As of 2021, there are estimated to be 13 million pet dogs in the UK, up from 7.6 million in 2011. Veterinary services and pet supplies accounted for more than £12 billion in 2021 and dog owners are spending more and more.

If you can invest a substantial amount of time each day watching over other people's dogs and feel at ease in their company, you might be a good candidate to open a dog daycare business in your area.

On the face of it, such a business may seem simple, but there is a lot to consider. Like any other business, it needs proper planning.

1. Dog Daycare Business Plan

Before you actually start working on your daycare business, you should create a comprehensive business plan that will guide you through the process of setting it up and managing it.

Among the things you should include in the business plan are:

Defining Services

Give a list of all the services you will offer such as food, drop-off and pick-up times, and what days you will be open.

If you want to succeed, you should offer a range of services including dog walking, grooming, bathing, and obedience training. Bear in mind that not all dogs will eat the same food so you should offer different options and adjust the cost accordingly.

In the UK, such establishments are open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. If you really want to stand out from the competition, you could also offer weekend services as well as emergency overnight stays.

Pricing for Services

Pricing is a double-edged sword that can either make or break a business. New entrepreneurs often make the mistake of pricing either too high or too low.

Price setting must be based on both the quality of services and what similar businesses are offering; if your location and equipment don't offer any advantage over the competition, it doesn't make sense to charge more. On the other hand, setting your prices below your value may also seem suspicious.

In the UK, most dog daycare businesses charge between £15 and £30 per day.

For those dog owners who use daycare facilities frequently, you may want to set up a recurring fee, either weekly or monthly.

2. A Detailed Financial Plan

Like any business, you will need to know what the start-up costs will be and what capital expenditure will be necessary.

How Much Do You Need?

Costs vary depending on the type of facility you set up. The location will definitely be a contributing factor. For example, if you want to run the business from home, you may only need to buy equipment and take on a minimal number of staff.

However, if you're starting a larger facility, a more substantial space will be required. You may want to renovate it according to the requirements of your business offer, which may include building a playground for the animals and separate sections for dogs of different breeds and ages. For example, a separate section for puppies to keep them safe from larger dogs.

The next step is to purchase all of the necessary equipment such as toys, feed bowls, barriers, beds, cages, kennels, food, poop bags and cleaning supplies.

To make sure the dogs in your care are kept occupied you need quality supplies and materials. You may also want to set up a heating system to ensure they are happy and comfortable.

Hiring Staff

It is important to demand certain standards when hiring employees. The first thing you should look for is people who share your interests and have appropriate experience. For this reason, dog lovers or owners are likely to be the ideal candidates.

Of course, just liking dogs isn't enough on its own. You should also make sure any potential staff are well-trained and knowledgeable as they will be the face of your business. They should be capable of performing a variety of tasks, such as grooming, walking, and playing with the animals. As the business grows, you would want your employees to be flexible and adaptable to change.

To make life easier for your employees, you should invest in business management software. As a result, they will work better and stay longer.

3. Location

The success of a daycare facility is highly dependent on location; if you establish it outside your target market, no one is going to travel far to drop off their dog.

Finding the right location takes time and effort, but you should stick to your budget and not spend too much initially on leasing or rent.

You should look for a place that has both indoor and outdoor facilities and plenty of space for the dogs to run and play.

In addition to cages and care equipment, your space must also include waiting areas, an information desk, and facilities for employees. The area should also be kept spotlessly clean as this will not only look attractive to customers but will also prevent the spread of diseases.

Pets should be kept in a secure location which should be properly fenced so that no dogs can escape and risk injury. Furthermore, you should ensure that no wild animals can enter the facility as this could cause untold problems.

4. Paperwork

If you want to avoid any legal issues, your business must comply with UK law. Get all the licenses before you begin and register all the necessary documents with the government.

It is possible that an inspection team will pay you a visit to check the facility.

Consult your local council and a lawyer for advice and set up your business accordingly. By forming a company, you can grow and manage your employees and taxes more easily.

Insurance and Liability

Dealing with other people's dogs is a huge responsibility, and you don't want to get caught up in legal battles or lose revenue. Therefore, you need public liability insurance for your business.

To protect your business, there are several types of insurance, including commercial, property, and professional. Click here for more information.

Fire, theft, damage, repairs, legal fees, injuries, dog runaways, and natural disasters can all pose challenges for your business. To have total peace of mind, it is vital you have all the necessary insurance in place so that should anything untoward happen, you are fully covered.

5. Dog Daycare Rules

There are certain daycare rules you must set regarding dogs and customers so that your business runs smoothly. Establishing these rules will protect you from liability and ensure that your operations are standard. Here are some common rules:

Most dog daycare facilities won't accept adult dogs that haven't been neutered or puppies that are too young. Therefore, you should specify the age bracket you will accept as some age groups require additional supervision and care.

Vaccination: Dogs must have up-to-date vaccinations and a certificate must be provided by the owner, such as CDV, CPV, and CAV, which cause canine distemper, parvovirus infection, and infectious hepatitis.

Behaviour: An interview or trial period is recommended before accepting a dog because aggressive dogs are difficult to control and can harm other dogs or puppies.

6. Marketing

Now that you have completed all the above steps, it's time to market your dog facility and attract new customers. In today's competitive world, you need to take the time to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for your business.

Promote your dog daycare business both online and offline by using an omnichannel strategy. Distribute flyers near pet supply markets, dog parks, and animal clinics. Reach out to dog walkers to spread the word and offer referral commissions.

A digital presence is necessary in today's techno world, so create a website and use Google My Business or hire someone to do it for you. Having an email list is the best way to market online, so start building one as soon as possible.

Take advantage of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to connect with your dog owner clients. There are also plenty of dog influencers who share pictures and videos on the web. You can also use ads on social media to attract new customers.

Branding is a key element to success, so hiring branding professionals is recommended.


Tens of dog daycare businesses are opening in the UK every day. If you love dogs and have an entrepreneurial mindset, starting one could be the most fulfilling experience of your life.

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Website: Photo by Mia Anderson on Upslash

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