The pet training business has grown exponentially in the past few decades. Generally, pet training is synonymous with dog training, and it is indeed rare to find any other animal being trained under the name of the pet training business. Hence all references in this article regarding pets refer to dogs only.
One has the passion for maintaining a dog at home but also wishes to be trained. The question is can the owner train the dog effectively? The expectations from a trained dog are high as it integrates itself as part of the family. It requires time and expertise to train the dog effectively; this is where you can step in as a Dog trainer.
Training dogs is not the easiest as plenty of psychology is involved. You have to divert the natural thinking of the dog to a different one. Therefore, the trained dog would adapt to the new ways it is expected to. It may be minuscule, but your function extends to changing the pet’s owner’s attitude. The success in your work is evident when the pet and the owner reflect a true devotion to each other.
A dog is indeed man’s best friend. It is the only animal that can be trained with ease. The fact is that dogs find it easy to relate to humans and how they live.
Dog training is an old business, and when executed correctly, it is highly profitable. Your skillset requires a natural affinity for dogs and the ability to train them.
There is a lot to be done to set up the business and carry it forward with a business plan. It would be a disaster to launch this business without equipping yourself personally. Hence this article has two sections. One is about becoming an expert pet trainer and the other lays down the business plan descriptively.
Becoming a dog trainer!
Many in society buy pets, and in that, dogs remain the most favoured. Every dog owner tends to show how well their pet has been trained. The truth is that well-trained dogs are not a result of the owner teaching them but a dog trainer.
A. Hands-on experience:
Now, it’s a business to you, and you need to be an expert dog- trainer for people to develop belief in you. You may have the skill to train a dog, but these are essential skills that a dog can learn quickly. The best way to develop these skills is to undergo an apprenticeship course with a renowned dog trainer. You would understand the training techniques and methods to run a dog training business.
B. Choose your Area of expertise:
If you consider yourself an expert in training any dog breed with all the skills, it is the best. Practically a dog trainer can’t do this. So, choose your niche and teach them. For example, you may be comfortable and confident in training puppies but not adult ones.
C. Skill to handle all breeds:
There are many breeds of dogs, and they differ in their behaviour, although they may have a common essential trait. Certain dogs may be aggressive, the others lazy alongside the hyperactive ones. A few may take time to learn relatively. As a dog trainer, you gain experience and learn how to train them perfectly. Patience is the key, and compassion also plays a role.
D. The Mentor:
You may have succeeded in learning the basics of a dog trainer, but that should not be an excuse for you to hone your skills continuously. Choose a mentor who is an expert and learn everything. There may be new methods that you would not know if you do not persevere in learning.
E. Start with your Dog:
All dog trainers have their dogs. It’s best to put your new skills by training them. Your dog would serve as an advertisement to bring you new business.
F. Work in Animal shelters:
You can find many pets in animal shelters, and most of them are abandoned by their owners. It’s generally voluntary work, but you can take up work in the animal shelter and train the dogs there.
G. Certification helps:
Boost your popularity and credentials through certificates from institutions concerned with dog training. Earning a certificate is not easy as you must pass written exams, gather good references from accomplished vets, appreciate their clients, etc. You would also be recognized as a member of such institutions, and the certificate would go a long way in boosting your business.
All the dogs would not rejoice in coming to your training centre. You should go out to their place and train them in their backyard.
I. Boarding Facilities:
Opening up boarding Facilities for the dogs to be trained is good for you and the dog. The dogs can be prepared when they are in the right mood and stay back in the kennels.
You may be an expert and certified trainer of dogs, but now it’s a business for you. Business requires investment with an expectation of returns. Therefore, it is best to have a business plan before launching into dog training. Prepare an executive summary for the world to know your goals.
Components of Dog Training Business Plan
The following steps include the business plan:
1. Business location selection
If you do not own a large piece of land and set it up as the yard to train dogs, you have two options.
Locating the land is essential, and you have to determine how large it should be. It would be best if you also considered whether you want to facilitate the dogs with boarding and then choose how large the land should be. Generally, dog trainers choose ground outside town limits where the population is thinner. It would be best to realize that dogs are grown as pets in households, and they happen to be inside the town.
Therefore it’s best to open up your dog training school amid a large population. The rental would be higher definitely, but you will attract more business. It becomes convenient for pet owners to visit the center too. It is indeed challenging to find out how many households have dogs and the number of dogs that may come for training.
On the other hand, choose the place where the density of the canine population seems to be more. If you wish to open the business in the suburbs, make sure that many households have dogs there.
It would be best to consider the following factors before you center upon your choice of the training center.
- Can the customers park their vehicles closer to the training area?
- Does the land have a good place for future expansion?
- Who is your nearest competitor?
- Is your location visible from the roads?
- Summarize your business:
Through this, you inform your customers of how you can serve them. There may be multiple services you wish to offer, and all of these should be listed clearly. It’s best also to mention the unique services your competitors do not provide.
2. Financial projections
Every dog you get to train is a source of income as you charge the ‘training’ fees. The accessories that include dog food, toys, beautification products, etc., would also be purchased by your customers. From this data, you can project the estimated cash inflows, expenses, and profit ultimately. The return on investment would be easy to arrive at now.
3. Capital expenditure
Any business, including a dog training business, would involve capital expenditure. Scrutiny of a competitor’s expense would help you project yours. It is best to include costs that may happen shortly.
It is up to you to invest from your savings or apply for a loan. In case you borrow, details of your collateral security have to be known.
4. Business expansion plan
Factor in your ambitions of the business for the future. For example, you may want to open branches or franchise them.
5. Preparation of statements with forecast of financial position
A financial budget always accompanies the Mission statement as revenue propels the business forward. Here are the various statements you should include in your business plan.
- Working Capital statement:
Every pet which comes in for training is revenue to you. The expenditure you incur daily is a cash outflow. In common parlance, it is known as sales or cash inflow. The difference between cash inflow and outflow should be positive to run your business well.
- Statement of Breakeven:
Break-even is achieved when income is equal to expenditure. Profits emerge above this point, and losses are incurred if it goes negative.
- P& L Statement:
It is a statement in which both income and expenditure of a non-capital nature are recorded. Generally, it’s prepared at the end of the year with all the figures recorded under their respective headings. For example, salaries, electricity, water bill, etc. If the income exceeds the expenses, it would be termed as profit, and if it is the other way around, it would be called a loss.
- The Balance Sheet:
Every asset you possess, all the liabilities, including loans and your capital invested, should be recorded in the Balance Sheet.
All these statements would have actual figures at the end of the first year of business. It is best to prepare all of these with assumed statistics to check whether the company is viable or not. It would also help you change your projections. For example, you may expect only 20 dogs a month for training but land up at a loss. Therefore, you cast the figure up to 25 or more to know your breakeven point, profits, etc. The statement would go a long way with your investors or lenders to decide.
6. Gather information on the competition
You may be sure that you can deliver everything that a customer requires. The problem is your competitors in and around the same area could perhaps do the same. Therefore, it is vital to assess the competition you anticipate and provide unique services that they do not. It is unnecessary to cut prices, but you can give extra benefits, which should not alter your bottom line.
7. How to operate the business?
Every day of business would bring in new customers, and there has to be a clear plan on how you plan to satisfy them. Therefore, beforehand, you need to have a solution for the following:
- The place to train the pets.
- Do you have enough staff to run the training program when the number of clients increases.
- Do you have the infrastructure like computers etc., to record information?
- Have you decided on the best suppliers who would provide you with animal feed, training equipment, etc . at the best price?
8. Marketing your business
Business does not flow in unless you form a strategy to lure it in. A few strategies are
- Open a website that is attractive and customer friendly
- Print Pamphlets, brochures, and business cards that contain complete information. Print all the answers to a customer’s questions to prevent lengthy inquiries over the phone.
- In case your budget permitted, placing ads on TV and Radio would help. You can also sponsor local events to inform the public of your business.
9. Statutory obligations and norms
One has to adhere to the local laws and legalities when they open up any business, and Pet training is no exception to the rule. Here are a few important legal issues you should consider before launching the business.
- Insurance policy to cover all calamities.
- Printed contracts that your client should sign, thus agreeing to all the rules
- Licenses to run the business
- Open a bank account and route all transactions through it.
- Submit your tax returns when due
- Inform the authorities whether it is a sole- proprietorship/partnership.
All these points mentioned above would ensure the smooth running of the for training business.
The Pet training business requires an extraordinary amount of patience and passion. You are engaged in a business that you love, and if you wish to become successful, the perfect business plan is required without leaving any stone unturned.