Just like David Marcks, founder of Geese Police, you too can earn a living from your pets. David turned his dog’s natural exuberance and love for chasing geese into a multi-million dollar business. Thirty-six border collies and six offices later, David’s Geese Police is the leader of their industry.
Pets can be a very profitable business. Like David, you may wish to start a business that uses your pets as a living. Or if your pet does not have any special (moneymaking) talents, you can always target the growing market of pet owners.
As pet ownership grows, pet businesses have grown tremendously in the past decades. In Australia, which has one of the highest pet ownership in the world, about 64% of the 6.8 million households own pets. According to the American Pet Association, Americans own a total of 136.4 million pets.
Working on a business that deals with pets entails a love and understanding for furry friends. If you work directly with animals yourself, you need to have a hands-on, patient, and caring personality. For many types of businesses, particularly where you deal with other people’s pets, you need to know first aid for pets. As David Marcks said, you need to be “an animal behaviorist,” possessing an extensive knowledge of animal health and behavior.
Here are five ideas on starting a home-based business for and about pets:
1. Pet sitting
Pet sitting, where you go to your client’s home to care for their pets when they are not there, is one of the most popular pet-based businesses today. In many communities around the country, a number of pet sitting services have sprung up. Pet owners, like any other people, have to work and travel; and would thus need someone to take care of their pets while they are away. Many pets suffer from Separation Disorder and become highly stressed with the owners absence. Pet sitters help to alleviate this problem.
Others may be sick that they are unable to care for their own pets on their own and need assistance in walking the dogs, for instance. Others also use a pet sitter if they want someone to stop in during the day because they don’t want their pet locked up alone all day. Customers are often those who simply do not like boarding their pet in a kennel when they are away and want the pet to stay in the comfort of their own home while receiving personalized care and attention.
There are three ways to operate a pet sitting business: (a) you can find a set of regular customers and make daily stop at their homes to feed, walk, and visit with pets; (b) you can establish an agency or referral service lining up pet sitters for your clients; or (c) you can combine house sitting with pet sitting and actually live in the home of your clients while they are away.
2. Boarding kennels
If you have a farm or a large enough facility, you can open a boarding kennel to house pets when the owner leaves for a vacation or is unable to take care of the pet due to some personal emergencies. Pets are provided with their own “suites,” often with their own sleeping areas and a small play area. You are also responsible for feeding the pets and providing medication, if needed.
If you decide to open a boarding kennel, check first with the animal authorities in your area. In many countries, proprietors of boarding kennels are required to get a license from the local authority. Before you are issued a license to operate, a local authority officer will visit your premises and must be satisfied that the business meets the required standards. You must also have an appropriate qualification before a license can be issued. The number of dogs and cats for which the premises is licensed must be specified on the license, and a copy of the license itself must be displayed at the premises.
3. Doggie Day Care
If you want to avoid the zoning problems, homeowners association restriction and neighbor problems associated with boarding kennels, you can instead turn your home into a place to take care of pets. It costs less than a kennel, and you can collect $15 to $30 a day per pet. Unlike boarding kennels where interaction with other dogs may be minimal (if any), most doggie day cares offer off-leash play and socialization with other dogs.
In addition to keeping watch over the pets, most doggie day cares offer added services like nail trimming, grooming and other pampering. Sometimes pick-up and delivery is included. Adding additional services can increase the income you can get from your day care services, where rates are between $15 to $30 a day. Some adds pet wash, which can cost about $10 to $20,
4. Guard dog rental service
If you have big dogs such as German shepherds or Dobermans, you can offer a service that would protect a wide variety of large outdoor and indoor areas at a very affordable cost, often much lower than hiring security guards. Clean, healthy, well trained dogs could serve as an excellent deterrent to crime and vandalism.
To operate this business, you would need to have full commercial liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation insurance. Some states require a watch, guard and patrol license. Your pricing will depend on your location, number of days dogs need to be locked up and what time in the morning they need to be locked up.
As an extension of this business, you can supply trained dogs for government authorities (police dogs etc.), or protection services not only to companies but to professionals including professors, doctors, veterinarians, sporting people, or businessman.
5. Pet wear
Pets now have salons and spas, so why not clothes, too? If you love to sew and can design outfits, this business can be for you.
Four on the Floor Pet Wear ( http://www.fouronthefloorpetwear.com ) offers a wide variety of styles for various canines the macho dog, the urban dog, the designer dog and the athletic dog. Now, even birds are given their own clothes! Oliver’s Bird Wear ( http://oliversbirdwear.com ) provides clothing and accessories for parrots, “mixed and matched to fit your bird’s personality.” You can also extend this business by offering cage covers, towels and toys for the pets.
For more pet business ideas, read 10 Pet Small Business Ideas
Recommended Books on Starting a Pet Business
- Six-Figure Pet Business: Unleash the Potential in Your Dog Training, Pet Grooming, and Doggy Daycare Business
- Doggy Business 101: A Practical Guide to Starting and Running Your Own Business
- Start Your Own Pet Business and More (StartUp Series)
- How to Start a Home-Based Pet-Sitting and Dog-Walking Business (Home-Based Business Series)
- Minding Your Dog Business: A Practical Guide to Business Success for Dog Professionals
- Six-Figure Pet Sitting: Catapult Your Pet Sitting Business to Unlimited Success