Opening a kennel Business...

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by cqueen, Oct 5, 2008.

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  1. cqueen

    cqueen Contributor

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    Hi all,

    Little introduction, Im 27, started a electrical testing business a few years ago (some may remember). Got my fingers burnt and have long since packed that in and gone for a 'safe' job that will see me well in the future.

    But my girlfriend (of 6 years) mentioned how she would love to one day own a dog kennel, not for the money but for the love of being around all the dogs etc (yeah she's a bit mental like that).

    I honestly think she would make a great job of the business simply because of her passion for it.

    Personally, I would only be in it for the money so between the two of us I think we could find the right balance. So I said to her that maybe in a few years when the finanical industry has recovered we could look at setting a business up.

    So, does anyone have any knowledge/advice on owning a kennel to pass on?

    Particulary the ££ needed to start such a venture.

    Thanks in advance,

    Posted: Oct 5, 2008 By: cqueen Member since: Feb 10, 2006
  2. fathippy

    fathippy Contributor

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    I would be careful on the research before jumping in. It is an odd industry - seems very fun, but in reality can be very difficult - bear in mind all dogs have vastly differing temperaments and react erratically especially around "new people".

    Also try to work out the time distribution - if you are catering for pet-sitting family pets, you will have masses of business in summer (holidays abroad) and big gaps the rest of the year. Generally during the year it will also be quite weekend heavy - does your private life allow for this?

    I am London based, and most of the kennels I know get the majority of their business from qualifying as quarantine kennels and attaching to the major airports. This is less volatile through the year, and you get six month bookings, but there are stringent qualifications to attain.

    Finally you will need a fair amount of space, and perhaps planning permission/council authorisation.

    In short I would do a lot of work on this type of business, but it can be quite lucrative if it works.
    Posted: Oct 5, 2008 By: fathippy Member since: Jul 17, 2008
  3. Dawg

    Dawg Contributor

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    I wouldn't consider it unless you are dog-mad or plain mad. Your life will be dominated by Dog: dog smells, dog noise, dog feeding, dog walking, dog cleaning and all things dog. Unless you are muttophiliac* it will become a nightmare.

    *I made this word up, Mutt, dogs. Philia, opposite of phobia. Muttophilia; love of dogs. I only do it to amuse Estwig and keep him away from pink planks.:)
    Posted: Oct 5, 2008 By: Dawg Member since: Feb 12, 2006
  4. i234i

    i234i Contributor

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    i know of a few locally and they have some other services rather than just kennels for the winter months.. stuff like grooming and walking etc is a starter but they have some costs of setting up im sure
    Posted: Oct 5, 2008 By: i234i Member since: Jul 16, 2007
  5. Silky

    Silky Contributor

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    I know as little as most on this but as a dog owner I've recently started using a fairly new service in Manchester - It's not just a kennels, but they offer training, a "doggy day centre" and a myriad of other services to keep users coming back for more. They're not cheap but always busy.....

    Pet owners can be quite fanatical about their pets (says she, with a cocker spaniel lying across her lap) and if you offer something a little different, additional from the norm then I suspect you could grow a loyal customer base. I've loads of ideas on services you could add to attract customers if you ever get that far...

    Key question - how much this costs and indeed what you can make from it - is something I have no idea about and needs to be carefully investigated before making any move.

    Posted: Oct 5, 2008 By: Silky Member since: Oct 29, 2007
  6. cqueen

    cqueen Contributor

    313 3
    Thanks for all your helpfull messages.

    Offering extra services is an excellent idea, I guess the gf would have to have dog training qualifications?

    Like I said, we're not jumping into anything, maybe in a few years if all works out.
    Posted: Oct 5, 2008 By: cqueen Member since: Feb 10, 2006
  7. Silky

    Silky Contributor

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    Not necessarily - there are plenty of dog trainers out there that you can contract in on an hourly basis. Many have trained long and hard for their qualifications (some at uni) so your girlfriend is better concentrating on the actual running of the business and buying in specialist knowledge where needed - at least in the beginning to get things running.

    The greatest outlay by far on this will be the premises and, if they're not already fitted out as kennels, the actual building work necessary. It's definitely worth doing a little research in your locality before committing to the idea - visit kennels pretending you're wanting to find one for your own pup.

    The "My Pet Stop" concept draws income from many different streams, the overnight stays, the daytime sessions but also an in-house Vet (open outside of hours), dog training, a rehab pool and also a retail outlet with some great animal accessories. All a little ambitious perhaps for your first venture but definitely worth picking up some hints from - (plagiarism plus....!)

    Posted: Oct 5, 2008 By: Silky Member since: Oct 29, 2007
  8. Country Services

    Country Services UKBF Newcomer

    59 9
    Running a dog kennels requires a vast knowledge and working experience of dogs. You have to be able to handle dogs of all shapes and sizes with a wide range of temperaments, and in various states of health. You will need to be able to spot a potentially sick dog instantly and to know whether or not it is something you can remedy on site or whether a vet needs to be called. You will need a good understanding of canine first aid and behavior. You will need for example, to be able to distinguish between different types of aggression, to make a judgement on which dogs can safely be exercised together and which should be kept apart. You will need to know how to care for female dogs in season, and in whelp, dogs with special dietary needs, geriatric dogs, dogs with behavioural problems, dogs with epilepsy, disabilities, and so on, because you will meet the whole range.

    Running a kennel is not just a business, it is about animal husbandry - there needs to be someone knowledgeable about dogs on site at all times, and there is huge potential for disaster and litigation. Most people who go into it, do so as a step on from many years of experience in breeding/training their own kenneled dogs .

    As to cost, you are looking at a substantial investment. Most kennels are in rural or semi rural locations and are valuable properties. You would need (and find it very hard to get) planning permission to start from scratch. Kennels are expensive to build, with mains drainage and underfloor heating being standard nowadays. Nobody wants to live next door to them. Laws on ‘waste disposal’ are strict. Solid waste has to be frozen and kept in special freezers for collection. Food has to be stored and prepared in hygienic and vermin proof conditions, and so on.

    Having said all that, it is not an impossible dream. Your girlfriends first step would be to get a job in a busy reputable boarding kennel and start learning the ropes. There is a lot to learn, and ‘hands on’ is the best way to do it.

    Posted: Oct 6, 2008 By: Country Services Member since: Nov 6, 2005
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  9. vvaannmmaann

    vvaannmmaann Contributor

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    I think Sarah has covered this very well.She has said everything I would have said.
    Posted: Oct 6, 2008 By: vvaannmmaann Member since: Nov 6, 2007
  10. vvaannmmaann

    vvaannmmaann Contributor

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    Posted: Oct 6, 2008 By: vvaannmmaann Member since: Nov 6, 2007
  11. cqueen

    cqueen Contributor

    313 3
    Some excellent responses here.

    It would do her the world of good to work in a kennel for a couple of years, we don't know of any jobs going though, something to search for.

    But on a positive side, I don't see any problems that can't be addressed over time - planning is key!

    I think we would rent the land (we live in east anglia so not a problem) and build timber enclosures, once planning permission was granted.

    Thanks all!

    (is it me or are those 'kennels for sale' really over priced)
    Posted: Oct 6, 2008 By: cqueen Member since: Feb 10, 2006
  12. vvaannmmaann

    vvaannmmaann Contributor

    13,099 3,369
    Quote (is it me or are those 'kennels for sale' really over priced)

    Welcome to the wonderful world of commercial/business property.Theproblemyou will have,as has been mentioned already,kennels = rural property = big price-tag = going concern = planning permission in place= big price tag!
    Good luck.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2008 By: vvaannmmaann Member since: Nov 6, 2007
  13. Dawg

    Dawg Contributor

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    I've seen estimates that planning permission accounts for 80% of a property's value.
    Great huh? let the bureaucrats decide what is valuable or not.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2008 By: Dawg Member since: Feb 12, 2006
  14. adventurelife

    adventurelife Contributor

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    As someone who has spent a small fortune on dogs over the years including lots of kennel cost when moving countries I have seen many kennels and how they are run.

    Unless this is a lifestyle choice stay away. The capital required to get into the business is very high. The ROI against the capital is low. Much better to invest the money in another business.

    Unless of course it is a lifestyle choice then other factors come into play, however, I would argue it needs to be a lifestyle that both you and your girlfriend are wanting not just one of you.
    Posted: Oct 7, 2008 By: adventurelife Member since: Dec 2, 2007
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