K-Run's Park Me in First, better known as Uno, won the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club "Best in Show". This was the first time ever that a beagle had placed in the most honored spot. Handler Aaron Wilkerson did a fine job showing the dog and had great reason to celebrate this historic moment.
Lisa writes in with a very common question for people who are considering opening a doggie daycare:
Hello. I'm interested in starting a doggie daycare in Dutchess County, NY. My friend will be my partner. She is very impulsive and thinks this is going to be easy. I'm more concerned on finding the right place. What kind of place is the right place?? I've checked into two doggie day cares so far and one was in a warehouse with no outdoor grass and the dogs did their business inside. The other was in an old house/storage building with a lot of rooms, but small ones. Help!
While there is no easy answer here's what I told her:
Location. Location. Location.
You'll hear that a lot. Where your business is located can make or break you. Choose the right location and you can stand to make a lot of money; choose the wrong one and not only will you not be making any money but you could also find yourself in a long-term lease that you can't get out of which can set you up for financial ruin.
Do NOT take choosing a location lightly. It's probably the most important decision you'll have to make should you choose to open up your own doggie business. There are many, many factors to take into account - many of which you will have no control over.
Zoning and building permits will be the biggest obstacle. Neighbors don't look kindly on barking dogs all day and night. So even finding a place that is zoned right could take awhile. Then you have to figure out if it's the right fit for you.
There are some factors that you do have some control over. Consider some of these questions when looking around:
Is this location easily accessible?Can people get to you from major highways and streets?Does the location have a stop light or stop sign at the entrance so cars can get in and out quickly?How big is the building? Will it accommodate the number of dogs you anticipate having?Does it have an outdoor play area? Even if it does you cannot rely on it all of the time. Inclement weather such as rain, snow or heat will force you to keep all of the dogs indoors.If you're in a major city is there a lot of foot traffic in front of the building? In other words, can people in the city walk to your business on the way to catch their bus or train?
Additionally, if you're looking to offer overnight boarding ask yourself:
Is this location on the way to or from an airport? Travelers heading out of town for vacation are more likely to consider a place on the way to the airport as it's less running around before a trip.
And as I said, look out for long-term leases if you're not 100% sure that the location and business is going to work.
Obviously, you'll have 100 other questions that you'll need to answer. So do not be fooled into thinking that this is a walk in the park or a "sure thing". Opening a doggie daycare business is a serious business with real consequences. Is it easier then selling ice to Eskimos? Sure. But it still takes hard work, determination and an open mind.
If you have a question that you would like answered let us know. We'll see if we can answer it for you.