How to Start a Pet Shop

Opening a pet shop can prove fun and challenging. Helping people find their perfect pet will bring a smile to your face, especially if you’re a pet lover yourself. As with all other business, you need to consider many things before opening a pet shop. If you love animals or just have an interest in providing pet care products, owning a pet shop can be a fulfilling career.

  • Determine what type of animal(s) you would like to sell. This very important decision will play into your choice for a location. For example, if you decide to sell birds you will need more space since they need areas in which to play and fly around in cages compared to selling fish that never leave their aquariums.
  • Find a location. Ensure it has the proper and sufficient ventilation to keep the air fresh and clean. Choose a high-traffic area near your target audience. Children usually love animals, so opening a pet store near a busy neighborhood might be a good bet.

  • Select a niche. Pet shop owners should have as a major priority ensuring the animals’ safety and well-being. Focus on one type of animal before venturing on with other types. A good strategy is to select a niche in line with your primary passion. If you love cats, start by selling cats first.
  • Hire a lawyer specializing in small business. Like all other businesses, you will need to obtain the appropriate permits before you can start operating the business for the public. Get a lawyer highly knowledgeable about your state’s agricultural law. Meet with an animal health inspector and have him ensure your shop is a safe place for animals. Someone will inspect your pet shop before you can start operating, so make sure you have committed no violations. Otherwise, the inspector will deny your application and require you to close the shop. Purchase business insurance.
  • Find a supplier to provide you with pet supplies and food. Decide if you plan to sell other pet items such as toys, grooming implements and other treats. Research the area for dealers or find online distributors. Many offer discounts and free shipping on large bulk orders, so consider this when placing orders. Purchase the necessary cages and bedding to ensure the comfort of your animals.
  • Specialize as much as possible in one type of animal. Providing knowledge to customers about your animal can add credibility to the shop and separate it from other pet stores.
  • Hire employees for your pet store. You will need help with cleaning and animal handling as well as customer service. Find employees with experience or provide the necessary training so they will understand their responsibilities when working with animals. Get a veterinarian to check the animals’ health before making a sale.
  • Market your business. Run ads on your local radio or in newspapers and any other media that enables you to reach out. Display your animals near the shop’s window to attract passersby.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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