Starting A Pet Business

Britain is regarded as a nation of pet lovers and will spend on their pets. A market now estimated to be worth 8.5 billion, as much as 2.5 billion is spent by owners on pet food and surveys suggest that 2 in 5 pet owners spend as much on their pets as their friends present. 

Pet owners expect bespoke nutrition for their pets, luxury pet spas, best pet grooming, designer pet collars and leads, pet daycare, and pets having their own social media accounts.

Are you considering starting a new pet business?

This year is bringing new opportunities in the way we work and what we expect from our employers and our businesses. New start-ups are imperative for the economy to thrive in challenging conditions and none so than our enormous UK pet market. 

With more than 25 million pet dogs and cats, in the UK and if you already have experience handling pets then this could be the new business start-up venture you’ve been looking for.

Generally, no professional requirements are necessary, when starting up your pet business, however, the British College of Canine Studies do offer a Professional Dog Walkers certificate. A pet first aid course is an important must and volunteering at a pet shelter to gain experience in handling multiple pets is extremely useful. 

Whether it’s a hobby that’s doing well and you want to take it further, or a part-time business currently, there’s plenty of opportunity to expand in this growth market.

What Type Of Pet Business?

It’s essential to create a profitable business as quickly as possible if on a tight budget. 

Pet equipment and business start-up costs can be low in certain areas, such as a pet sitting business, where a shop and store isn’t required, whereas a grooming business requires capital for premises and pet equipment, unless a mobile service, which then only requires professional pet grooming portable equipment and a vehicle.

Insurance is vital with several pet business specialised plans available.

Vehicles need to be sympathetically and carefully adapted to carry pets, and insurers informed that you are using your vehicle for business purposes.

Low-cost popular start-ups include dog walking and pet training services, where they can be set up from home. 

Let us introduce you to more than 17 Pet Business Start-Up Ideas

1. Dog Walking 

Over the past few years, it’s not an uncommon sight to see local parks filled with dog walkers handling multiple groups of dogs during the day. Needs arise where busy owners require help with their pets, particularly if they are out to work during the day. 

The job can range from calling into owners homes, letting dogs run around outside in their private garden for exercise and feeding them, to taking pets out for longer periods of exercise. 

Start-up costs are relatively low and business can often be generated quickly by personal referrals as well as skilful local marketing. Registration with associations such as the National Association of Registered Pet Sitters and dog walkers is helpful to the business, undertaking a first aid course and business insurance vital. 

Equipment needed is a range of spare dog leads, harnesses and different size collars, drying towels, and an equipped van for pick-ups and drop-offs, if servicing an area larger than walking distance and local parks. The owner should be providing any other equipment such as treats for when the dogs return from walks. 

The downside is how to keep a steady flow of customers with a monthly steady income coming in. This would need careful planning of the types of customer contracts being taken on and budgeting an income for marketing. Asking customers to sign your contract can help, by agreeing to details, such as your terms of service, emergency procedures and payment terms. This also helps in case of any disputes that may arise. 

Once generalised costs have been budgeted, you’re able to work out how many dogs you may need to walk and your yearly income. The limit for healthy dog walking set at 6 dogs per walk. 

The RSPCA produces a downloadable 16 page informative pdf about professional dog walking standards expected. 

2. Pet Grooming

This is an area that appeals to many owners of pets because they learn how to take care of the grooming needs of their own pets and can at low cost make a profitable business quickly with a small amount of training. 

Business owners can offer popular mobile services needing less equipment but portable, or work from salons offering dog and cat routine treatments such as nail clipping, washing and grooming overgrown coats. 

Client bases can be those who regularly show their pets at professional events, pet modelling and entertainment industry as well as pet owners with little time on their hands. 

Those who opt for operating out of grooming salons have the added costs of rent, rates and operating costs. Professional equipment is available online from several reputable and experienced stockists.

Training is available by nationally recognised online tutorials providing diplomas and certificates of completion of courses, some companies can offer taking up their local franchises.

3. Pet Training 

Many owners, unfortunately, buy pets without really looking into the necessary care required and with animals such as dogs, how to socialise and train their dogs to fit into their home lifestyle. This is particularly necessary for abandoned and rehomed dogs and cats who may have a past history of several owners. 

Patience is key for training, particularly helping anxious and unhappy pets.
Pet training relies on very little costs other than your professional expertise and time, is an unregulated profession but advise to seek both professional and practical advice before setting up to give the pets the best-care whilst training possible.

There are a number of organisations that can help to train you as well as having a DBS check because of working with animals, and undertaking a recognised pet first aid course. Take care in registering with better, bonafide, and proven organisations.

4. Pet Sitting 

A growing trend by pet owners to have their beloved pets looked after in their absence, short or long term. Pet sitting can involve moving into the owner’s property and taking care of the household during their absence or for just a few hours. Possessing a caring, considerate and helpful personality is essential.
Once you’ve undertaken a couple of jobs well, owners will re-book you and refer to friends. The only requirements are your time, a DBS check is helpful and taking out business insurance.

There are several reliable nationwide agencies where registration is simple and provide work. Better still, if already experienced, consider setting up your pet sitting agency which can be run online and from the home and recruit other locals to join your agency as sitters. 

You may like to consider becoming an International pet sitter and use the global agencies that offer pet sitting vacancies. A great way to see the world at much reduced prices, whilst taking care of someone’s beloved pet and home.

5 Pet Boarding 

Boarding kennels and catteries are important for pet owners who travel. They are generally situated in less residential areas and the business needs to be approved by the local council, obtaining the appropriate licences looking after the animal welfare to the highest standards providing shelter, food, water and plenty of exercises, 24/7. Start-up costs include professional kennel or cattery construction and a dedicated area for preparing pet foods and general care. 

Despite many hotels, and rental accommodations offering pet-friendly hotels and rental accommodation, the PDSA report that nearly 90% of the UK population keep their pets in kennels and catteries when they go on holiday. 

* The kennel and cattery business is valued at more than an estimated 4.3 billion-a-year industry, almost twice as big as the pet food industry. 
6 Pet Foods 

A staggering 2.5 billion pounds is spent yearly with a growing need for special, premium, tailored pet foods as pets become more and more pampered. Talk to any pet food business owner about specialised premium brands and they will tell you it’s not easy to penetrate the tailored pet food market, but clever professional marketing is a must where pet owners are highly critical but appreciative of quality pet products. 

To really achieve in this market, serious funding is required, raising from institutions. However, a one-to-one approach on social media and a well-constructed website is fundamental to explain your tailored products. 

Dog and Cat treats have become a firm pet favourite including hand-baked artisan biscuits, to every flavoured possible dog chews. 

7 Pet Collar and Leads 

This is a vibrant area of the market where owners spend regularly providing their pets with a range of collars, leads and harnesses, with many players already operating offering all kinds of materials worked into collars and leads. If you have something new to offer then this is a low-cost profitable start-up.  

8 Pet Toys 

Toys are used to create interaction between owner and pet, curb animal aggressiveness and to keep pets mentally stimulated. The dog, cat, even rabbit pet toy industry grows every year and looks for new and innovative designs whether they be simple organic designs or highly sophisticated smartphone digital controlled ideas. Toys come in all sizes and shapes, where feeding toys are particularly popular helping to keep a balanced diet whilst creating stimulating puzzles for the pet. 

9 Pet Photography and Custom Portraits

Owners love to spend, spend and spend on their pets, and none more than pictures, whether these are digitised, embroidered, hand-drawn artwork or photography.

New businesses can offer mobile services for photographic sessions, or work from home from the owner’s pictures crafting products.  

Wall painted murals, soft furnishings and individually created wallpaper for the interior designer markets.  

Marketing products for sale can be achieved through dedicated online shops such as ‘Etsy’ or ‘Not on The High Street’, providing a shop showcase. If your start-up budget extends to more available money, some successful franchises are available to buy into. 

10 Pet Franchises 

If you’re concerned about ‘going it alone’ then working with a nationwide franchiser can help where you are your own local boss and a great way to get started with help and support needed to achieve results and profitability. 

Point Franchise has on their books several pet franchise opportunities along with helpful advice such as Friends For Pet Franchise, Pet Stay and Trophy Pet Foods Franchise. 

Online searches will provide several franchise agency websites and all worth reading. 

There are national and local virtual franchise events who have hungry exhibitors looking for possible franchisees. These franchise sites have a stack of useful information, hold virtual seminars teaching franchisees how to run their businesses such as The National Franchise Exhibition Virtual. 

11 Pet Breeding

Breeders must be licenced to operate to sell puppies and kittens and ensure they are born and reared in safe environments.  A Dog Breeding Licence requires breeders breeding more than three litters in twelve months and breeding dogs and selling dogs as a business must conform. 

Dedicated space is needed for successful breeding producing happy and healthy litters along with keeping in contact with various other breeders to perfect your breeding programme producing healthy and financial viable litters conforming to best pedigree Kennel Club standards. Must be able to give time to attend to a large litters and all necessary health checks, jabs, microchipping and paperwork required.

Recent laws intervened to improve the standards of pet breeding in the UK. Lucy’s Law, 6 April 2020. 

12 Interior Pet Themed Designs

Beautiful designer animal interior wallpapers that can help provide a perfect sanctuary for the 25 million or more dog and cat, in their homes and where an it’s estimated that 59% of our homes own a pet. If you have the flair, this is an easy to set-up business with little overheads.

Delightful prints are a must for all dog and bird lovers. Style just one wall making a beautiful feature with a colourful dog print.  

Pet Business Start-Ups Requiring Minimal Finance

Cash Strapped? Low-Cost Pet Start-Up Businesses

If money is in short supply or being able to raise money for your new business then there options open to start a business very cheaply. You may want to try and start-up whilst still working for a current employer in spare time and make sure that your project will work before taking the plunge, going full-time. Service-based ideas generally need less start-up capital and you may have a passion or pet hobby which can be turned into a serious full-time occupation.

13 Doggie Day Care Sitting 

If you’re busy during the day or needing to go to work, Doggy Day Care sitters are an ideal solution for busy pet owners where dogs are dropped off at your home. Sitters take dogs on a regular basis or one-time. Very little costs are needed to start-up but sitters require homes suitable for dogs to spend time safely and healthily. Centres and homes must be suitable for puppies and high-energy, senior dogs, and those suffering from anxiety issues.

Many councils will need to approve homes and in some cases approve a licence for operating a pet-care business. Sitters need to provide meals, provide medication, at least one walk and an area where dogs can play with toys and relieve themselves. Sitters do not need professional qualifications, but pet first-aid qualifications and be DBS checked can help when prospective customers enquire about the business.

14 Professional Pet Blogger 

Become an authoritative pet blogger with virtually no overheads to get started. Use your in-depth pet knowledge to the full. Blogging regularly on your computer and blog or website building up an online audience. To earn you can offer advertising space on your site, find video sponsors, or create an account on a specialised blogging platform.

Have you a wealth of pet experience and some animal-related professional qualifications? If you know your stuff how about sharing it with other people and provide starter packs, online courses and tutoring. Create downloadable instruction guides and videos and offer real-time Skype one-to-one tutorials or virtual classes. 

15 Pet Professional Reviewer 

You leave lots of online reviews for products you buy already and own pets or have in-depth knowledge of the pet market, so becoming a professional reviewer is high up on the list of possibilities.

Companies will provide services and products to professional reviewers and in return, you are expected to leave honest reviews. Companies can pay for your time too. One can easily be started in spare time with virtually no overheads. 

16 Virtual Pet Tutoring And Courses 

Have you a wealth of pet experience and some animal-related professional qualifications? If you know your stuff how about sharing it with other people and provide starter packs, online courses and tutoring. Create downloadable instruction guides and videos and offer real-time Skype one-to-one tutorials or virtual classes. 

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