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What is the Best Software for Dog Daycare?

by
Kerry Falk

Most pet care business software is not designed for the unique business process of dog daycare, leading to inadequate solutions which increase administrative burden for daycare staff. Let's take a look at the most common solutions we see and identify an alternate solution to alleviate administrative pain and confusion.

What is the Best Software for Dog Daycare?

Over the past few years we've had the opportunity to work with dog daycares across the US and Canada - assisting with streamlining their administrative process to reduce staff burden and increase visibility into their business while also empowering their clients to engage with their business. Most have sought us out to help with organizing the dog training side of their business and benefited from also serving their dog daycare services. Along the way we've seen many common processes and solutions, with the majority of the process being manual and a responsibility of the daycare staff. In most situations this is an acceptable process in that it works - if it isn't broken, why fix it? In this case the answer lay in a step change of improvement that makes your staff's life easier as well as simplifying life for your clients, potentially increasing their utilization of your dog daycare business and increasing revenue.

Unlike other pat care businesses we don't see the same variety of software deployed for dog daycare businesses. It most situations they're either processing everything manually, or they're using one or  two solutions. Let's explore the primary business processes for dog daycare, some typical non-bespoke solutions for those processes and then a few designed for pet care business.

Client Booking

Client self-booking in dog daycare is a more complex affair than other pet care business because before a client's dog can be allowed into the facility they first must be vetted in some way. Therefore most off the shelf booking software, like Acuity, or Calendly doesn't fit the bill. Although these services are often used to schedule the initial appointment or Meet and Greet. Often bookings are manually taken via phone and recorded in a binder or Excel/Google Sheet or simply accepted as drop-in the day of. Most modern service businesses now utilize some sort of online booking software to make their client's lives easier, while it's not as simple for dog daycare services, it is possible to offer this service to your clients while also maintaining control over the capacity of your facility and the dogs that are approved to visit.

Payments, Invoicing, Packages and Credits

Almost all dog daycare businesses we serve collect payment online and in-person, they also sell packages of credits for daycare services that must be tracked and used in some way. This can be done in several ways and few software offerings have a complete end-to-end solution. We most commonly see transfers for "Online" payments - like PayPal, Venmo, or eTransfers in Canada. For in-person payments it's either Square or their bank's traditional payment processor. These are fine solutions for collecting funds, but require significant manual processing to ensure you operation continues to run smoothly. In-person payments need to be manually reconciled with an accounting system, and your internal process or system to track which clients have paid and which have not. Keeping track of prepaid credits after the sale is easily lost track of if not automatically tracked via software.

Client Information

Effectively storing client information is among the best ways to improve your internal process. The more rapidly you and your staff are able to get an understanding for the client in front of them, the easier and more professional the resulting conversation or process is. Most modern service businesses store some sort of client information that is readily accessible to the staff service the client, unfortunately outside of daycares already using a pet care specific system we don't often see CRMs utilized. Without connecting the other processes, which a standalone CRM won't be able to do, they're also not as useful. We most commonly see client information spread across several platforms and locations, Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Emails, Paper, etc. Consolidating all of your client information into one place while also connecting your other business processes, like Payments and Invoicing is a critical function that will streamline your front-end and back-end processes.

Pet Care Specific Software

Most pet care focused software used by dog daycare facilities has been designed for boarding services. While there are many similarities and it can be made to work for daycare, it leaves a few workarounds and inefficiencies. Below I'll list what we believe are the top 3 best software for dog daycare business.

  1. BusyPaws
    Designed for both Dog Trainers and Dog Daycare (services that often co-exist), BusyPaws has modern and advanced online booking functionality that allows you to maintain the capacity of your facility, collect vaccinations and any other client information you need, sell and easily track package and credit usage, send and receive email or text messages from the client's profile, and collect payments online and in-person with a fully integrated payment processing suite so you don't need to reconcile any other systems. BusyPaws may not be the right fit for you if your service offering is heavily aligned to boarding, as it does not have all of the functionality of boarding focused software.
  2. Gingr
    The longest running of the group, Gingr is designed for the needs of boarding facilities, and by extension dog daycares. It has a robust suite of functionality which includes the only other provider of a fully integrated in-person payment processing system. Client data is taggable and customizable, there is a form builder to allow you to collect all information you need, and they offer a mobile app for your clients. While their interface is less modern than the other options, they may be the right choice for you if boarding is a significant part of your business.
  3. ProPet
    Designed more broadly as pet care software, they offer modules for different pet care segments, like daycare. Online booking is available through a branded client portal, but not available more publicly for services you'd like to easily offer to new clients (without requiring them to make an account). For functionality that may not be accessible/available on their platform they offer a Zapier integration which may enable functionality from other platforms.

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