Opening a pet shop can be a rewarding opportunity that involves above-average customer service and responsibility. There are many decisions to consider before opening a pet shop, more than other small retail outlets. As with any small business venture, learn everything you can about the business you are thinking of entering.
- Skill level:
Hire an attorney specialising in small business. The attorney you choose needs to be highly knowledgeable about state agricultural laws and licensing.
Hire an accountant who specialises in small business accounts.
Find a good location. If you are meeting with a landlord for a building lease, make sure he understands that this will be a pet shop location. Ask for a written list of animals that are not allowed on the premises. Have your attorney approve all lease or purchase papers prior to signing a contract or depositing money.
Choosing to sell livestock as pets gives you the rewarding feeling of uniting pet and human for a lifelong experience. It also presents more decisions and licensing. Have your attorney handle all licensing and city ordinance issues. If this is a new location for a pet shop, check with the city council prior to leasing/buying. Specialise as much as possible to separate you from other pet stores. It also makes cleaning and socialising easier, because similar species are housed similarly and play together.
Hire people to help with cleaning and animal handling.
Find a reputable animal distributor or breeder for the species you have chosen. Check the references and tour the facility. Get a guarantee.
Hire a veterinarian to check the animals before sale and provide a health certificate.
Have your attorney draw up a contract of sale and health guarantee.
Set up the merchandising layout.
Order racks and merchandise from a reputable distributor. Comparison-shop for pet-supply distributors.
Train your employees on paperwork and the importance of cleanliness. Remind them that the most important thing is that they are caring for a very young animal to be adopted by a family.
Tips and warnings
- Choosing to open a web store can be an option, because little inventory is needed. This also allows you to build a customer base before opening a brick-and-mortar pet shop.
- Offering pets for sale has more downsides than up. Life and death are involved, literally. Young animals die sometimes, and it can affect an entire family. This is not the area in which to focus all your sales; you should have very few animals on premise.
- Disease outbreaks can occur and shut down your business for a substantial amount of time.