is there a need in Texas?

ilmbgOctober 26, 2007

I am just tossing this around- I have been a nurse for 25 years, but unable to work now due to breaking my neck at work. I will be moving to Texas- I am not sure exactly where, but somewhere outside of San Antonio (probably east/north of there), outside Austin, Bastrop- somewhere where I will be by hospitals in case I will be able to go back to nursing sometime-(I hope). Anyway, I was thinking of building a SMALL dog/cat and/or horse boarding facility. It would be compliant with codes. The boarding of horses would only be short term- say for someone going on vacation, due to too much lifting/heavy cleaning. The dog/cat part would be small- maybe 5-10 dogs. I want it to not be like a typical kennel- it would have kennels-runs according to code, but I want the animals to have a more 'home' environment- possible having play time in my yard/home- not just being in a kennel/run. I am not sure how to go about this part, as it is just a thought at this time. Anyway, is there a need for good/quality dog sitting/boarding in these areas. It would make no sense for me to invest in quality building/kennels, etc. if there is not a shortage in these areas. My daughter wanted to board her dog last year, and she had a terrible time finding a place- most said they were full for several months in advance.. I used to show dogs in obedience many years ago, and have shown horses most of my life, so I not just someone who is thinking about this for 'the money'- it is a life interest. Just a thought at this time- Thanks

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I have a friend with a boarding kennel in Katy, near Houston. I think there's a need for a good facility just about everywhere, but you need to look up the available facilities in your immediate area. Won't do you any good if your town is flooded with good kennels but the town 30 miles away has nothing. Know what I mean.

I just googled "dog boarding kennel San Francisco" to look up some listings for a recent puppy buyer, and I got an excellent list of kennels. Try researching that way, for your area.

We breed and show, and I know what you mean about it not being for the money! LOL!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 5:42PM
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fairgold- yes, you are right- I don't want to do this if there is only a 'so-so'need! There are a ton of boarding facilities listed in Austin/San Antonio, but how many are decent? Without going to each and every one, I don't know if they are trash or great! Maybe talk to a couple vets... I was surprised that my daughter could not find a good kennel with a month advance notice. She used a 'day care' several times when her dog was young, and a couple people at her place of work use dog-walkers.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 12:34AM
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I live in San Marcos which is 30 min. south of Austin. There are only two "quality" kennels in this area and they are always booked. One of these kennels have a ton of long-term guests (like a year) so they only have a few spaces available anyway. Both of these kennels are set up like a regular kennel but they also offer a couple acres for dogs to run and play. They also offer other services like extra walks, special playtime, and a massage shampoo (I'm not kidding!). This is where they make a lot of money because these extra services also cost extra and I always sign up for them and was told that everybody usually does.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 10:09AM
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Ilmbg, my DD/DH moved to Austin last spring, and i'll be making the move when my home is finished next June. DD/DH will be coming home for the holidays, and looked for a place to board their four cats, but were unsuccessful. They went to look at two, and were not happy with the facilities, and were afraid the cats would pick up some sort of illness. They finally ended up finding a co-worker who would stay in the house while they were gone, but this won't always be the case.

They like to go away for weekends, or a week vacation in the summer, and a decent boarding kennel would be a plus for Austin. They live in an unincorporated area of a small town called Manor. You might even be able to find property out their much cheaper, or even Elgin. When it comes to their pets, people will make the drive no matter how far if it's a good boarding facility. They live in a new community called Shadowglen, and their are a lot of people who have transfered into Austin who probably have no one to rely on to watch their pets.

I also have cats, and will be looking for boarding occassionally when I need to go away. Since Austin is a growing city, especially in the tech industry, it would be an area to consider.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 12:54PM
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I'm not in Texas, but here in North Carolina, doggy day care (they also have overnight boarding) is very successful. Here's a link to a place where we've sent our greyhound for daycare (when we were selling our previous house) and for boarding when we were on vacation.

We're in a high-tech area here in NC. I've been to Austin many times (before my retirement from a software company) to our office there and to some of the other high tech companies. Since I was also in marketing strategy, may I suggest that there are ways to gather input from the community to see if there's a market. See if there are local pet forums or community forums. See what pet-sitting services (like VIP) might be in the area, too. The more folks you can talk to in the area, the more info you can gather. It's amazing how willing people are to talk about what they want. When I would interview for our software products, I was careful not to lead them toward the answer that I wanted to hear...I let them do the talking and I did the listening. Then, I decided on what features/functionality was needed in our software. The same methodology will work for any product/service research.

I used to be a breeder of Arabian horses. That's a very different thing from dog boarding and will be a more challenging prospect. I always hired folks to come to the farm. I never sent my horses somewhere else (I had a herd of mares and foals).

However...there may be a market for stables for show horses that are on the road. Is there a big show horse (hunter/jumpers, quarter horses, saddlebreds, Arabians, etc.) circuit in that area of Texas? I would think so. When show horses are being hauled long distances, a stable for an overnight stopover is needed. However, that would require getting involved with the right people to attract enough customers to warrant the facilities. There would be high expectations for show horses due to the value of the animals. Large show horse vans that cross the country are usually tractor trailer in size. Some smaller vehicles are also on the road for family-owned show horses.

I do hope you have a speedy recovery. Best wishes on your future plans. I think you've got some great ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camp Canine

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 5:02PM
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I live in central Texas and I think it is a wonderful idea! There is only one kennel I like and the reason I like it is because they have an open play for the dogs. I will bring the dog every now and then just for the doggie day care! We did use a kennel up in Salt Lake City for a few days. I loved it because someone stayed with the animals all night and they had cameras so we could log on and see the dogs playing. It was rather cute watching our golden playing with the dogs and how they all followed the "human" around.

I am not sure if you know this but there is going to be a Seton hospital built in Hays County (south of Austin and North of San Antonio). I believe it is going to be built in either Buda or Kyle. I am sorry, I can not remember which one. I do think the need for good quality care is needed. For the dog kennel we like to use we have to call a few months ahead of time for holidays.

Good luck with everything!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 9:29AM
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