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HomebusinessEddy Ng’ang’a: The 27-year-old Running A Successful Dog Airbnb Business

Eddy Ng’ang’a: The 27-year-old Running A Successful Dog Airbnb Business

Have you ever heard of Dog Airbnbs? Did you know that you can leave your dogs to incredible dog ‘nannies’ and go about your routines, vacations, and unexpected events?

Well, here’s an insight to how this works. While many people in Kenya are familiar with Airbnbs for staycations and short and long vacations, many are not aware of the booming dog boarding business in Kenya. Dog Airbnbs are accommodation facilities that host, feed, walk and groom your dogs when you are not around.

In Kenya, a number of such facilities have emerged, offering a much-needed service to dog parents across the country.

In 2021, 27-year-old Eddy Ng’ang’a identified a market gap for pet boarding facilities in Kenya, and made the decision to turn his love for dogs into a business. He took a leap of faith and tried out a business which he says has grown in leaps and bounds, in about one year since its inception.

In this article, Eddy speaks to WOK about his love for dogs, his decision to start a dog accommodation business, and what it takes to thrive in this venture.

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Eddy Ngang’a. I am twenty seven years old and an alumnus of the University of Nairobi. I am also a dog lover and the proprietor of Alpha Kennels Doggy Airbnb, a facility that offers hosting, grooming and other services for dogs. We are located at Zambezi, in Kikuyu area.

What was your first interaction with a dog?

My first interaction with a dog was about twenty years ago when I was in lower primary school. I was walking to school with my brother, when we bumped into a stray dog that I absolutely liked. We took the dog home, fed him and basically adopted him. That is when I really grew a love and appreciation for dogs.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago, a friend of mine gave me the job of marketing for the sale of her dog. I was able to get a few inquiries for the purchase of the dog, but I later decided to purchase the dog for myself.

When did you get the idea of starting a dog boarding business?

After getting the dog, I was naturally compelled to construct a kennel for him. Initially, the fundi was supposed to construct one kennel, but I changed my mind and we ended up having six, hoping that I would get playmates for my dog. That was around July last year.

Photo: Eddy Ng’ang’a walking dogs

In November the same year, while I was feeding my dog, I just thought to myself how I could host dogs for people who were either travelling or had commitments and could not take care of their dogs. That is when the idea was born and I decided to run with it.

To kick off the trial for the business, I took a few photos with my dog and posted on social media, telling people that we offer dog hosting fees.  At the time we were charging Ksh 500 a day for hosting a dog at our kennels.

However, a few weeks later I decided to review the pricing after studying the market, bringing the prices down to Ksh 200 and Ksh 400 for small and big dogs respectively. This decision really propelled the business to success and stability. I was able to get many calls and enquiries. By December that year, we had established ourselves as a solid business.

A month later I quit my job in marketing to focus on the business fully.

Do you offer other services apart from accommodation?

Other than accommodation, we sought ways for value addition. Now we have grooming, dog-walking, vaccination and even dog-training services for dogs. We have been able to establish ourselves as the one-stop-shop for everything dog-related.

How big is your team?

At the beginning, I was the only employee. Currently, we are a team of five people, comprising of a two veterinarians and two support staff and myself.

How much do you charge for services offered at your facility?

As I mentioned earlier, we charge Ksh 200 and Ksh 400 hosting fees for small and big dogs a day. Grooming is Ksh 1,500. dog walking is Ksh 200 for a distance range of 5-10 km, vaccination is Ksh 1,500 per shot and obedience training for Ksh 5,000 for a period of thirty days. We also have insurance services (optional) for people who want to insure their dogs.

What are some of the challenges you face in your line of work?

Somme dogs are very aggressive, so there is the risk of getting hurt or attacked by a dog, especially one that we are not very familiar with.

Another challenge is the risk for sickness and infection. However, we address this by asking for the dog health history and declining to accommodate any dogs that are not vaccinated.

Photo: Eddy Ng’ang’a holding one of the dogs at his dog boarding facility

What do you hope to achieve in the near future?

In the near future, about a year or so from now, we hope to extend our accommodation capacity from thirty kennels to about sixty, which will be able to host up to a hundred dogs at a go.

We also plan to open a branch in Nakuru City.

How can potential clients reach you?

Clients can check out our social media handles or reach me via my phone number 0729 039995.