Start A Pet Business Today

Start a pet business with the confidence this industry is the fastest growing home-based businesses in the U.S.  Between dogs and cats, the U.S. owns over 150 Million pets.   That doesn't even count the numbers of birds, fish, rabbits, hamsters, and reptiles. 

In the past five years, the pet industry has seen approximately 17% growth in spending and it is projected to keep growing.  A terrific fact as you plan your business.

There are a variety of factors to take into account as you plan for your pet business:

1. Your Schedule

When are you able to work?  Or when do you wish to work?  Think about this carefully.  If you're considering pet sitting (for example), your clients will most likely want to hire you for holidays, weekends while they're away.  Will this work with your specific schedule?

2. Services/Products

What services and/or products do you want to provide to your clients?  What types of problems can you help them solve.  Leaning towards providing services will allow you to provide value to your clients instead of producing or selling products.  Selling products may put you in head-to-head competition with PetSmart and other large retailers who have the buying capabilities your small business may not be able to compete with in the marketplace. 

3. Service Area

How far are you willing to travel for your business?   Do you want to work in your neighborhood?  Are you willing to travel within a 10-20 mile radius?  Or are you willing to travel regionally, nationally, or internationally?  The breadth of your business will be determined to a degree by the boundaries you place upon your business.  Of course, you may not need to travel far (or your clients may travel to you) depending upon your business model.

4. Supply/Demand

Once you've identified your services/products and the service area you're interested in to start your pet business, take a good look at the services you want to provide.  Can you identify a strong demand for your services?  Who is the competition?  How do you stand up to your competition?  What can you offer that your competition can't or doesn't?  This is a crucial step in your planning process.   

5. Types of Animals

What types of animals do you want to work with -- dogs? cats? birds? fish?   Or maybe there is a specific breed of animal you will specialize in . . .  

6. Pricing

It's important to shop your competition to determine what price you can charge for your services.  Can you meet or beat the competition?  If so, how?  Can you make a profit at the price you need to charge?  If you need to charge more, how are you going to justify the cost to your clients?   What value do you bring in order to charge the price?  AND (this is BIG!), do you have information to suggest your clients are willing to pay the price you intend to charge?  Ask them . . .

7. Consider Pet Roles

Today the roles of the common house pet are expanding.   How can you utilize this to your advantage?  See below . . .

As You Start a Pet Business Consider Expanding Pet Roles

Today pets are filling so many important roles in their pet owners lives . . .

Child Substitute -- for young singles or couples without children or empty nesters.

Teacher -- helping parents teach responsibility and caring techniques to young children by providing pet training (through which the child learns about discipline through love), pet chores (adding to the household), and learning about the care/nurturing required for live animals.

Psychological Therapy -- encouraging care, communication while building self-confidence and compassion.  Pets are beginning to be used in nursing homes and hospitals where the pet visit provides a positive encounter and gives patients a sense of hope.  

Companion -- Maybe the most important role!  Providing children, adults, and seniors with an adorable, non-judgmental friend who may also fill a loneliness gap!  Pets support all of the senses including touch and stimulus which supports a basic human need.

Health Benefits -- animals can be very important in the health and wellness of individuals.  For example, the seeing eye dog is imperative for the physical movement and life "normalacy" for blind individuals.  Horses have also been used for mentally/physically challenged individuals to teach them certain physical and life skills.

While the above information is very interesting, you're probably asking yourself "What does this information have to do with me -- I want to start a pet business?"


It's definitely important to understand the types of emotional/physical reasons driving pet ownership so you can position yourself as you start a pet business to best meet your client's needs.  

One of the things that most strike me is that these are all very good reasons for "people" to own pets, but what does this have to do with the animal??   The animals all have needs of their own (outside the needs we humans have). This is where you and your pet business come in. . .  :)

When you start a pet business, you can provide extremely helpful services to pet owners who are looking at the above reasons to own their animals.   While most individuals are well intentioned and want the best for their pets, they may not recognize the many physical and caring requirements neceesary to keep their pets healthy and happy.

The pet requirements take time and energy to provide -- just like caring for a small child!  And with people living busy lives, you (as the pet professional) can step-in and help with your services, guidance, and support to make sure the needs of the animal are met. As you start a pet business, keeping these facts in mind can be the difference between a positive pet experience and one that may not turn out so well for either the pet owner or the pet.  

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