Business Ideas for Animal Lovers

If Fido, felines or fish are your thing, you might have the makings for a new small business. Almost 85 million households have a pet today. And pet ownership spans the generations with growing numbers of millennials welcoming four-legged additions to their family. That has created an attractive market for new, pet-focused businesses like DOGTV and KitNipBox. So why not turn your passion for pets into a small business? Here are some business ideas for animal lovers who want to take advantage of this growing market.

  • Pet photographer – Start-up costs for this business are low, especially if you already own a digital camera and photo-editing software. Think of what portrait studios in the mall provide for humans—special occasions photos (birthday, holiday), family photos, new puppy/kitten shots, costume photos. Like all businesses, develop a niche that isn’t being met in the current market. Existing photographers might consider expanding their offerings to include services for pets.
  • Pet sitting – Pet owners who work outside the home are looking for “daycare” for their pets. The service you provide might be limited in scope, like dog walking. Or it can be all-day babysitting at their house or in your home. Check with your insurance company to determine whether your current homeowner’s plan would cover you in this instance.
  • Pooper scooper – It might be an unpleasant job but pet owners are willing to pay someone to collect and dispose of pet waste in their yard. You can set your own hours and get some exercise at the same time. And the start-up costs are minimal. Once you establish your customers, you have a ready source of repeat business as you schedule regular visits.
  • Pet bakery – Here’s a way to leverage your love of cooking into a business. Pets have nutritional needs that you may not be able to find in your local supermarket. This requires a knowledge of what ingredients are safe for consumption by pets. You will also need a way to distribute your goods. Some pet stores will allow you to sell your goodies on consignment.
  • Cat or canine café – This is a coffee shop or café that appeals to people who want to get their cat/dog fix while sipping a cup of coffee and working on their tablet. Local food service laws will dictate how to set it up. Some require the animals be in a separate room from where food is prepared and purchased. Consider partnering with rescue organizations and feature pets eligible for adoption.
  • Pet matchmaker – Say you want to get a pet but aren’t sure which breed is the right fit for your family. What if you could pay someone to help you figure it out? That’s what a pet matchmaker could do. You’ll need a knowledge of pet breeds along with good communication skills to be successful.
  • Housetraining specialist – New pet owners sometimes overlook the time commitment needed to potty-train a puppy. This specialist would assess and provide a plan. The pet owner might take it from there or hire you to actually perform the service.

Starting a Business

A passion, like caring for pets, is a great first step in starting a business. But it’s important to do your homework before setting it in motion. What’s the competitive environment? How will you fund it? What licensing requirements exist?  These are just a few of the issues you will need to investigate.

One of the keys is building a business plan. It helps you step back and think about the elements of your proposed business so you can make sound decisions. The Small Business Administration offers a step-by-step Business Plan Tool that can walk you through the process online.

Mix your own animal passion with a growing market trend to uncover potential business start-ups. Consider whether one of these business ideas is right for you.