Whenever and wherever, there is a need and a problem, there exists a business that helps to solve the problem. We have been found to be too busy with our work that it becomes difficult to take their pets to vet, recreational centre, grooming centre and other places where their pets are required to go.
Many working Americans remain absent from their home throughout the day thus making it imperative that their pet needs to be put to some pet boarding centre till the time they are at work.
Also, when someone shifts from one place to another, usually from one city to another, it also becomes a challenge to shift the pet since it is not possible to take your pet in a public transport like planes.
Thus, a special vehicle transport system meant to transport pets becomes imperative and necessary that can help you in solving this issue. In the recent few years, the pet transportation business or a pet taxi has gained traction and is continuing to do so.
There’s a lot of opportunity available for those interested to invest in this business. This opportunity can be well seen if one looks at the stats on pets in the United States.
The Pet Market in the United States
Close to 67% of the United States family own a pet as of 2019. There has been a quantum jump in this figure as in 1998, only 20% of the families used to own pets. The pet industry is a whooping $75 billion dollar market and is growing at 4.9% CAGR.
This also reflects the fact that Americans are much more ready to spend money on their pets for different reasons and it may be for food, vet, vaccination, grooming, etc.
53% of the people prefer to travel with their pet but it is not feasible to always accompany them during travel especially for long duration in public transports. Thus, the need for a pet transport is important.
In light of the above facts, let’s get started with a comprehensive approach for starting a pet transport business. This article won’t get you into complex situations but would give a broad understanding of how one can start a pet transport business and what are the requirements to start it.
What will be the use of Pet Transportation?
The first question you must ask before starting this business is what will be the use of pet transportation? Is it in demand? Are people ready to pay generously for such services? Create your business plan and mention all essential components.
Pet transportation is used to transport pets from one place to another. Such transport vehicles are especially designed from the inside, making room for several pets in a way that they don’t quarrel with each other. It also ensures that their travel remains safe and comfortable.
For different types and sizes of pets, there are different vehicles made or designed. When you will be starting your business, you will have to take a call regarding what kind of pets you will transport.
They can be dogs, whose customers will be many but there are also many other transporters in the market. It can be cats, monkeys, rabbits, goats, cows, etc. To decide for your niche, do feasibility analysis and proper research to know about market trends, profit and customer demand.
Your Target Market and Location
Who will be your target market is significantly a very pertinent question that you need to answer before you take any further step in establishing your business.
Since we are dealing with pet transportation, we must be clear that our transportation business will only cater to pet animals and not livestock or farm animals. Out of all the pets that people have with them, the major size is that of dogs and cats.
People also have birds, rabbits, cows, monkeys and other animals as pets but the population of such pet owners is very less and even in that, they are majorly scattered throughout the United States and not just one region.
Another aspect of this business is related to transport of pets intra-city, intra-state, inter-state and outside the country to another country maybe in neighbourhood or in some far country.
This aspect is a bit tedious especially in case of inter state and to another country with lots of complexity. Unless you are not into this business, it will be a complex job for you.
Thus, when you are establishing your business, it must be certainly area specific and certainly not more than the size of a city or two. All the further steps that you will take will be centred around the same.
A feasibility analysis report will help you find out the specific location and people who own pets. People who own specific types of pets and their size in numbers. Their income, the amount they can generously pay for various services, etc.
Based on the findings you will be able to decide your target market and take further steps.
Basic Requirements for Pet Transportation Business
Certain requirements need to be fulfilled before you go a step ahead. What are the requirements to start your pet transportation?
- Transport vehicles in different sizes and for different animals
- Staff trained in handling pets and in transportation
- Drivers that are trained in transporting animals or at least with some experience
- License and permit to carry out the business
- Vehicle parking space
- Office and office staff
When you are in the initial stage of your business, you can either rent the vehicle or get it second hand in order to save money in buying a new vehicle. Vehicles can be either mini pickup van, mini truck or large one based on your need whatever you feel necessary.
Design and build it accordingly with requirements. Like portioned fences or boxes made of iron or steel to separate animals from each other. Size can be determined based on the size of pet you are aiming to transport.
The transport vehicle should be pet friendly that avoids excessive jerks, shocks, heating, rains, dust, etc. It should have water and food keeping space, and also space for animals to breathe properly with ventilation.
Your staff handling the pet when they are received from their owners should be well trained in dealing with the animals. It is not only necessary that your staff is sensitive towards pets but they should also be professional enough to treat them properly and with firmness.
They should also know how to control them when they are anxious and nervous. Secondly, they should also know first aid for pets who might require some medical treatment during transportation.
Drivers should also be well trained and sensitive while transporting pets. Many times reckless driving leads to extreme difficulty for animals when they are traveling. Jerks and shocks on the road can be very difficult for animals to handle.
They certainly cannot complain but they might feel unwell due to it. Professionalism in work requires that you don’t take this for granted just because the animal cannot complain.
Office is not of much importance since most of your clients will never visit there and will contact you either on phone or through online medium. But since you will have your office work of management, you will need an office.
You can have a small office at any location you feel feasible. Your office staff generally will be people handling your customers and tracking the vehicle and updating it to your customers. Based on the staff size you can determine the size of the office. Since, the present environment prefers work from home, you can also go for it.
License and Permit for Pet Transportation
Commercial animal transportation requires proper licensing and in order to obtain the license you need to fulfil the required criteria. The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA deals with the same.
You need to fulfil the criteria like proper treatment of animals, vet care, proper meals, etc. in order to obtain the permit. Protection from extreme weather, proper diet, cleaning of space, proper ventilation and others are the basic requirements.
For more information you can refer to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service here.
Other Permits and Legal formalities:
- Taxpayer Identity Number
- Business Plan
- Insurance Plan
- Driving License
- Assistant License
- Vehicle Registration number and documents
- Certificate of incorporation
- Non—disclosure agreement
For more legal clarity, it would be advisable to contact a legal expert in your locality who can brief you about the legal procedure adopted in your locality and state.
Financial Requirements and Economics of Pet Transportation
There isn’t much expense in starting your business apart from expenditure in vehicle, staff, office and in general operation.
Apart from this, you will be spending some money in legal formalities for obtaining permits and paying your lawyer. Most of the investment is of one time with only fuel cost, general maintenance, operation expense and staff service that requires regular expense.
The general charge per hour of pet transportation is $50 which can rise to $70-90 in case of premium service. Generally, if one gets 5 hours of service everyday and 5 times a week then one can earn 1250 dollars a week and 5000 dollars a month.
Especially when you have limited clients to deal with, you can handle most of the things on your own and can employ one more person to help you out.
Lastly, it would be advisable for you to spend some time in this business before you start as it will help you in gaining some experience about the business which will help when you are starting your own business.
You can use general modes of advertisement like using pamphlets, online ads, and target marketing. Word of mouth is the best possible advertisement when you are able to make your customer satisfied with your service. It will help you in building your brand and in the growth of your business.