The Joys and Pains of Owning a Pet Service Business

Nov 4, 2019 | Business Insurance

Starting a Pet Business

One of the most thrilling thoughts a pet lover could have would probably be to own a pet service business. And if it were as simple as 1-2-3, perhaps 8 or 9 out of 10 pet owners would be considering this as the main source of their income. It does make sense after all–the love for pets is already there, so it won’t be so difficult to understand the target market. Even if there were a lot of things to learn, I think we will all agree that learning is tremendously so much easier when we are very much interested in that which we are learning. Of course, before even planning on actually taking concrete steps to start your dream business, it would be wise to think about the joys and pains of owning a pet service business and weigh the pros and cons. 

The Joys of Owning a Pet Service Business

The love of pets aside, let’s talk about why anyone would want to get into the pet care industry. For starters, it is a profitable business. According to statistics gathered by the APPA (American Pet Products Association), the total U.S. pet industry expenditure reached $72.56B in 2018. So, 

yes, it is profitable! And this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Pet lovers, after all, are known to splurge on their babies even when they don’t like spending on themselves. A dog owner might even be spending more on his pet than on his 6-month old baby. 

Another upside to owning your own pet care business is the flexibility in choosing your niche and even your working hours. You can focus on pet-sitting if you wish, or decide to go for pet grooming instead. Choose your work hours, operate purely online, or build an empire of pet grooming centers. 

But it’s not just about the money and time freedom. One of the undeniable joys of being in this business, especially for one who is hands-on in the business, is that there is practically no such thing as a monotonous day. There is always something to look forward to. Best of all, seeing the pets and their owners happy with the service you provide is plain and simply fulfilling.

Now that being said, here are the pros of pet service businesses that you might want to know in case you are planning to have one. 

The Pros of a Pet-Sitting Business

Pet-sitting is a combination of passion for pets, doing what you love, and making it your job. That is why doing this as a source of income is always a great idea. Here are the other reasons that will make you want to try this job. 

  • No actual store is needed

The good thing about this business is that you can start to do it from your actual home. You also don’t necessarily need to have a work vehicle because you can just use your car for pet-sitting. Moreover, most clients prefer the sitter to just come over to their house or in a public area to take care of their pets. 

  • It has a low start-up cost

Having a big capital is not needed for you to start this business. All you need to ensure is to have the most basic needs of pets. However, oftentimes, pet owners already have the necessary things like leashes.

  • Clients are not that hard to find

If you are living in a community, you can easily ask your neighbors if anyone would be interested in your service. If not them, maybe they someone or they can refer you to their families and friends. Also, you can contact some vet or pet stores to establish client-based work.

  • You can make it your side job

The average cost of a single pet visit is $19.35 according to Pet Sitting International. If at the start of your business and you still don’t have enough clients to make it your full-time source of income, then you can make it just your side job until you finally got enough clients. Either way, it is a good source of money with minimal capital so it is a win-win for me!

  • You can have an instant work-out while doing your business

We all know that pet-sitting is quite tiresome especially if the pet that you are taking care of is one of the bigger breeds of dogs! So just think about it as a good source of cardio; because for sure there is a lot of pulling and running going on during the session.

Cons of a Pet-Sitting Business

And just like any other business, there are also disadvantages to pet-sitting. Here are the examples:

  • You need to be flexible with your schedule

Compliance with pet owners’ requests is important to gain more clients. Some clients may request your service during weekends and holidays, hence your flexibility to change schedules is always needed.

Moreover, you need to make clear terms when it comes to emergency pet-sitting calls. For example, can the pet owner call you anytime when they suddenly have to go out of town, and can they just drop their pet off at the last minute? Or they must call you first and have a schedule days before they leave their pet under your care?

  • Having the passion to take care of animals is not enough

Although having formal training and certification is not required to become a pet-sitter, still, having enough knowledge to become one is a must. It is a big advantage if you have a natural talent and love for pet-sitting, but this is more than that.

You must have experience and knowledge on how to handle multiple pets with different breeds and temperaments. It is because if you started this business, you cannot choose what breed of pets you are only allowed to accept. You can’t make a pet-sitting business for small breeds of dogs only because that is just the kind of pet you know how to take care of.

That being said, it is best if you can have proper training and gain a certificate. By that, you can guarantee that you are going to start your business on the right track.

Also, it is a big plus for your clients if they will know that you are a certified pet-sitter.

  • You must know how to handle Pet Emergencies

This is the most critical part of having this business. Pet owners are entrusting you with the life of their pet, and in return, they expect that you will do your job.

Saying so, the first thing that you need to do is have enough knowledge about first-aid. Also, before the pet owner leaves their pet to your care, make sure to ask for the number of their vet especially if the owner will be away for days or on a vacation.

Just remember that their pet’s life is in your hands, hence being extra careful is always the best option. 

  • Physical stamina is very essential

As stated in the pros having this business is a good exercise. However, it is a good thing for those who have a healthy body. On the other hand, if you happen to have some illness or your body is not able to handle too many physical activities, then this business may be for you especially if you are thinking of making this your full-time job.

Pros of Having a Pet Grooming Business 

Owning a pet grooming business has a lot of advantages. Aside from the fact that you can turn what you love into what your business is, also, you can make a stable source of income as long as you make the business right. 

Grooming is a necessity

The fact that grooming is a necessity makes this business an always useful option for pet owners to go to. Most working pet owners are too busy to pamper and groom their beloved pets regularly.

Hence, this business will never be seasonal. Which means continuous revenue for the owner if done right. Just think of all your family members and friends who have pets, who among them haven’t visited a pet grooming salon? I bet your answer is “ None! “

Just like how many people haven’t visited a salon spa to have their haircut and do mani and Pedi sessions? Now imagine how many customers you can get each month.

Cons Having a Pet Grooming Business

Now here is the catch for having a pet grooming business. As I said in the pros, you can have a successful and continuous source of revenue if the business was done right. Meaning there are lots of factors that can affect the productivity of this business. Here are some of the things that need to take care of: 

  • The Start-up cost is quite expensive

One of the main strategies to have a successful grooming service is to have high-quality pieces of equipment to use for the different breeds and types of pets. For example, a bigger breed of dogs needs to have a different kind of bathtub compared to smaller dogs. Moreover, consider having a high-quality fence and kennels to avoid any escape accidents.

  • Professional and Trained staff is a must

Having knowledgeable staff is very important too. Remember that they will be the ones to take care of and handle the pets. Any mistake that they do will reflect the business and the owner as well. 

Well-trained staff knows how to handle different kinds of pets. We all know that each breed has certain and distinct behavior. Hence, having knowledgeable staff to look after them is a must to avoid unnecessary accidents. 

The Pains of a Pet Service Business 

Given that there is a great amount of joy and fulfillment daily, it is still a business and it can’t be all play. Part of the source of happiness is that we deal with living, feeling, and interacting beings. And it is for the same reason that there is also a big amount of responsibility involved. 

Pet owners rely on pet service businesses to look after and care for their pets; this requires a huge amount of trust. There are times when owners would even give their house keys to pet sitters. 

As for the job itself, especially when you’re just starting and you’re doing the job yourself, know that it’s not all about playing and interacting with them. You should be prepared to handle

“accidents” and be willing to clean up urine, stool, and even vomit. You should know what to do during emergencies and know how to perform CPR if required. 

Also, there is no business without any paperwork. At the very least, there should be a mutually binding contract that specifies the kind and extent of service to be expected by the pet owner. 

And as with any business, a pet service business is exposed to the risk of financial losses when unexpected and unwanted situations arise.

For example, what if the dog you’re walking suddenly bit someone? What if you’re grooming someone else’s pet and you accidentally injure it, or one of your employees does? Nobody wants nor hopes for this sort of thing to happen, but they do. Some people learn the hard way; some people end up being thankful they were prepared.

We all do hope for the best. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for the worst. When it comes to owning a pet care business, it is best to be prepared for situations that might potentially mean huge expenses for the company.

And depending on the type of business, some insurance policies are structured to fit your business needs, such as Pet Sitting Insurance, Pet Groomer Insurance, and Dog Walker Insurance.

There are also basic types of insurance that businesses need regardless of the industry they’re in. Property Insurance, for example, covers signage, inventory, equipment, and furniture in the event of theft, fire, or storm.

If you plan on hiring employees, then you’d need Workers’ Compensation Insurance which covers an employee’s medical treatment, disability, and death benefits in the event your employee is injured or dies as a result of his/her job.

And if company vehicles are to be used, it would be a good idea to be insured against third-party injury; but even better if you have comprehensive insurance which covers the costs to repair or even replace the vehicle in an accident. These are just a few that might apply to your business, so don’t hesitate to consult with us about the insurance needs specific to your business.

Ask us Any Questions

We hope we were able to help you understand how a pet service business works. Please do not hesitate to contact us and ask any questions.

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