How to Start a Pet Care Business
Most people cannot resist the cuteness of puppies and kittens and are more than ready to spend their money on their furry companions. Pet ownership indeed does not come cheap: raising a large dog, for instance, can cost you over $2,000 in the first year, according to the ASPCA. But besides the basic necessities, today, luxury pet products and a variety of pet services are also in demand. With the pet care industry reaching a stellar $207 billion in value in 2020, thinking about starting a pet-related business makes sense. If you want to try your hands at such an endeavour, here is how to get started.
Decide what you want to do
A pet care business can mean a lot of things: from pet walking and pet sitting all the way to grooming businesses, you have a vast choice when it comes to what kind of services you want to offer to pet owners. Therefore, the first step is deciding what exactly you want to do. Besides your preference, your local audience is going to play an important role in your decision, too. Make sure you do some research to see what there is demand for in your area. What kind of pets are people mostly keeping? How big is their spending power? Is there a particular market gap you could fill? Take competition into account, too.
Training and qualifications
Another key factor to consider when deciding on what kind of business you will start is your own knowledge. Loving animals is a great start, but it might not be enough for some pet care business options. So, consider your skills and qualifications. Certification is often not a necessity; you can choose from many pet business ideas that don’t require it. For a pet sitting business, for instance, you don’t have to enrol in a school or complete a course, but you might still need to get a license depending on your state. However, for certain professions, such as dog grooming, acquiring the appropriate certificates can not only elevate the quality of your service but will also give your customers peace of mind.
Find a location
Depending on the kind of business you have decided on, you will likely need to find an appropriate location for your operations. It may be a good idea to do some research and look at your competition to see how much space is necessary for your business to operate comfortably. For instance, you may be surprised that dog daycare requires more space than you initially thought in order for it to appeal to customers. At the same time, pay attention to zoning restrictions as you look around.
Register your business
After you have checked whether your endeavour will need licensing, it is time to get the bureaucratic part done. Every business needs to be registered in order to operate legally. To register, you will first need to determine what business structure best fits your needs. For a small business such as a dog walking business, a sole proprietorship may suffice. However, LLCs or limited liability companies provide an added layer of protection. Consult a professional if you need help with this.
Next up, no matter what kind of pet care business you are starting, it is highly recommended that you get appropriate insurance. Even dog walkers should get insurance since you never know what might happen while you’re out in the streets. Insurance will protect you and your assets if an accident occurs, or if the pet causes some kind of damage. Otherwise, you may be required to foot the animal’s medical bills, which can wreak havoc on your finances. Needless to say, if you’re going to run a business where you’re not the only employee, there is a slew of other insurance considerations that you need to make.
Set it up and get going
Once you’ve got all the formalities sorted out, you can finally set up your premises and get things in motion. Figure out your pricing, create a website and social media profiles, start marketing yourself. A presence on community marketplaces can also give you great exposure. Don’t forget to take pictures after every happy furry customer and boost your credibility with reviews.
Operating a pet care business can be a fulfilling career path. Not only do you get to work with animals, but you are also your own boss and have the power to steer the business in whatever direction you want. The beginnings may require you to make an extra effort but pet businesses have a great potential for success today.