Boarding Kennels Location and Catchment
It's usual when you are thinking of buying a boarding business have visions of a country location, surrounded by fields and a pleasant rural lifestyle. This is great, if the business is there. Have a very good look at your catchment area before buying into the dream.
Lovely coastal views? Fabulous, a beach to run the dogs. Thousands of acres of moor with deer and wild ponies? Great, the dogs can just run and run. Both of these locations give you the lifestyle but they don't necessarily give you trade.
Consider your business catchment area as, say, a 15 mile radius around you; with the ocean or a large sparsely populated area to one side you have cut your catchment area in half and doubled the work you will have to do to attract and keep your business.
Remember too, that net per capita income is likely to be significantly lower in rural areas, thus making kenneling for many unaffordable. Another aspect is that where there are communities there will be family and friendships where friends and neighbours will be happy to care for each others pets; meaning you will probably get the dogs who are a bit more of a handful, going through their destructive teenage phase or compulsive barkers.
Finally, people who live in lovely locations have less inclination to go take holidays; town dwellers may want to get away to the country, but country dwellers may be quite happy to spend part of their holidays at least, at home. This all adds up to less potential business.
The ideal country location is situated between a number of thriving towns with well-to-do satellite villages.
Closer to the Cities
Once you are closer to large centres of population you are going to lose some of the benefits you may have hoped for in buying a boarding kennels. On the other hand, you are guaranteed plenty of business. Just make sure you don't position yourself in a backwater created by road development - for example a motorway slicing through your catchment area with junctions inconveniently situated.
Residence or Kennels or Both?
Most boarding businesses will have an imbalance of appeal between the kennels and the house. One will tend to appeal far more than the other, and a choice will have to be made. You are going to spend a lot of time in your home being self-employed - so a nice house seems extremely important - but the kennels is where your income is going to be generated. A nice house doesn't earn you a penny, but on the other hand over time you can develop the kennel business. It's a decision you have to make, and not an easy one.
Boarding Kennels Capacity
A larger boarding kennels will obviously cost more to purchase than a smaller one and have a far greater turnover - but how do the overheads compare? Once you have deducted all the staffing and other increased costs of the larger kennel how much more profitable is it? A large business, turning over in excess of £500,000 is going to be a full-time office job for two of you, so you will be well away from the dogs except when an emergency arises and you have to get involved.
Another consideration is that in a small kennel noisier dogs can be more easily managed; where you have a hundred or more dogs noise management becomes much more difficult. It can also be highly stressful.
Boarding Kennels and Cattery?
The two quite obviously go together. Many cat owners prefer a separate cats only boarding facility for their cats, but many families who have a dog and a cat are looking for the convenience of delivering them to one place.
Rural areas are less successful for cattery owners as there tends to be an exchange of favours between neighbours, whereas in towns and cities where people do not know each other so well, and the environment is more dangerous, cats are more regularly boarded.