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How to write a dog daycare business plan in 6 steps

Dog daycare business plan: woman playing with dogs

Key takeaways

  • Highlight your dog daycare team and their relevant experience to help your readers gain confidence in your abilities
  • Offer valuable tips as part of your marketing strategy to gain trust from your target audience
  • Create a realistic financial plan that outlines your expected costs and profit to keep your business on track for growth

Furry friends can quickly become members of the family. It’s no wonder why spending on pet services doubled between 2007 and 2017 and continued to grow to an $8.1 billion industry in 2020. For dog owners, giving dogs the care they need is a priority, just as it would be for any other loved one. Running a dog daycare facility is your opportunity to help pet owners keep their dogs happy, even when work or life keeps them busy. Whether you’re opening up a brand-new business or growing an existing one, you’ll need to create a dog daycare business plan.

Dog daycare business plan template

There’s no better time to create a doggie daycare business plan and take your business idea to the next level. The rate of dog ownership is higher than it’s ever been, with canines being the most popular type of pet in the U.S. 

Writing a business plan can help you take advantage of this surge of dog owners and access funding from lenders or investors. Here’s what you need to include in your final plan.

1. Executive summary

An executive summary is a brief overview of your company and why it will succeed. It should grab your reader’s attention by presenting engaging details about your business. For example, if your dog daycare is the only one in your local market that also offers dog grooming and dog training services, include these details to help your business stand out.

Pro tip: Write your executive summary last. While it will be the first section of your dog daycare business plan, you’ll have an easier time condensing the most impressive facts if you already have your business details and strategies laid out in front of you with the following sections.

2. Business description

Your business description is your chance to expand on your introduction and offer more insight into what makes your business special. In this section, you can highlight details like:

  • Your business location
  • Your years in business or opening date
  • Your target customers, including their interests, location, and demographics (such as age and income level)
  • Your mission statement, which is a brief declaration of your company’s purpose
  • Your business goals, including short-term and long-term goals
  • Your business structure, such as limited liability company or C corporation

You can also include a market analysis in this section to further demonstrate why your small business can succeed. After doing market research, identify who your competitors are targeting and what industry trends are impacting dog daycares like yours. 

Then, explain how you’ll take advantage of new opportunities (like rising demand for overnight dog boarding) and succeed in the face of challenges (like rising consumer distrust of dog kennels).

3. Management structure

Dog daycare business plan: dogs playing in a dog park

Taking care of dogs—and running a pet care business in general—is a lot of work. Your business plan readers (especially lenders) want to know you have what it takes to be a successful dog daycare owner.

Start this section by introducing readers to the business owner, whether that’s just you or a whole team. Explain why each person is highly fit for their role in running a dog daycare. For example, you can outline the following for both you and your staff:

  • Past experience in dog care or business management
  • Relevant degrees or certifications
  • Relevant awards or recognitions received

If your business has managers outside of your ownership team, introduce them in the same manner. Make sure to explain each management role clearly, like if they’re leading your sales team efforts or if they’re in charge of your overnight boarding business operations.

4. Dog daycare services

Every dog daycare center offers a unique experience for people and their pups. Use this section to describe what occurs in a typical day—for example, share more details if you include playtime, dog walking, and/or treats as part of your daycare package. If you offer daycare options that don’t last the full work day, such as hourly or half-day options, explain how your offerings differ.

Then, break down your dog daycare pricing for services. This should include any monthly or annual membership options, in addition to your daily rates. If your daycare charges extra for dog food or other optional daycare supplies, mention it here. (Learn more about pricing strategies.) 

Don’t forget to list additional pet care services you offer in this section too. For instance, you can mention if your facility offers cat care, exotic animal care, grooming services, or pet boarding services. 

5. Marketing strategy

Dog biting a rubber toy

Before your potential customers entrust you with their best friends, you need to prove how you’ll succeed as a business through your trustworthiness and reliability. Use this section of your dog daycare business plan to explain how you’ll use marketing to reach your target market and demonstrate your expertise. 

For example, you can:

  • Claim your Yelp Business Page and invest in Business Highlights—like “Certified professionals” or “[x] years in business”—to advertise key reasons why your dog care facility is unique
  • Feature your dog caretakers, trainers, groomers, and other members of your team on social media
  • Use content marketing to offer dog care or dog training tips and reach people who are searching online for pet care solutions

This section of your business plan can also include a marketing budget that describes how you’ll divvy up your funds. A budget will show your readers which channels you plan to prioritize. Plus, it will help you plan whether you’ll handle all your marketing yourself or if you’ll outsource to professionals.

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6. Financial plan

To become a successful entrepreneur in any industry, you need a strong handle on your own business finances. Planning out your expenses and setting financial milestones can help you maintain a healthy business—it’ll also show your readers that you won’t go in the red.

Your financial plan should first outline your expected costs. List out your monthly operational expenses, organized by specific categories, like rent, utilities, dog food, and business insurance. If you’re launching a new dog daycare business, create a separate list that outlines your startup costs, which are the expenses you need to cover before you can launch. Startup costs may include one-time expenses, such as dog kennels, dog dishes, leashes, and pet beds.

Once you’ve outlined all your costs, you can show how your net profits will continue to rise. Work with a financial professional (such as an accountant or analyst) to create realistic mockups of cash flow statements, income statements, and other financial statements that cover your expected growth for the next five years.

A strong, carefully considered financial plan increases the likelihood that potential lenders and investors will gain confidence in your business. Plus, you’ll be able to track your growth and determine if you’re on the right track to meet your business goals.

Take the pet industry by storm

Whether you’re in your first year of business or already started your company a few years ago, writing a dog daycare business plan allows you to strategize your future in the pet industry. You can establish what your business does at its core so your decisions always align with your brand and goals. A business plan can also help you create a marketing strategy and financial plan to guide your growth. For more ways to expand your customer base, get our tips to promote your business locally.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.