How to Start a Pet Business – A Comprehensive Guide
Do you love pets? Do you own one right now? If so, then you might be delighted to know that there’s a business opportunity waiting for you. Many people love pets, which makes them an incredible business venture. If you’re interested, this article will show you how you can start a pet business and maneuver it towards success. It’s time to take advantage of your passion and start earning from it!
It’s All in The Numbers!
Sure, you might have doubts clouding your head. “Why pet care?” “Why focus on pets?” You can’t jump straight into it without knowing the stats first. Well, this section will explain just that!
As you might know, Americans love having pets at home. In fact, the country spent $24.5 billion on pet care in 2004 alone. One year later, that number increased by $1.4 billion. Fast-forward today, and you’re now seeing a $99 billion industry. You can’t lie – these numbers are astounding! Think of all the opportunities waiting for you.
All of these numbers are great news for aspiring pet-care businesses owners such as yourself. Whether you’re looking to offer hands-on pet care or selling pet products like food, treats, and toys, the sky’s the limit when you talk about success in a pet care business.
Let’s Get Started
Now that you know the extreme potential of establishing a pet business, it’s time to start going through the steps of starting one. We’ve outlined comprehensive steps to help get the ground running on your dream pet business.
Step 1: Get Specific
Let’s be honest – “pet business” sounds pretty vague. That’s why the first steps in this journey are to determine what type of pet business you want to run. Should you focus on pet care? How about pet accessories? Maybe you want to sell actual pets. Whatever you have in mind. Make sure you are specific about what pet business you want to manage. Also, when it comes to certifications and spatial needs, there’s a huge difference between running a multi-animal boarding business and being a dog-walking center.
Once you’ve settled on the what (what you want to become), you can branch out to where (where will your business be situated?), why (why you want to do a pet business?), and how (how are you going to run your business?).
Step 2: Develop a Solid Plan
Now that you know what you want to do, it’s time to start developing a business plan. In this phase, you will encounter a series of questions like:
- What will you call your business?
- How massive do you want your business to become?
- Are you planning to hire employees, or will it be a family-owned and managed business?
- How about marketing? What are you going to do to attract potential customers?
As you create your business plan, think about who can be potential mentors to you, as well as the available resources. Don’t forget to look at the local and state requirements for starting your own pet business. You can start by paying a visit to your State Labor Office, or Small Business Administration.
Step 3: Find the Right Location
Whatever you’re planning to do with your pet business, you will always need the right place and space that will fit all of your needs. You can’t just choose a location just because it’s vacant. Keep in mind that a strategic location will bring int more customers and profit.
To get an idea of your spatial needs, consider touring similar pet businesses. Once you find a suitable place, make sure you check with the city hall on zoning regulations, as well as other relevant permitting requirements and use restrictions.
Step 4: Scout the Location
Make sure the location you choose meets with your physical needs. To get a lay of the land, scout the location from a tactical point-of-view. Know your demographics. Determine where your competition is and where you’re going to draw from.
Whatever location you choose, just make sure that it has a customer base that’s big enough to sustain your business. For instance, if you’re planning a pet grooming business, make sure it’s near plenty of pet-friendly houses. If you want to run a dog-walking business, having your location near a park seems like the way to go. Also, identify your customer base and competition around the location that you choose. That way, you can add that information into your business and marketing plans.
Step 5: Get the Family Involved
Starting a business is a significant event in your life. That’s why you should always consider involving your family, or, at least, the ones that are closest to you. In addition, you should also ask yourself if it’s going to be a full-time business or a part-time one. Keep in mind that owning and operating a business can be like a job on top of another job. So, make sure you discuss your plans with your loved ones and weigh things towards what benefits you and your family the most.
Step 6: Figure Out Your Financing
Unless you’re born rich, you will need to find a way to make money to start running your pet business. In most cases, you will need to negotiate a lease and get a vacant space. Don’t forget about licensing costs and insurance. From all of these factors that need to be in play, start calculating your start-up capital. Along the way, you will know how you’re going to raise it.
Determine the cost that you can put up before you start looking at other financing options. Small business loans can also be an option or ask other business what bank they approached when they started. At the end of the day, money is the fuel that will drive the engine, which is your pet business. So, make sure your start-up capital is enough to get you up and running.
Step 7: Put All Your Certifications in Order
Bear in mind that not all pet-related businesses require certifications. However, most will need some level of training or education. Visit your State Labor Office and learn about the permits and certifications that your specific pet business requires and how to obtain them. It can be an excellent marketing tool to go along with sharpening your skills.
Step 8: Establish Policies
For a business to thrive, you need to have policies in place. Consider the entire workflow and the number of hours that you will render for your business. Make sure your pricing is reasonable, competitive, and sustainable. Plan how to notify your clients about your time off and how to handle replacement pet care.
Here are other things that you’ll also need to consider when outlining your policies:
- Creating emergency and contingency plans.
- Obtain veterinary contact information (if necessary)
- Have a vet release form (if necessary)
- Require pet guardianship paperwork from customers.
Step 9: Decide How to Handle Client Payments
One of the most crucial aspects of your business is how you will handle client payments. There are numerous avenues on how you can approach this, so make sure you assess the options that you have and start from there.
In most cases, it is more effective if you offer multiple payment options like the following:
- Credit Cards
- Mobile Payments
- Bank Transfers
- Direct Deposits
- Online Payments (PayPal, TransferWise, etc.)
- & more
Your customers will love having multiple payment options available to them. At the same time, your business will also establish a reputation for convenience and efficiency.
Step 10: Automate Your Payments
A great way to make your life easier when it comes to collecting payment is by automating the entire process. You can do so by using invoicing platforms. These applications are especially useful during the current pandemic that the country is dealing with.
Instead of having your clients go to your physical store to make payments, you can automate and give them the option to make electronic payments instead. With an invoicing system in place, your clients will receive the invoice from you through email. They will then have the option to pay immediately, wherein they will be taken to a safe and secure page where they can then make the payment.
Once payment is made, you and your client will be notified about it via email. That means no physical contact needed, which adds to the overall convenience of your business.
Step 11: Don’t Forget About Your Taxes
Finally, we should also talk about taxes as it’s one of the obligations that every business owner deals with. Visit your local Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Head over to their Small Business Tax Center to tackle and sort out your tax obligations. Determine your responsibilities in terms of state taxes, payroll taxes, and other federal requirements.
So, there you have it; a complete step-by-step guide to starting a pet business. It’s going to be a long and winding road – we’re not going to lie. But with a solid process in place, you’ll have an easier time going over what needs to be done. You can also use this guide for other types of businesses that you want to do. So, make sure you think things through. Good luck with your upcoming pet business.