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How Much Does it Cost to Start a Dog Daycare Business?

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cost to start a dog daycare
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Starting a daycare is indeed a splendid way to turn your love for dogs into a well-paying profession. However, have you thought about the money that will go into building this business?

Whether you plan to start a dog daycare that offers care services during the day or a daycare with a grooming business—money is at the top of everything you will need to get started.

The question is how much? How much does it cost to start a dog daycare business, and is there a possible way to start your business with a little less money?

Well, this guide has all your answers related to startup costs and is also a perfect tool to calculate the startup costs for your unique business.

So let’s get started already.

Average costs for starting a dog daycare

Before we dive into details, check out this doggy daycare startup cost checklist. It will help you plan your startup budget and know how much financing you need to get started.

Item Average Cost
One-time Expenses
Lease Deposits $3,000-$12,000
Renovations and remodeling $5,000-$50,000
Daycare equipment (dog beds, toys, grooming equipment, etc.) $5,000-$40,000
Inventory and supplies $1,500-$5,000
Legal and consultancy services $650-$2,000
Business licenses $150-$1,500
Business registration $150-$350
Insurance (annually) $500-$6,000
Website and logo $150-$500
Branding and advertisement (pre-launch) $500-$2,000
Total One-Time Expenses $16,600-$119,350
Recurring Expenses (Per Month)
Rent or mortgage $1,500-$4,500
Payroll $4,000-$10,000
Inventory and supplies (restock) $1,000-$2,500
Utilities $1,000-$1,200
Marketing and advertising $200-$1,000
Accounting software $100-$300
Total Recurring Expenses $7,800- $19,500
Total $24,400- $1,38,850

Using this dog daycare startup cost checklist, you can plan your startup budget and get an idea of how much financing you will need.

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Let’s move ahead and identify how you will calculate your dog daycare startup costs.

How to calculate the cost of opening a dog daycare business

You now have a list of potential expenses and a rough estimate of your startup costs. Let’s estimate your actual startup costs using these two proven methods.

The first, traditional method involves using a startup costs calculator to estimate the startup costs. However, the second, the Upmetrics method, is an innovative method that uses the Upmetrics financial forecasting tool.

Let’s understand both methods so that you can choose one that suits your requirements the best.

The traditional method—startup costs calculator

The calculator includes categories such as pre-trading, website setup, marketing, operations, and people. You can enter the estimated costs in each field and let the calculator estimate the costs for you.

Remember that many startup costs fall under recurring expenses, so cover those costs monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Calculate your startup costs using this calculator.

The Upmetrics method—financial forecasting tool

It is an intuitive and efficient method of calculating startup costs. Using Upmetrics will not just help you estimate startup costs but also help with financial forecasting.

All you need to do is enter your sales, costs, and other financial assumptions and let the tool calculate monthly/quarterly/ and yearly projections for you.


Check out the financial forecasting tool for accurate financial forecasting. Once you have an accurate estimate of startup costs, you can easily identify funding requirements for your dog daycare business.

Financial Planning to calculate startup costs

Calculate Your Startup Costs

Raising funds for a new startup is certainly a nerve-wracking and time-consuming process, but having a solid dog daycare business plan can make things a lot easier.

Let’s move ahead and discuss the factors that affect your dog daycare startup costs.

Factors that affect dog daycare costs

1. Location

The location of your doggy daycare business directly and significantly influences your startup costs to a large extent. Of course, it won’t be much higher if you plan to start a home daycare business.

Before you start making any investments, you need to understand how a geographical location can influence the different costs for your business.

For instance, a retail business location with easy accessibility and parking facilities will have higher rental expenses than a location in a lesser-known remote locality. However, prime locations will also bring you closer to your target market, helping your business grow.

Further, the location will also have a direct impact on your cost of hiring. It’s a no-brainer that the cost of hiring in popular cities is much higher compared to other cities.

Similarly, your costs for licensing and permitting, equipment, insurance, professional services, and more will depend on your chosen location.

2. Dog daycare space

When it comes to choosing a retail space for your dog daycare business premises, you have one of two choices:

  • Rent a commercial place
  • Buy a commercial place

Buying a commercial space will definitely cost you a lot more than renting a commercial space. To give you a rough idea, when you are buying a retail space, you can expect to spend anywhere between $270-$320 per square foot.

On the other hand, the cost of renting a commercial space in the prime cities of the US is anywhere around $19/ sq/ year. However, the upper borough regions in these cities can cost up to $81/ sq/ year.

Before you start sourcing for the location, identify your sizing and space requirements. The sizing depends on how many dogs will you cater to at a time and the type of dog daycare facility you plan to open.

  • Dog boarding facility: 60-100 sq ft per dog
  • Dog daycare center: 1000-3000 sq. ft (Can accommodate 20-50 dogs at a time)
  • Large dog daycare facilities: 3000+ sq. ft (Can accommodate over 50 dogs at a time)

Considering there is enough space for the services you plan to offer, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,500-$4500 rent every month.

Further, if you rent a commercial place, account for the lease rental deposits in your startup cost calculations. Generally, 2-3 months of rent, i.e. $3,000-$12,000 are supposed to be paid as lease deposits.

3. Construction and renovation costs

Unless you are buying or renting pre-made daycare facilities, you have to undertake certain renovations and repairs to get your doggy daycare ready. It is a significant expense that will contribute largely to your startup expenses.

Now, building a dog boarding facility right from ground level up can get pretty expensive. Expect to spend around $300,000 to get the basic infrastructure ready.

Instead of spending this much on construction, it is better to get a ready commercial space that requires certain basic modifications and renovations. However, even in such cases, you can expect to spend anywhere between $5,000-$50,000 and more on remodeling.

Apart from basic utility connections and paint, these costs mainly include the following:

  • Kennels: $300-$1,000 each
  • Outdoor play area: $1500-$4500 (excluding fencing)
  • Fencing: $1,500-$6,000
  • Cleaning stations: $3,000-$5,000

It’s important to keep your budget in sight while undertaking the renovations. If not, these expenses will start piling up pretty quickly.

4. Dog daycare equipment costs

After undertaking essential constructions, you need to equip your dog daycare facility with essential equipment. These costs will vary depending on the daycare services and amenities you plan to offer.

Get your dog daycare business plan to check all the equipment you will require for our furry friends.

Here’s the list of rough pricing estimates for equipment in the pet stores:

  • Pet beds: $50-$200 each
  • Toys and agility equipment: $250-$1,500
  • Feeding bowls and waterers: $100-$400
  • Leashes, collars, harnesses: $100-$600
  • Pet grooming equipment: $500-$2,000 and more

Overall, the equipment costs could span between $10,000-$40,000 and more, considering that you pick high-quality equipment for your daycare. After all, these are important additions that will elevate the ratings of your daycare facilities amongst pet owners and make them your loyal customer base.

5. Payroll Expenses

You need people to help you deliver the daycare services at your premises. However, paying these people is going to take the top spot in your operating expenses.

To run a successful dog daycare business, you must ensure that your doggy daycare is properly staffed. Generally, you would require dog walkers, trainers, cleaners, and administrative staff to run seamless operations at your daycare.

Usually, a single dog trainer can supervise 5-10 dogs at a time. Now, determine how many people you need depending on the size of operations at your doggy daycare business.

According to salary.com, the average salary of a dog handler in the US pet industry is $55,262.  Based on this and your actual requirement, determine how many full-time and hourly employees you require to deliver efficient services.

Generally, you can expect to spend $4,000-$10,000 or more on payroll expenses every month.

6. Professional Services

Professional services would add to your expenses, increasing your initial startup costs considerably. However, these services will essentially help you with compliance, account maintenance, and professional advisory.

Identify the professional services required for your business and avail of those accordingly. Dog daycare centers usually require the following professional services to operate efficiently:

  • Legal services: This will help you with business registration, EIN, as well as tax registration. These services will cost you around $500-$1,000 for once.
  • Vet services: You might require occasional vet services for urgent pet care. Usually, vet services will cost you $150-$500 and more for one sitting.
  • Business consultancy: Helps identify potential business opportunities to grow and prosper. This service will cost you around $150-$1,000 at a time.
  • Accountancy services: Helps look after the books of your doggie daycare, tax filing, and financial analysis costing you approximately $100-$300 monthly.

7. Permits and Insurances

While considering the costs, you need to consider the registration and compliance costs associated with getting your business legal.

This includes business registration costs, licensing fees, and insurance to secure your business against potential risks and damages.

The costs involved in registering a business are anywhere between $150-$350. These costs are largely related to the state of your operations and the nature of your business.

Further, you need to apply for different licenses and permits essential for business compliance. This includes

  • Business License
  • Zoning permits for your business premises
  • Grooming license (applicable if you are going to offer grooming services)
  • Health care permits
  • Animal care licenses

The cost of acquiring a one-time license would range anywhere between $150-$1,500.

Lastly, the cost for general liability insurance, property, and worker’s compensation insurance would sum anywhere around $500-$6,000 annually.

8. Inventory and supplies

Another prominent cost for pet boarding stations is the cost of building an inventory of supplies.

The initial cost for building an inventory of food, cleaning supplies, and materials for grooming services could span anywhere from $1,500-$5,000 and more.

Build a small inventory, enough to keep your business operational for 3-4 weeks maximum.

The food supply for feeding the dogs depends on the type of dogs you cater to. However, you can expect to spend anywhere around $1,000-$2,500 on food supplies every month.

9. Marketing, Branding, and Advertising

Beginning with the branding elements, you need to get the work done on the logo and dog boarding website.

The cost for a domain, hosting, and website building would range anywhere between $150-$500 and more depending on the functionality of the website.

Further, you need to get the signboards, business cards, pamphlets, and leaflets ready to attract dog owners. Highlight your services like dog training, grooming, dog boarding, and other USPs to fit right in your target market. The cost for print media would span anywhere around $500-$2,000 and more.

Lastly, you need money to implement your marketing strategy and pre-launch party. Most dog daycare centers usually host a grand party for dog owners and their pets to mark the beginnings of their business. The costs for this could span anywhere around $500-$2,000 and more depending on various factors. At this stage, you also fix your monthly budget for marketing and promotional activities. As a business owner, the decision regarding how much to spend on marketing relies entirely upon you.

And that’s pretty much all the huge expenses that would contribute to your startup expenses. Let’s now discuss a few tips to regulate these costs and bring down your startup expenses.

Tips for reducing dog daycare startup costs.

1. Start small

Instead of getting a large place right from the beginning, how about you start with a home-based doggy daycare? This will help you save considerably on lease rental expenses and other equipment costs.

Starting small can help you test the market without investing large sums

of money in your business. Then once you feel confident about your idea, you can get a large space to operate a professional pet boarding and doggy daycare business.

2. DIY the decor

It’s tempting to spend thousands on decorations to make your daycare attractive. However, resist the urge and spend only on essential renovations and modifications.

Gather some inspiration from Pinterest boards and do some basic DIY to decorate your daycare interiors.

3. Minimize the inventory

Don’t accumulate large stocks of food, cleaning, and grooming supplies from the beginning. Start with a basic minimum stock and then build up your inventory as the demand for your daycare business grows.

4. Avoid full-time hires

Instead of building a team of full-time employees, get your dog trainers on an hourly basis. Identify the peak hours and schedule the trainers accordingly. This will help you save on monthly payroll expenses, at least for the initial months till you start generating profits.

5. Buy a ready daycare

Keep an eye out for functioning daycare businesses that are ready to sell. Buying or renting a pre-made facility will help you bring down your startup expenses considerably.

6. Regulate your marketing expenses

Instead of getting everything done by professionals, implement some aspects of marketing by yourself. For instance, you can make designs and social media posts from free design tools quite easily. Here you can save a few dollars every month, at least till the time you can afford to pay professionals without breaking the bank.

Remember that every business is unique. You can experiment with strategies and resources to build a business within your budget.


And there you have- A rough understanding of the average costs to start a doggy daycare business. What next?

Estimate the exact costs for starting a doggy daycare in your chosen concept and locality using the Upmetrics startup cost calculator.

Let’s turn your dream of starting a daycare business into reality.

Use Upmetrics for Accurate Startup Cost Projections!

Looking to estimate your startup costs? Dive into Upmetrics! Our business plan software makes financial forecasting a breeze

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About the Author


Shyam Dua

Shyam Dua is a seasoned tax professional with 40+ years of experience & a mentor at SCORE. He stands out due to his exceptional business planning skills. With a keen eye for detail and a strong financial acumen, Shyam crafts compelling business plans that pave the way to success. A CPA with a philanthropic heart, Shyam's strategic expertise, and dedication make him an invaluable asset in shaping thriving business ventures. Read more


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