Looking to Grow? Offer Ancillary Services

Nonmedical services like grooming and kenneling might help your bottom line — but address all the questions first.

If you’re looking to increase revenue, you might consider offering nonmedical services, including grooming and pet sitting. While this can be a great source of funds, here are some questions to review before you move ahead.

1. Are you properly zoned? Be sure to double-check your zoning, says Terence O’Neil, CPA, CVA, a partner at Katz, Sapper & Miller. “A lot of hospitals aren’t permitted to have doggy day care outside,” O’Neil explains. Find out early on whether you can do this.

2. Do you have the space? Be sure you’ve considered the additional room you may need. With kenneling and day care, issues with aggressive animals might come up, so you would need space to separate animals.

3. Have you projected the costs? O’Neil, who has overseen many service expansions, says, “It’s so important to make sure that the return is worth the risk.” This is particularly true if you are going to make changes you can’t undo, such as relocating or expanding.

4. Are you willing to manage the additional staff? Services like grooming and day care are among the most challenging to manage, O’Neil explains. “Managing a kennel is very challenging, too,” he adds. You need to hire staff to clean cages, and these employees are often difficult to retain. So you might end up hiring and training new workers repeatedly.

5. Do you have the insurance? Meet with your insurance advisor. “The likelihood of a dog fight is a lot higher in doggy day care than it would be with two dogs just walking down the hall getting treatments,” O’Neil says. Be sure you’re covered for any eventuality.

While it pays to be thoughtful about this step, if you are well positioned to make this change to your practice, there are many financial reasons to do so. “Often, people will discover a need for medical treatment at the groomer,” O’Neil says. The crossover of clients can be extremely beneficial. “One of my good friends down in North Carolina has zoning to have a doggy day care outside, and he’s right on the corner of a busy intersection,” O’Neil says. “People just love seeing the dogs out playing there. He always says, ‘I couldn’t buy better marketing.’”

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