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    18 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2017 3:52 AM by susan hughes

    Can a dog park be profitable?

    doggoneawesome Wayfarer

      Just joined this group today!

       

      Beginning research stages on whether or not purchasing some wooded land (at least 10 acres if not more) and putting a outdoor dog park and pet shop on it would have the potential of being a profitable business? I live in an area where some might drive from as far as 50 miles to come an enjoy the dog park. We do not have one in our area nor do we have a pet shop that caters to just pets. The closest dog park is about 45-50 miles away. Walmart and a Rural King are the closest things we have to a pet shop. I also live where it is a vacation and tourist destination during the months of June - September. I would like to purchase enough land to expand and possibly add other things down the road such as a non for profit rescue and maybe a boarding facility but for now, just want to concentrate on the dog park and pet shop being viable or not. I currently am in my 2nd year of a pet service business. I am a professional pet sitter and dog walker, sole proprietor. These services are something that I would want to continue along with the addition of dog park/shop, etc. I am currently the only professional pet service business here. It is a rural area and a LOT of pets around! We have 4 area veterinarians, 2 local rescues and 1 shelter.

       

      I am thinking minimally 10 acres, partially wooded area for the dog park and cute rustic pet shop. The dog park would have trails (outside of the fence park area) for walking your dogs, would be a facility that trainers could use, 4h kids could use for their dog training sessions/learning, a place where our local rescues and shelters could use, etc. We have nothing like that here and is is very much needed.

       

      The pet shop would include items made by local and other Indiana vendors specifically for pets of all kinds, would include specialty and healthy treats, maybe some frozen and freeze dried/dehydrated foods, apparel, safer toys etc. The focus on the shop would be treats/and a few foods for a healthier pet. It would provide information on that as well. Would include information about area pet events, rescues, shelters, etc.

       

      I am guessing to even begin figuring out whether it could be profitable, I would need the following:
      Cost of land
      cost of park equipment
      Insurance for dog park and pet shop
      plumbing and electrical
      land work such as clearing of trees, trail making, upkeep of grounds and equipment, etc.
      any building materials for the pet shop, dog park and outdoor dog bathing facility (DIY)
      parking lot costs

      signage
      decks, ramps, seating outside around the grounds

       

      Then, I would also need to figure out the cost of a monthly or yearly subscription be to the dog park. I would also include day passes as well.
      Not sure on where to begin on the pet shop as far as how to make a profit there. I do not have any experience in a retail shop but I happen to know a pet food shop owner and they are willing to share with me the ins/outs of that business.

       

      I am in the process of putting together a questionnaire to leave at veterinarians, rescues, shelter, Walmart, rural king, all my pet service clients, also using social media, etc...to see the amount of interest and wants. I know there is a huge want and need already but want to get some more specific information from the community such as what they would be willing to pay for monthly/year/day pass access to such a park, and more.

       

      I am a single mom and would be a sole proprietor., age 42 living in Monticello Indiana.  I have been an entrepreneur my whole life practically so I am aware of much needed research but am curious as to your thoughts and ideas if this can even be profitable? Or any other thoughts or wisdom you have to offer on this subject?

       

      I know many of us pet lovers dream of owning such a place, and that there is a lot to it. I want to try my best to make it possible for our community locally and surrounding areas if there is even the chance to.

      Thank you so much for your time and any input!

        • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
          moderator_mel Tracker

          Welcome to the community, doggoneawesome!

           

          Please be sure to read over the Community Guidelines. After reading over your post, I’d suggest contacting local government to find out what permits and licenses you’ll need to get started. Also, you should get in touch with your insurance agent to find out how much coverage you’ll need. What about parking? Do you have a private area? Will people need to pay via coin machine or parking attendant? I had an idea about the treats you mentioned, why not put some of the more non-perishable treats in bubble gum machines throughout the park? I saw a video online about a company that provided machines that accepted either can goods or even recyclables in exchange for a serving of pet food for strays. There are a million and one ways to create revenue and give back to your community. Good luck! I’m very excited to see how this turns out for you. ~Moderator Mel

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
              doggoneawesome Wayfarer

              Thank you very much, Mel. I do still need to find out about the permit and license needs.
              I do have emails out to a couple different insurance companies. I am also currently researching land to get an idea of cost on that.
              Parking will be onsite as well and would probably be free. I live in a rural area, and might just make it an open gravel parking area at first...not sure yet.
              Your mind is thinking alike when it comes to the vending machines. I actually used to help someone with their vending company and definitely would add snack/drink machines for both dogs and humans separately.

               

              Initially, the dog park, walking trails and doggy daycare would be what I think I should start with and then add the rest as time comes.

               

              I am very intrigued with the creative ways to create revenue and give back!

               

              Thank you very much for your input and ideas. I will read the Community Guidlines.

              • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                doggoneawesome Wayfarer

                Mel, I have an appointment Thursday morning to learn what the zoning, permit and licensing requirments would be. This is an unusual set for this area and they are going to have to figure some things out. I found 13 partially wooded acres today that I fell inlove with that has so much potential. I do have an insurance company working on some figures. Looking to find someone that is very talented at finding grants, someone great at fundraising and will need someone who can take all my information I gather and help run the numbers and figure out what has to happen to make it possible.


                Who would one turn to that could take all the specific information gathered (land cost, insurance, taxes, building costs, etc), run the costs and numbers to see what I would need to charge for the various businesses on the property in order to be successful...preferrable beyond successful : ) ? Any thoughts?

                  • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                    moderator_mel Tracker

                    I would suggest looking for someone in your area with project management experience. This person should be someone who can successfully plan and bring your dream to fruition. A project manager should be able to find and hire the best sub-contractors that will provide the services you need while adhering to your budget. I remember a friend of mine that went through something similar. He planned to open a cemetery for pets. This was a new venture for him and the county government, so he worked with them to set up rules and regulations for his new business. I was impressed and he showed initiative by reaching out and taking a proactive approach to create a business that is still booming today. He also reached out to monument companies and formed lasting bonds with them. So, in essence, he fostered business to business (B2B) relationships and stimulated the entire community. I’m looking forward to seeing how you’re progressing, please keep these updates coming. ~Moderator Mel

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                  trenkszopa Wayfarer

                  Who would one turn to that could take all the specific information gathered (land cost, insurance, taxes, building costs, etc), run the costs and numbers to see what I would need to charge for the various businesses on the property in order to be successful...preferrable beyond successful : ) ? Any thoughts?

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                      doggoneawesome Wayfarer

                      My mentor at SCORE is the one that is going to help me run the figures on everything. I have a couple different business plans to review and pick which one I am going to use and then begin completing that. I had the same questions but once I got hooked up with my mentor, sounds like he will help me complete the plan and run the figures to see what needs to happen and if it will work. : ) : )

                       

                      I went to the SBA Score online and filled out a form to get hooked up with a mentor in my division/area. A couple days later received and email from a mentor and the process has begun. : )

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                          Moderator Rebecca Guide

                          Great advice, doggoneawesome!  For those who are unfamiliar, it's a good idea for anyone contemplating starting a new business to contact your local chapter of SCORE.  S.C.O.R.E is an organization made up of business executives and entrepreneurs, They offer free, confidential counseling and education on almost any subject that a small business owner may need.  They also provide mentoring for you and may be aware of various other funding outlets available for your business that you have not thought of.

                           

                          Please keep us updated how your plans are going, and feel free to jump in on any of our discussions!

                           

                          Cheers,

                          -Rebecca

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                              • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                moderator_lee Tracker

                                Let us know how things go, we'd love to hear updates on your progress. Don't let any setbacks get you down either, we all deal with them on this journey at one point or another!

                                 

                                -Lee

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                  • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                    doggoneawesome Wayfarer

                                    Thank you, Lee!
                                    I'm learning  more and more as each day goes. One of our local papers got wind of my DogPark & DogDaycare Poll and did a write up of the ideas! This is great but...I am only in the research stages still and still learning if things are possible. So much work but I am up for the challenge...just gets a bit overwhelming with all the details needed to be figured out. I am on unchartered territory.

                                     

                                     

                                    I found a peice of land that I love but waiting to find out what it would cost me and details.

                                    I am currently trying to research design/layout and cost of buildings for both the daycare/boarding facility and the park, cost of employees, cost of everything. In order to put the business plan to work properly, I am needing to know the cost of everything, so I know what I need to request for in a loan or any donations. Then this lets me know, what is doable, or at least that is what I am trying to learn at the moment.

                                     

                                    I will have to have a cosigner on any loan as I do not have anything worth something to a bank. I think I will be able to find a cosigner. Just need to do the research on everything to know what I would need to approach banks, donators and/or investors and to be able to see in the business plan what would work.

                                     

                                    I will be meeting in person for the first time with my mentor from SCORE hopefully within the next week or two. Lots of logistics to work out. I kind of feel that both the dog daycare/boarding and the park need to be done at the same time in order to bring in the revenue that would be needed to pay the expenses. Just not sure yet.

                                     

                                    I do have my grounds keeper picked out and who is willing to donate his time in the beginning to get things going and then he would be a paid employee (I know him very well, very trustworthy and great experience - perfect for what will be needed). I also have a highly recommended referral to a person who will donate their expertise to help figure out the best layout of the land. I have also learned about some who have experience and would be interested in working/running the daycare/boarding part of the business. I am keeping names of everyone so when the time is right, I can go back and start talking to those interested.

                                     

                                    Very excited, very driven, very positive thoughts while taking each day at a time and having to tell myself everyday that anything is possible even in my circumstances...(being a single mom, paycheck to paycheck, wanting more for her family and more for her community)

                                     

                                    Thank you for your message and support, Lee, and to the others!

                                      • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                        moderator_lee Tracker

                                        Looks like you have already put a lot of effort into this, great start. As you mention, there are still a lot of things to do. I think if you keep this mindset of success and keep on looking for solutions to things popping up, especially how to make it profitable for the initial start, you're going to do great. Just remember not to let setbacks get you down, we all face them and when possible you want to see them more as learning experiences for the future. All the best.

                                         

                                        -Lee

                                        • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                          moderator_lisa Pioneer

                                          How exciting!  Advance publicity is a great way to make sure the interest level is there as long as you don't succumb to temptation to go public before you're ready. The research and care you're putting into this should help you ensure success once you're ready.  I look forward to seeing your progress.

                                           

                                          --Lisa

                              • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                Moderator Rebecca Guide

                                Hi doggoneawesome!  It's been awhile since you've posted, and I was wondering how things were going? Have you had a chance to meet with a S.C.O.R.E mentor yet?   When you have a minute please let us know how your plans are coming along. As always if you have any additional questions, we have a great community here who would be glad to help!

                                 

                                Cheers,

                                -Rebecca

                                • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                  abluepelican Newbie

                                  I came across this discussion by accident. I also am thinking of opening a dog park. The original question of it being profitable hasn't been answered from what I've seen so far...unless I missed it.

                                   

                                  I live in an area that has a very high traffic flow to a major tourist town. I'm thinking of having a dog park that has overnight stay ability besides the daily use area. (maybe)

                                   

                                  The first thing I have to do before anything else...I think...is to find out if one is even allowed in the town or any town I would think of being in. I looked at a piece of property in another town about 80 miles away and the real estate agent talked to the village and found out a park is not allowed there.

                                   

                                  I like the idea of talking to SCORE. Great option. I also had a call today from my boss who knew of my "dream" the second day we met while we were talking. He said it will not be a dream. It will happen. Well..tonight he called me and said...exactly this...."Let's play Shark Tank....I get 35% (I get the 65%) and will give you $30,000 and we split 50/50 any profits on product sales."

                                   

                                  I asked if he was high or drinking. He said no...he just likes my idea and wants my dream to come true.

                                   

                                  Hmmm....so...Monday I call the village to ask to see if I can pass the first hurdle.

                                    • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                      Moderator Rebecca Guide

                                      It's always exciting for the possibility of a dream coming true, abluepelican!  Good luck on Monday.  I wish I had some solid numbers to give you regarding profitability, but it varies so much from market to market it's hard to say.   Glad you may follow up with S.C.O.R.E.  It's a great service that's out there and most every area has a local chapter to help entrepreneurs.

                                       

                                      Feel free to ask any questions you may have along the way in our discussion forums.  We also have a lot of great articles by small business experts that you will find helpful .

                                       

                                      Please keep in touch and let us know how things are going! 

                                       

                                      Cheers,

                                      Rebecca

                                    • Re: Can a dog park be profitable?
                                      susan hughes Wayfarer

                                      How are things going?..any progress so far? Please let us know on any advancements because this might actually inspire people to go out of their comfort zone. I commend you for expanding ideas and i do hope that your path will find a light