Should you make the leap to a permanent facility?
Whether you’re a veteran or just starting out, there’s no doubt you’ve dreamed of having your own dog training facility. You’ve imagined the space, the flooring, and the equipment surrounded by happy, smiling dogs and clients, but should you make the leap? Here’s 5 things to consider before you sign the lease.
Can you afford it?
Your name is on the lease, so you are responsible for the entire amount of the rental costs. If you’re planning on bringing in outside help, rent out a portion, or hold large events, all of that is in the future. Can you afford the rent if those things don’t pan out? Also note, a lot of leases include additional maintenance costs on top of the rent. These can be one annual payment at the end of the year or included in the monthly payments. Ask about additional costs, not just the amount of the rent.
Consider The Equipment
Sure, you can hold basic dog obedience classes on concrete in a barn, but that’s not why you’re getting your own space. The minute you decide to hold any type of sports training classes that include jumping you have to consider anti-fatigue flooring. Sporting equipment, tables and chairs, mats, barriers, and cleaning supplies will be needed before a client ever sets foot in the space. Don’t forget a sign. You’ll need a nice sign out front to let everyone know you’re there! Make a list and add it all up using an average cost from one Google search. Yes, you’ll find discounts and sales on some things, but you don’t want to count on being able to do that for every item.
Insure The Facility
Now that you’ve got the building and all your stuff, you need to insure it all. The building owner will have some requirements for the minimum coverage needed for you to get in the door. If you’re bringing in help or subcontractors you’re going to need liability for those people as well. You’re probably going to purchase your equipment in stages, but what if it all suddenly goes away in a fire? You’re going to need the coverage to get back up and running. The time to find out who pays for fixes from building breakage is before you sign the lease, not after. If a pipe bursts and ruins all your stuff who pays for it? Even if the building owner pays, how long will you be out of business while the repairs are being done? Take a look at insurance that covers loss of income should the unthinkable occur.
Will your city allow you to open?
Cities have zoning regulations so residential areas aren’t built right next to factories. Regulations say where certain businesses can and cannot open. Training businesses often fall between the cracks of zoning codes. You’re not exactly dog boarding and you’re definitely not a groomer, but sometimes cities put you in those zones because there isn’t a place for you. This means buildings you can consider are in a certain district and not necessarily where you want to be. One of your first phone calls should be to the City Planning department to find out where you can go. While you may be able get a conditional use permit for your perfect space, CUP’s require a lot of paperwork, time, and money to get. Plus, you also may be required to do some building upgrades as part of the conditions.
Will clients travel to you?
Sometimes what we can afford and where the city puts us isn’t exactly on Main Street. If you’ve found an old warehouse on the outskirts of town, will people drive to meet you? Sure, existing clients love you and may drive the extra 15 minutes to get to you, but what about people who don’t love you yet? When someone does a map search for your location will they think, “Oh heck no?” Will they drive it in evening traffic? Rain? You need a location people are willing to go to.
Consider these five places to hold group dog training classes before you decide to run your own facility.
Did we miss something? What else should be considered before signing a lease? Tell us in the comments!
Get Dog Training Business Tips!
Receive valuable dog training business tips and resources every month! Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer now by submitting your name and email below.