If you love pets, and you’ve got some talent in the kitchen, you might consider starting a pet bakery business, either as a part-time way to make extra money, or a full-time business venture.
Some people might be skeptical of the idea of baking dog treats as a business, but they shouldn’t be. The gourmet pet bakery business has been growing rapidly in recent years, and should only continue to do so in the future.
Plus some dogs and cats are on special diets, and cannot consume store-bought treats due to their health or other issues, so custom baked treats are the best option for them.
Even many of the large pet store chains like Petsmart are starting to offer gourmet pet bakery products as part of their regular inventory.
A few of the potential benefits of owning pet bakery business include;
- Low startup costs.
- High profit margins. Many pet treats can be mass produced for pennies, then resold for several dollars or more in the right market.
- The ability to run your pet bakery business from your home, at least initially.
- A large potential market, including pet shops and vets in your area, pet groomers, doggie daycares, and even online opportunities such as launching your own website to sell gourmet pet treats.
- There’s the ability to be creative, and you can develop your own line of custom treats that dogs and cats will love.
- The opportunity of residual sales, as satisfied pet owners will return and buy your treats over and over again.
A few of the potential challenges when running a pet bakery;
- There are specific regulations you must follow when baking and processing your own pet treats.
- Be aware that there are potential legal issues if the treats you produce do not meet those regulations.
- While popular, gourmet pet treats aren’t in-demand in all areas of the country, so you’ll want to do some demographic research before proceeding.
Getting your pet bakery business off the ground
First you’ll need to decide if you’re going to operate as a sole proprietorship, LLC (limited liability corporation), or a regular corporation.
A lot of this will depend on your tax considerations, and how large you plan on growing your business into the future. If you plan to go the franchise route, for example, you’ll probably want to set up your business as a corporation. Consult a good tax attorney before proceeding.
Another important consideration is whether you’ll be operating your pet bakery business out of your home, or a retail location. Many people start these type of businesses out of their homes to save money, and sell their bakery products online to get the business off the ground and get some experience.
Another advantage to an online-only business is you’re not required to be in one place every day for a set number of hours as you would if you opened a retail location.
Also the risks are lower, as you’re not tied to an expensive lease on a retail location as you’re getting your business off the ground. Just make sure the regulations in your area permit these types of home businesses.
Then, as the business grows over time, you can eventually move into a retail storefront at some point. The advantages here are you’ll get exposure in your area, walk-in customers, and you can even cross-promote related businesses like dog walking or pet grooming and get additional business as well.
Just be aware of the additional costs involved, and the fact that you’ll have to have the business staffed during regular business hours. And there are additional expenses such as insurance, utility bills, advertising costs and more.
Developing your own pet bakery products
Needless to say, your bakery products are your most important element in a business like this. If you create great products that are nutritious and that pets love, word will spread quickly and you’ll soon have more business that you can handle.
Create poor products, on the other hand, or products that aren’t a good fit for your target market, and you could be setting yourself up for failure in the long run. So make sure you’ve got the product end of your business nailed down before proceeding with your pet bakery business.
Fortunately, there’s not a lot of expensive equipment you’ll need to purchase to start this type of business enterprise. You can start with the basics – cake and cookie pans, plastic containers, cookie cutters, mixing bowls and a commercial electric mixer. There are a number of companies such as K9 Cakery that supply products and equipment for this type of business.
Just remember that one of the great things about gourmet pet treats is that they give pet owners an additive-free and all-natural food option for their beloved pets.
These treats may cost a little more, but they’re healthier for the animal than mass produced store-bought products, and this is a fact you should always emphasize when marketing your natural pet treat business.