Pet Business Ideas
As the pet industry continues to explode, profitable pet business ideas are keeping pace. What’s driving this growth?
It’s the millions of pet owners that are happy with their pets – and happy to spend money on them.
Pet business ideas are nothing new – they’ve been around for hundreds of years. Think about it – blacksmithing and horse boarding were quite popular businesses until folks traded their horses for Hondas.
If you enjoy animals and have been thinking about starting your own business, there are quite a few pet business opportunities to consider – many of which do not require a great deal of up-front capital.
Types of Pet Business Ideas
The purpose of this article is to get you thinking about a variety of pet business opportunities. If you’ve already decided on your business concept, this article may be too high-level for your needs.
Let’s start by dividing pet business ideas into their primary categories. These categories will help us address the unique opportunities (and some challenges) in each.
For small businesses, there are essentially four categories of pet startups. These categories are as follows:
- Service Oriented Businesses
- Training and Education
- Retail Operations
- Food Products
We’ll now describe each category and discuss a variety of opportunities and things to consider with each type of pet business.
Service Oriented Businesses
Service oriented pet business ideas focus on providing any number of pet-related services to customers. In a service business, the business owner(s) and/or employees are essentially the products, providing the pet services customers want.
The key things to remember when starting a service oriented pet business are that your customers place their trust in your care and they are willing to pay for convenience.
Some of these pet business ideas may operate during traditional business hours (dog grooming and kennel businesses) while others (pet sitting and dog walking) may require more flexibility on your part. Keep this in mind when considering your pet business.
Pet service businesses are typically easier and cheaper to start than the other categories. Since you are your business’ product, you are essentially selling your time and expertise. Time and expertise typically don’t require a great deal of startup capital.
Pet service businesses do have one drawback, however. Your time is tied directly to your business profits. In other words, if you decide to take a vacation, so does your cash flow (unless you have employees, of course).
Training and Education Businesses
The next category of pet business ideas to consider is pet training and education. Training and education is a specialized service business and typically require advanced knowledge and experience.
Here are some pet training and education business ideas to consider:
- Become a Dog Trainer
- Obedience Training
- Agility Training
- Behavioral Modification
- House training
- New Owner Education
- Pet Socialization
The great part of these types of businesses is that you can blend services and retail products. For example, if you are highly successful with in-home obedience training, take your knowledge and write a book, newsletter or video series.
The important point to consider with any education business is to remember what your customers are paying for…they are paying for your expertise and results. Before you start this type of business, make sure you have the requisite skills.
If you feel that you still have a bit to learn before starting this type of business, take your time and study. Open your business when you are confident and ready. Remember, your customers are paying for your talents!
Retail pet business ideas encompass an extremely wide variety of ventures; however, one thing is common across all. Your business sells products.
Most small business retailers sell directly to customers, either through a brick-and-mortar outlet (fancy way of saying a “store”) or through the internet. Some retail pet business owners have also found ways to sell their products directly to other, larger pet retailers.
In your retail business, you can sell other company’s products or sell your own…or a combination of both. The types of products you sell are really up to you and will largely be dictated by customer demand.
It would be difficult to list every imaginable pet retail opportunity – especially given the fact that new pet products are invented so regularly. However, here are a few of the more popular you may want to consider:
- Traditional Pet Store (fish, birds, cats, etc.)
- Dog Boutique (unique dog clothes and gifts)
- Pet Novelty Shop
- Pet Safety Products
- Custom Pet Clothing
- Unique Pet Toys
As is the case with any type of pet business ideas, before you open shop, make sure to do your market research. Without adequate consumer demand, it’s hard to make the venture work.
One administrative point to note about pet retail businesses…in most cases, you will need to collect sales tax for the products that you sell. This process can be a bit confusing at first. Save yourself the headache and meet with a qualified accountant who can guide you through the process.
Food related pet businesses could actually be listed under the retail category. However, due to the rapid growth in this small business segment, we chose to break it out.
In addition to boutique pet bakeries, many small pet businesses are making money selling specialty pet foods. The recent issue with pet food deaths has prompted many pet owners to look at more natural, locally produced foods for their furry companions.
Food product pet business ideas can be a lot of fun…especially if you enjoy creating in the kitchen. However, these types of business have more regulations than the other kinds of pet businesses.
Visit your local small business center to learn about the requirements for sanitation, food preparation and storage, quality guidelines and lot tracking. Don’t skip these details! Learn your local requirements and follow them.
Here are some food related businesses you may want to consider:
- Dog bakery
- Handmade Dog Biscuits
- Organic Pet Food
- Specialty Pet Treats
- Pet Birthday Cakes
For creative inspiration, visit a local pet bakery or boutique to get an idea of the types of gourmet food products for pets. You’ll be amazed at the selection (and the amount customers are willing to pay)!
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas for starting your own pet business. If you’re struggling to get started, keep in mind the following bit of advice…
The hardest part in any business is making the decision to start
If you love pets and you want to start a business, you really owe it to yourself to try. Make it easier on yourself and start small. As a small business, it’s easier to experiment with different products or service delivery techniques.
Make it happen!