By Craig L. McAllester
I was on a site-visit this week meeting with new clients who are wanting to build a fairly large boarding kennel / daycare / training and animal physical therapy facility. They had some really good questions about building costs, even before they begin the project. I was impressed with their line of questioning, and I’m sure others are asking similar questions.
A new client asks “How can we control costs, right from the start?”
It seems our society today is an ‘I want it all, now!’ society. Everywhere you turn, at home, in business, we want all the new and latest things, and we want them all, now! For example, many buy products from an online store, to have them delivered, tomorrow. Last week, I heard of a company in Australia that was developing a small drone aircraft that will be used to deliver packages because overnight delivery takes, well, overnight; and we want it now. Today, entertainment is delivered instantaneously through pay-per-view type services. Social media, email, news publications and television news broadcasting, and even books are all available instantly to our tv’s, computers, tablets and phones. This post will be available to you immediately, after I click ‘publish’. We want it now! Much of the reason for the United States housing bubble growing so large was that people were buying homes far beyond their means. So, I thought it refreshing when I was asked:
How can we get everything we ‘need’, and still be able to afford to build?
My answer to that question dates back to the early 1970′s, when I got my first credit card, a Master Charge. I felt so important; my first purchase was a Butterfinger candy bar! My father told me not to buy anything which I could not pay for at the end of the month. He passed away in May, but the advice, I still heed to, and will, for my remaining days. If you cannot afford your 20,000 square foot dream design, then start with a 5,000 square foot kennel that you can afford. By using the dream kennel as a bases for the design the phase one kennel, you can yield the building of your dreams over time. This allows you to GROW the business rather than worry about how you are going to pay the light bill every month. Even a not-for-profit organization, is a business; so I recommend this approach when I’m designing animal shelters too.
…be it a shelter or a boarding kennel, new construction or a renovation, it takes time, but it works.
Once the dream kennel, or Master Plan, is designed, have it priced to know where you stand. Often this plan is prominently displayed in the building to gain public interest and fundraising. Then, based on that pricing, cut the design down to fit within your budget. This then becomes phase one. Not everything may be included at first, but it gives you a place from which to grow the business. By using this Master Plan as your target model, we can shape each phase to point in that direction. It is like having a map to show you the direction you want to go.
The meeting I had this week was for a boarding kennel, but I often offer this same advice for an animal shelter as well. It also works when renovating an existing building. All construction is expensive today, so cutting the project down to size, allows many to start, now!
For the shelter that needs to be renovated AND, needs more space…
consider starting by building a small new kennel and food prep building beyond the existing shelter. Moving your animals into this new space gives you an easy to clean healthy place for you and your animals. Then, as money allows, renovate the existing building to meet your needs. Making this a two or more step process, helps many to get started, sooner rather than later.
So, remember that there is always hope with each day. Move forward, and start small, growing with each step, and with a little help.