With the explosion of pet ownership in the US in recent years, and the fact that many pet owners are willing to spend good money pampering their beloved animals, opening a pet spa is a great opportunity for anyone looking to start their own pet-related business.
And it’s not just wealthy pet owners who are sending their dogs and cats to pet spas – many middle-income people are doing so as well. For many pet owners, their dog or cat is just another member of the family, and they’ll stop at nothing to ensure that their animals are treated like royalty.
Many of today’s pet spas offer a full line of services for dogs and cats, from boarding, grooming, training, day care and even vaccinations and other on-site veterinarian services. Other spas specialize in just the grooming aspects of pet care, and it’s really all up to the pet spa owner to decide on how much he or she wants to take on.
The advantages of owning a pet spa business
- You’ll be your own boss – the great American dream!
- You’ll have the flexibility of setting your own work schedule, and have more time for your family or other commitments. You could even start as a part-time business if you like.
- Start-up costs are relatively low compared to many other small businesses.
- You’ll get the satisfaction of owning a small business that helps pets and their owners experience a higher level of health and happiness.
- As with owning any small business, as a pet spa owner, you’ll have the control and freedom to take the business in any direction you desire. You can start your business in your home, you could launch it as a mobile pet spa, or rent a retail storefront location.
- You’ll have the option of specializing in particular dog or cat breeds that you prefer, or opening up your spa services to a wide variety of pets.
Some of the challenges with this type of business
- As with running any small business, you’ll have to be a self-motivator to be successful. At least until you grow to the point where you can hire employees to take on some or all of the businesses day-to-day operations.
- You’ll have to do your own advertising and marketing. Most new businesses struggle to get enough clients to meet expenses in the beginning, and pet spas are no different in that regard.
- You’ll occasionally encounter unruly pets in this line of work, and may have trouble controlling the animals in your care.
- Not all areas of the country have a wealthier pool of residents who would be willing to pay for pet spa services.
Some considerations when opening a pet spa business
You’re first decision is what services you’re going to provide with your spa businesses. Many people who open pet spas are already professional pet groomers, and they offer traditional grooming services such as trimming, bathing, brushing, styling and more.
Another option is to offer luxury spa services such as pet massage, pedicures, doggy facials (yes, they really get those!), hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and even hot tubs or saunas. Just make sure you’re trained in these areas, and can administer these services safely and effectively. After all, pet owners don’t want to pick up their beloved pet only to find the animal looking like it was dragged through an automatic car wash.
Next you’ll have to purchase supplies and equipment for your pet spa. You won’t have to spend a fortune here, and the services you decide to offer will determine your needs. At the very least you’ll have to buy pet grooming tools, supplies, and tables.
You’ll also need dog runs, carpet-covered cat playhouses, some basic vet equipment, and good-quality kennels if you plan on keeping pets overnight. Then you’ll need basic office equipment and supplies, including a good computer system and software for bookkeeping and scheduling.
And finally you’ll have to decide whether to operate your pet spa out of your home, as a mobile business, or lease a retail location. A retail location is the preferred choice for several reasons, but also the most expensive. You’ll want to lease or purchase a building that’s large enough to take on as many animals as you can service, plus handle future growth as needed.
If you’re planning on running a doggie day care, you’ll also want a back yard area large enough for the dogs to run around in, and do their business. The building should also have several rooms so that you can separate the dogs from the cats, and provide various levels of luxury depending on the services you’re offering.
Just be aware of the additional costs associated with running your own facility, such as monthly utility bills, upkeep and maintenance, and insurance. And if you plan on being open during normal business hours, you’ll either have to be there everyday yourself, or have a manager to run the day-to-day operations in your absence.