How to Succeed With Pet Services
Branching out into pet services makes good business sense for retailers, but you must take the right steps to make the most of this burgeoning part of the pet care market.
It should come as no surprise that the global pet industry is big business. In 2016, the pet care market was estimated at more than $131.7 billion, and it is expected to reach $206.2 billion by 2025, according to data from Grand View Research, Inc.
Those extraordinary numbers amount to abundant opportunities for pet professionals to capitalize on growth opportunities and expansion possibilities into areas of the market they’ve not yet explored. One area that’s ripe with potential is pet services. An umbrella term that covers a wide variety of businesses—from pet-sitting and boarding to walking, behavior, grooming and day care—pet services meet the needs of consumers who are increasingly anthropomorphizing their pets and treating them like well-cared-for members of the family.
For pet industry professionals already in the retail business, expansion into pet services makes a lot of business sense. By following the right steps, it can also amount to a significant increase in dollars. Here’s a guide to how to get started…
Balance Your Budget
Before you plan to expand, ensure your business has strong financial footing to support an increase in services. For example, before adding pet styling to your offerings, research the cost of grooming supplies, required software and staffing professional groomers. If your goal is to branch out into a mobile business, explore the costs and liabilities of buying and maintaining a grooming van.
Forbes recommends running the numbers to make sure the profit you’re looking for is even in the market before adding these costs to your business. Knowing your current budget and what you can afford to spend to start out is the key to making a smart decision that’s financially savvy for your business. Also, make sure you have the bandwidth to develop a new business segment—you don’t want other parts of your organization to suffer.
Do Your Market Research
Any successful new business starts with a good business plan. That involves conducting thorough market research to assess your competition and your community’s needs. Tap into resources like the World Pet Association’s (WPA) Retail Report to get the most up-to-date information on your market, your competition and where your store stacks up.
Once you find an unmet need, the next step is to create your own marketing plan, making sure you employ all the latest tactics—from social media and digital marketing to word-of-mouth and traditional forms of advertising. Keeping yourself educated on best practices in retail marketing is imperative to the success of any business expansion.
Hire the Right People
Expanding your business requires hiring the right people for the job, or preparing to train the ones you have. Your employees may already be the most passionate pet people in the business, but do they have what it takes to run a doggy day care? Do they have the skills and certifications required to bathe and groom pets?
Before expanding into a niche field, analyze your current staff, assess your hiring needs and determine whether you’d like to make the investment of time and money to train your current staff to perform new tasks or hire new team members that are already skilled and certified—and may already come with their own client base. The relationship between pet owners and their pet’s groomers is strong, don’t underestimate this vital step.
How WPA Can Help
As the world’s leading professional organization for the pet industry, WPA is committed to bringing thought leadership, innovative thinking and best practices to pet retailers and service providers all around the globe—all with the mission of creating healthier, happier pets and a healthy, productive pet industry. WPA achieves these goals through four annual shows—America’s Family Pet Expo, Aquatic Experience, SuperZoo and the upcoming Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference, which heads to the Georgia International Convention Center March 7-10.
The Southeast’s largest trade show for groomers and pet service professionals, Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference is renowned for its cutting-edge education and skills-building sessions, networking opportunities, captivating competitions and world-class product expo. With thousands of pet professionals from across the spectrum of services in attendance and a host of education sessions covering the timeliest topics related to succeeding in the pet services industry—from hiring and training to marketing and business best practices—it’s the perfect place and time to bring your team for training, gain insight on industry best practices, and embark on your new journey into the exciting world of pet services. PB
Jacinthe Moreau is president of World Pet Association.