Pet transport services are necessary as the number of pets in the US has grown tremendously in the last few decades. According to the US Demographics and Pet Ownership Sourcebook, there are an estimated 60 million dogs and 70 million cats in American households today. Apart from that, it has been recorded that households that own pets spent 36% more in 2001 compared to 1996. With this, owning a business that caters to the pet market, including a pet transport service, has a lot to do with it. potential for healthy growth.
This is due to the fact that many Americans move around the country annually and therefore would also require pet transportation services to move their pets. On a smaller scale, pet transportation services can also serve local residents who require these services to transport their pets to and from the vet, within a local area, or even to the crematorium for pets that have passed away.
Initial costs and sources of financing:
Starting a pet transport business really depends on the scale you want your business to be. If you want to start on a smaller scale, all you really need is probably a van that has been modified to be safe and suitable for transporting animals. Of course, you will need to set up an office or operate from home with just a phone, email, and a fax machine. All of this will cost you less than $ 20,000.
On a larger scale, especially when you are considering cross-border transportation, you will probably need to invest in a larger truck that can accommodate a few pets at the same time. Other than that, the interior of the truck must be suitable, safe and clean for pets, with adequate cleaning and ventilation facilities. For this business to be viable, you may need to rapidly expand your business to include sales agent offices in multiple locations. In this way, you can increase business volume to increase profitability. All of these can cost you anywhere from $ 200,000 to $ 500,000 in upfront start-up costs.
Funding can be obtained from investors who may be interested in the potential of such a business. Apart from that, you can contact credit institutions such as banks to get a loan for the business. As with any business start-up, an impressive business plan should be developed for potential investors and financiers, outlining potential growth, as well as the company’s estimated annual costs and income.
Pricing guidelines for the service:
The pricing strategy for a pet transportation services company varies depending on the company’s fixed and variable cost, as well as the nature of the service provided. Local transportation services can start with a minimum charge of $ 20 to $ 40 for the first 20 miles and an additional $ 10 for every 10 miles after that.
When it comes to interstate transportation or transportation between cities, the distance between origin and destination will be the main determinant of the price. With this, prices can vary from $ 100 onwards, also depending on the size of the animal and the pet carrier.
Advertising and marketing:
Since you are targeting pet owners, the best marketing approach would be to advertise where pet owners would go. Reading material for pet owners, as well as events attended by the same target group. Posting brochures in pet stores and probably giving pet stores commissions for each customer they refer you would be a good idea. It would be helpful to advertise in pet magazines or write an article about their services. Of course, classified ads in the yellow pages are a must so that customers can easily locate you.
Other promotion channels would be participation as a seller in dog shows or shows. Doing this will help increase awareness of the company’s existence. Additionally, working with associations like the American Kennel Association would create and enhance visibility for pet breeders and pet store owners. Especially when you participate in events organized by these associations.
Launching a website and allowing potential customers to get instant price estimates from your website would also be a great idea.
This business requires a good amount of equipment, in which the most important thing would be the vehicle that is used to transport the animals. Other than that, other equipment such as boxes, kennels and carriers may be required as some customers do not have these items with them. The size and use of these cages must be in accordance with the guidelines established by the Independent Association for the Transport of Pets and Animals (IPATA).
Handlers and drivers will need to be hired to care for the animals while they are in transit. Other required equipment would be the sinks built into the vehicle to allow for easy cleaning and water refills.
Recommended required training, experience or skills:
Extensive training is not required for a pet transport services business. However, it is necessary to involve good and responsible drivers and animal keepers. It would be best if you have a background and experience in handling animals during the trip so that you can train your staff and make sure they are handling the animals in the correct way. Apart from that, your staff should also know what to do if they encounter problems during the trip, and they should also be equipped with the latest information on the location of kennels and veterinarians in case of emergencies.
Apart from that, the business owner must be well informed about all the legal requirements related to the transport of pets. For example, there are IPATA guidelines on the size of boxes and wire boxes that are required by law. Additionally, all pets must be accompanied by a veterinarian certified interstate travel certificate.
The income potential of this business depends on how big the business grows. A larger company with multiple offices and destinations will be able to maintain a higher volume of sales. With this, the pet transport business will be able to generate at least a six-figure income each year.
Pet owners, pet stores and animal breeders.
A pet transport business requires investment and a passion for animal welfare to be successful. As it is also a niche market, it takes a lot of marketing and advertising investment in the business to raise awareness about the services.