Do you want to start a dog training business at home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a dog training business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample dog training business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample dog training marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for dog training businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a dog training business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Dog Training Business?
If you live in the United States of America and in most developed countries, you will agree that dogs and pets generally are given some of the best treatments. When it comes to pets – then dogs sure have been declared by many as one of the friendliest animals that are able to co habit with man appropriately.
In fact, they are man’s best friend. In some parts of the world where pets are really held in high esteem, you will find a large number of homes where dogs live in. Overall, dogs easily adapt to the living conditions of men.
The business of dog training or dog grooming as it is called in most quarters would continue to prosper for a long time to come. It is one industry that has continued to yield profits because of the lucrative nature of the business. Hence, it wouldn’t be an over statement to say that the dog training business is a money spinner for those that engage in it.
Becoming a dog trainer isn’t so much of a huge task; all that is required of you is the love for animals, as well as having the skills to train dogs. It is very enjoyable to start a dog training business because it establishes a relationship between you and the dog and in the long run you smile to the bank. So, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the dog training business is a clear case of getting paid for what you love doing.
So, if you are serious about starting your own dog training company, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
Starting a Dog Training Business at Home – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Dog training business falls under the Pet Grooming and Boarding industry. The Pet Grooming and Boarding industry has proven over the years to be one of the very few established industries to publish consistently strong gains over the past decade, virtually doubling in size and growing even in the midst of recession as consumers purchase a wider array of luxury services for their pets.
The growing industry has benefited from changing consumer attitudes, which increased demand for a variety of new luxury pet services such as pet sitting. Going forward, this trend is expected to gain further momentum as pet ownership rises and owners use their increasing disposable income on services such as pet sitting for their pets.
A report published by the American Pet Product Association (APPA), shows that even though Americans love pets, those who own dogs were at 18.9 percent, third on the pet scale. It gave results that the annual growth for this industry is at 3.1 percent from 2009 to 2014, bringing in combined revenue – with other pet sitting services – of $907m as at 2014. Also, as at 2014, there were 22,787 people employed by dog related businesses or as independent contractors, and there were 18,144 dog service businesses.
Dog related services have increased in from 2009 to 2014, and will still increase till 2019 despite the poor economic outlook. This is due to the fact that customers have more disposable income to spend on their dogs, and that dogs are considered part of the family.
A report published by Fetch Pet Care shows that franchises all over barely made above 1 percent of the total industry revenue. This is due to the fact that doggie daycare services are tailor-made for immediate localities and neighborhoods, and will have clients seeking to use the services of those who lived around as they believed that these ones were likely to provide personalized care to their pets when they have to travel out of town or too busy to take care of their pets for the period in time.
According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA) as at 2010, Americans spent over $47.7 billion on pet products and services, an increase of 4.8 percent from 2009. It was found that 46 percent of households owned more than one pet, and that only 3 percent of households use pet sitting or pet training services.
Statistics has it that the Pet Grooming and Boarding industry in the United States of America is worth $7bn, with an estimated growth rate of 6.6 percent. There are about 106,319 registered and licensed Pet Grooming and Boarding businesses in the United States and they are responsible for employing about 195,070 people. No company can boast of dominating the market; every player in the industry can comfortably compete in the industry.
The Pet Grooming and Boarding industry is still at its infancy stage, and is projected as a growing industry with more people thinking of investing in dog training services, especially as existing pet sitting centers are minute when compared to the population of those who own pets.
The pet boarding and pet grooming industry will continue to blossom because people and organizations will not relent in ensuring that their dogs and other pets have the required skills needed to perform their duties especially for the purpose of security, hunting and sports.
Over and above, dog training services businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to network with stakeholders and reach out to their target market.
Starting a Dog Training Business at Home – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of dog training services companies cut across businesses and households hence the demographic composition for a dog training services company is all encompassing.
The truth is that when it comes to dog and pet training, there is indeed a wide range of available customers; every dog and pet owners are potential clients. So, if you are thinking of starting a dog training services company then you should make your target demographics all encompassing.
List of Niche ideas Within the Dog Training Business That You Can Specialize in
Most dog and pet training service companies tend to carry out services that have to do with training and grooming, and also operate general services carried out by a standard pet training or grooming services company. That is why it seem that there are no niche areas in the industry.
But on the other hand, some dog training services companies may decide to major in some key or niche areas such as;
- Dog and pet sitting and grooming
- Operating pet shelters
- Boarding pets
- Operating dog pounds
- Guard dog training
- Obedience training
- Dog and other pet training
- Selling pet related products (pet foods, shampoos, dog tie, dog chains, and pet clothes et al)
The Level of Competition in the Dog Training Services Industry
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you pay attention to details when carrying out your job, and make sure you get testimonials from your clients and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several dog training service companies scattered all around the United States of America. So, if you choose to start your own dog training services company in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competition amongst other players in the industry who also provide dog training services in your city or country. Besides, there are larger dog training services companies who determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Dog Training Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. These are some of the leading dog training and pet grooming services companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Highland Canine Training, LLC
- Sit Means Sit Dog Training
- Cloud K9 Academy – Dog Training in Naperville, IL
- Darling Devils Dog Training – Houston Area Dog Training
- The Dog Training Company, LLC
- Bark Busters USA
- John’s Natural Dog Training Company
- Green Dog Training: Houston Dog Training Company
- Nora’s Dog Training Company
- National K-9 (OHIO)
- Starmark Academy (TEXAS)
- Animal Behavior College
- T3: Train the Trainers
- Master Dog Training, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA)
- That’s My Dog (Iowa)
- ForceFree Method (Chicagoland, IL)
- Dave McMahon’s Dog Academy. (Canada)
- PAWS Training Academy
- The Dog Wizard Academy Charlotte, NC
- The Pet Care Institute
Dog training services business has been in existence from time immemorial and it is indeed a competitive business. As a matter of fact, you will come across several dog training services companies when you go out there sourcing for the services of dog trainers or pet groomers. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required amount needed to effectively handle dogs, logistics and also the running cost of the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a dog training services company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of registering the business, purchasing the needed work – tools, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base and far reaching business network, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
Starting Your Dog Training Company from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
If you are looking towards starting a dog training services company, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get a franchise of a dog training services company to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Besides starting a dog training services company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small scale businesses which usually requires detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a dog training services company, you should just try as much as possible to get the right and effective training skills, pet training tools and equipment, build business relationship with key stakeholders and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet when it comes to marketing your services.
Please note that most of the big and successful dog training services companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Dog Training Service
If you decide to start your own dog training services company today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established dog training services companies and other players in the pet grooming and boarding services industry that also offer same services as you do. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, history has it that businesses such as dog training services company and the likes usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers.
So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your dog training services company. There is nothing you can do as regards this threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work out well for you.
Starting a Dog Training Business at Home – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as dog training services company. If your intention is to grow the business and offer your services to customers all across your state and throughout the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your dog training services company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities available for use in your dog training services company with the ability to offer your services to customers all across the city and state that you operate and throughout the United States of America, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Dog Training Service
When choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own dog training services company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Uncle Jeff Dog Training Services Company
- Bingos Pet Grooming and Boarding Services Company, LLC
- Bruno Whisky Pet Grooming and Boarding Services Company, Inc.
- Pablo Hernandez Dog Training Services Company
- Lucas McDonalds Pet Grooming and Boarding Company, Inc.
- Friends of Pets Training Services Company, Inc.
- Clement Stanley Pet Grooming and Boarding Services, Inc.
- Carson Dennis Dog Training Company, LLC
- Ian Bennie & Sons Pet Boarding and Grooming Services Company, Inc.
- Maxwell Travis Dog Training Services Company, Inc.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your dog training services company.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own dog training services company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Pet Insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk insurance
- Motor vehicle insurance (comprehensive insurance)
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own dog training services company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Dog Training Business?
Aside from your ability to handle dogs and other pets and operate pet training equipment and tools, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some dog training services company cum dog trainers stand out. If you want to make an impact in the pet grooming and boarding services industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career and up-to-date in this competitive market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own dog training services company;
- The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
- IACP Certification Program for Dog Trainers – Canine Professionals
- Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
Please note that you can successfully run a dog training services company on a small scale in the United States and in most countries of the world without necessarily acquiring professional certifications and business license as long as you have adequate experience cum background in the pet grooming and boarding services industry.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Dog Training Service
The essence of having the necessary documentations in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own dog training services company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Contract Document
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
Financing Your Dog Training Business
Starting a dog training services company can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale and within your house, but if you choose to start the business on a large scale with a standard office facility and a handful of full – time employees, then you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale dog training services company.
No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your dog training services company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
Choosing a Suitable Location for a Dog Training Service
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your dog training services company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people who own dogs and other pets and with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of starting your dog training services company in an area where you will find it difficult to access dogs and other pet owners, you will struggle to grow the business because you will spend more in promoting the business.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your dog training services company;
- The demography of the location as it relates to the number of households and corporate organizations that own dogs and other pets
- The demand for the services of dog training, grooming and boarding services company related businesses in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of dog training services companies and related services in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
Starting a Dog Training Business at Home – Technical & Manpower Details
On the average, there are no special technology/equipment needed to run this type of business except for pet/dog training equipment and tools, inventory-management software and other relevant software applications. So also, you will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst other and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regard leasing or outright purchase of an office facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location / facility for such business. Besides, you can comfortably run a small – scale dog training services business from your home.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard dog training services company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer/Manager (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Dog Trainers and Walkers (6), Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk and Front Desk Officer. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a medium – scale but standard dog training services company.
The Services Process Involved in a Dog Training Service
The business services process as it relates to dog training services companies is straightforward and in most cases clearly defined. It is the duty of dog trainers to help their client’s dogs or pets acquire any skills and knowledge they want their pets to possess. They help their clients develop capability, capacity, productivity and performance for their dogs or pets as the case may be.
Once a client enrolls his or her dog or pet in the dog training services company, the owner of the dog and the dog trainers agrees on the end result of the training and the weeks or months required for the training. Contract document is signed, part payment made and the training commences as required. At the end of the training session, the dog is accessed and when the dog owner is satisfied, the balance of the payment is made.
It is important to state that a dog training services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.
Starting a Dog Training Business at Home – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a dog training services company, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands determining the market direction for the pet grooming and boarding industry.
People and organizations will hire your services if they know that they are going to get value for their money.
As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers hire your services, they will get excellent service and it will show in their dog’s behavior.
The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers. Here are some of the platforms we will utilize to market your dog training services company;
- Introduce your dog training services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to the public sector; government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, security companies, military, police and every organization that own dogs and other pets within the location where your company is located.
- Advertise your business in relevant business magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow page ads (local directories)
- Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still help them train their dogs
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people would consider you an expert in the field)
- Join local chambers of commerce around you with the aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
Strategies to Boost Your Dog Training Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a dog training services company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your dog training services company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your services
- Install your billboards on strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your dog training services company
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact the public sector; government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, security companies, military, police and every organization that own dogs and other pets within the location where your company is located informing them about your business and the dog training services you offer
- List your dog training services company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your dog training services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your dog training services company is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al.