Please note that if you intend to start this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations in Canada or the city you reside in to know what is expected of you. You need to pay a visit to the regulatory bodies in Canada to know what is required of you before you can legally launch your pet treat business. You can start your pet treat business from a small town in Canada and if you are good at what you do, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes nationally recognized especially if you go into franchising.

20 Steps on How to Start a Pet Treat Business in Canada

  1. Understand the Industry

Pet treat business is a subset of the pet stores industry and players in the Pet Stores industry in Canada sell a variety of pets, including dogs, cats, fish and birds. Stores also sell pet food and pet supplies, such as collars, leashes, health and beauty aids, shampoos, medication, toys, pet containers, dog kennels and cat furniture. Some stores also offer pet services, such as grooming and training. Pet treat businesses also provide organic and gourmet pet foods.

Statistics has it that the Pet Stores industry in Canada is worth $5 billion, with an estimated growth rate of 6.6 percent. There are about 2,896 registered and licensed pet store businesses (pet treat businesses inclusive) in Canada and they are responsible for employing about 15,100 people.

It is important to state that the companies with the largest available market in the industry in Canada are; PetSmart Inc. and Pet Valu. The pet teat line of business will continue to blossom because people and organizations who own pets would always feed their pets. Good enough, this line of business is still green and open to interested entrepreneurs.

A recent report released by IBISWorld shows that the revenue for the Pet Stores industry in Canada will likely be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as industry establishments have had to close or alter practices across many provinces due to social distancing measures.

The report further stated that profit is expected to decrease as economic conditions worsen and people choose to spend their money on less expensive items. Pet treat businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they have good products, they are well positioned, and if they know how to network with stakeholders and reach out to their target market.

  1. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize pet treats cut across all genders; male and female above 18 years with the financial means and organizations who own pets and those who sell pets hence the demographic composition for a pet treat business is all encompassing. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people.

  1. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the pet treat business because the pet treat business is a niche area in the pet stores industry. But on the other hand, some pet treat businesses can decide to major in some key or niche area such as;

  • Organic Dog Treats
  • Non-Organic Dog Treats

Some popular organic dog treats are Organic Gala Apples, Organic Bananas, Organic English Cucumber, Stewart Pro-Treat Beef Liver Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Treats, Blue-9 Inspire Dog Training Treats, Jiminy’s Cricket Peas & Sweet-Potato Dog Treats, SmartBones Mini Sweet Potato Chews, and Ziwi Good Dog Rewards Air-Dried Beef Dog Treats et al.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The competition that exists in the pet treat line of business goes beyond competitions with pet treat companies in Canada; you will be expected to compete with other players in the industry that import pet treats from the United States and other countries of the world. So, it will be right to say the competition in the business is tough.

The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that your pet treats and generally accepted by pets and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.

There are growing number of pet treat companies scattered all around the Canada. So, if you choose to start your pet treat company in Canada, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst pet treat companies within your business location. Besides, there are larger pet treat companies – brands that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.

  1. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

Here are some of the most popular pet treat businesses in Canada;

  • ValuePack Canadian Beef Liver Dog Treats
  • Acana Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
  • Zoe Tender Bites
  • Nutrience
  • Puppy Love Dog Treats
  • The Granville Island Pet Treatery
  • My Mighty Wolf Dog Treats
  • Darford Biscuits Dog Treats
  • Snack 21 Dog Treats
  • Kettle Craft Dog Treats
  • Northern Biscuits
  • Farm Fresh
  • Rollover
  • Jay’s Treats
  • Crumps’ Natural
  • Buddy Jack’s
  • Benny Bully’s
  • Oven-Baked Tradition
  • UBite
  • Great Jack’s.

Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

Pet treat business is not a green business and you will come across several pet treat businesses when you drive through town or search both online and offline directories. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required amount needed in renting a production facility, coming up with a winning formula, purchasing the needed equipment and machines, purchasing vehicles, and also the cost to successfully run the business.

If you are considering starting a pet treat company, then you should also make provision for branding and on how to build a distribution network and robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in your pet treat business.

  1. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement.

If you are looking towards starting a pet treat company, you have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of pet treat company to buy except you want to partner with an established food production company.

Besides starting a pet treat company is less stressful when compared to other related businesses which usually requires detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a pet treat company, you should just try as much as possible to secure a standard production facility in good industrial district, purchase your equipment and vehicles, secure your license and permits and then leverage on every marketing tools within your disposal especially the internet and door to door marketing techniques when it comes to marketing your company.

Please note that most of the big and successful pet treat companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

  1. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own pet treat company today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established pet treat companies within your business location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face are economic downturn and unfavorable government policies.

  1. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity

If you choose to start your business in Canada, it is important to note that there are only four basic forms of business ownership or legal entity forms you can build your business structure on in Canada and they are the sole proprietorship, the partnership, the corporation and the cooperative.

You need not get confused on which will best suit your business idea; what you intend achieving and the type of business you want to build are some of the key factors that will help you make a choice of legal entity. A sole proprietorship is informal and easily created, which is why it is the most common structure chosen by new businesses.

Please note that Corporations are more complicated legal structures compared to sole proprietorships or partnerships. Incorporation is a process in which a separate legal entity, owned by shareholders, is formed. As with a sole proprietorship, there is no legal structure for a partnership. However, partners usually have some type of contractual agreement that governs, in percentage terms, the sharing of revenues, expenses and tasks.

  1. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the Ideas Below

Normally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.

If you are considering starting your own pet treats business in Canada, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Perry Pearl® Pet Treats Company
  • Bingo® Pet Treats, Corp
  • Ontario Feed Mill® Pet Treats Company
  • Rowland Oreal® Pet Treats Production Company
  • The Games® Pet Treats Production Company
  • Pro Pet® Dog Treats Production Group
  • All Animal™ Pet Treats Production Company
  • The Birds® Pet Treats Production Corp
  • New Horizon® Pet Treats Production Company
  • The Brownie Place® Pet Treats Production Company
  • Jack Bauer® Pet Treats Production Company
  • The Hunters™ Pet Treats Production Company.
  1. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In Canada, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

Here are some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own pet treats business in Canada;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Risk Insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Building/Property insurance
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

You can contact the following leading insurance companies in Canada to purchase the needed insurance policies for your pet treats business;

  • Intact Insurance
  • Desjardins
  • Belairdirect
  • Aviva
  • TD Insurance
  • Economical Insurance
  • RSA Group
  1. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own pet treats business in Canada, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your special recipe, your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection.

Please note that in Canada, a trade-mark is registered by filing an application with the trademarks Office together with a non-refundable fee of $336.6 for each trademark applied for. It is possible to file an application for registration of a trade-mark that is not yet in use somewhere in Canada.

  1. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

When it comes to pet treat production or retail business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start. All you need is informal training that will give you the needed skills when it comes to food production for pets.

On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your pet treat business, then by all means try and pursue such certification.

  1. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in Canada without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your pet treats business in Canada;

  • Goods and Services Tax/ Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST)
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Council Permit
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use (if you have a website)
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
  1. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a pet treats business can be cost effective especially if you choose to run the business from your home or from a small production facility. Securing a standard production facility and equipping the facility are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not need to source for fund to finance the business.

When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start up capital for your pet treats business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
  1. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Pet treats business requires that you see physically with your clients hence it must be located in good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that is at the epicenter of a community with loads of pet owners if indeed you want to attend to loads of clients and maximize profits from the business.

The fact that you can operate your pet treats business from your home does not mean that location has little influence on the success of a pet treats business. If you have taken your time to study the pet treats industry, you will realize that pet treats businesses are willing to pay expensive rents to stay in a location where they can have easy access to raw materials and distributors.

If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your pet treats business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers.

Having said that, these are some of the cities in Canada where you can locate your pet treat business;

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Montreal
  • Vancouver
  • British Columbia
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  1. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

If you are considering starting a pet treat production company, then you should make plans to build a standard pet treat production plant. A standard pet treat production plant includes oil extractors, vessels, stirrers, tanks, and conveyor belt system et al. So, you are expected to put all these equipment and machine in place and also purchase standard distribution trucks.

Although you can get fairly used of the above listed equipment and machines, but it is advisable to go for new and latest machines and equipment that can serve you for a long time, especially if you have the required money to make the purchase. Even if you don’t have the required amount, you can enter an agreement with the suppliers of such machines and equipment and spread the payment over a period of time.

As regards acquiring a facility, if you have the required finance, it is to your advantage to acquire a property or lease a facility to be used for your pet treat production plant; it usually gives you the freedom to design the facility the way you want to it to be and install safety gadgets as you so desire. But if you are low on cash, then you don’t have any option other than to rent a facility.

When it comes to creating a workforce structure for a standard pet treat production company, then you should look towards getting qualified and competent people to fill the following roles; Chief Executive Officer (Owner), Plant Manager, Quality Control Officer, Human Resources and Admin Manager, Merchandise Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager, Accountants/Cashiers, Production Workers/Machine Operators, Distribution Truck drivers, and Cleaners.

Over and above, you will need a minimum of 15 – 20 staff members to successfully run a small scale but standard pet treat production company.

The Service Delivery Process of a Pet Treats Business

Please note that pet treats are a broad category that includes organic and non-organic pet treats. The production process of pet treats starts by acquiring the ingredients that are to be used in the treat. You are expected to mix the ingredients with other flavors in the food processor until it turns into the desired consistency.

When it comes to saving the processed pet treat, you expected to store it in a tight-fitting lid-jar or any other suitable packaging material. The last stage is to pass through the quality control unit where the pet treats are tested and then packaged, ready for distribution.

It is important to state that a pet treat production company may decide to adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated pet treat production process is not cast on stone.

  1. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with Ideas & Strategies

Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a pet treat production company, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the industry.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans, make sure that you create a compelling company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience in the industry, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your pet treat company;

  • Introduce your pet treat company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to pet dealers, vet clinics, government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, security companies, military, police and every organization that own pets and other key stake holders throughout the city where your pet treat company is located.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your pet treat
  • Join local pet treats associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
  1. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Products

One key factor that will help you sell your pet treats at rock bottom prices is to purchase your raw materials (grains, fruits and other ingredients and packaging materials) directly from farmers and wholesalers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items you purchase directly from wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you retail your pet treats at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

So also, if you are able to secure business partnership as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your business.

  1. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The pet treats industry is competitive, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to produce unique pet treat flavor, human-grade, sustainably sourced, single ingredient treats (ideal for allergies and sensitive digestion) and above all pet treats that are free of preservatives or additives.

In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must ensure that your company is transparent and public figures especially in the pet industry endorse your product; it will sure give you leverage.

  1. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.

If your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers retaining your services. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also to attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

  1. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting your brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend good money to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your pet treats business;

  • Place adverts on pet-based magazine and related newspapers, radio and TV stations.
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth publicity from your loyal customers
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+ and other platforms to promote your product and business.
  • Ensure that you position your banners and billboards in strategic positions all around your city
  • Distribute your products in target areas in and around your neighborhood
  • Advertise your business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
  • Brand all your official cars and distribution vans and ensure that all your staff wear your branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.
Ajaero Tony Martins