Starting a Dog Boarding, Daycare, Grooming and Training Business

February 3, 2023

Adam Hoeksema

The pet boarding and grooming industry is an $11 billion industry with over 154,000 unique businesses in the US alone that are participating in the industry at some level according to an IBIS World report.  As you consider starting a business in the dog boarding and grooming industry there are a number of services that you can consider providing as you look to find your niche in the market.  The primary services in the dog boarding and grooming industry include:

  • Dog boarding - you can provide overnight boarding in a kennel
  • Dog daycare - you can provide daycare services for dogs at your facility
  • Dog grooming - you can offer grooming services with professional groomers as well as offering self wash bays for dog owners to groom their own pets
  • Dog training - you can provide dog training through individual, short classes or longer doggie boot camp type programs 

In this article I want to help you understand the finances behind each of these business opportunities so that you can develop a set of financial projections for your business and determine what services you will provide.  Throughout the article I will be using our Dog Boarding and Grooming Financial Projection Template as a guide to help us hit on the following topics:

Startup Costs for Dog Boarding and Grooming

  1. How much does it cost to start a dog boarding business?
  2. How much does it cost to start a doggy daycare business?
  3. How much does it cost to start a dog grooming business?
  4. How much does it cost to start a dog training business?

Revenue for a Dog Boarding and Grooming Business

  1. How much revenue can a dog boarding and daycare business generate?
  2. How much revenue can a dog grooming business make?
  3. How much revenue can a dog training business make?

Operating expenses for a Pet Boarding and Grooming Business

  1. How much does it cost to feed a dog per day?
  2. How many dogs can one caretaker care for at a time?
  3. How much do dog groomers make per hour?
  4. How much do dog trainers make per hour?

How Profitable is the Dog Boarding and Grooming Business?

You can watch a demo of how to use our dog boarding and grooming services forecast template below:

Let’s dive in to the details now!

Startup Costs for Dog Boarding and Grooming

The startup costs for a pet boarding and grooming business can vary pretty dramatically depending on what services you plan to offer and at what scale you plan to operate.  Since you may not provide boarding, daycare, grooming, self wash tubs and training, I am going to look at the startup costs for each segment of the business individually. 

How much does it cost to start a dog boarding business?

A dog boarding business may have the following startup costs according to Zenbusiness:

  1. Dog Boarding Facility Construction Cost – $300,000+ depending on your location and size of operation.
  2. Dog Boarding Facility Insurance - $100 – $1,000 per month, again this will vary depending on your size and number of animals cared for at your facility
  3. Kennels - $700 – $2,000 each
  4. Pet Beds, Dishes, and Toys – $70-$150 per kennel
  5. Leashes, Muzzles, and Harnesses – $400
  6. Fencing -  $1,000 – $8,000

Based on these numbers, you should expect to pay at least $350,000 in startup costs for a dog boarding facility assuming that you will own the facility.  If you are renting the building, you will be able to decrease your startup costs dramatically, but you will have ongoing rent to pay each month. 

How much does it cost to start a doggy daycare business?

For a doggie daycare you can expect to have all of the same expenses as you would have in a dog boarding business plus you will likely need to create a play area for the pups as well.  According to Dog Gurus you should plan on at least 40 square feet of space to play per dog for small dogs and 70 square feet for large dogs.  It is a bit of a puzzle, but you will need to figure out what size of facility you need in order to be able to have the capacity of dogs that will allow you to charge enough to breakeven.  Once you have an estimate of the amount of space you are looking for you can find cost estimates to buy, construct or rent a facility.  The facility is going to be your largest startup cost, but you can also expect the following startup costs for a dog daycare business:

  1. Dog Daycare Equipment Cost - $11,000 to $45,000 (according to Chron)
  2. Fencing - $10,000 - if you have an outdoor play area
  3. Kennels - $1,000 per kennel - you will need at least some kennels to keep dogs separated as needed
  4. Miscellaneous - $5,000 - toys, leashes, harnesses, etc

Doggy daycare startup costs could range from roughly $40,000 to $350,000+ if you are purchasing or constructing a building as well. 

How much does it cost to start a dog grooming business?

A dog grooming business can be quite affordable to get started.  StarterStory estimates that the average cost to start a pet grooming business is roughly $20,000.  Some of the key startup costs for a pet grooming business include:

  1. Grooming certification - $2,000 - depending on where you live you might need to take a course and get certified as a groomer before starting.  
  2. Pet Grooming Equipment - $10,000 - GroomArts put together a comprehensive list of grooming equipment that you could purchase that would cost $10,000 at most. 
  3. Self wash bays - $1,000 per bay - if you are going to offer self wash bays for customers to groom their own pets you can find a host of self wash stations available for around $1,000 on Amazon

You ought to be able to add grooming to your dog boarding business for as little as $20,000.  

How much does it cost to start a dog training business?

You can start a dog training business for nearly nothing.  You just need access to some space which you could rent and then some dog leashes, harnesses, toys, treats and maybe a business card and a website and you are in business.  You ought to be able to add a dog training component to your existing dog boarding business for less than $1,000.  You really just need the trainer and some dedicated space and you are in business. 

Once you decide what service offerings and what approach you plan to take with your dog boarding business, then you can add in all of your estimated startup costs into our financial model as seen below:

Revenue for a Dog Boarding and Grooming Business

The revenue potential of your dog boarding and grooming business is dependent on what services you will provide, your price points, and your capacity.  Below you will see some screenshots from our financial model that will show you the key assumptions that you need to consider in order to generate revenue projections for each segment of your business. 

How much revenue can a dog boarding and daycare business generate?

The potential revenue for dog boarding and daycare businesses will require the following assumptions:

  1. The different categories of animals that you board or care for like large, medium and small dogs and cats.  
  2. You will need the number of slots available for each animal category
  3. The price per night/day for a weekday and a weekend - see dog boarding pricing here and daycare pricing here
  4. The average add on revenue spent per customer

You can see how you can enter in those assumptions into the financial model table below:

example revenue assumptions for a dog boarding and daycare center

How much revenue can a dog grooming business make?

For a dog grooming business your potential revenue is based on the following:

  1. The number of groomers on staff
  2. The number of grooming appointments available per month per groomer
  3. What percentage of the total grooming capacity is actually utilized
  4. The different types / sizes of pets categories
  5. The average price for each category - find dog grooming pricing here.  For self washing bays you can find pricing here
  6. The % breakdown of types of grooming appointments utilized

dog grooming revenue assumption examples

How much revenue can a dog training business make?

For a dog training business your revenue forecast will be based on the following assumptions:

  1. Service type
  2. Price - Pricing for Dog Training
  3. # of spots available per day for each service
  4. % of spots actually utilized

This will allow you to calculate the projected revenue as seen below:

Dog training revenue assumptions

Operating expenses for a Pet Boarding and Grooming Business

Next, I want to walk you through some of the key costs of goods sold and operating expenses associated with a dog boarding and grooming business.  

How much does it cost to feed a dog per day?

For a dog boarding business or dog daycare facility, your primary variable cost will be the cost of food for the day which will vary based on the size of the pet.  You can find some frame of reference for food costs per day here which estimates under $1.50 per day, but you can also see the cost of a fresh food diet below:

Dog boarder food per day cost

Once you settle on an estimate for the cost to feed each animal category that you serve, you can enter in those costs in the highlighted section below:

  

How many dogs can one caretaker care for at a time?

Another key cost for a dog boarding and daycare facility is the labor cost and one of the key questions is how many dogs can one caretaker care for at a time?  We can see that the Pet Care Services Association recommends that you have 1 staff member for every 15 dogs

Then based on the capacity of your facility you can enter in the assumptions for your staffing in the table below. 

Example of dog daycare and boarding employee costs

How much do dog groomers make per hour?

Another key assumption for the dog grooming business is how much you will need to pay your groomers.  According to Ziprecruiter we can see that the average hourly rate for a groomer is currently $19 per hour:

You can take that hourly rate plus the assumption of how long it will take to groom each size of animal in order to determine your labor cost assumption for each grooming category and enter that below:

example of dog and cat grooming prices and costs

How much do dog trainers make per hour?

For the dog training component of your business, the cost of the trainers will be your largest variable expense.  According to Ziprecruiter, a dog trainer will earn a national average of $18 per hour.  

You can enter in your expected hourly rate including taxes as seen below in order to calculate your total cost of goods sold for your dog training business. 

Example of dog training business expenses

How Profitable is the Dog Boarding and Grooming Business?

Finally, we want to know how profitable your dog boarding and grooming business might be.  A quick Google search shows that K9 Resorts reports franchises with $1.2 million in sales and $400k in EBITDA after 24 months.  

If you have used our dog grooming and daycare financial model template then you will be able to forecast your own potential profits as you can see from our example below:

Example profit and loss summary of a pet boarding, grooming, training facility

And there you have it! A complete overview of many of the key financial numbers and assumptions you need to know as you plan your new dog boarding, grooming, or training business. If you have any questions don't hesitate to reach to us here at ProjectionHub!

About the Author

Adam is the Co-founder of ProjectionHub which helps entrepreneurs create financial projections for potential investors, lenders and internal business planning. Since 2012, over 50,000 entrepreneurs from around the world have used ProjectionHub to help create financial projections.

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