6 Steps Guide to Opening a Pet Store in 2021 (Updated)

If you are an animal lover with an entrepreneurial spirit, opening a pet store may be the right thing for you. An animal store offers a lot of fun and personal fulfillment along with the financial rewards of dealing with furry, finned, and feathered creatures.

According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spend more than $75 billion a year on pets. So, there is a considerable market to profit from, especially if you love animals.

The most valuable customers are those who look after their pets as they are family members. Your perfect target customer will handle their pet carefully, have a well-trained pet, understand what they’re seeking, and be open to suggestions. Regular customers are essential to the success of a pet store as a local business.

The following 6-step guide will help you find out what to look out for if you want to open your own pet store.

Establishing a business plan

Identify your purpose, goals, and outline your steps to accomplish your goals in a business plan. A good business plan involves research of the market to determine your target audience and profit expectations. Be sure to mention your potential sources for pets and pet supplies, as well as the prices you expect to charge for high-priced items. When applying for a business loan, you should print out your business plan to present to your lender. The Small Business Administration helps all types of small businesses. If you have any questions, you can contact them for advice and assistance. 

Many pet stores offer animal training, grooming, and boarding services. A diversified service portfolio will increase your chances of success. In addition to other services and products you provide, you may find it helpful to specialize in one area to attract more clients. For instance, selling organic food would be a good idea, especially in this decade where consumers have become more health-conscious. This type of consumer wants their pets to have a healthy and long life. Targeting organic food enthusiasts will differentiate your store from others and may bring more customers.

pet store

Creating a brand

Starting a business requires establishing a unique brand identity. Choosing a catchy business name should be the first rule. You can have a lot of fun coming up with ideas for your pet store’s name as it is a unique business type. The store’s name should be inviting, friendly, and creative, like “Pet’s Paradise” or “Paws & Claws.” If you search for “cute pet store names” on the internet, you will find many creative and fun ones for the store. You can then eliminate those that are not a good fit or modify them to find the best fitting pet store name for your business.

You can get the name idea here.

Being familiar with the legal requirements

When it comes to pet and food sales, state and local laws change constantly. Research the laws and regulations carefully and thoroughly in your State and City. Some states, for instance, require pet stores to provide customers with vet-issued certificates when selling dogs, cats, or ferrets. In most cities, pet stores require a license, which means your store must undergo health and safety inspections. Even if you may not need a pet shop license, you will still need a general business license from the state.

Be sure that the animals you choose to sell are legal in your state or country before choosing them for your pet store. Keeping certain animals as pets is illegal, including groundhogs. States, however, have different restrictions. The American Bar Association says exotic animals require permits in most jurisdictions. You may even need a license from the United States Department of Agriculture. Or, you may decide to have a franchise pet store. In that case, the umbrella corporation will likely take care of licensing and other details for you.

Choosing a location for your pet store

Picking a location that is suitable for your pet store is not a two-minute exercise. A shopping mall or neighborhood near a dog park will give you easy access to people with pets. Also, remember that if there is too much competition nearby, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

While looking for the location, you should also consider the size of the store. If you are selling pets, you will need ample space to house them, along with a meet and greet area for future pet parents.

Getting your equipment, supplies, and pets

To sell pets, you will need to ensure they are cared for, healthy and happy while waiting for their forever homes. Invest in aquariums and cages that are large enough to hold your animals. Install the housing, including the food and water areas, before obtaining your pet stock. Ensure that the animals you acquire are healthy and have all the necessary paperwork by purchasing them from a reputable distributor or breeder. It’s crucial to research the breeders before making any purchase arrangements. The breeders must be breeder verified and have the necessary licenses. Choosing the less expensive breeder may sound good for your start-up costs but remember, purchasing from a cruel puppy mill will not do any good.

Creating the ideal atmosphere

Setting up your pet store design and layout is the first step before you can welcome customers. The space ought to be cozy and lively. When choosing a paint color, consider the colors that our furry friends see the best. According to research, dogs can see blue, yellow, and some shades of blue. Cats are believed to see blue-violet hues the best. So with this knowledge, choosing blue paint will work for both dogs and cats. To create a natural habitat for the fish, decorate the aquariums with objects that mimic the ocean life. A well-decorated aquarium will also help you cross-sell the products in it. 

It is also essential to keep the space clean, tidy, and easy to move around. The products you sell should be well-stocked and displayed for easy browsing. 

It is also a good idea to ensure the store has plenty of natural light. It will create a welcoming and natural atmosphere. And don’t forget about the background music. Yes, you heard it right! We will explain why; scroll down.

music streaming services

The importance of background music in a pet store

Let’s look at a surprising study that researched the relationship between music and dogs. Research has found that classical music initially calmed the dogs; however, they became bored after several days. Reggae and soft rock worked better when it came to reducing stress, barking, and heart rate. Interesting, isn’t it?

Background music, as you can see, plays a huge role in animals’ lives as well. A fitting pet store soundtrack will make your shop a more friendly and cheerful place for your pet parent customers, too. 

If you’re thinking of implementing background music for your business, forget about Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube. They’re all private licensed music streaming providers, which means you could face a hefty fine if you use them in your business.

Luckily, there’s a low-cost solution for business music streaming which is Jukeboxy Music for Business. For $24.99 a month, the subscription to Jukeboxy gives you over 40 million tracks and hundreds of curated playlists with a business license to create the perfect background music for your pet store.