Are you an animal lover who dreams of being your own boss? Opening a pet store might be a good choice for a budding entrepreneur like yourself. People love pets, so opening a pet store can be a highly lucrative industry to break into. If you have been debating opening a pet store, but need help with how to get started, read on. In this article, we will break down everything you need to know to open a pet store.
Why should I open a pet store?
There are many reasons that someone may choose to open a pet store, but these are a few of the main reasons you might be considering it.
1. Work with Animals
One of the main reasons that people will choose to open pet stores is because they love animals and want to work with them every day. Many pet stores sell animals, so you can help them find loving homes, as well as get to interact with pets that customers might bring into the store.
2. It’s a Lucrative Industry
Pet stores can be highly lucrative businesses, with lower operating costs and high profits.
3. Bring Joy to People’s Lives
As a pet store owner, you can help people find the perfect animal for them, making them happy and bringing joy into their lives.
Pros of Opening a Pet Store
Let’s take a look at some of the pros of opening a pet store.
1. Control Your Work
If you have worked in pet stores before, you might have some operations and policies you think could be approved upon. By opening your own shop, you can implement those operations and policies and focus on what you believe will make your business stand out.
2. Get Creative
When you run a pet shop, you can be as creative as you want when designing your store’s logos, branding, interior, and merchandise. You can exercise your artistic freedom in your store, expressing your unique vision and personality.
3. Work with Animals
For individuals who adore animals, the idea of being able to work with them regularly is an enticing advantage offered by pet stores.
4. Offer Personalized Services
You do not just need to focus on selling pet supplies and pets, and you can also offer some more personalized services. For example, you can offer dog training classes or classes on how to care for some of the exotic pets you carry. These can help you connect with your customers and build trust with them.
Cons of Opening a Pet Store
Now, let’s take a look at some of the cons of opening a pet store.
1. Opening a Business is Expensive
When you open a new business, it is going to require a big initial investment to get it going. The initial costs can be difficult to come up with sometimes, so this is an important con to keep in mind.
2. There is a Lot of Competition
Unless you are in a smaller town that does not have any pet stores in it, you are going to be facing a lot of competition. The best way to help you overcome this con is by choosing a special niche, offering personalized services, exclusive products, establishing yourself as an expert, and providing incredible customer service.
3. Pet Stores are Time-Consuming
Owning and operating any business can be time-consuming, but if your store sells pets, you will be adding another layer of time commitment to it. You will need to carve out time to take care of all of the animals you have for sale, plus run the business. Before you decide to open your pet store, ask yourself if you have the time to run a pet store.
When it comes to most businesses, you can have a day or two a week when you are closed and can relax at home. Unfortunately, when part of your business is caring for animals, even if you have the store closed for the day, you will not be able to stay home and relax; the pets will still need to be fed and taken care of.
4. Pet Stores Can Be Emotionally Trying
There are a lot more emotional demands to running pet storage than there might be for other small business owners. It is important to keep in mind that there is always a possibility of a pet getting sick or dying in your store, so you need to be sure you can emotionally handle that.
Another thing to remember is that it can be hard to keep yourself from getting overly attached to the animals in your store. For example, if you are walking a dog daily, you might bond with it, and it may become difficult for you to let it go when you find its owner.
Pet Shop Business Plan
Your pet shop business plan is one of the most important things you will need to help you make your dream of opening a pet store into a reality. A business plan is essentially your blueprint for your store, and it is crucial to helping you secure funding. It provides you and anyone you are seeking funding from with an overview of where you want to take your store and how you plan on getting there. Let’s take a look at the components of a good business plan.
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary of a business plan is one of the most important parts of it. It has an overview of the entire business plan and what it will cover. It comes first, but it should be written last since it summarizes the plan. It needs to have your mission statement for your pet store and touch on the various products and services that you will be offering. Also, include why you are starting this business.
2. Description of the Business
The next thing to include in your business plan is a description of the business. You want to give a comprehensive description that breaks down the goals, products, and services of your business, along with the target customer base. Have details about any important trends in your niche of the pet store industry, who your major competitors are, and what will set your company apart from them. Finally, detail your experience in the industry and the experience of anyone on your team.
3. Competitor Analysis
You need to know who your competition is going to be before you launch your business, and any investors in your business also need this information. Include in your business plan information on your target market and your competition. Knowing all of this can help you strategize how to attract customers to your business.
4. Describe Products and Services
Take the time to fully expand on the products and services you will be offering. Share any relevant information on them, including how they will be manufactured, where you will be acquiring pets that you will be selling, how long products will last, and how much you think it may cost to create any products or services you will offer.
5. Operating Plan
How are you planning on operating your pet store? This is where you answer that question. Cover how you plan to operate, shipping logistics, patent information, and even how many employees you are hoping to hire.
6. Financial Needs and Projections
In this section, cover the funding you are going to need to get your pet store open, including the money you already have access to. You will also need to detail your financial projects of revenue over the next few years. All of this is necessary to help you secure funding from banks and investors.
7. Secure Financing
Once you have finished your business plan, you can move on to the next phase: financing. You can find investors to help you with your business and reach out to banks to get loans. There are many loans available for small business owners that you might be able to tap into too, so they are worth looking into. Your business plan is going to be required for you to secure a loan, so keep that in mind when putting it together.
8. Finding the Right Location for Your Pet Store
You need to find a location for your store where you will be able to bring in a lot of customers and that is convenient to your target market. One great strategy for placing your pet store is by putting nearby dog parks, pet daycares, dog spas, and even veterinary offices. Pet owners will be nearby your store when they go to these locations, which can help entice them to come in and shop for supplies or perhaps a new animal.
9. Rent or Own?
It is important to consider if you would rather rent or own the location of your pet store, as that will have a big impact on your options and the amount of starting capital you will need. If you decide to own the location of your pet store, it can be highly beneficial to have your location custom-built. While it can be more expensive than buying an existing building, you can completely customize your location to fit your needs. If you order a steel building for your pet store, it is a more affordable option than traditional construction, it is better for the environment, and it offers column-free space, allowing you to maximize your floorplan.
10. Find Vendors
Now that your funding and location are secured, the next thing you need to do is find vendors. You can ask other business owners for recommendations, search online, attend trade shows, and look for wholesalers. Come up with a list of potential suppliers, then vet them. During your initial communication with each potential supplier, how responsive are they? If they respond within a day or less, or if they take a few days to respond. This is indicative of how quickly they will respond to you when you become their client.
Ask to speak to some of their current clients for references and take time to read their online reviews on third-party sites. If you talk to their current clients, ask them about how it is working with that supplier so you can get a feel for if they would be the right fit for your new business.
11. Plan Your Marketing
Marketing is an ongoing process, and it is often a good idea to hire someone to cover that aspect of the business to help you. You will need a website, social media, and marketing emails to get going. Putting out ads in your local newspaper, handing out flyers, and even radio ads can also be a big help with getting your pet store off the ground.
Plan a big grand opening to help get the buzz out about your new business and draw a crowd. Give your new customers an idea of what they will see from your business when they become regulars.
12. Hiring Staff
Running any business on your own can be exhausting, but this is especially true of a pet store since you will have inventory and animals to take care of. Find animal lovers because they can offer excellent customer service since they have personal experience with parts. Make sure you offer competitive wages so you can find the best people in your area.
Opening a new business can be a challenge, but pet owners love to spoil their animals, so once you are able to break into your local market, you are entering a highly lucrative industry. These tips can help you plan out how to open your new pet store business and get things up and running.