How to Start a Local Pet Shop? 3 Things You Must Have

A day comes in every pet lover’s life where they think about abandoning it all and start caring for and dealing with pets for a living. If you are living that day today and wondering what goes into starting a pet store, continue reading.

Aside from the usuals – having a solid business plan, enough budgets, sufficient space, and most of all, passion – there are three key areas of business that you cannot afford to overlook when you are starting a pet shop.

Let’s find out what these are.

1.  Research the Latest Laws

The local, state, and federal laws keep changing when it comes to caring for and housing pets for commercial purposes. For example:

  • Arizona prohibits the sale of any animal that is under 8 weeks old.
  • In California, pet stores are legally required to keep track of health, status, and disposition of each cat and dog sold for a period of one year after the sale.
  • In Nevada, every animal must be examined by a veterinarian prior to the sale.
  • Maryland recently banned the sale of kittens and puppies from retail pet stores.

Almost all states also require pet stores to be licensed and certified. Most states also require these stores to display their licenses on the premise where they are easily seen. So, do your research and find out the latest regarding pet retail stores in your state and town.

2.  Pick the Right Location – It’s Critical for Success

The pet industry is a booming industry but you still need the right location to make your pet store an instant success. It’s true for most businesses, sure, but for a pet store, it’s crucial. You need the store to be easily-accessible so your animals do not have to suffer long waits to find their right human. Somewhere near a mall, other pet shops, a restaurant strip, or any other commercial location with a lot of foot traffic is the ideal. If it’s near a good parking spot, that’ just cherry on top.

However, keeping the current social-distancing regulations in mind, your physical location will not matter much. People can come on predetermined time and check out the store. Still, if you are a new business, you’d rely on random foot traffic. So, let’s say if you are close to a dog park, your chances of early success are bright. So, choose the location with great care. You’d also need it to be spacious, well-ventilated, and up-to-date in terms of health and sanitation codes.

3.  High-Quality Design and Visuals

It’s 2021 and almost all businesses are running online – even pet stores. People are looking at animals online – through pictures and videos – and choosing their future pets. With visuals playing such a central role in the sale of pets, it’s clear where your investment and attention should be.

Invest in a professional yet inviting brand identity. Start with a lovely animal or pet logo design featuring a dog or a cat, for example. The logo design will not only promote your business name but will help make your marketing more cohesive. It will help prospective clients know what you do and will help them look at you as a professional business. You can then display it everywhere: your website, social media posts, business cards, and such.

But that’s not all.

To ensure that your animals have the most positive representation, hire a professional photographer to take high-quality pictures of all the animals. You can post these pictures with each animal’s important details (name, age, breed, a few lines about its personality) and post them on your website and social media.

Creating pretty and attractive visuals ensures that clients look at your business and find credibility and professionalism.

4.  Sort Out the Finances

Again, this one applies to every business but for any niche service like a pet store, its importance increases. Remember that while the industry is definitely hot right now, most new businesses cannot achieve a substantial profit in the first year. Therefore, a firm grasp on your business’ finances will help you survive the first year with enough leg room.

First, think of the startup costs that your business needs. The cost of the lease, license and permit fees, equipment and utilities, insurance, purchasing of stock, and similar are some basic pet shop expenses. You will also need to buy food and supplies for your animals. Some toys, health checkups, and hiring core employees will also be necessary. Initially, you can DIY your pet shop’s social media management yourself but at some point, you’d need to hire (or outsource to) an expert.

So, there you have it!

The four key areas where your attention to detail and hard work can really pay off when running a pet shop. As with any business, you’ll need to focus on all aspects of the company to make it strong but consider your bases covered if you have done your research regarding finances, relevant laws, and location of your pet store. It’s then all about presenting a good image and professionally-designed visuals will take care of that for you.


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