How to Start a Kennel Business In 2024!

Starting a kennel business can be a rewarding venture for dog lovers looking to work for themselves. With more households owning pets, the demand for pet boarding and other kennel services continues rising. How can one effectively start a Kennel Business?

However, launching a successful kennel takes careful planning and preparation. Here is a step-by-step guide to starting your own dog kennel business.

Key Highlights

  • Assess the costs associated with starting a kennel business and create a business plan. Average startup costs range from $50,000 to $250,000.
  • Obtain necessary licenses and permits. Kennels are regulated businesses requiring certification.
  • Find the right location and layout. Prioritize convenience, zoning laws, and safety.
  • Purchase boarding equipment like spacious kennels, bedding, and play area materials.
  • Market your kennel through strategies like social media, discounts, and partnerships with veterinarians and pet stores.
  • Focus on providing quality care and building long-term relationships with pet parents.

Understanding the Kennel Industry

Industry Size and Future Growth

The pet boarding and kennel industry has grown steadily over the past decade. According to market research, there are over 9,000 boarding kennel businesses operating in the United States, generating around $1.5 billion in annual revenue.

With pet ownership continuing to rise across America, the demand for professional pet care services is expected to increase as well. Industry analysts project the kennel market will grow at an annualized rate of 3-5% over the next five years. This presents a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to start a dog boarding business.

The most profitable kennel locations tend to be in suburban areas near cities, where a large number of pet owners reside. Urban pet parents who live in apartments and condos are especially likely to utilize kennel boarding while traveling.

Trends and Challenges

Several notable trends are shaping the kennel industry:

  • Focus on Luxury – Premium facilities offer specialized services like grooming, training, and veterinary care. Luxury kennels cater to high-end clientele.
  • Incorporating Technology – Kennels are utilizing software to streamline booking and payments. Pet cameras allow remote monitoring.
  • Emphasis on Safety and Transparency – Pet parents want robust security, screening procedures, and real-time updates on their dogs.
  • Competition from Pet-Sitting Apps – Apps like Rover allows people to book home pet sitters, creating alternatives to kennel boarding.

Key challenges for new kennel owners include high startup costs, staffing difficulties, complex licensing requirements, and pushback from zoning laws. Stiff competition in mature markets can also impede gaining market share. Standing out with superior care and services is essential.

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks


  • Satisfaction of working with animals if you’re a dog lover
  • Building personal relationships with pets and owners
  • Offering a needed, in-demand service as pet ownership expands
  • Opportunity to earn a reasonable living and be your boss


  • Substantial upfront investment and operating costs
  • Long hours caring for animals, including nights and weekends
  • Dealing with emergencies and liability risks
  • Managing seasonal fluctuations and winter slow periods
  • Noisy, dirty working conditions

Learn How to Start and Run a Profitable  Kennel Business

Analyze the Kennel Industry and Local Market

  • Research the pet boarding industry in your area to gauge competition and target markets. Look at trends in your city and state.
  • Talk to kennel owners about startup challenges, operating costs, and keys to success. Join industry associations.
  • Survey local pet owners to assess needs and identify gaps your business can fill. Consider dog daycare or grooming add-on services.

Create a Detailed Kennel Business Plan

Your business plan is the roadmap, so ensure it is thorough and realistic. Cover all aspects:

Mission Statement and Business Structure

  • Craft a mission statement summarizing your kennel’s purpose and values.
  • Choose a business structure – most kennels operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability companies.

Startup Costs and Financing

  • Estimate costs of all startup expenses, including licensing, equipment, renovations, and marketing.
  • Determine startup funding through loans, crowdfunding, investments, or personal savings.

Services and Revenue Model

  • Detail the services you’ll provide and corresponding fees – boarding, daycare, grooming, training, etc.
  • Project annual revenues based on local rates and expected occupancy.

Location and Facility Plans

  • Describe the ideal location based on local zoning laws and target customer base.
  • Map out kennel layout and workflow – reception area, kennels, play zones, isolation area.

Products/Equipment Needed

  • Identify all equipment from cleaning supplies to boarding kennels and beds.
  • Research options and compare vendors.

Marketing Plan

  • Outline marketing mix – advertising, promotions, referrals, partnerships with veterinarians.
  • Set monthly marketing budget and metrics to track.

Operations Plan

  • Describe day-to-day processes and roles for caring for dogs.
  • Set protocols for emergencies, administering medications, and handling illnesses.

Financial Plan and Projections

  • Detailed income statement, balance sheet, cash flow forecasts, and break-even analysis.
  • Discuss contingency plans if projections are not met.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

  • Business License – register your business name and structure.
  • Kennel Permit – obtain a state kennel operator’s license.
  • Tax Permits – apply for sales tax ID and employer identification number.
  • Health Inspection Certificate – ensure the facility meets codes.
  • Zoning Permit – confirm kennel is allowed based on zoning laws.

Set Up the Legal Structure

  • Choose a business entity – sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.
  • Register your kennel’s official business name.
  • Open a business banking account to keep finances separate.
  • Purchase business insurance – general liability and animal bailee’s insurance.

Find the Right Location

Convenience and accessibility for customers is key. Also consider:

  • Zoning – Confirm kennel is permitted to be used based on zoning classification. Residential areas often prohibit kennels.
  • Noise – Pick a property away from neighbors who may complain about barking.
  • Size – Accommodate kennels, play zones, parking, and outdoor areas.
  • Access – Near main roads and highways for easy customer access.

Design and Set Up Your Kennel Facility


  • Reception area and lobby
  • Kennel runs or enclosed boarding spaces
  • Outdoor play yards and walking areas
  • Isolation room for sick dogs
  • Food prep and storage
  • Laundry room for bedding
  • Restroom and sink for grooming
  • Office and record storage

Acquire the Necessary Equipment

  • Sturdy kennels and enclosures – various sizes
  • Comfortable beds, mats, and blankets
  • Food and water bowls
  • Leashes and collars of all sizes
  • Play zone structures and toys
  • Grooming supplies like shampoo, brushes
  • Cleaning and disinfecting products
  • Pet first aid kit and emergency meds
  • Security cameras and fire extinguishers
  • Office equipment – computer, phone, printer

Stock Initial Inventory

  • Premium dog food – dry kibble, canned, raw, prescription
  • Treats and chews
  • Canine shampoos and conditioners
  • Flea and tick medication
  • Variety of dog toys for playing and teething

Market and Advertise Your New Kennel

  • Create a website highlighting services, rates, photos, and contact info.
  • Distribute brochures and flyers to vets, pet stores, and groomers in the area.
  • Run local ads – radio, newspaper, and community sites.
  • Leverage social media – Facebook, and Instagram pages to engage local pet owners.
  • Offer grand opening promotions and discounts to attract first customers.
  • Partner with local dog trainers, and vets for referrals.
  • Join the Chamber of Commerce to network and gain visibility.

Train and Hire Staff

  • Look for employees with dog care experience – vet techs, trainers, groomers.
  • Conduct extensive background checks.
  • Provide training on kennel procedures – safety, emergencies, and pet CPR.
  • Hire weekend and overnight help in addition to weekday staff.

Set Policies and Procedures

  • Create detailed protocols for feeding, exercise, medication, and emergencies.
  • Outline supervision requirements – dogs should never be left unattended together.
  • Enforce strict sanitation regime – daily disinfecting, waste removal, laundry.
  • Require all dogs to be current on vaccines and flea/tick medication.
  • Set check-in/out times and late arrival fees.
  • Collect emergency contact and veterinary info for all boarded pets.

Prioritize Quality Care and Customer Relationships

  • Treat all dogs with love – provide walks, playtime, and soothing music at bedtime.
  • Send photo updates of pets to owners during stays.
  • Greet owners warmly and make check-ins/outs smooth.
  • Listen attentively to any concerns from pet parents.
  • Reward loyal customers – discounts, extra play time, bandanas.

Wrapping Up

Starting and running a successful kennel takes diligent planning, substantial investment, and a genuine passion for caring for pets. But for dog lovers, the ability to turn this passion into a thriving business makes the effort worthwhile. Follow this guide, and you’ll be on your way to opening the premier kennel in your community.

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