How to Start a Pet Hotel Business

A pet hotel, also known as a pet resort or luxury animal kennel, is an upscale facility that tends to the needs of clients’ pets, while they are out of town. Most pet hotel owners personally enjoy the company of animals and understand their needs. They utilize this passion to create a unique getaway, whether in an urban or rural setting, with a variety of services and innovations.

You may also be interested in additional unique business ideas.

Learn how to start your own Pet Hotel Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Start a pet hotel business by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Pet Hotel Business
  2. Form your Pet Hotel Business into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Pet Hotel Business for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Pet Hotel Business
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Pet Hotel Business
  7. Get Pet Hotel Business Insurance
  8. Define your Pet Hotel Business Brand
  9. Create your Pet Hotel Business Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your pet hotel business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Pet Hotel Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your pet hotel business?

Business Name Generator

What are the costs involved in opening a pet hotel business?

There are a number of factors that stand to impact your facility’s start-up costs, including location, local laws and regulations, and the size of the business. With these factors in mind, it is recommended that your budget be a minimum of $25,000, with costs running as high as $85,000.

Your initial investment will include the following:

  • Land/Location lease: Average cost is $4,000 per month, with many building owners requiring a minimum of two months down payment.
  • Facility build out: Total cost is dependent upon the size of your leased building and features it comes equipped with. Average cost is $45,000.
  • Insurance: Ranges from $700 to $1,200.
  • Equipment: Ranges from $1,500 to $15,000, depending upon facility size and services/accommodations your pet hotel will offer.
  • Standard start-up business expenses, permits, and deposits: Ranges from $1,500 to $7,000.
  • Website design: Some business owners choose to build their own, free website. More in-depth sites can cost upwards of $4,000.

Experienced pet hotel owners recommend a cash reserve of $15,000 to $25,000. Paws Dog Daycare’s financial spreadsheet can help you determine a budget specifically geared toward your needs.

What are the ongoing expenses for a pet hotel business?

Your ongoing expenses will include rent, standard facility costs, insurance, website maintenance, and marketing. Industry experts indicate a minimum of $10,000 per month, with payroll costs taking up the largest portion of the budget. Facility size, number of employees, and location will all impact your overall budget.

Who is the target market?

Your target market will consist of pet owners in your geographical area that travel and can afford your hotel’s fees. When considering your location, conduct thorough research to determine which areas aren’t saturated and what services you can offer to meet community needs.

How does a pet hotel business make money?

Pet hotels charge clients a fee for each night their animals are boarded. While many hotels limit boarding to cats and dogs, those with proper accommodations can offer their services for a variety of different animals.

How much can you charge customers?

Fees are typically charged on a per day basis, ranging from $18-$28 per animal, depending upon the size and type of animal. This sets your base pricing, which includes a specified amount of “playtime” and interaction. Additional services are offered for added fees.

How much profit can a pet hotel business make?

Profits vary depending upon a number of factors. Experienced professionals have found success opening franchise hotels, yielding them millions in annual profit. With the right location, entrepreneurs stand to realize $32,000 to $48,000 in profit their first year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Those just starting out in the industry are urged to consider what pet community needs are not being met and offering services to meet those needs. Offering additional services such as treats, toys, grooming, and extra outside time are also an effective way to boost profits.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your pet hotel business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a pet hotel business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

Certificate of Occupancy

A pet hotel business is generally run out of a plot of land. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a  Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a pet hotel business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your pet hotel business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Pet Hotel Business needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Pet Hotel Business.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a pet hotel business

To ensure growth and success, it is recommended that you market on a regular basis. When first starting out, social media and flyers posted on online forums or public bulletin boards will help your business. Once you have built a reputation, ramp up your marketing by partnering with local veterinarians and pet stores. Use your interpersonal skills to get to know your customers on a deeper level. Find out what local events they attend, what websites they visit, and what programs they watch. This information will help you develop a concise and effective marketing strategy.

How to keep customers coming back

When it comes to this industry, your reputation is everything. Every animal should be treated with respect and love. When a dog gets excited to walk into your facility, your clients will take notice and pass along this message to every pet owner they know. Additionally, carefully consider your pricing and make sure your fees are fair and competitive with those around you.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

Pet hotels are designed for pampering and caring for customers’ pets while they are unable to do so. Therefore, successful pet hotel owners should be animal lovers or pet owners themselves. This helps owners identify with customers and interact effectively with pets. Pet hotel owners should also be experienced in running a small business, handling intricate schedules, and managing numerous customer accounts. Compassionate, business minded individuals will fare best.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a pet hotel business?

While consumers will envision you romping around, playing with puppies all day, your days will often entail a great deal more work. Day-to-day activities include:

  • Checking in/out customers
  • Cleaning hotel rooms and play areas
  • Feeding pets and dispensing medications
  • Exercising animals
  • Administrative tasks such as answering emails and phone calls, taking reservations, and paying monthly bills
  • Marketing and advertising

Many pet hotels offer additional services, such as grooming. Prior to opening your hotel’s doors, determine which services you plan to offer and ensure the facility is properly equipped and staffed to fulfill these obligations.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful pet hotel business?

While certification or a degree is not required for this profession, there are a number of skills that can prove beneficial. Understanding the needs of the types of animals you’ll care for is important. Prior to opening your facility, consider working in an animal shelter, at a boarding facility, or in a veterinarian’s office. This hands-on experience will offer invaluable information regarding animal health and behavior, as well as the specifics regarding how to properly manage and maintain this type of facility.

For long-term success, it’s important that pet hotel entrepreneurs manage their business smartly. Strong business skills, patience, interpersonal skills, and a natural ability to delegate are critical to your business’ growth and reputation. If this is your first business venture, consider hiring a professional to guide you or taking a business course at your local college. Additionally, it is recommended that novice pet hotel owners become members of The International Boarding and Pet Services Association. Their education program and guidance regarding management and marketing of the facility will help set your hotel apart from others in the community.

What is the growth potential for a pet hotel business?

According to a recent IBISWorld report, the Pet Grooming and Boarding industry generates over $8 billion in revenue each year, with an average annual growth of 6.6%. With over 300 million pets in the United States, the pet hotel business is poised for continued growth and is minimally impacted by economic fluctuations.

TRUiC's YouTube Channel

For fun informative videos about starting a business visit the TRUiC YouTube Channel or subscribe to view later.

Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a pet hotel business?

When writing your business plan, consider the following advice from those who have found long-term success in the industry:

  • In this industry, it is easy to get caught up in the humanitarian aspect. Remind yourself regularly that this is a business, not a hobby, and that your primary objective is to generate a profit. Be smart about each business decision and ask for professional guidance when needed.
  • Time is money. Consider investing in time clock software to determine how much time each activity takes you and your staff. Seek room for improvement wherever possible.
  • No matter how busy your business is, build a savings and continuously market. Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • As a luxury pet boarder, it’s important that your passion for animals always shines through. Pet owners can be quite scrupulous.

How and when to build a team

Your staff is an integral part of ensuring that customers come back. When it is time to build a team, make sure each individual is friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate about animals. This will shine through, making each pet owner feel confident that their “children” will be treated with love and respect. Additionally, consider your strengths and weaknesses and hire accordingly.

Have a Question? Leave a Comment!