDisney Mouseketeer

    Oct 13, 2006
    We pay $15/day for the dog to go a day. We usually send her 2-3x a week including weekends for playing and swimming. They are open ALL the time. We do send her for most holidays when we go camping. She is a 1yo lab, and needs a lot of playtime. She loves to socialize with the other dogs. They do have employees there. I would say you absolutely need insurance.
  12. I loveStitchnippyjon

    I loveStitchnippyjon DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2007
    I pay $24 per day for our golden to go to doggy day care every Wednesday while we are at work. It breaks up his week and gives him a LOT of exercise that he doesn't get when we are at work all day.
    I am seriously thinking of starting a DDC business in a few years after I retire. Ours is just a big empty room with rubber matting on the floor, several doggy sofas around the perimeter, and lots of tough toys and several water bowls. There is access to a fenced outdoor run.
    Aside from that, they just let the dogs run, play, wrestle, and do what they want all day!
  13. Frankiesmom

    Frankiesmom DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 2005
    Tupper- where in upstate NY are you located? I would like some info on Doggie care when we go on vacation. Is that something that you do or could give me info on? I have never used a kennel service and it looks like that may be the way I have to go in May. Need some tips; Thanks!
  14. mrsstats

    mrsstats <font color=blue>Sure sister's cat is as big as a

    Jan 21, 2001
    I am looking for a pet sitter in Ronkonkoma on Long Island or a good place to bring them, some place where they just wouldnt be in cages. Like the previous poster, my dogs sleep in my bed or dog beds. Not on a cement floor. If any one can help out in giving me recommendations, would be appreciated.
  15. Sansa

    Sansa Mouseketeer

    Jan 29, 2008
    Wow. Doggie daycare works very differently here compared to what people have posted. It works much more like what the original poster stated. Most of them are NOT open on weekends, and people use them as a place for their dogs to go during the work day. Places here charge in the $15-$20 range for daycare. Some offer boarding, most do not.

    If I was made of money I'd take my dog there several times a week. I was taking him there once a week when we first got him, but I never had the money to cover it so I had to stop in the name of not charging extra "un-necessary" expenses. Right, like not letting a herding dog mix not get out and expend some energy is un-necessary! :guilty: Our best guess is he's some mix of border collie, aussie and/or blue healer. I wish I could take him somewhere! It's great for him.

    OP, this leads me to your biggest concern with your type of business... when times get tough (and we all know we're headed downhill, not up, with reguards to the economy) the first expenses to be cut are those not critical to paying bills. That would mean your clients could potentially start leaving left and right, depending on how well your area is doing. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  16. vsimeone

    vsimeone <font color=deeppink>I am the Queen Thread Killer

    Dec 1, 2004
    My dog and my cleaning service do not get along so I bring my dog to Doggie Day Care every other Thursday. It is $10 for the day. The do also offer boarding and we have used them often for that as well. While they are not closed on weekends, they only offer drop off and pick up for a 2 hour window on Sat morning and Sunday night so they are free for most of the weekend. They have a couple employees that take care of the pets that are being boarded. If you would like, PM me and I'll be glad to give you their contact information. I'm sure they would love to talk to you!

    Best wishes with starting your new business!
  17. daisax

    daisax DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2003
    I paid $25/day in the Boston suburbs for regular daycare (many more dogs, limited days/hrs) and now pay the same to a friend of mine who operates an in-home day care. However, she's a dog trainer so it's not her only source of income and she has the freedom to keep dogs overnight/board them for longer periods. This was a priceless service when we had an unexpected death in the family out of state and had to take off on a moment's notice, and also when one of my dogs got seriously ill and needed round the clock care and we chose to board the other one while we took care of him (she had a blast and I knew she was in great hands).

    Because she's an experienced dog person she can fit it in with her other activities fairly easily. I'm not sure how well it would work out if your home/yard weren't set up for it. In a small in-home setup you could make a decent living with just a few regular clients ($125/wk) but should you lose one of them and not be able to replace them it could mess up your $$$ considerably -- she had one client move and one get ill and keep her dog home for months -- that was a quick $1000/month of dried up income. Unlike a larger daycare, she doesn't have a steady stream of new dogs so getting new clients took a while longer.

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