Entrepreneurship for Pet Lovers

22 May 2014

Starting a pet business can be a very lucrative move, and if you've got a natural affection for pets, you can make money from doing something that you love.  Dogs in particular need a lot of care and attention, but for many pet owners it's simply not practical to be around 24 hours a day.  However, people can ensure that their pets are in good company, whilst being fed and exercised by approaching pet care companies.  Many pet owners are now working long hours in order to make ends meet, which means that their pets are  being left home alone for longer.  Because of this, there's arguably a greater demand for pet care staff than ever.  Let's take a look at some of the key pet care professions.

Dog Walking
Dogs love the open air, and need to be walked several times a day.  They require a large amount of exercise, which full-time workers can find hard to provide.  By becoming a dog walker you can ensure that the dogs that you deal with stay healthy and get the exercise and fresh air that they need.  You'll need to be confident about dealing with dogs, and will need to remain calm yet firm even when they are displaying testing behaviours.  You'll need good disciplinary skills and the ability to walk for extensive periods of time.  Dog walkers need to invest in the relevant insurance packages and may need to be CRB checked too.  Walking a dog on a regular basis is also beneficial to your own health, and can help you to get the exercise that you need too.  If you'll be visiting various locations to pick up dogs you'll need to invest in a suitable van with all the correct fittings in place, such as cages, and you'll need to invest in the relevant vehicle insurance.  Finding out about the best local dog walking routes is a necessity, and you'll need to ensure that you clean up after them when they foul in public places.  You'll also have to be prepared to brave all climates, and keep tack of any expenses that you incur whilst running your business to keep the taxman happy.

When people head away for a certain period, they need to know that their pets are being looked after.  Sometimes the option of sending them to the homes of family members or friends is not available.  Furthermore, some owners feel that it's best that their pets stay on familiar territory to avoid causing them stress, which can rule out kennels too.  This is where pet-sitting comes in.  Many pet-sitters have built up their businesses by earning their clients' trust during pet-sitting, allowing them to build up a network of customers.  Becoming a pet-sitter won't require you to make a large financial investment, and the more trust is placed on you, the easier you'll find it to secure further assignments.

Dog Grooming

Most owners like their dogs to look their best, calling upon the services of professional groomers regularly.  Self-employed groomers can earn up to around £70 per hour, but you'll need to build up your reputation before you can reach this point.  You'll need to adhere to the owner's requirements, but by undertaking training you can learn a variety of grooming skills, and should be able to groom various breeds of dog.

With these pet care professions, you can expect to start small before building up your reputation, but the more positive feedback you receive, the wider your customer base can become, all with minimal capital or investment in resources being needed.

Alex Johnson is a freelance writer based in Oxford, writing on behalf of  MORE TH>N dog and cat insurance. which offers pet lovers the reassurance they need to care for their pet.  These are her own thoughts and do not represent the views of MORE TH>N.

Written in association with MORE TH>N.

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