Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Angelique Salazar, Owner of Club ULD, U Lucky Dog Daycare & Boarding, located in Denver, Colorado, United States.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Club ULD, U Lucky Dog Daycare & Boarding facility in Denver, CO. We provide five-star service to our lucky dogs and their 2-legged parents. Our clients are busy professionals that live nearby (we are located right off of I-25/I-70, near the Highlands and Downtown Denver) and people who are traveling. We have been open for twelve years (this September, woohoo!) and recently moved into a brand new facility. We are your pup's home away from home.
Tell us about yourself
I have always loved dogs, and when the opportunity came up twelve years ago to start a business of my own, I jumped on it! I was twenty-five at the time, so I needed a lot of help.
I took out a line of credit on my house, rented a warehouse, opened it with chain link fencing, turf, and six employees....and prayed. I gave free daycare to my whole family and every friend that I knew that had a dog. I knew that no one wanted to drop their dog off at an empty doggie daycare.
We needed to have dogs. I also decided (which I am so happy I did) to open up with just a daycare for the first year. I wanted to learn how to take care of a dog for eight hours before taking care of them for eight nights. Although I was in the red for the whole first year, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
In year 2, I built 35 enclosures and started actually making money. Twelve years later, I have 234 enclosures and truly know what it takes to keep my clients, both two-legged and four-legged happy.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, being in business for almost 12 years is quite an accomplishment! Who knew! Also, I employ over 45 employees, and about half have been with me for over three years. And my two managers for almost over 11 years. That is huge to me. I take care of my staff as if they are family because they are!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Keeping everyone happy all of the time. I am a yes woman. I try to make everyone happy, and that is hard. Sometimes no matter what we do, there are complaints, and that is tough. We try our hardest, and I would say 99% of our clients know how hard we work and how much we love their lucky dogs.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The three tips I would give to anyone looking to start a business today is....DO IT! There is nothing more gratifying or rewarding than seeing something you built to come to fruition and succeed.
Also, get advice. Talk to other people in the industry that you will be in, take them to lunch, and learn from them. I can't stress how important it is to network and learn from others.
The third is to build tough skin. Let me tell you, shit will hit the fan. At ULD, dogs do get sick. We mess up sometimes. And it is how you handle those moments, how you teach your staff how to handle them, and how you come out of those moments that will truly make a difference.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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