If you love animals and have a background in retail, you might just have the right combination to learn how to start a pet shop. While starting and managing a pet shop is a lot of work, it can be a very rewarding experience, and produce a good income.
There is a lot more to learning how to start a pet shop than most retail businesses. When a good portion of your merchandise is alive, it presents a set of unique challenges. Not only will you need to care for, feed, and clean up after the animals you sell, you’ll also need to arrange for veterinary care is one becomes sick, and ensure their environment is acceptable for them and for your customers.
What You’ll Need to Succeed
Location is one of the most important considerations when figuring out how to start a pet shop. You need to be in a good retail spot that is easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and has good visibility from passing traffic. You also will have to make sure the space is large enough for a sales floor with shelves and racks of products, cages, aquariums, and other containers for animals on display, a space where you can wash and groom your animals, a store room for extra inventory, and a front desk/cash register area.
Once you have decided on a location, research various suppliers of pet products. You will want to carry the most popular items for all types of animals, and your vendors should be able to help guide you in the right direction. One thing many successful pet shop owners do is create kits for new pet owners that include a variety of items. This provides a convenience for your customers while raising your average sale at the same time!
While it isn’t necessary to have any formal training in veterinary medicine to start a pet shop, you will want to be very knowledgeable about the types of pets you sell. People will visit your store expecting you to be the expert with answers when they have questions.
You’ll need to obtain a business license, and in most state, where there is sales tax, you will need to get a resale permit, keep track of the tax you collect, and turn it in on time. Depending on the pets you plan to carry and where you are located, you might be required to have other permits, so be sure to check with your local licensing authority to make sure you are operating legally. You will also want to have a good insurance policy with liability coverage.
Marketing Your Pet Store
Now that you have learned a lot about how to start a pet shop, it is time to think about marketing your business. Depending on the level of competition in your area, this could be the easy or the hard part about starting a pet shop. If you do have a number of competitors, figure out what sets you apart from them, and use those strengths in your advertising.
Running ads on radio, television, and in the local paper can all be effective, and setting up a website is also a great idea. People expect every business to have an online presence these days, and they are likely to look you up online prior to visiting your store.
When you learn how to start a pet shop, your options are almost limitless. You can specialize in a particular type of animal, or even decide not to carry any animals and just open a pet supply store. All of these options can lead to entrepreneurial success, as long as you do everything it takes and refuse to give up!