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Interview: running a kennel and cattery

Interview with...

Kerry O'Brien
Owned hotels and a roadhouse truck stop service station
Business name:
Midcoast Boarding Kennels & Cattery
Boarding kennels and cattery
New South Wales
When started:
Three years ago
Price paid:

Kerry O'Brien on starting her boarding kennels...

Kerry O'Brien: We've been at the kennels for over three years this month. Previously we had a roadhouse truck stop which we were running while we were opening the kennels. My husband and son ran the kennels and my daughter and I ran the service station.

BFS: What was your main reason for starting your own kennel business?

For ongoing security. We entered into a contract arrangement and we just wanted to have this business in place. We've always been in some kind of business and we wanted to go into a type of business that would sustain us.

BFS: What are the things that you can do to gain advantage over the competition?

You have to give the best service. We love animals so our pets are always at an advantage as we have the best facilities. Our facilities are new and modern and we have structured heating and cooling so it is comfortable for the pets. They have access to grass runs. 

People don't want to think that their dogs and cats are locked up in a cage 24 hours a day

People don't want to think that their dogs and cats are locked up in a cage 24 hours a day. That's certainly not the case for us, we allow our animals to roam freely - unless there are dogs that don't mix and have to be separated.

You definitely have to be committed to your business and to your customers. You have to be flexible as people's arrangements might not always compare with your opening hours, and you have to help people out if you need to. It is also wise to have an interest and understanding in animal health in case there is a problem with any of the animals.

BFS: What are the main obstacles you overcame when first starting your business?

A sound report had to be carried out, so you obviously have neighbours that you need to be aware of who would be concerned with noise. You have to make sure that the kennels aren't a problem for those people.

Also, your septic arrangements have to be very carefully looked at, making sure that none of the off-runs from the kennels would go into or infect any internal water supplies or creeks that were running through the property. There were quite a lot of requests that were put to the council before the kennels was approved. It took a good 12 months.....

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