10 steps to open a pet business

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Pet store franchise

For some, owning and managing a pet store is a dream career. For some lucky franchisees, it's a reality. If you've always wanted to run a business, the franchising system may be the answer. Here, we take a look at 10 of the most important steps you'll need to consider before you open your own pet franchise.

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10 Steps to open a pet business

There are various types of pet stores and an incredibly diverse array of pet franchises. Prospective franchisees are almost spoilt for choice. While this is most definitely a good thing, it does mean you'll have to think about the specific type of pet store you want to own.

That means that you need to consider questions like:

  • Are you looking to get into retail or would you prefer to care for animals?
  • Do you want to sell pet supplies or are you more interested in offering grooming services?
  • Do you need to invest in a retail premises?

These questions will allow you to narrow down your choices and give you a better idea of what your options are.

1. Decide how much you want to work

Pet franchises often offer flexible work options, and franchisees will need to think long and hard about what type of business they want to own.

With the range of franchise opportunities available on our network, you can scale your business according to your aspirations and needs.

Part-time and full-time opportunities are available with several different franchisors, including Barking Mad. Whether you’ve got a family to support or you’re after a flexible working schedule, there is a pet franchise on Point Franchise than can work for you.

2. Think about your motivations

Whenever you begin a new business venture, it's a good idea to take a step back and consider your motives:

  • Are you in it for the money?
  • Is it because it's a rewarding line of work?
  • Or is it a personal passion project?

There is no right or wrong answer in this regard, and all of these motivations can form a legitimate basis for starting a new business.

However, it is essential to distinguish between sustainable motivations and short-term whims. If your motivation extends solely to a love of animals, you may want to consider other options. Starting a franchise is a long-term commitment that requires a great deal of dedication and determination. It should not be undertaken lightly.

3. Research the pet industry

As we've already mentioned, the pet industry is vast and far-reaching. With so much on offer, franchisees will need to ensure that they perform thorough research to make sure that they’re choosing the right option. That means taking an in-depth look at a select few franchises, so that you can fully understand what you’re getting into.

4. Contact a pet franchisor

Prospective franchisees should contact all of the pet franchisors they're considering applying to. It's vital that franchisees open a dialogue with any franchisor they're interested in signing up with, as they'll be working closely with the franchisor team in the future.

A strong working relationship is a feature of all high-quality franchises, and the only way you'll know whether you'll work well together is by talking.

5. Speak with existing franchisees

It's also a good idea to speak to existing franchisees. You should avoid any pet franchisor that tries to stop you talking to their franchisees or that only permits you to speak to one or two cherry-picked franchisees.

Franchisors that give you free access to all franchisees have nothing to hide. Most franchisees will provide you with an honest account of what it’s like to be part of the pet franchise and will often be able to provide particularly useful financial information.

6. Attend a pet franchise discovery day

As you become more convinced that you’ve found the right franchise and get closer to signing the franchise agreement, you’ll need to attend a discovery day.

Most franchises offer some kind of discovery day experience. This involves inviting interested individuals on-site and into the business to see how it’s run and what day-to-day life is like as a franchisee. It can provide invaluable insight and should be one of the most influential factors in any decision you make.

7. Examine the franchise agreement

The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) will only be made available once it's clear that you're seriously interested in becoming a franchisee. In the vast majority of cases, you'll have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before you can read it.

The FDD details everything you need to know about the franchise and will provide you with all of the financial information you need to make a decision. It's vital that you take your time to read over this document properly as it should contain information about processes, procedures and systems that you have not yet had access to.

8. Draft your pet business plan

Having decided on a specific pet franchise and researched all the necessary details, it's time to begin drafting your business plan. This will act as your guide through the first year or two of business and will help you make sure that your pet franchise is financially viable.

It should include economic considerations, marketing strategies and your long-term aims and objectives, amongst other things. It will also play an essential role in your finance application.

9. Financing your franchise

Once all is ready to go and you're preparing to sign the franchise agreement, you'll need to work out how to finance your franchise. It may be that you want to borrow from a professional lender or that you want to cover start-up costs with personal savings. This is a likely possibility, as franchises in the pet industry offer low-cost business opportunities.

So that you have the full picture of what your choices are, let’s have a look at all of the full range of financing solutions on offer:

  • Loan from a private lender. Several pet franchises on our network offer handy bank loans to help get your business up and running. One of these is PetStay, who can put you in connection with partners that will finance a portion of the £9,995 start-up costs.
     
  • Government Start Up Loan. If you’re looking for funding to start up your pet franchise, the government has a scheme to help you to secure the necessary cash. In the form of a start loan, it will sponsor your venture by injecting between £500 and £25,000 worth of funding.

  • Personal savings. With pet franchises coming in at such a cheap price, a lot of people are choosing to use their own savings. After all, there is no better use of your money than investing it in your venture.
     
  • Borrow from family or friends. If personal savings are not an option and you don’t want to be bound to a loan contract, there’s always the possibility of borrowing from close friends and family. Just remember, you need to make sure that all the details of the agreement are down on paper, and that both parties are fully aware of the risks and potential rewards involved.

If you try to secure a private or government loan, your financial history and your ability to put together a comprehensive business plan will be the credentials that you are assessed by. That’s why it pays to go to every stop to make sure that your business plan is as convincing as possible.

In fact, in most cases, your franchisor will help you draft a suitable business plan. It’s always wise to accept this offer; franchisors have bags of industry experience that is shared amongst several individuals. They will help you to anticipate any concerns that lenders might have relating to your plan and can let you know what makes them tick.

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10. Check if it is BFA-accredited

To open your dream pet store, you'll need to jump through a lot of hoops. However, as long as you're sure that you're making the right decision and that a pet store is the business for you, the process will be worth it in the end.

As with any business venture, the most important things to remember are the need for thorough research and access to trusted advisors. When making critical decisions, it’s essential that you have access to objective advice from the best in the industry.

The BFA (British Franchise Association) is the seal of quality in the British franchising sector. If a franchise is BFA-accredited, you know that it offers a fair deal to its franchisees. Let’s have a look examples of BFA-accredited pet franchises on our network:

>> Read more articles on the Pet & Dog sector

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