Have you always dreamed of working with animals?
Well, now you might finally have a shot at it. Pet care is a vibrant and dynamic industry. It is currently on a growth spike with no end in sight.
One way you can get into this market is by turning your mobile home into a pet salon and boarding facility. This is a great startup business. To help you get started, this article will focus on the changes you need to make to your house to turn this dream into a reality.
The down-low on starting a pet salon and boarding facility
We all love our pets. But unfortunately, most people can’t spend as much time with their furkids as they want to. In these cases, they will need to hire outside services to help them.
Two of the services pet owners most commonly look for are grooming and boarding facilities. This is where you come in.
Luckily, these are businesses that you can run smoothly from your home. It is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurship. Plus, it is manageable and can be beneficial to combine the two ventures into one.
Pros of running a pet salon and boarding facility:
- Opportunities for expansion: There are so many different avenues to choose from if you want to work with pets, especially if you have already started a business. For one, you can expand your current operations. But you can also branch out into new services like dog walking and puppy training.
- More and more pets: Believe it or not but over 85 million households in the U.S. own at least one pet. That is 67% of all homes. So the pet care market is following a steady upward trend. People spend more and more money on their pets, which can make it much easier to run a company in this industry.
- Be your own boss: You can set your hours, make your own rules, have more control. Need we say more?
- You get to work with cute dogs and cats all day long.
However, you need to be aware that it can take a significant capital investment to start. You need to buy quite a lot of equipment and will need to make some changes to your mobile home.
Besides this, you need to have some knowledge and experience with all kinds of pets. It will be helpful if you have some training in animal handling.
Legal and administrative matters
It’s important to note that like any other business, there are permits and licenses that you will need to get.
First off, training isn’t mandatory. But it can be extremely beneficial both for you and the pets. Getting certified can also be useful for attracting new customers and keeping existing ones. It will show that you are a professional company. Take a look at this list of grooming programs.
Secondly, most cities and towns in the U.S. have restrictions about running a business from your house. So you need to contact and check with your local authorities. You will probably need to register your business and apply for relevant licenses and permits.
Another crucial thing to consider is insurance. You will need to get specific policies to protect you from liability.
Type of grooming and boarding facility
One of the first things you need to decide is what type of pet salon or boarding facility you want to start.
Do you want to work with both cats and dogs?
Are you planning on starting a daycare service?
Or do you want to offer long term boarding services?
It is necessary to work this out before you can start with your planning. And it will affect what equipment you need and what alterations you have to make.
Signs and advertisements
Of course, posters and ads are essential for any business. They are especially crucial if you are starting a small home-run company.
Preferably you want signs for your business to be visible from the sidewalk or street. It can play a crucial role in attracting local customers. And it can help people to find your property.
Consider placing a few signs in your yard, on the fence, or mounted to the mobile home. A few of the best products for a pet salon and boarding facility are:
- Yard signs
- Dimensional letters
- Rigid aluminum panels
If you are renting the lot or mobile home you will need to check in with your landlord. Your park might also have rules regulating if and where you can place signs.
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Securing the yard
More likely than not, if you’re working with dogs, you will let them go outside. You will probably want to take them to go potty or give them a space to play. In some cases, you could also build kennels in your yard.
But even if this isn’t your plan, you might want to secure your lot just in case.
Here are some tips for dog proofing your garden:
- Install a sturdy fence that is at least six feet tall.
- Inspect the perimeter for any holes or gaps. Close them with chicken wire or something similar.
- Put up a barrier around any water feature like a pool or pond.
- Remove any plants that are poisonous or harmful to pets.
- Don’t use any substances or chemicals that can be dangerous. Or restrict access to areas where you applied them.
- Make sure there are shelter and shade. Also, put out some filled water bowls.
- Secure trash cans and any tools and supplies that are outside.
You will want to be much more careful with cats. Overall, it’s better to keep them safely inside. Or in boarding areas that are completely enclosed.
Pet proofing the home
Dogs and cats are incredibly curious. Much like with children, this can lead them into potentially dangerous situations. Many things that look entirely harmless to the observer can be dangerous to pets.
You don’t want any pets to get hurt on your watch. And seeing that your home is dog and cat-proof can be a crucial selling point for new customers.
Besides this, it will help you to protect your property like furniture and appliances.
The following is necessary to pet-proof your mobile home:
- Put chemicals, cleaners, medications, cleaners, and laundry supplies in secured cabinets or on high shelves.
- Look for any small holes or gaps that they can get into and close them.
- Store all food securely.
- Put away any small objects that pets might try to eat or swallow.
- Make sure that toilet lids are closed and restrict access to any other water features.
- Hide phone cables and electrical wires
- Put away any fragile objects that they can knock over and break.
- Get rid of any poisonous or toxic houseplants.
- Hide any tools as well as sharp objects like knives.
- Install pet gates wherever necessary and consider getting childproof locks on doors and cabinets.
One critical task is to recreate rooms in your mobile home. As in any business, you will need to allocate spaces for different tasks. Now, as the owner, you will have the opportunity to make these choices based on your own preferences.
What you’ll need depends on your specific plan, but these are the essential spaces you’ll need:
Reception or waiting area
Whether you are running a business from home or an office, you want to appear professional. A necessary part of this is making your customers feel comfortable and welcome. That’s why you should preferably create some sort of reception or waiting area for your guests.
Usually, you will want this room to be close or directly connected to the front door. So in a mobile home, it can be a good idea to convert the living room area.
If your business is small, you probably don’t need to get a front desk. Although this can be a nice touch and can help streamline the check-in and payment process.
On the other hand, you definitely want some seating for the clients (both furry and not). Get some couches or chairs. And perhaps even a pet bed or two.
To make your customers feel welcome, you want the room to be aesthetically pleasing. The room should be well lit and tastefully decorated.
Remember to make everything pet-friendly!
Of course, you will need to allocate space for grooming. We recommend that you use an entire room or at least any indoor area to which you can restrict access. You don’t want a pet to slip away from you accidentally.
What do you need to install?
Any pet salon needs to have a tub. But not a standard basin. You need one that is elevated from the ground and is deep so that you can access it while standing. It needs to have a water hose with a spray attachment.
You can buy a variety of specialized tubs on the market. For example, if you’re going to groom dogs of all shapes and sizes, it can be useful to get one with a ramp.
Besides this, you need to get a grooming table. The best ones are height-adjustable and have some kind of harness to help keep the pets in place.
You’ll also want to install cupboards or cabinets to store all your grooming tools and equipment.
A pro tip is to install a small holding pen in the grooming area to put the pets in while you aren’t busy with them. Alternatively, you can use free-standing crates.
If you are low on space, one idea is to take on a large room in your home like the living room. Split it into two. You can use one half as a reception and the other for grooming. Install a barrier between the two like a front desk with a cute gate.
To successfully run the business, you will need a dedicated space for boarding. You have a wide range of potential options to go with from indoor to outdoor, from basic to premium.
Decide what type of facilities to get based on what you want to offer in terms of pricing, space, comfort, and quality. But also in terms of the length of the stay.
Another important consideration is whether you will keep individual pets separately or give owners the option to board more than one of their pets together.
What do you need to install?
No matter what type of boarding facility you are going to open, there are a few things that you’ll always need:
- Each pen or kennel needs a barrier to enclose it (you can buy complete pre-made enclosures).
- Doors and gates for each “room.”
- Secured storage area for each pets food and items like blankets
- Beds and bedding
- Feeding and drinking stations
- For cats, you need litter boxes
- Air condition
- Drainage trenches or floor drains
- Shelter if outdoors
- Recommended: floor heating
Are you going to groom and board both cats and dogs?
If so, you should allocate different areas for the different species. As long as you don’t groom more than one pet at a time, this isn’t absolutely necessary for the grooming space.
But it is essential for the boarding area. You’ll be thankful for the extra peace of mind that this gives both you and the pets.
Equipment you need
We have covered most of the larger pieces of equipment that you will need. But there are plenty of smaller items that can be useful and even crucial.
The most important of these are:
- Different size pet nail clippers
- Dog grooming shears with attachments
- A variety of combs and brushes for both cats and dogs
- Harnesses, collars, leashes, and muzzles
- Shampoo and conditioner for dogs and cats
- Pet dental kits
- Ear and eye care items
- Cleaning equipment
- Dog and cat beds and bedding
- Pet first aid kit
- Human first aid kit
- Computer with a monitor or laptop
- Financial and kennel management software
- Washing machine and dryer
- Pet carriers or crates
- De-shedding tool
- Grooming wipes
- Appropriate treats
- Water bowls
Love what you do
Not everyone gets to have jobs that they love. But starting a company such as a pet salon and boarding facility can be an ideal way to live out your passion. As you can see, a mobile home can be a fantastic investment. It can open up plenty of opportunities for you, like running a business or becoming a landlord.