What is an Enclosed Field?

There is a big demand for enclosed spaces where dogs can be allowed off lead. Reasons include training for reactivity, recall training or just somewhere to go for peace of mind without being hassled by other people or dogs. Also a space where dogs are not in fear of chasing livestock.

Finding Land or space

The type of land that is desirable includes fields, Paddocks, ménage, warehouse, woodland and any space that is enclosed.

You have options to Rent, Own or arrange community funding or an arrangement with the council.

Rent
You can find land to rent by writing letters to local farmers. Looking in local classified ads for sheep grazing or land for horses. Some owners maybe open to changing the use.

The price of renting varies depending on your county. In some areas it can be as much as £200 an acre. In some other areas as low as £40 an acre.

Own
You will find land for sale through land agents, classified ads, auctions and by asking land owners to split off some land. The price per acre varies depending on the county and also how desirable the land is. If in an area that is unlikely to be built on due to flooding or unsuitable land it can go for as low as £3000 an acre. However I have seen it sell for up to £30000 an acre. You can acquire funding through a personal loan, business loan with a business plan. Things to consider are is there livestock as neighbours and are you able to fence it off. Where is the nearest road and is it easily accessible. Also need to consider what is the current amount of traffic allowed to the land as the council will unlikely allow a major increase in traffic.

Community
You can begin to organise a community fund if there are enough people in the area willing to put in the time. You could also petition your local council with plans for a field and how it could be run.

Planning Permission

You Do not need it if only running for 28 days a year, or if you are extending a daycare or kennel business but you will need to contact your local planning officer to see if it falls under your permission

I would recommend using an independent planning consultant in order to prepare your planning documents as they will understand what the council are currently looking for. But these documents are what will be required:

  • Site location plan usually scales 1:1250 or 1:2500. Two named roads at least and how many buildings are present. Recommend land registry plans if you do not want to hire an architect. Your Site needs to be lined in red. Blue line around any other land or property you own. Must show all works you plan to carry out.
  • Location Plan of the site clearly showing north, access arrangements, any public rights of way, position of trees scale 1:500 or 1:200.
  • Introductory letter, explaining in simple terms what you are planning to do and why.
  • Design and access statement to include:
    • Disposal of Dog Faeces
    • Noise Levels. (Noise assessment is around £1500 and you may need to put up an acoustic fence if requested)
    • Fence height if over 6ft, plans of elevations 1:50 or 1:100
    • Access design
    • Describe any change in scenery
    • Statement of business
  • Transport statement
    • Access Rights
    • Visibility Splay
    • Traffic Predicted
    • Other access options, bus, walking
  • Wildlife report
  • Near a flood zone or river - flood report and drainage report
  • Public Liability Insurance will be needed

Public Liability Insurance

Basic rate for 2 million policy £120 a year

Fence height and Type

Most people expect fencing that dogs cannot get under, through or over. Most people expect the height to be above 4 ft and the the majority of requests are for 6ft high.

Types of fencing include: Deer fencing, chain link, post and rail with stock fencing.

For each acre I would recommend budgeting for 250m worth of fencing. A minimum of 3 m between each post means you will need at least 80 normal posts, plus 4 posts for corners and any straining posts. A good website for information, advice and prices is www.sure-green.com or www.mesh-direct.com

What the numbers mean on fencing products?
You will often see numbers such as C15/80/15

The letter explains the type of wire:
L - light mild steel
C - Medium Mild steel
B - Heavy Mild steel
LHT - Light high tensile
HT - High tensile

The type of steel you require depends on what wildlife you may want to keep out, and what punishment you expect your fencing to take.

The number after the letter explains how many horizontal wires are in the fence.

The middle number is the fence height in cm.

The last number is the distance between the vertical wires in cm. A small dog can fit through a 15 cm gap so you would need to have a high number of horizontal wires for this fencing to be viable, one example is steel deer fencing. Another term you will see is “wire gauge” the lower the number the stronger the wire. For dog enclosures you will need 16 or lower.

Booking options

You have options to either run appointments back to back or leave gaps. If you have a small track going to the field I would recommend leaving gaps, however provided you are clear with your clients about the rules of coming and going, both systems work well.

Examples of comings and goings include:

  • 1 hour slots and leave after 50 minutes.
  • Slots directly after one another and must start to leave 5 minutes before appointment end time and on arrival keep your dogs in the car until your time to go in.
  • Your choice of length of slots with a buffer of your choice. They vary from 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the access to the field.
  • I would ALWAYS recommend either a buffer or strict rules on when the dogs can get out of cars and how they enter the field, as the majority of dogs that use these facilities are reactive in some way.

Online software for booking

Written diary - when busy you may end up doing up to 25 hours a week just answering calls and scheduling

Information to take, name, number, emergency contact, address, name of dog, how did you hear about us, email.

If running 24/7 you need a break, look at virtual assistants to answer the phone.

Set business hours.

Use a Separate phone if running it full time.

Decide if you will take Regular bookings.

Are you able to offer personal inductions so you can explain the rules, if not I would recommend having a very detailed email or online system.

ALWAYS PUT SIGNS UP AROUND THE FIELD REITERATING YOUR RULES

Services to offer

  • Groups (may need to limit numbers depending on insurance and health and safety)
  • Exclusive use
  • Open access
  • Professional trainers or walkers
  • Agility equipment
  • Obstacle course- types of things you can have.
  • Pond, pool
  • Shelter
  • Toilets
  • Toys - mess, stuffing etc
    (be aware the more things you have the more health and safety you will need to consider)
  • Types of surfaces, artificial grass, mud and grass, rubber playground, mats

Whatever you want to or can offer, be clear in your terms and conditions. Including: Damages of things, from cars to people; Grooming dogs in the field; Rubbish; No bbqs; Smoking policies and Vaccinations policies – (the majority of secure fields do not ask for vaccines or titer testing unless they are connected to a kennels or day care, but this is your personal choice)

Price ranges

Prices vary from £3 for a 30 minute slot to £10. SOme fields are only able to offer hourly slots and these can vary from £7 to £20. You charge what you need too to run your field.

Discounts – these are great for regular customers. I would recommend using an online system for this, as it is easier on the admin side.

Charge for time or per dog or owner? This is your personal preference.

Should I set it up as a business?
If you are planning on running the field all week, then Yes as you can generate a lot of revenue. If you are planning on renting it out once a week, then no, keep it as a hobby.

Driving access and car park

Access, Gate codes options

  • Recommend an airlock system.
  • You are on site (this will depend on insurance).
  • Padlock on gate.
  • Codelocks.
  • Bluetooth Locks.

Car park surfaces – woodchip, hardstanding, none?? Just make sure the ground is solid enough to take cars in the winter, or have strict rules about where to park.

Maintenance

Rolling once a year.

How often need to clean it? – at least once a day.

Limiting Dog Poo
Ideas for keeping clients to keep picking up poo. Running a prize at the end of each week or month if the poo found is under a certain number.

Dealing with mud

  • Use mats, wood chips from a local tree surgeons, straw
  • Hardstanding
  • Reseeding

You need to factor in any maintenance for equipment or shelter and also replacing the fencing.

CCTV options

Questions you need to ask if you need to provide solar power are?
How many hours a day do you want it too run? (This will determine how much battery back up you need and the size of panel)
Do you need to view it live or record to a box wirelessly, if so, do you have a broadband signal or will you need to use a mobile signal?
What do you want the camera to do?

Solar power
If you need solar power, you will be off grid. To work out the size of system you will need I would recommend typing into google 'off grid solar power calculator'.
One choice is Solar Technology

I would always recommend getting a qualified solar engineer to install the system.

Using a 3G or 4G mobile signal
The SIM card MUST have a public IP, do not buy a standard SIM card.
Please visit 3G Router Store for everything you need

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CCTV Cameras
Check out www.3gmobilecctv.com for some good options for mobile signal cameras. If you have power then the world is your oyster, if working from solar power you will need a DC power camera unless your system includes an inverter to convert DC to AC power. NOTE: the inverter takes up a lot of power. And a good cctv camera with all the bells and whistles can run off DC power at 20w
Other website include www.solar-wind.co.uk and www.camsecure.co.uk

Dog waste

  • Composting, you will need a carbon source such as woodchip or sawdust. Click here for more information.
  • Wormeries.
  • Muck heap.
  • Sewage tank and it is too be collected.
  • Services that come and pick up the poop and dispose of it.

Advertising

The best and cheapest ways of advertising are add your field to our Directory or create a Facebook page for your business.

Disclaimers

If you have an online booking system, make sure the field users have to read the Disclaimer before booking.

An example of a disclaimer and what you could include, can be found at www.k9confidential.co.uk/booking.php

This is FIELD OF FREEDOM’S REGISTRATION FORM AND T&C’S (ONLINE)

Display your disclaimer printed on a board as you enter the field.

Any warning signs need to be in the field i.e. no climbing on the equipment. Take pictures at regular intervals to prove they are there.

If your field is manned/womanned, you can have people sign a disclaimer on their first arrival or for inductions. if you provide one.

To comply with Public Liability Insurance, Dog Business Insurance insists on signs being put up in the field to say people use the field at their own risk and their dogs behaviour is down to them.

Health and safety

Health and safety risk assessment are every few months. You can find examples on google for any risk assessment.

Business rates

Tricky one, if you have no address, you will need to contact the valuations office through your council to get them to come out and value your field, if you have an address you can phone your local council and ask about Business Rates.

Most will be able to apply for small business relief.

How to Use Our Paid Banner Ads

On our site,you will see banner ads on each page, these can be yours for a reasonable price either on a monthly or annual basis, starting at £6 per month.

To start a paid advertisement campaign simply Contact us at dogwalkingfields@gmail.com.

You will need to create a jpeg banner to be placed on the website 910px by 100px

We can put you in contact with our graphic designer if you need a banner designed for a one off fee of £30