Animal Businesses With Low Start-up Costs

Dog laying on grass
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There are many options for those wanting to start up an animal business without investing a great deal of money up front. Here are some popular options for animal businesses that have relatively low initial investment costs.

Pet Sitting & Dog Walking

Pet sitting and dog walking businesses have extremely minimal start-up costs, and many service providers choose to offer both options. A key cost for these businesses is advertising, but this doesn’t have to be a big expense. You can do much of the design work for advertising materials on a home computer with a good graphics editing program. Print business cards inexpensively in bulk through an office supply store or an online service such as Vistaprint.

Post advertising—or at least a business card—for free on bulletin boards at veterinary clinics, pet supply stores, pet grooming facilities, and other businesses. Consider taking out ads in local newspapers, newsletters, or magazines.

Other costs for pet sitters and dog walkers may include a local business license and a liability insurance policy.

Pet Taxi

A pet taxi service needs only a minimal investment to start up. Those who already have a vehicle will need to purchase only a few pet carrier crates and dog harness seat belts.

Pet taxi owners may advertise their services in all the same ways as pet sitters and dog walkers. Concentrate advertising at area vet clinics or grooming salons.

Customizing your service vehicle might be the best way to spend your advertising dollars, as the vehicle will serve as a moving advertisement for the business. Logos may be added permanently by a professional painting service or temporarily (and cheaply) with custom magnets.

A businesses license, liability insurance, gasoline, and a contract with a reliable cell phone provider are additional costs of providing this type of service.

Pet Bakery

A pet bakery business can be run out of your home. Sell your products via a personal website, online marketplaces like Etsy, or a local pet supply shop or farmers' market.

Baking equipment, such as pans and cookie cutters, and packaging materials are easily purchased online at a relatively low cost. Invest in a decent digital camera—or hire a photographer—so you can upload high-resolution photos of your products to your website.

Pet Photography

A pet photography business is a bit more expensive to start than those other options, primarily due to the need for quality cameras and related equipment. Nevertheless, a camera and a few good lenses will get you started for less than a thousand dollars. Over time, consider reinvesting some profits of the business into upgrading the quality of the photography equipment.

Pet photographers should consider creating a website that highlights their best photographs and the variety of options available to clients. Provide the website link on any advertising materials and business cards.

Pooper Scooper Service

Pooper scooper service—cleaning up dog waste in a customer's yard—is among the fastest-growing animal businesses, due to both the low start-up cost and the rising demand from the pet-owning population. Provided you already have a suitable vehicle, the primary cost involved in starting a pooper scooper business is the purchase of equipment such as shovels, rakes, waste disposal bags, and related sanitation items.

Advertise through ads placed at area businesses and in local online and print publications. You might also think about mailing low-cost postcard ads.

Other costs may include obtaining a business license, printing up uniform shirts with a business logo, customizing the pooper scooper vehicle with a logo and contact information, and any waste disposal fees.