Do you want to start a pet transport company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a pet transport business with NO money and no experience. When it comes to starting a business, you will quite agree that it can be such a wonderful experience even though it can be challenging and demanding. The truth remains that having a product or service out there is one sure way of earning income and perhaps becoming wealthy.
There are loads of businesses out there that an aspiring entrepreneur can start without going through business training from Harvard and one of such businesses is a pet transportation services business. Pet transportation services as the name implies is a company that helps in transporting pets from one location to another, and it could be within a country or from one country to another and the mode of transportation could be by air, sea or land.
This kind of business is such that needs the effort of more than one person and it is worthy to note that this business is rapidly gaining grounds in other countries of the world. The fact that it is against the rule to transport pets in the same vehicle with human beings makes the pet transportation business a thriving business.
If you are tinkering with starting a pet transportation services business, it is very needful that you analyze the existing pet transportation services companies in and outside of your area. Also, you would be required to check the existing competition as well as know their strength and weaknesses.
Knowing the weaknesses of the existing pet transportation services companies mean that you would be able to learn from their mistakes and in turn come up with a better and more preferred pet transportation services devoid of the mistakes and weaknesses of others.
So, if you have done the required feasibility studies and market research, then you might want to venture into this business.
18 Steps to Starting a Pet Transport Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
The pet transportation business falls under the Pet Grooming and Boarding industry. Pet transportation is key to the growth of the pet grooming and boarding industry. You will get a better picture if you think of how pets are exported to other countries or how they are imported into the united states; it is obviously handled by pet transportation services companies.
The Pet Grooming and Boarding industry has proven over the years to be one of the very few established industries to publish consistently strong gains over the past decade, virtually doubling in size and growing even in the midst of recession as consumers purchase a wider array of luxury services for their pets.
The growing industry has benefited from changing consumer attitudes, which increased demand for a variety of new luxury pet services such as pet sitting. Going forward, this trend is expected to gain further momentum as pet ownership rises and owners use their increasing disposable income on services such as pet sitting for their pets.
A report published by the American Pet Product Association (APPA), shows that even though Americans love pets, those who own dogs were at 18.9 percent, third on the pet scale. It gave results that the annual growth of this industry is at 3.1 percent from 2009 to 2014, bringing in combined revenue – with other pet sitting services – of $907m as at 2014. Also, as at 2014, there were 22,787 people employed by dog related businesses or as independent contractors, and there were 18,144 dog service businesses.
Dog related services have increased from 2009 to 2014, and will still increase till 2019 despite the poor economic outlook. This is due to the fact that customers have more disposable income to spend on their dogs, and that dogs are considered part of the family.
A report published by Fetch Pet Care shows that franchises all over barely made above 1 percent of the total industry revenue. This is due to the fact that doggie daycare services are tailor made for immediate localities and neighborhoods, and will have clients seeking to use the services of those who lived around as they believed that these ones were likely to provide personalized care to their pets when they have to travel out of town or are too busy to take care of their pets for the period in time.
According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA) as at 2010, Americans had spent over $47.7 billion on pet products and services, an increase of 4.8 percent from 2009. It was found that 46 percent of households owned more than one pet, and that only 3 percent of households use pet sitting or pet training services.
Statistics has it that The Pet Grooming and Boarding industry in the United States of America is worth $7bn, with an estimated growth rate of 6.6 percent. There are about 106,319 registered and licensed Pet Grooming and Boarding businesses (pet transportation services businesses inclusive) in the United States and they are responsible for employing about 195,070 people. No company can boast of dominating the market; every player in the industry can comfortably compete in the industry.
The Pet Grooming and Boarding industry is still at its infancy stage, and is projected as a growing industry with more people thinking of investing in pet transportation services, especially as existing pet transportation services businesses are minute when compared against the population of those who own pets and would want to transport them. Due to the growth of the population of baby boomers, young children, young couples, and the elderly; one can say that this industry will be on a continuous growth especially as people now relate with pets as part of their family and life.
The pet transportation services line of business will continue to blossom because people and organizations who own pets would always have reasons to transport their pets from one location to another. Good enough, this line of business is still green and open to interested entrepreneurs.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own pet transportation services company are that the business is a Green business and it is easy to set-up with minimal startup capital.
Over and above, pet transportation services businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to network with stakeholders and reach out to their target market.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
Who are those that patronize the pet transportation industry? They are people that cut across all genders, above 18 years with the financial means and organizations who own pets and those who sell pets.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the pet transportation services business because pet transportation service is a niche area in the pet grooming and boarding industry and also in the transportation industry. Every player in this line of business helps in transporting pets from one location to another.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competition that exist in the pet transportation services line of business goes beyond competition with pet transportation services companies; you will be expected to compete with other transportation companies that also transport pets. So, it will be right to say the competition in the pet transportation services line of business is tough.
But 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 pets that are transported by your company are properly housed and handled and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
There are a growing number of pet transportation services companies scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own pet transportation services company in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competitions amongst them. Besides, there are larger pet transportation services companies that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading pet transportation services companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Paws N Claws Pet Transport Services
- Ipata International
- Starwood Animal Transport – Pet Movers
- MiMi’s Pet Transport USA
- Global Animal Transport LLC
- Pet Air Carrier
- Pacific Pet Transport
- Air Animal Pet Movers
- TLC Pet Transport Inc
- Airpets America
- Happy Tails Travel Inc
- AirVets Pet Relocation
- Royal Paws Pet Relocation Transportation
- Worldwide Animal Travel
- Royal Paws Pet Relocation & Moving Service
- Family Pet Relocations Pet Transport
- Runway Pets Inc
- VIP Per Transportation Services
- Continental Pet Relocation/Charlotte Pet Services
- Precious Pets Transport Service, LLC
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 transportation service business might be considered a green business, but you will come across several pet transportation service companies or regular transportation and cargo companies that also transport pets 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 an office facility, furnishing the office, purchasing vehicles, creates/cages, and also the running cost to successfully run the business.
If you are considering starting a pet transportation service company, then you should also make provision for branding and how to build a 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 transportation services business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you want to start a pet transportation service company, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a pet transportation Service Company to buy except you want to partner with an established transportation and cargo company.
Besides starting a pet transportation service company is less stressful when compared to other related businesses which usually requires detailed groundwork before launching the business. With pet transportation service company, you should just try as much as possible to secure a standard office facility in a good business district, purchase your vehicles, secure your license and permits and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet and door to door marketing techniques to market your pet transportation service company.
Please note that most of the big and successful pet transportation service 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 and of course you can build your own pet transportation service company brand to become a successful brand with corporate and individual customers in your city and from all across the length and breadth of the United States of America.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own pet transportation service company today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well–established pet transportation service companies and transport and cargo companies within your business location that also transport pets. 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 is economic downturn; if the economy is in a bad shape, businesses such as pet transportation service companies and the likes usually struggle or even find it difficult welcome new customers.
So also, unfavorable government policies can hamper the growth of your pet transportation service company. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering starting a pet transportation service company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, or Limited Liability Company or even a sole proprietorship for a pet transportation service company. Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale pet transportation service company especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood and transporting pets locally.
But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and transport pets all across the United States of America and other countries of the world through planes, ships, trains and buses et al, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
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. Usually 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 transportation service company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Decoster Pets® Pet Transportation Services Company, Inc.
- Cage ‘O’ Cage® Pet Transportation Services Company, LLC
- GT Network™ Pet Transportation Company, Inc.
- All Pets® Pet Transportation Services Company, LLC
- Pet Nation® Pet Transportation Services Company, Inc.
- Trans World® Pet Transportation Services Company, Inc.
- The Animal People™ Pet Transportation Services Company, Inc.
- The Uranus® Pet Transportation Services Company, LLC
- Serial Network® Pet Transportation Services Company, Inc.
- Bingo Coach® Pet Transportation Services Company, Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important 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 pet transportation service company.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own pet transportation service company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Transit insurance
- Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Pet insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own pet transportation service company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it 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 company’s logo and other documents that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to the pet transportation business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start pet transportation service business. All you need is informal training that will give you the needed skills when it comes to relating with different pets coupled with your own driving skills.
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your pet transportation business professionally, then by all means try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches 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 own pet transportation service company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License (Under the Federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), people who transport certain animals in commerce are required to be licensed with USDA.)
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Business Plan
- Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration
- Appropriate driver’s licenses for drivers (Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Assistant’s licenses for assistants
- Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a pet transportation service company can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale with just one or two vans. Renting an office facility, furnishing the office, and of course purchasing suitable vans and trucks to be used in transporting pets and other animals are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a large scale with over a dozen full-time employees and fleet of trucks and vans, then you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large – scale pet transportation service company.
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 startup capital for your pet transportation service company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The fact that you can operate your pet transportation service company from any part of the world does not mean that location has little influence on the success of a pet transportation service company. If you have taken your time to study pet transportation service companies, you will realize that they are willing to pay expensive rents in order to stay along major roads in a busy business district; a place where business activities are at its peak.
The location you chose to open your pet transportation service company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people and businesses who own pets and with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
So, if you are looking for a location for your pet transportation service company, ensure that it is a place that is located in a major road and in a business district in your city, a place that is visible and easily accessible. Of course, you would not want to locate this type of business in the outskirts of town. Your clients should be able to drive down and locate your office with little or no difficulty.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your pet transportation service company, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your pet transportation service company;
- The demography of the location as it relates to the number of pet owners
- The demand for pet transportation services in the location
- The purchasing power of the residence of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of pet transportation service companies and transportation and cargo companies that also transport pets in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
If you are considering starting a pet transportation service company, then you should look towards purchasing suitable vans and trucks, cages and creates amongst others. So also, you will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease agreement while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard pet transportation service company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Transport and Logistic Manager, Sales and Marketing Officers, Accounting Clerk, Drivers and Customer Service Executives. You may need a minimum of 10 full time staff to start a pet transportation services company.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to the business services process of a pet transportation services company, there are no hard and fast rules as regard how they carry out their services. This is so because the business process is simple and straightforward.
Basically, customers who want to transport their pets to a vet clinic, export pets to other nations or import pets to other countries will visit a pet transportation services company to make their request. The number of the pets to be transported, the type of pet and the distance involved are part of what will inform the service charge. Once the amount charged is sorted out, the required permits are obtained from the appropriate quarters (especially when it involves transporting pets from one country to another) and the pets are transported as required.
It is important to state that a pet transportation services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated pet transportation services company business process is not cast on stone.
16. 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 transportation services 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 determining the market direction for the pet transportation services line of business.
Pet owners will patronize your services if they know that they are going to get the best of services for their pets and of course value for their money.
As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers hire your services, they will get excellent service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
Businesses this days are aware of the power of the internet and which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort will be directed to internet users and your website will become your number one marketing tool.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your pet transportation services company;
- Introduce your pet transportation services 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 stakeholders throughout the city where your pet transportation services 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 services
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to promote your pet transportation services company
- Join local pet transportation services 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)
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be.
If your intention of starting a pet transportation services company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by transporting pets all across the United States and other countries of the world, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and boosting to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your pet transportation services company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and pet magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your products
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around highways and major roads in your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness for your pet transportation services company
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact vet clinics, government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, security companies, military, police and every organization that own pets and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your pet transportation services company is located informing them about your business
- List your pet transportation services company in local directories
- Advertise your pet transportation services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your pet transportation services company is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and vans are well branded with your company logo
18. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network
In order to successfully run a pet transportation services company, it is advisable that you enter into business partnership with key stakeholders in the pet grooming and boarding services industry most especially security firms that make use of dogs as guards, the military and police et al; they are in better positions to patronize your services.