© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.
Smart design tips for boarding, grooming
Tips to spruce up ancillary service areas on a budget.
Editor's note: This was partially adapted from a dvm360.com blog by architect Mark Hafen.
Some ambitious practice owners spend more to design and outfit their boarding and grooming areas than they can expect back in revenue. Don't let that be you. Now, we're not saying you can't make money by providing services-you just have to be smart about it. Remember that the biggest benefit to offering boarding and grooming is, of course, convenience to clients. Pet owners don't want to run to three different places for annual checkups, haircuts and boarding. Boarding and grooming can also get clients in the door more frequently-that's a chance for you to draw pet owners' attention to the important medical services you provide.
The downside to boarding is that it costs nearly the same amount per square foot to build a boarding facility as it does a medical facility, but you make more money from medical areas than from boarding. As for grooming, you only need one word to describe the challenges you face in running a grooming operation: yuck! Even efficiently run grooming operations are knee deep in flying fur, water and wet dogs.
Click next to see photos of veterinary hospitals that have done boarding and grooming right, and get ideas on client- and pet-friendly design that doesn't break the bank.
Photo courtesy of Anderson Veterinary Clinic
At Anderson Veterinary clinic in Anderson, Calif., cats can climb up the wall steps and perch to look at the bird feeders outside. Give cats a place to sharpen their claws with a cat tree and perch, and keep them occupied with other toys or a tunnel to crawl through.
You don't have to buy these either. If you're handy with tools, you could make your own cat play structures using plywood, carpet and other suitable materials.
Since cats usually don't do as well as dogs when they're away from home, having this space to play makes the boarding experience less intimidating for them, says Heather Lewis, AIA, a partner at Animal Arts in Boulder, Colo.
Photo courtesy of Larry McKillop, Animal Hospital Champions Northwest.
This grooming area at Animal Hospital Champions Northwest in Spring, Texas, sits next to the reception area, with a sound-barrier wall between them. A bathing room, a cage room and the treatment area are adjacent. It may not be the most visually appealing room, but it's efficient and practical. While many of you might not have the money for a total renovation, re-evaluating the way everything is situated in your clinic is worth it if it means added convenience for clients.
Photo by Mike Guibault, MG Photography Studio. Mural by Corrado Mallia.
Make kennels fun and inviting, like 2013 Veterinary Economics hospital of the year Allandale Veterinary Hospital in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Dogs may not care about décor, but clients love it. You can beautify these rooms on the cheap by shopping at discount or thrift stores for fun wall hangings or collecting unwanted home decorations from clinic employees. Natural daylight is great too-it lowers stress, improves patients' moods and contributes to faster recuperation at human hospitals. Expect a similar effect on pets.
Your clinic may not be the Taj Mahal of veterinary practices, but you can still offer your clients and their pets awesome boarding and grooming comforts by being thoughtful and creative and doing what you already do best-keeping the patients' comfort and health in mind.