How to Start a Pet Transportation Business

Pet Transportation Services are needed as the number of pets in the U.S. has grown tremendously over the past few decades. According to the U.S. Pet ownership and Demographics sourcebook, there are an estimated 60 million dogs and 70 million cats in American homes today. Apart from that, households which own pets have been recorded to spend 36% more in 2001 as compared to 1996. With this, owning a business that caters to the pet market, including a pet transportation service has lots of potential for healthy growth.

This is due to the fact that many Americans move around the country yearly and thus would require pet transportation services to move their pets as well. On a smaller scale, pet transportation services can also cater for local residents who require these services to transport their pets to and from the vet, within a local area or even to the crematorium for pets which have died.

Start Up Costs and Financing Sources:

Starting a pet transportation business really depends on the scale that you want your business to be. If you want to start on a smaller scale, all you really need is probably a pickup truck that has been modified to be safe and suitable for the transport of animals. Of course, you will need to set up an office or operate from your home with just a telephone, email and a fax machine. All of these will cost you less than $20,000.

On a larger scale, especially when you are considering cross border transportation, you will probably need to invest on a larger truck that can accommodate a few pets at the same time. Apart from that, the insides of the truck will need to be made suitable, safe and clean for pets, with adequate ventilation and cleaning facilities. In order to make this business viable, you may need to quickly expand your business to include sales agent offices in various locations. This way, you can build up business volume in order to increase profitability. All of these may cost you anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000 in initial start up costs.

Financing can be obtained from investors who may be interested in the potentials of such a business. Other than that, lending institutions such as banks can be approached to obtain a loan for the business. As with any business start-up, an impressive business plan must be developed for potential investors and financiers, indicating the potential growth as well as the estimated annual costs and revenue of the business.

Pricing Guidelines for Service:

The pricing strategy for a pet transportation service business fluctuates based on the fixed and variable cost of the business, as well as the nature of the service provided. Local transportation services may start with a minimum charge of $20 to $40 for the first 20 miles and an additional $10 for every 10 miles after that.

As for interstate transportation or transportation between cities, the distance between the origin and the destination will be the major price determinant. With this, prices may range from $100 and up, depending also on the size of the animal and the pet carrier.

Advertising and Marketing:

As you are targeting pet owners, the best marketing approach would to advertise in locations where pet owners would go. Reading material for pet owners as well as events that are attended by the same target group. Placing brochures within pet stores and probably awarding pet stores with commissions for every customer they recommend to you would be a good idea. Advertising in pet magazines or getting a write up on your services would be helpful. Of course, classified ads in the Yellow pages are a must in order to make it easy for customers to locate you.

Other channels of promotion would be participation as a vendor in dog shows or exhibitions. Doing this will help increase awareness on the existence of the business. Additionally, working with associations such as the American Kennel Association would create and improve visibility to pet breeders and pet store owners. Especially when you participate in events organized by these associations.

Launching a website and allowing potential customers to get instant price estimates from your website would also be a great idea.

Essential Equipment

This business requires a fair amount of equipment, in which the most important would be the vehicle that is used to transport the animals. Apart from that, other equipment such as crates, kennels and carriers may be required as some customers do not have these items with them. The size and usage of these crates must be according to the guidelines set by the Independent Pet and Animal Transport Association (IPATA).

Handlers and drivers will need to be employed to care for the animals while they are in transit. Other equipment required would be built-in sinks within the vehicle to allow for easy cleaning and water refills.

Recommended training, experience, or needed skills:

There is no extensive training required for a pet transportation service business. However, good and responsible drivers and animal handlers need to be engaged. It would be best if you have a background and experience in handling animals during travel so you can train your staff and ensure that they are handling animals in the correct manner. Apart from that, your staff must also know what to do if they encounter problems during the journey, and should also be equipped with the latest kennel and vet location information in case of emergencies.

Apart from that, the business owner must be well informed on all legal requirements pertaining to pet transportation. For example, there are IPATA guidelines on the size of crates and wire crates that are required by law. Moreover, all pets must be accompanied by an inter-state travel certificate that has been certified by a veterinarian.

Income potential:

The income potential of this business is dependent on how large the business grows to. A larger business with multiple offices and destinations will be able to sustain a higher sales volume. With this, the pet transportation business will be able to generate at least a six- figure income each year.

Target market:

Pet owners, pet stores and animal breeders.

Success tips:

A pet transportation business requires investment and a passion for welfare of animals in order for it to be successful. As it is also a niche market, lots of marketing and advertising need to be invested into the business in order to create the awareness of the services.

© Copyright Randy Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

Randy has dozens of home based business articles at Profitable Home Businesses such as Start a Medical Billing Service.

In The News:

Small business is big business in SC  Charleston Regional Business
Small Business Hiring Slows  The Wall Street Journal

Pressure Washing Business and Post Fire Cleanups

Many have not experienced a fire up close. One year... Read More

Procrastinate Your Way To A Successful Small Business

What will your business look like a year from today?If... Read More

Fleet Washing Operations Manual Sample Outline

In the Truck Washing Business every single type of vehicle... Read More

The Beauty of Focus and Plan B

Did you ever have one of those days or weeks... Read More

11 MONSTROUS Small Business Marketing Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Increase your profit potential by identifying ? and avoiding ?... Read More

Keeping a Partnership ALIVE and THRIVING

What are the best methods for keeping a good business... Read More

Lack of Vigilance Can Harm the Bottom Line

The easiest way to lift profits is to cut the... Read More

What Your Small Business Can Learn From The Doctor

Most doctors never distinguish the difference between customers and patients.... Read More

Pressure Washing Business; Steam Cleaner Fuel Maintenance

It is essential that you fully understand how the fuel... Read More

Carwash Franchisor Case Study

There are only a handful of car wash franchises in... Read More

Pressure Washing at Golf Courses

There are many potential niches for pressure washing companies that... Read More

Looking into the Future for Profits

How to identify future solutions and opportunities?Your power page, if... Read More

How to Start a Pet Transportation Business

Pet Transportation Services are needed as the number of pets... Read More

Old Data in Database Marketing Software

Database Problems in MarketingI have been working on a direct... Read More

Starting Your Small Business

Where do you find more customers?How do you compete with... Read More

Five Facts and One Motivating Factor Behind a Successful Home Business

All legitimate home business entrepreneurs insist and announce loud and... Read More

1 Overlooked Key to Small Business Success

Is this you?You dreamed of owning your own business, doing... Read More

Getting Grant Funding For Your Nonprofit Organization

Do you need grant funding for your nonprofit organization? If... Read More

Business Owner--Educate Thyself!

Remember the training programs, seminars, and workshops you had to... Read More

Pressure Washing Heavy Equipment

One of the best ways to make money in the... Read More

Corporate Shells

A corporate shell could be liken to a house that... Read More

Is Your Success Predetermined?

Your on-line success is based on your efforts and yours... Read More

Entrepreneurs and Franchisors Watch Out

New Franchisors and Entrepreneurs need to watch out as they... Read More

Franchisor Prospect Checklist Sample Form

Due to the over regulation in the Franchising Industry and... Read More

Hone Your Edge, Stay Focused

A common hazard faced by new entrepreneurs is a lack... Read More