Do you love animals? If you want to be an entrepreneur, consider starting a pet business! Did you know that the majority of American households own at least one pet? These days, pet parents don’t hesitate to spend good money on care services, training, fun products, and time-saving tools. According to Fortunly.com, the amount of money that Americans spend on their pets has more than doubled in the past 10 years!
There is a lot of money to be made in the pet care industry. Are you ready to jump on this exciting opportunity? In this article, New York Dog Nanny explores some of the most important steps you will need to take as you prepare to launch your own pet care business.
Choose a Pet Business Idea
You have several options when it comes to choosing a pet-related business idea. Do some research into your local pet care market to determine the need for different products or services in your area. Or, if you’re thinking of launching a pet product ecommerce store, try to pick a product niche that fills a specific need for pet parents. For example, you might focus on selling calming products for pets with separation anxiety or potty training solutions for puppies.
If you want to offer local services, you have several options. Here are just a few ideas from The Balance Small Business to consider:
- Overnight pet sitting
- Doggy daycare
- Dog training
- Dog walking
- Pet grooming
- Pet massage therapy
Research Your Competitors
Before moving forward with your business idea, take some time to research your competitors. Find what products or services they offer, which types of customers they’re targeting, and how much they charge. The more you know about your competitors, the better, so don’t let your research stop there. You’ll also want to look at their branding, social media presence, marketing methods, how they distribute and deliver, and much more.
You can find a lot of this information by researching your competitors online. To learn about smaller businesses without much of an online presence, get clues from local business directories, your local Chamber of Commerce, press reports, flyers, and customer reviews on Google.
Register Your Business
Once you decide on a business idea and you’re ready to move forward, it’s time to register your company. Registering your business establishes it as a legal entity. Remember to register with the appropriate federal and state agencies to ensure your business is set to operate legally. You’ll also have to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you plan on hiring employees to help out at your pet care business.
Deciding on a business structure is the most challenging part of registering your business. Your business structure will determine your day-to-day responsibilities, how you file taxes, and your level of personal risk. Research your options carefully and consult a lawyer if you’re feeling uncertain about this decision.
Obtain Licenses and Permits
Besides registering your business, you’ll also have to obtain the proper business licenses and permits before taking on your first customers. This requirement will vary depending on your city and state laws. You may also want to join professional organizations, like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), for access to beneficial resources, discounts, educational resources, and business enhancement tools.
Build Your Business Brand
Your business branding will set you apart from all the other pet-related businesses and encourage customers to choose you over your competition. Your branding is the message you want to convey to your customers. You can also think of branding as the personality of your business. Using consistent fonts, color schemes, imagery, and messaging styles will enable your customers to recognize your brand anywhere!
Get started on branding by creating a business logo and printing some business cards to hand out to potential clients. Business cards are great because they leave a lasting impression and serve as a tangible reminder of your business. Look for a free business card maker online so you can design your cards yourself. Many of these tools offer pre-made business card templates that you can customize with your branded fonts, colors, and imagery.
Start Marketing Your Services
Branding is just one element of marketing. Advertising your business is what will get your pet care brand in front of potential customers. While handing out business cards is a great way to market your pet business, there’s much more you can do. Use digital marketing to target specific audience groups. For example, HubSpot recommends advertising on podcasts related to your industry. You can even target podcast listeners based on their geographical location!
While paid digital advertising can offer a great return on your investment, don’t overlook the value of free content marketing. Starting a blog, producing a podcast, or making YouTube videos are all fantastic forms of content marketing. Producing highly-valuable content will show customers that you’re a reputable and trustworthy source of information in the pet care industry.
Keep Your Clients Coming Back
It’s easier—and cheaper—to encourage repeat business from existing customers than it is to land new customers. Implement strategies that enable you to extract more value from your existing customer base. In other words, try to focus your marketing on customer retention.
Aim to make the customer experience as positive as possible with easy appointment scheduling solutions, friendly staff, and an organized business management process. You could even offer a rewards program for returning customers or incentives to encourage referrals. Importantly. Stay in touch with your customers through regular email updates and automated appointment reminders. This will keep you on their radar!
Running a business in the pet care industry is incredibly rewarding. Not only do you get to work with animals all day, but you also get to choose your own hours and enjoy variability in your day-to-day responsibilities. Start exploring different pet care business ideas so you can join this exciting industry!
photo cred: Photo via Pexels
Are you looking for pet services for your own pup? New York Dog Nanny offers holistic dog training and pet reiki in the NYC area. Give us a call to book a complimentary 15-minute consultation! 646-206-7601