Why start a kennels and cattery business?
There will always be a demand for kennels and catteries. Britain is said to be a nation of animal lovers but there are always times when dog and cat owners simply cannot look after their pets or need a break from them for whatever reason. Starting a kennels and cattery business is highly rewarding and is obviously ideally suited to animal lovers – yet you should also be aware that it is extremely hard work. The animals will require attention 365 days a year and many owners work extremely long hours and take very few breaks, especially during the early years. If you are prepared for this however and it has always been your ambition to work with animals then few businesses provide such enjoyment and rewards.
What skills will I need?
You will need to be passionate about animals and have experience of looking after them. If you lack experience, consider taking one of the many animal care courses available at colleges and think about working in a kennels or cattery for a while to gain experience and get a feel for what this life is like. This is a business that requires lots of commitment, so you need to be sure it is well suited to you and it is by no means for everyone, even if you consider yourself an animal lover – cats and dogs will become your life and there will be little time for other things.
Starting a kennels or cattery is very expensive. The main cost is acquiring or building the accommodation to house and look after the animals. It is possible to start-up on a small scale, for example by purchasing a house with a small kennels or cattery within the land (such properties do come onto the market from time to time) however even on a small-scale this isn’t a business that can be started on the cheap. Ongoing costs are also expensive, especially as your business expands.
Insurance and compliance
If you wish to start a kennels and cattery business you will need to obtain an Animal Boarding Establishments Licence. In order to successfully receive a license you will need to demonstrate that the animals you accommodate will be kept in suitable conditions and in appropriate accommodation, that they will be well looked after and fed at all times, and that they will be exercised and checked on regularly. You will also need to put into place procedures to prevent the spread of diseases amongst animals and ensure that adequate health & safety/fire prevention procedures are in place. Once you have obtained the license it must be prominently displayed on your premises at all times alongside appropriate insurance certificates. Indeed you will need to have adequate insurance to protect against accidents, illness, death, theft and straying of animals whilst they are in your care. You will need to take out public liability insurance and, if you intend to employ staff, employers liability insurance.
Should I consider a franchise?
There are kennel and cattery franchises available but, as is the case even when setting up on your own, they do tend to be expensive and you will need to demonstrate that you are the right person to take on such a franchise. Always take the time to check out any opportunity to thoroughly and find out what support you are offered as part of the franchise package.
Your next steps
If you’re unsure as to whether starting a kennels and cattery is for you then try to gain some work experience so that you can find out what this business entails. Made your mind up? Then take the time to thoroughly investigate the market. Find out who your local competitors are, the service they offer and the prices they charge.