Pet Store Manager: Career Overview

Woman and chihuahua in pet shop
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Pet store managers oversee operations and staffing for retail pet store locations. 

Duties

Managers of pet stores are responsible for managing all day-to-day duties that ensure the smooth operation of a retail store. Managers are involved with a variety of tasks including hiring new staff, providing sales training, merchandising, inventory control, ensuring high standards for customer service, creating budgets, and making sure store sales goals are met, or exceeded. Pet store managers must also ensure that all animals in their stores (including fish, reptiles, birds, and small mammals) are treated humanely and in accordance with local regulations and animal care guidelines.

Corporate chains, or large independent retail locations, may have store managers that oversee several individual department managers and in-store service providers (e.g., grooming, training, or veterinary services). Smaller stores may require the store manager to cover all departmental duties and directly supervise the sales associates and product deliveries.

It may be necessary for pet store managers to work long hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays.  Managers must also be on call in the event that any emergencies arise that involve the animals, staff, or the store itself because the manager has ultimate responsibility for the entire operation.

Career Options

Pet store managers at large corporate chains can progress to higher regional positions within the organization such as district manager or director. They can also transition into other managerial roles in the animal care industry such as pet product sales manager.

Education and Training 

There is no specific educational requirement for a pet store manager, but many of the larger stores prefer a four-year degree in business management, marketing, or a closely related field of study. Most pet store management job advertisements request three to five years of retail sales experience (preferably in a managerial or supervisory role). Those who have worked in sales or animal health fields will also be able to utilize skills developed while holding those positions. 

A pet store manager must be familiar with human resources policies, budgeting, and financial planning, merchandising, computer-based technology, animal care, scheduling, and facility maintenance. They must also have strong leadership and interpersonal skills, a good working knowledge of the pet product industry, and the ability to delegate responsibilities to other store workers.

Many pet store managers begin in a sales associate role and work their way up the ladder by gaining practical experience. Those that do not begin as pet shop sales associates may instead leverage their significant experience gained from another sales industry career path or advanced educational qualifications.

Salary

According to salary site payscale.com, the average salary of a store manager is $38,805 per year. Large corporate chains do tend to offer the higher end salaries for those pursuing this career path.

As with most animal careers, a candidate’s specific level of compensation is dependent on their practical experience, their educational background, and the geographic region in which the position is located.

Career Outlook

Major pet chains have expanded quickly in recent years, and the pet product industry has benefitted from steady increases in consumer pet spending. The demand for pet store managers should show strength as new retail stores are opened to meet consumer needs. Candidates with significant management experience and a background in the animal industry should continue to enjoy the best job prospects.