“I am considering building a new up-scale pet resort, I’m working on a feasibility and talking to my banker, so I need to know – what will it cost?”
AImost every week I get a call asking a question similar to that. It’s like asking how much does a car cost. It could be from
ten thousand dollars up to a million, depending onthebrand, type, and features. It’s exactly the same for a pet care facility.
When first thinking about cost, most people only consider the hard construction costs and the land or lease cost. There are many other project costs involved, but here are just a few critical areas to start with:
•Architectural &engineering fees • Bank f e e s
• Site work & development
• Furniture and fixtures
• Organizational set up costs . Permitting
• Startup costs
• Impact fees
On a “from ground up” project, the site development costs can be substantial. The more difficult the site, such as one on a hillside, the more it will affect the cost. Also, if the local permitting authority has any special requirement like parking, landscaping, sound control, traffic, or fire lanes, these could really skew the per-square-foot cost for construction.
If the project is a tenant improvement buildout, there may be substantial demolition costs ofthe existing space, and retro work to bring the building to meet current city code. Lastly, there is your locale to consider. For instance, construction costs in New York City are considerably higher than in lacksonville. Florida.
Adding to the cost question, we must also determine what components actually comprise your visionofan up-scale pet resort. To provide a ballpark construction and/or total project cost estimate, first consider all the profit centers you have plannedand the proposed volume of pets you want to service for each.Then a more in-depth discussion of the proposedm e t h o dof operations, including cleaning protocol, for each profit center is needed. From that information, the square footage and other building requirements can be made to determine the size of the facility.
There are economies to scale, and size does matter. For example, compare a 2,000 sf facility and a 4,000 sf facility that both need a reception area, breakroom, prep area, office, groom room, and restrooms. These areas are more costly than an open daycare space, for instance, due to the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and finishes needed for them. The size and cost of those areas will be similar in both facilities; however, the per-square-foot cost is being calculated with one being twice the size of the other. So the smaller one’s cost per-square-foot will be higher than the larger one. In this industry however, I’ve observed that there are many sizes and ways to be successful. Just be aware that when you are trying to get some pricing done there are many variables.
Lastly, what does up-scale mean? It’s a subjective term and varies from person to person. In areas that only have older facilities around, a new modern facility may be upscale in comparison. Some consider the hotel- lobby look for the reception, client social interaction areas, and boarding the pets in warehouse-type areas to be up-scale.
To others, up-scale means that every part ofthe facility, including the pet accommodations are high-end, including flooring, lighting, furniture, decoration, wall finishes, and flat- screen televisions. Or, up-scale could be any combination of the above.
So back to answering the original question… My answer is ‘it depends.’ Even though there is no obvious and quick answer to that question, through an interview process gathering the above information, your project parameters and size can be established. From that point, a ballpark estimate of a project’s cost can be easily determined. I guess ‘easily’ is also subjective!