Pet Business Central:

How to Choose, Start, Market & Grow a Business in the Booming Pet Industry - FAST!

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Which Pet Career or Business Is Right for YOU?

Many pet careers require patience
Despite the explosive growth of the pet career and pet business field, not everyone is suited for this type of work. And, in fact, pet businesses vary greatly in training requirements, time and financial requirements, and in types of labor involved.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before choosing to work with pets, whether with dogs, cats, or any other type of animal!

  • How much time do you have to spend?
    If you're considering a pet career while remaining employed elsewhere, carefully consider how much time you'll have to devote to your business. Will you have help? Does your idea lend itself to starting small and expanding over time?

    Schedules for some pet businesses can be managed because they work by appointment, such as pet groomers or dog trainers. Others need a full-time commitment, at least for several days at a time, such as dog boarders.

    Also consider that some of the most popular pet businesses, such as pet sitting, are in the greatest demand during the holiday season. Are you and your family prepared to give up (or re-schedule) your own holiday celebrations in order to operate your doggie day care?

  • How much money do you have to spend?
    Pet franchises may require initial investments of tens of thousands of dollars. Some home businesses related to pets can be started for the cost of business cards, or brochures. (Don't forget to include the costs involved in setting up a small office, maintaining records, and making your business legal.)

  • How much energy do you have?
    Silly question, perhaps, but some pet careers require quite a bit of physical strength and stamina. Lifting a German Shepherd onto an examining table is no light task, nor is walking uncooperative dogs around the local park or cleaning dog kennels.

  • What kind of experience or knowledge do you have, or are you willing to get?
    Don't plan on a career as a pet psychologist without extensive experience in working with companion animals and training in animal behavior.

    Okay, so that's a bit obvious, but even someone starting a pet sitting business, one of the most popular choices, needs SOME degree of knowledge. You need to know something about animal health and behavior, and at least enough knowledge of pet first aid to notice if Fido is having a problem.

  • What are your personal strengths and weaknesses, and how will they affect your business?
    Dependability and discipline are essential if you do any type of pet job that requires you to make a schedule or follow a routine. Patience is critical when working directly with pets. If you're running your own business, you need to be able to make decisions.

    And don't kid yourself - maybe you're interested in a pet career because you'd rather be with animals than with people. But people skills are required, too, for many pet businesses. You've got to relate to Fluffy's "Mommy" or Rover's "Daddy" if you want to get paid.

  • Under what conditions do you like to work, or MUST you work?
    Some people enjoy the outdoors; walking a Bichon Frise and a Doberman in the snow is an adventure. Others prefer writing about the latest trend in Doggie Jewelry from the comfort of their home office.

    Do you enjoy working with words, or with your hands? Do you want to work in your own home, or can you travel? Are children or allergies a factor in whether or not you have pets around?

    Some of these questions seem self-evident, but enthusiasm for a particular pet career idea can sometimes override common sense. Don't let that happen to you! Check out some of the books below for more information (and, of course, sign up for our newsletter for more updated info and ideas):

    Another book I just recently read is "101 Best Businesses for Pet Lovers" by Joseph & Nicholas Nigro.  The authors, who owned 3 pet superstores until the mid-90s, offer an insightful and often humorous analysis of 101 pet business ideas.  Unlike similarly titled books, the ideas in this book include but are not restricted to home-based businesses.  (Although I've about got my husband convinced to grow catnip as a home business...)

    In additional to the breadth of pet businesses covered, also appreciated the authors' honesty about what it really takes to succeed in a particular pet business. 

    I turned immediately to the section on online pet business opportunities - obviously, I have experience with (and opinions on!) what it takes to succeed.  And I could have cheered with the authors said "The harsh reality of virtual reality is that people won't likely stumble upon your website by chance."  Yes!  Too many people have told me "I need a website" without having a clue as to how they'd get people to visit it.

    And in the section about selling pet products on eBay, the authors stated "This isn't to imply that it's simple to complete transactions on eBay and make oodles of money, because it's not.  Over the long haul, profitable eBay selling involves a concerted business commitment to see auctions through from start to finish."

    If you're looking for a comprehensive but easy-to-read overview of multiple pet business ideas, this is a wonderful book to read (after you've done some more browsing through this website, of course!)