Starting a Pet Consulting Business

Starting a business is great way to generate income for yourself and your family. The trend is gradually shifting towards entrepreneurship since most people feel that self-employment offers more advantages and better opportunity for financial growth than any 9 to 5 job could ever do. The critical decision here would be what type of business you should start.

Who could start a pet consulting business?

Pet consulting business is a great idea for those who love animals and want to build on this aspect to generate wealth. There are a few very basic pre-requisites for starting this business:

  1. You should have an inherent love for animals
  2. You should be knowledgeable about their habits, diet and behavior
  3. You should be have up-to-date information on nutrition, grooming, breeding, insurance and health of a wide variety of pets as well as ready resources for reference
  4. You should have an excellent network that can answer to any question a pet owner might have – kennels, doctors, nutrition, grooming, breeding, training; you name it, it should be there.
  5. You should have adequate finance to run the business for at least six months without any expectations of returns. In case you plan to apply for a bank loan, you would need a professionally drawn business plan, as well as collateral.

The above checklist is not an exhaustive one, but it helps you gain clarity of what is expected of you. As a pet consultant, your palette could be a colorful as you want it. Most people would expect that you run kennel/ pet sitting facilities as well, therefore this is a decision that you need to make beforehand.

What a pet consultant can do?

As a pet consultant, you would be basically an advisor or facilitator. People would come to you for advice on health, nutrition, behavior patterns, pet communication matters, grooming, breeding and so on. Combining your consultancy with an activity that concerns animals directly would improve your business’ chance to succeed manifold. For example, you could offer pet sitting, working out nutrition charts, grooming services, and training, among others. When people would come with their pets for any of these services, they would be inclined to use your services as a consultant on other matters that concern them.

You need not know everything, but you should know where all the answers are. You should be seen as a one-window solution to all pet problems. Besides your own consulting fees, you could charge a nominal fee from those whose services you would recommend to your clients. For example, pet communicators, trainers, veterinary doctors, nutritionists, etc. However, you should keep one thing in mind at all times: never compromise on quality as your business would thrive on the trust you build with your clients.

How to kick start your business?

This is the easiest part of the action plan; identifying the area where you want to specialize and organizing your information network is the hardest. Once the decisions are made, you need to work on the following aspects:

  1. Pricing – check with your competitors. If there are none in your vicinity, check on the Internet to have a rough idea. Announce your services at an introductory price, fixed at about 15-25 per cent less than the market price. This would tempt people come and look you up.
  2. Advertise – this is how you gain visibility. Use attractive, but low cost, flyers posted in places where there is heavy people traffic such as grocery shops, bus stops, school bulletin board (handouts), local banks, veterinary hospitals/ clinics pet shops and the like. You can also advertise (1) online through craiglist.org, e-newsletters to your friends and relatives, two-line ads in your emails, and (2) offline through local news papers, your own business cards, personal stationery, greeting cards among others.
  3. Network – you are as good as your network. Ensure that you network with quality professionals and stay alive within the network. Work out win-win business propositions with all who contribute to the success of your business.

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Posted on Oct 1, 2009