You’re a lover of furry friends. You love spending time with animals. You decide you want to start your own pet care business. But where do you begin? We’re here to help you know how to start your own business with six simple steps.
Step 1: Decide Your Expertise
So you love animals and taking care of them, but what exactly do you want to do professionally? Before starting anything, you need to decide which area(s) you would like to specialize in. Don’t worry, there are several options.
If you love walking and would enjoy something a little more active, you could consider walking dogs. Walking dogs definitely has its perks, like getting some extra sunshine and going for a nice walk in the park. If walking isn’t for you, and you enjoy spending more one on one time with animals you could consider training dogs. This would be great for someone who has a lot of patience and love for dogs.
Not quite sure training or walking is for you? You could look into pet sitting or grooming pets. This way, you could go to your client’s house and watch their pet and their house, or have them come to your place to groom them. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to love it.
Step 2: Get Your Certifications and Business License
When starting your own business, it’s important to know what certifications and licenses are necessary. You can’t jump into it with your knowledge alone. Not all pet care professions require a certification, but most have some level of certification or training. Take a look at this State Labor Office list to see what certifications and/or permits are required for where you live. Keep in mind that you need to stay up to date with these certifications and permits as well. Having a relevant and recent certification could also be a good marketing tool.
Step 3: Develop a Business Plan
You’ve decided what to do and you’ve got your certifications all squared away. What’s next? Developing a business plan is the key to success. You’ll have to decide several things. What will you name your new business? What is your pricing like? What are your services? Are you going to have a website? Who will do your finances? These are just a few questions that you will need to ask yourself as you are strategizing your business plan. As you plan, think about what resources are available to you or anyone you know that could help you get the ball rolling with your new business.
Step 4: Get Pet Care Insurance
This is one you’ll want to make sure that you don’t miss out on. Having insurance is vital to your new business. If you don’t have coverage, you may end up having to pay for any accidents out of your pocket.
Having an insurance policy in place can protect you from potential legal action if a pet should cause damage or gets hurt while under your supervision. For example, while you’re pet sitting, a dog could jump up and break a valuable item that belongs to the dog’s owner. This could result in a claim. Or maybe you’re walking dogs and one of the dog’s leash gets let loose and the dog runs off. The owner could file a lawsuit. If you’re cutting a pet’s nails and you accidentally cut them too short, its owner could take legal action. There are many more possible claims, so the most important thing is to make sure that you’re educated about potential harms and that your business is insured.
Pet Care Insurance offers insurance for pet groomers, sitters, trainers, walkers and even pooper scoopers. It starts at only $139 per year, and could save you a legal headache down the road. The general liability coverage has a $1 million limit for each occurrence. You can purchase a policy within ten minutes, and if you have any questions, you can chat with a Pet Care Insurance agent today.
Not only is it important to buy insurance for your pet care business, but you should also take into account commercial auto insurance. If you will be transporting pets or washing pets in your vehicle, you will need to make sure that your vehicle has a commercial auto insurance policy.
Step 5: Develop a Signed Contract for Your Clients
A contract spells out in detail the terms of service agreements for the relationship between the client and you, the service provider. A contract outlines exactly what your service offers, pricing, cancellation policies, payment options, damages, veterinary situations, etc. Make sure you have a signature before you begin work for a new client. If anything ever happens down the road, you’ll be grateful that you have a signed contract to refer to.
Step 6: Get the Word Out
You have almost everything ready, now you just need to spread the word about your new business. You could start by creating your own website with a personalized domain name. Simply search the domain name you’d like, and if it's available, you can purchase it online. Having a social media presence is very relevant today. You can do a lot of networking and marketing on your choice of social platform. You can even consider putting up flyers around town and carrying business cards with you wherever you go. If you drive a company vehicle, you could also put stickers on your vehicle for additional advertising. Don’t be shy about it! You’ve worked hard and now you want to showcase your business and your skills.
We know that starting your own business can be a bit intimidating, but we hope these steps will help you get your business on its feet. Implement the above suggestions and you’re sure to have success.