Start & Run a Pet Business (Start & Run Business Series)

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  1. More from Entrepreneur
  2. 10 Tips For Running A Pet Grooming Business Plan
  3. How to Start a Pet Business
  4. 9 Pet Businesses to Start Today
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You may need to register for a business license in your town to operate a business legally.

More from Entrepreneur

Most dog walking businesses are formed as sole proprietorships or limited liability companies LLCs. A sole proprietorship is a business created by one individual whose personal and business assets are not separated; the owner is held responsible for all debts. An LLC separates personal and business assets; this makes the owner of the corporation not personally liable for the debts of the business. It would be a good idea to speak with an accountant or attorney while setting up your business if you do not have experience in this area.

Use a Lean Business Plan as a tool to get started

Insurance is available that is specifically tailored to provide coverage for pet sitters and dog walkers. This coverage will protect you from potential legal action if a pet causes damage while under your supervision.

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10 Tips For Running A Pet Grooming Business Plan

The cost is only a few hundred dollars and could save you a big legal headache down the road. Design a flyer and business card to place on entryway bulletin boards in vet clinics, supermarkets, dog groomers, and pet stores.

Pet Care - Start a Business Pet Shop - Bhola Shola

Consider having your contact information and logo made into large magnets to display on the doors and rear of your vehicle. Advertise on Craigslist, in church bulletins, and in neighborhood newsletters.

Create a website with a personalized domain name. Word of mouth will eventually become your biggest source of referrals. When clients come to you, make a note of where they heard about your service referral from a friend, website, flyer , so you will know what areas to focus on. For each owner who uses your service maintain a contact sheet that includes their address, phone number, email, and emergency contact numbers. Be sure to record information on each dog including breed, color, date of birth, health history including allergies and any previous injuries , veterinarian's name, and clinic contact information.

A basic veterinary release form will allow you to take the animal to the vet with the owner agreeing to pay any resulting bills.

How to Start a Pet Business

From tail wags to sloppy kisses and long days filled with animal admiration, opening or buying a kennel can be rewarding far beyond your potential profits. But before you let your inner pet lover drive your business-buying decision, be sure to consider everything, including potential costs and challenges, that make up the pet services and boarding industry to determine if buying a kennel is the right career choice.

To better prepare, you may also want to consider animal certificate programs to learn the appropriate safety and care protocols and earn some credentials that will help win over future customers.


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You should also begin forming relationships with local resources, like veterinarians for emergency services and wholesale pet supplies retailers to ensure you can outsource necessary equipment, materials, and services. This startup checklist can also help you make sure nothing falls through the cracks as you get up and running. Before making a purchase, do your market research. Consider factors such as the average household income, industry competition other pet boarding services , future economic projections, median age, the number of families in the area as families tend to have dogs , etc.

Determine your pricing structure from your competition, and adjust based on additional services and amenities that differentiate your facility and team. For example, offer a standard stay vs. Consider adding referral or frequent visitor discounts to incentivize and reward your most loyal customers. For additional revenue, consider where you can make extra money, such as selling toys, treats, and pet supplies, or offering monthly packages where customers who need frequent care can pay a flat rate like a subscription for stays per month, six months, or over the full year.

Look for employees that are consistent, hardworking, fun-loving, and collaborative.

9 Pet Businesses to Start Today

To acquire clients, consider advertising costs in local publications, social media, newspaper and magazine ads, digital marketing, and mass mailers. Stop into local businesses, schools, and community centers to post flyers, and consider forming referral partnerships with key players in your area, like your local chamber of commerce or animal adoption center. Host a launch event, ongoing training, open play, or information sessions to establish your business as more than just a pet boarding center for the community.

Everything from facility upgrades, insurance, equipment, overhead, and marketing costs should be considered as initial and recurring investments through the life of your business. At the beginning of your business, be sure to keep savings aside for emergencies, such as a burst pipe or unexpected disaster.

Shop Self Counsel Press:

Use the majority of your early profits into reinvestments to better your business. Image via Paws Daycare. Bruce is the U.