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Old 12-28-2006, 07:40 AM
 
321 posts, read 1,419,709 times
Reputation: 138

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I am thinking of opening a doggie day care in a new resort to be built (not in Colorado). I have experience with both petsitting and working in a doggie day care. I'm also a skier, though not lately. Question to the skiers is, if the resort had a doggie day care on site or nearby, would it be worthwhile to you to bring your dog on your vacation, when he can go to the day care and have a fun time while you're out skiing? We could also offer pickup and delivery service. Or would you rather leave the dog at home? Of course playtime would be supervised, and all dogs would be evaluated before being allowed. How about if they also offer boarding in case you're not staying in pet-friendly accommodations?

Let's say this day care also had a pet supply store attached, and that the resort is being marketed as a four season resort with golf and other recreation in the off season. Do you think a doggie day care could survive year round?

Just trying to do a little research. Thanks for reading!

Sharon
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Larkspur, Colorado
226 posts, read 1,265,430 times
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You have a very good business idea. One concern I have is the cost of Real Estate in ski resorts. You will not be successful if the dog owner must drive out of town to see their dog (ideally you will want to be as close to the action as possible) and you will have to charge an inflated amount to cover the high real estate costs.
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Old 12-28-2006, 10:42 AM
 
321 posts, read 1,419,709 times
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You're right that real estate values are going to soar. In fact, land in the area has already become expensive as a lot of people have vacation and retirement homes there. However, I have family there, less than 20 miles from where the resort will be located. The resort will be just outside of what is now a small town. I'm planning on either having the day care in the town, or at the resort if I can work out the space with the owner. Trying to get into this on the ground floor. They project to start work Summer 2007, with opening for the 2008-09 season. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:28 AM
 
20,836 posts, read 39,052,603 times
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Ideally, a really sumptuous resort would allocate a bit of room for such a function.

In a space-constrained setting, seems a good solution is to go up, by building the roof of the pet store strong enough to hold the doggie day care center or boarding facility. We waste a lot of space in this country by going horizontal.
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Old 12-28-2006, 01:53 PM
 
321 posts, read 1,419,709 times
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Very good point Mike. I like the idea of a multi-level building, though you'd actually have to reverse the floors, with the day care on the ground floor, as it would also need to have an outdoor area for fresh air romps. I believe I heard that they're planning an Adirondack-style atmosphere.

My hope is that the resort would consider making it a part of their amenity package. The reading I've done about this particular resort is that they are planning on condos, hotel(s), retail, and some office space.

I also know that people in the pet industry will travel to places such as this to do seminars and things of that nature. Some of the really well-known trainers go around the country giving lectures on training, health, etc. This facility could host such events.
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Old 01-07-2007, 01:44 PM
 
21 posts, read 50,055 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon R. View Post
I am thinking of opening a doggie day care in a new resort to be built (not in Colorado). I have experience with both petsitting and working in a doggie day care. I'm also a skier, though not lately. Question to the skiers is, if the resort had a doggie day care on site or nearby, would it be worthwhile to you to bring your dog on your vacation, when he can go to the day care and have a fun time while you're out skiing? We could also offer pickup and delivery service. Or would you rather leave the dog at home? Of course playtime would be supervised, and all dogs would be evaluated before being allowed. How about if they also offer boarding in case you're not staying in pet-friendly accommodations?

Let's say this day care also had a pet supply store attached, and that the resort is being marketed as a four season resort with golf and other recreation in the off season. Do you think a doggie day care could survive year round?

Just trying to do a little research. Thanks for reading!

Sharon
Hi Sharon R.

I read your post about opening up a dog camp/doggie day care facility and am curious about how you are progressing. I am thinking about moving to the Durango, CO area and opening up a dog camp/therapy/boarding facility and could use any helpful hints you may want to offer. The dog camp would not be primarily for the ski resorts but would be for the overall population in that area. I stayed in Durango for 3 nights at the Doubletree, right on the river walk and noticed that a lot of people have dogs so I think it is very dog-friendly which would make it an excellent area to pursue this type of business.

It has always been my dream to work with animals (especially dogs) and I am serious about pursuing this once I get moved out there. I have an alternate source of income so this would be kind of a "side job" even though it would be full time. I would love to hear more from you about your ideas and plans and how you came about wanting to do this.

Take care and look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,
Sharf315
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Old 01-07-2007, 05:18 PM
 
214 posts, read 1,198,584 times
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On first glance this looks a rather simple and very cool idea. My wife and I looked into it some time ago for a slightly diferent venture.

The problems we encountered were:
1. Basic start up costs based on required buildings, fenced runs, reception areas, and such. Think lots of concrete and split areas for those coming and going.
2. Rental space. Nobody really wants to rent space in a common area that fits well with where your clients are at. And with prime space comes prime price.
3. Tracking vacination records and requiring rabies certificates. Just like a kennel you'll need this for your own good (think insurance) as well as your county probably requiring it. No cert: no stay.
4. Insurance to cover both employee and general liability for those who enter the office and facility. From one who has Pits we know all too well the potential for problems. One clients dog gets at anothers, even in the parking lot, and you can bet you'll be named.

In the end we just didn't find the whole plan to be so smart aferall. A quick $35-50 a day looked just too easy at first. Figure 15-20 animals....hmm. Yes it's a high cashflow but the cost and hassles are large also.
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:09 PM
 
21 posts, read 50,055 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd TCE View Post
On first glance this looks a rather simple and very cool idea. My wife and I looked into it some time ago for a slightly diferent venture.

The problems we encountered were:
1. Basic start up costs based on required buildings, fenced runs, reception areas, and such. Think lots of concrete and split areas for those coming and going.
2. Rental space. Nobody really wants to rent space in a common area that fits well with where your clients are at. And with prime space comes prime price.
3. Tracking vacination records and requiring rabies certificates. Just like a kennel you'll need this for your own good (think insurance) as well as your county probably requiring it. No cert: no stay.
4. Insurance to cover both employee and general liability for those who enter the office and facility. From one who has Pits we know all too well the potential for problems. One clients dog gets at anothers, even in the parking lot, and you can bet you'll be named.

In the end we just didn't find the whole plan to be so smart aferall. A quick $35-50 a day looked just too easy at first. Figure 15-20 animals....hmm. Yes it's a high cashflow but the cost and hassles are large also.
Hi Todd TCE,

Thanks much for the info and your thoughts. Actually, I would like to have the business on my own property (looking at eventually getting 10-20 acres) and it would be more of a dog camp than a boarding facility so no need for runs or concrete, would just have the entire property fenced in. I would have airtight legal contracts that each pet owner would have to sign before their dog would even be admitted onto the property and each dog would have to be "interviewed" to make sure he or she was social. Any dog displaying any type of aggressive behavior towards people and/or other dogs would be immediately "kicked out of class"!!!

I have seen websites for dog camps and have also known a lot of people who have used them. It would be more of a "home away from home" type atmosphere with couches, indoor/outdoor carpeting, kiddie pools, playgrounds, etc.

Does that sound like something that would take off in the Durango area? I did a search for pet services in Durango from the Chamber's website and there was only one petsitting service that came up which rather surprised me. There also is only one vet listed in Durango but there must be more in that area.

If anyone has more info and/or helpful hints for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks and have a wonderful evening,
Sharf315
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:44 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,191,290 times
Reputation: 14904
There's a lot of "what ifs" in your business idea which don't give me warm fuzzies about your plan.

Since you don't mention the ski area locale, it's a little difficult to assess how your typical "guest" might be arriving to the area. It would be a burden to fly dogs in for a vacation. If they're driving in, what's the point of leaving pets with you if they don't have a place to keep their pet with them after skiing?

If it's a day ski area, then I believe most people would leave their pet at home.

I've not seen a ski area resort plan where it is feasible to have a kennel property very close by. The resort, by plan, will make the close in building and commercial sites very pricey psf for retail sales biz.

Even a modest kennel will use at least 5,000 sq ft of floor space (we've finished out a few for vet's this last year).

If you think you could get space reasonably some distance away, I'd bet the logistics of pick up and delivery (vehicle, dispatch, driver, mtce, operation, commercial insurance) could be very costly to provide for a daily service. If you have employees in a resort area, you may have issues with finding people who will be accepted by the insurance company to drive the vehicle.

Don't forget that with employees comes UI, Workman's comp, SS and other direct wage costs. Add in the accounting time, and it can be a considerable time/effort/dollar expense burden on a small business. And you own self-employment tax load is substantial.

Having owned/operated an equestrian center, I can tell you firsthand that General Liability, E&O insurance, will be exceptionally costly for anything to do with animals that can bite, kick, scratch, and have a wide range of personalities to deal with. Frighten, annoy, surprise ... whatever is a trigger ... and it's out of your control.

You place yourself in the position of being a canine expert by running a kennel business. Are you sure that you won't ever have a "bite" incident? Enough to bet your life's savings and future earnings? I can tell you (again, firsthand) that no kennel contract is "ironclad" to an aggressive PI lawyer. It's just a hurdle to go through to get to you.

Even in our states with "equine professional protection statutes", warning placards, it's all only a hurdle for a PI lawyer representing someone who's been severely injured. Somebody's child hurt on or around your business operation could hardly be held accountable for triggering an attack ... but you will be.

I'd bet that when you add up all the costs and risks associated with this venture, that your daily fee for service will put you out of a realistic market.
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Old 01-08-2007, 08:01 PM
 
Location: mountains of Utah
47 posts, read 210,233 times
Reputation: 48
Well, Sharon....I live in such an area as you describe and have owned/operated an in-home pet sitting business for 15 years....doing very nicely, thank you. I work closely with a doggie day care center here and they are doing very well as well. One has to book well ahead of any desired date. I have never found it necessary to advertise, nor has the day care operation. Way plenty of business. HOWEVER, I would not say that skiiers make up a lot of our business. It's just the nature of such an environment here that people travel a great deal...lots of second and vacation homes. Also many commuters to the flatlands. The people that have us watch their pets while they ski are very few and pretty much limited to out-of-towners in vacation periods. Most of the business we get from skiiers are those who leave their pets at home when they travel to another ski area (or Hawaii...or Mexico, anywhere warm in the middle of winter). Point is, business is steady and consistent throughout the year, summer or winter.
Not sure I'm allowed to do this, but will say that I started this business AFTER I retired and now in my 7th decade of life...and am selling the business. If you're interested..........
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