Boarding kennels are an important part of today’s pet industry, and boarding kennel managers are the people who run these businesses and help care for the dogs and other pets in their care.
There was time in the not-too-distant past when boarding kennels weren’t common. For one thing, the family dog usually had a constant companion at home, usually the “Mom,” and there was someone available during the day to walk and provide for the animal. And when the family went on vacation, they either took the dog with them, or left him with family or friends.
But much as changed in the past few decades. Today many dogs and cats are owned by single individuals, or couples where both parties work jobs during the day. This leaves the pet home alone for many hours, with no-one to walk or attend to its needs. People today also travel more, and don’t want to burden their friends or family with their pets for extended periods.
And so boarding kennels have become increasing popular in recent years. And the job of boarding kennel manager has become an important part of this growth, as good managers are an essential part of any successful small business, especially one that focuses on the needs of pets and their owners as well.
Boarding kennel managers fulfill an important role by overseeing the day-to-day operations of the boarding facility, handle customer service issues, manage the kennel staff, and most of all ensure that the animals in their care are safe and well provided for.
In many cases, the kennel manager is also the owner of the facility, and so has a large stake in its success. Other times the manager is just an employee of whomever owns the boarding kennel, whether it be a private owner or a larger corporation. Either way, the duties of this position are essentially the same, although owner-managers tend to have more responsibility, as there is no-one “higher up” to answer to.
About the job
Typical boarding kennel manager duties include:
Managing the kennel on a day-to-day basis, and assisting in the care of the animals at the facility, including exotics such as reptiles and birds, in some cases.
Managing the kennel staff, and ensuring that the pets are watered and fed on a regular basis, and exercised, cleaned, and well cared for.
Hiring and firing staff members as required.
Serving as the face of the business, and interacting with customers as needed.
Working to bring in new business, and promoting and marketing the kennel through a variety of channels, including online.
Bookkeeping and accounting duties, and managing budgets and payroll.
Kennel managers don’t just work at kennels, they’re also sometimes employed by veterinarians, animal shelters, grooming shops and various government agencies.
What the job is really like
As you might imagine, boarding kennel managers work around dogs all day, as dogs are the primary residents of most kennels. This means coping with a lot of loud barking on a constant basis, which can annoy some but most people who work in this environment get used to it.
While managers do spend some of their day outside helping to walk and exercise the dogs in their care, they spend most of their time indoors attending to the facility. This involves monitoring the staff, taking phone calls, attending to administrative duties, talking to customers and doing general office work.
Dealing with the public is one of the most important functions of a boarding kennel manager. Most businesses - especially when they’re starting out - need a constant influx of new customers to keep the money coming in. And existing customers need to be attended to as well, and the manager is responsible for fielding questions and any complaints that come across his or her desk.
And just as with the management of any small business, the boarding kennel manager is maintaining the bottom line, and making sure the business is turning a profit. With this responsibility comes considerable pressure, especially in tough economic times or when business is slow due to weather or other factors.
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