Doggie Day Care Operator

Daycare owner with tennis ball playing with dogs
Hero Images/Getty Images

Doggie day care operators are responsible for providing care for dogs that are dropped off for daily boarding while their owners are at work. 

Duties

Doggie day care operators provide care and supervision for dogs that are dropped off each morning and picked up each evening. Their daily duties may involve tasks such as taking reservations, interviewing prospective clients about their pets, bringing dogs into the boarding area, cleaning the facility, coordinating additional on-site services (such as professional grooming or bathing), feeding, exercising, and giving any needed medication.

In larger operations, they may also hire and supervise a support staff comprised of kennel managers, kennel attendants, and dog groomers.

Doggie day care operators must be able to work well with both animals and their owners, as they will interact with both during pet pick up and drop off. They must also have a knack for marketing and advertising so that they can draw in new customers for their pet service business. Additionally, the operator should have solid business and accounting skills to manage the financial side of managing the doggie day care.

Operators of doggie day cares tend to work long days since pet drop-offs begin in the early hours of the morning and owners only return to collect their animals after the conclusion of the work day. It is common practice for a doggie day care to be closed on weekends and holidays. Even if they have several employees on staff an operator must be ready and able to fill in when a shift needs to be covered.

Career Options

Doggie day care operators can expand their services to offer overnight boarding, obedience training, grooming, and a variety of other services. They can partner with nearby veterinarians and grooming facilities and offer pet taxi services so that dogs may go to appointments at those locations, saving owners the time and trouble of taking the dogs there themselves.

They may also choose to open an in-house retail division where they sell pet food, accessories, and related products.

After running a doggie day care, an operator can leverage their experience to open a variety of other independent pet service businesses.

Education & Training

While no specific degree or formal training is required to become a doggie day care operator, it is beneficial to have completed coursework in an animal related field or to have extensive experience working with animals in a hands-on capacity.

Most individuals establish a strong history of working with dogs professionally before they decide to open a doggie day care. Useful prior experience may include work as a veterinary technician, trainer, groomer, dog walker, kennel manager, or dog show handler. Many operators also work for an established doggie day care or boarding facility to learn about this type of business before striking out on their own.

Salary

The salary that a doggie day care operator earns can vary widely based on the facility’s volume of business, the maximum number of dogs that can be accommodated, additional services provided (training, grooming, or retail product sales), and necessary expenses (such as employee wages, facility maintenance, insurance, and lease or mortgage payments).

It is common for doggie day cares to charge between $18 and $32 per dog per day. Rates vary by geographic area and what types of services or amenities are offered at each individual day care. Most operators also offer monthly membership rates for those clients who use the service on a frequent and regular basis. 

Career Outlook

A survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) projects that grooming and boarding services will bring in $4.73 billion in revenue during 2014, up from the $4.41 billion earned in the same category in 2013. The population of pets kept in American households is also projected to continue to increase steadily.

More facilities will be necessary to accommodate the increasing population of pet dogs, creating opportunities for doggie day care operators to successfully enter this area of the pet industry.

The popularity of this type of business has skyrocketed in recent years as owners have shown an increasing willingness to spend money to ensure the wellbeing of their pets. There should be a strong demand for doggie day care services from owners who are concerned about leaving their pet unattended for long periods during the day.