If you’re looking for a small, home based business opportunity then you might think about setting up some kind of pet-related business and there are a few good reasons why you should:

First of all there are an estimated 10 million dogs and 10 million cats in the UK, to say nothing of the many other pets. Generally speaking, doting pet owners are willing to lavish money on their pets – even before spending on themselves. Finally, if you’re an animal lover yourself this is the kind of biz opp that you could enjoy and really won’t seem that much like work.

Pet Business Ideas & Opportunities

Here are a few pet-related small business ideas and a few tips for making a success of them:

Dog walking. I’m amazed that you can make good money out of dog walking, but apparently you can. There are a few successful dog walking services out there already and some of them charge up to £15 per hour per dog (which is more than the most expensive children’s nurseries charge)!

You’d need to like both dogs and walking to do this one. The secret of making it work is to set things up so you can walk more than one dog at a time… and earn more than one fee for just the one walk. Important: Apart from needing to make sure the dogs you walk together get along be aware that councils in some areas have brought in restrictions on how many dogs you can walk together.

Dog grooming & washing. This is an interesting one. Because even though most owners love their dogs they don’t love all the mess that grooming and particularly washing a dirty dog creates at home. So, there seems to be brisk demand for dog grooming and washing services.

If you’re interested in running this kind of service you’ll almost certainly need some kind of training. To help, there are quite a few courses, packages and even franchises available – let me know if you’d like to know more and we might review some in future. You’d also need a suitably equipped wash area at home (a garage or garden shed might do), or some services even go mobile from a van or trailer equipped with the necessary gear.

Pet sitting. It’s pretty easy to find boarding accommodation for dogs. But there aren’t many services for owners with other small animals they’d like to be properly looked after while they’re away… everything from birds to gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, snakes and other reptiles and of course fish. So there could be a gap in your local market here waiting to be filled.

You can look after these small animals either in your, or the customer’s, own home as they prefer. The added advantage is that most small animals don’t need you to be there all the time so this makes a good part time opp.

Tip. As different animals have very different care requirements though it would be a good idea to get a written briefing of the care they need.

Making a success of your pet biz opp

You’ll find you have competition for your services in most areas. But you can make sure you get the lion’s share of the business by being on the ball with marketing.

You can do the usual things like ads, posters and leaflets, but a really good idea is to set up marketing partnerships with other businesses who come into contact with pet owners. Do a tie up with vets to introduce you to their customers. If there are any pet shops, dog obedience classes or pet shows in your area get them to promote your service in return for you promoting them.

Finally remember that professionalism is all important. Your customers will want to know that their pet is in good hands. If working from home make sure your property is completely secure – you don’t want to be in the difficult position of losing someone’s pet. Look at what training courses you can take. Also make sure you have suitable insurance.