Key Features of Dog Daycare Software

In today’s rapidly evolving pet care industry, small business owners face a myriad of challenges. One key tool that has become indispensable for navigating these challenges is dog daycare software. In this digital age, embracing pet care software solutions is not just advantageous but essential for small business owners looking to stay competitive.

Dog daycare business owners who want to provide a great customer experience, scale their business, optimize their profits, and streamline labor are inclined to choose industry-specific dog daycare software. Numerous pet business owners are attempting to adopt non-industry-specific software solutions. However, the complexities involved in delivering top-notch care to dogs often compel these pet business owners to shift back to utilizing dog daycare software.

This article is going to highlight the process that each pet business owner should go through to evaluate the best dog daycare software solution to give their business a leg up on the competition.

Important Features of Dog Daycare Software

While each dog daycare software will have its differences, the reality is that the top 5 dog daycare software solutions will offer 60% of the same functionality (with some slight variances in user experience and clicks). Below are the key features that are critical to the success of a dog daycare business.

Company Dashboard

The dashboard in dog daycare software is the primary screen for your front desk staff to manage arrivals and departures and facilitates your ability to get paid for daycare, boarding, grooming, and training appointments that are checking out of your facility.

As you look at different dashboards across dog daycare software solutions, you will want to see how quickly and easily you can check-in or check-out pets, how many clicks it takes to complete the process, and the actual number of seconds it takes to move pets and parents through the process.

The second important detail to look for on the dashboard is quick access to information.  You will want to easily see pet information, appointment details, vaccination details, feedings/medications, package balances, and any warnings or special handling instructions that staff should be aware of.

Client Communication

Pet parents are the lifeblood of every dog daycare business, so providing the ability for pet parents to interact with your dog daycare business and staff 24/7 is incredibly important. While the perfect dog daycare software does not exist, there are several texting and email features that can provide a ton of value for dog daycare businesses.

Two-Way Appointment Confirmations

This gives pet parents the ability to see that an appointment is scheduled and includes details about the appointment. This will be sent within a few minutes of booking the appointment.

Two-Way Appointment Reminders

Allowing customers to confirm their appointment is one important aspect of reminder texts; the best solutions will also include automation to allow the system to cancel any appointments where customers respond with a “no” as part of the reminder or confirmation based upon cancellation rules.

After-hours Text Automation

While your online booking is available 24/7, pet businesses also need to have immediate responses to clients who are using the texting features in their dog daycare software.  This is a custom message that lets clients know you will follow up during the morning business hours on the following day.

Grooming Service Completed/Ready for Pick-up

Your groomers are only making money when they have scissors or clippers in their hands.  By making it quick and easy, we have a single-click text that allows a groomer to let pet owners know to pick up their pets once the grooming service is completed.

Check-out Review Request

One of the most important items for any small business is solid reviews and ranking highly in search engines. Using our automated review request, businesses will gain authority by boosting Google reviews every week and improving social proof for pet parents searching for a credible dog daycare to provide services for their furry family members.

Online Booking

The goal for any business is to push as many customers to self-service online reservations as possible.  While all dog daycare software solutions will have an online booking process, not all are going to be created equal. If you can get 60% of customers to book online, then you have successfully promoted the process.

There are a few key features to look at when evaluating the best customer experience for online booking with dog daycare software. The best solutions will have the ability to configure the customer experience based on the different services they allow to be booked online in their dog daycare software. 

Enrichment Add-ons

One of the key metrics for every dog daycare business is the Average Revenue Per Pet Day/Night. The best dog daycare software solutions will allow you to configure the online booking experience to prompt pet parents to personalize their dog’s stay with enrichment services.  

Appointment Questions

One important aspect of scheduling dog daycare appointments online is ensuring that you can only accept dogs suitable for daycare and build the safest playgroups. The right dog daycare software online booking solution will allow you to ask custom questions and can be configured to allow you to ask questions every time a client books or to only ask the questions based upon the first time a pet parent is booking that type of appointment.

Vaccinations

One of the most important factors for operating a safe dog daycare business is ensuring proper vaccine protocols are followed. The best dog daycare software will display the current vaccination details you have on record for each dog, allowing pet parents to upload updated copies of their vaccination records and making the management of important paperwork less labor-intensive for dog daycare staff.

Digital Waivers/Contracts

While the last thing you hope you deal with are chargebacks or lawsuits, it’s always best to prepare for the worst-case scenario. The key to reducing your liability and exposure is to require all customers to digitally sign a waiver form with each appointment request.

Collecting Cards on File & Deposits

When you consider online booking an opportunity to improve the customer experience, it should be noted that by having the right online booking experience where you capture cards on file, you are also able to improve the check-out experience.

Reporting

To operate the best dog daycare business, you must know your numbers and have quick and easy access to important metrics and data to make informed decisions about how to operate your business. The best dog daycare software is going to have several categories of reporting options that will be critical to your success. Most dog daycare businesses operate and manage the business on a cash basis, which is easier and just requires you to balance books on a nightly basis.

Financial Reports

  • Close-out reports should be used daily to balance your books. These reports will allow business owners to see revenue by service for a date or date range. This is typically the report that is used to import directly into Quickbooks to help you generate your profit and loss statement for the month.
  • Daily Revenue report is used to see the transaction level data at a pet/owner level. This will display the pet/owner, the primary service, the invoice total, and the payment type.

Pet Care Operational Reports

  • Feeding & Medication reports are core to delivering the highest quality of care. These reports need to be printed so that the team members can prep and deliver food and medications to each guest. In some dog daycare software solutions, you also can chart the consumption of food and medications digitally, but 80% of facilities across the country are doing the charting on the room cards that are set outside each assigned room.
  • Check-in and Check-out reports allow your team to prepare for both the arrivals and departures. Departure reports need to be made so that staff can provide a quick check-out experience; that should include personal items and departure services that must be delivered before check-out to ensure you don’t have to provide a refund for services not delivered.
  • Activity & Grooming reports are necessary to be efficient in delivering services and driving average revenue per pet. The goal for every dog daycare is to include enrichment activities on 90% of appointments (both daycare and boarding) and having an efficient way to track who has services that have been delivered is key to ensuring the facility operates smoothly.

Customer Reports

  • Most dog daycare facilities are going to have 20% attrition on an annual basis.  Because of this, having quick access to see which customers are “at-risk” based on appointment history is critical to understanding which customers to reach out to and get back in the facility.
  • Understanding growth from a dog daycare perspective is critical to ensure you are completing enough daycare evaluations weekly. The best dog daycare software solution will allow you to easily track the number of daycare evaluations as well as how each of those evaluations converts.
  • Knowing who your top spenders are and having the ability to keep those clients engaged and prioritized is one key to success.

Run Optimization

One of the most crucial and challenging tasks in facility management is ensuring optimal capacity utilization. Typically, only 1 or 2 staff members possess the necessary skills to determine the required run transfers that minimize changes and maximize occupancy.

When assessing your dog daycare software, a key aspect to consider is its capability to assign multiple runs during the booking process to optimize capacity. While this may not be vital during off-peak periods, it becomes critically important during peak times, as most facilities generate around 60% of their annual revenue during these periods.

Training & Support

While features in dog daycare software will have a significant impact on the success of your dog daycare business, training and support are aspects that should not be overlooked.  With most dog daycare businesses hiring staff on the younger side and a variety of mistakes being made, having a software company that offers staff training and phone support becomes even more critical in your choice of dog daycare software.

Competitive Advantage

As the business owner of a dog daycare, several key levers will make you stand out in a crowded market. Making sure that you have these key points locked in will make the difference between mediocre success and extreme success.

Staff

The team you have in place will have the largest impact on your success. Make sure you have a thorough recruiting and hiring process that finds the right people for your company culture, people who can be trained to do the right thing, and that you make it clear that working at a dog daycare is not only about playing or loving dogs. It is physically challenging work, and staff needs to have a passion for animals, but also can move through the tasks of providing care for the dogs, cleaning, interacting with clients, recommending enrichment programs, selling packages, asking for reviews, and even more cleaning.

Facility

The cleanliness and smell of your facility are key to your reputation. It is critical that when you do tours of your facility, it shines and that you feel excited to walk potential new customers through every nook and cranny. It’s important that you do not neglect deferred maintenance, that the paint looks fresh, that it smells great, and that it looks very clean. It’s equally important that daycare attendants play with dogs (not on phones), that staff wear appropriate attire, and that the dogs are engaged with no excessive barking.

Quality of Care

If you ask 100 dog daycare business owners what helps them stand apart from competitors, 99 will say it’s the quality of service. The difficult part is defining the “quality,” as that will vary greatly in the answers. There are several levels that can define the quality of care you provide.

Dog to Staff Ratios. 

Industry standards make it clear that smaller ratios are safer, but it’s also well known that increasing labor is also less profitable, so it’s a delicate balance. Depending on where you live, there could be local restrictions that prevent you from going above a 10:1 or 12:1 ratio.  But in other states, like Texas, you can do whatever you feel is appropriate. The general recommendation is to stick to the 15:1 ratio. It’s a good balance of profit and safety.

Staff Training

If you want to be able to claim you have the highest quality of care, it all starts with the staff’s knowledge of dog body language and being able to lead safe group play. There are several staff training programs available in the industry, but the two leading ones are PackPro and Dog Gurus. The proper staff training will ensure that you have a safe facility that has very few incidents and/or injuries. The other thing to consider is empowering your team to always do the right thing when issues come up. Being able to resolve something immediately versus having to wait for the owner to interfere will show your customers that not only do you care, but that you know you aren’t perfect and always put the customer first in making decisions and making things right.

Cleaning Protocols

If your business has not implemented the proper cleaning protocols, then the risk is that you will have an outbreak that can damage your brand, break trust with clients, and require you to close your doors for 7 to 14 days (about 2 weeks). There is one leading company when it comes to cleaning products and protocols, and that is Animal Health Technologies. Each surface in your facility should have its own protocol, and the team at Animal Health Technologies will educate you on the best way to keep your facility safe and ensure your equipment lasts as long as possible.

Client Communication

Keeping customers engaged and informed is critical to standing out, and having the right dog daycare software makes this process simple. But one thing to keep in mind is that client communication is more than just text messages and emails. It should also include chalkboards in the lobby, banners on the outside of the facility, printed flyers that communicate events, and brag walls (photos of customers and their dogs) in your lobby that showcase the fun that is had by every dog that comes through your doors.

Service Offering

While most facilities will offer standard dog daycare, dog/cat boarding, and grooming services, companies that have an extensive enrichment program can really stand out from competitors in their area. Not only does this give staff a more enjoyable experience of playing with dogs, but it also is a critical lever to improve your profitability and increase your average revenue per pet.  Highlight and select enrichment services that focus on near-zero labor activities. This requires less staff to deliver and, when priced right and recommended by front desk staff, can improve your average revenue per pet day by as much as 60%.

Customer Experience

When running a pet care business, the perception of customers is the reality.  There are so many factors in the customer experience that will impact their perception of the value of your brand and the services you deliver. Below are several key customer interactions that each dog daycare needs to be specific about designing and refining to optimize the customer journey and experience.

  1. Drop-off
  2. Pick-up
  3. Online booking process
  4. Facility tour
  5. Daycare Evaluations
  6. Mid-stay updates/report cards
  7. Client communication

To be the best dog daycare and deliver the highest quality of care, it’s a great balancing act of profits, safety, and technology. With the above details, you should have a great roadmap to determine which dog daycare software is going to make the difference in creating efficiencies in operations, providing the right data to know what processes, policies, and prices to adjust, and making sure that you have the best customer experience possible.

Streamline Pet Business Operations, Drive Profits, and Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences

Pet business owners who have been around for a while understand the value of a system that organizes all the information and streamlines the tasks required to provide the highest quality of pet care.  When you find the right dog boarding software for your business you are going to save 20+ hours every single week by using automation for client management, scheduling, appointment reminders, billing management, financial analysis, and customer marketing. 

With Kennel Connection, you have a true partner who is invested in your success as a small business owner.  They provide free consulting with industry veterans who speak across the US about profitability, process optimization, and techniques to expand revenue.  If you are curious about how Kennel Connection can streamline your business and improve your profitability, then sign up for a demo HERE