What Does a Pet Store Manager Do?

Learn About the Salary, Skills, & More

Image by Maritsa Patrinos. © The Balance 2019

Pet store managers oversee operations and staffing for retail pet store locations. They may work for a standalone shop or a store that's part of a larger chain of locations.

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.

Pet Store Manager Duties & Responsibilities

Managers of pet stores are responsible for managing all day-to-day duties that ensure the smooth operation of a retail store.

  • Staffing: Managers are involved with a variety of tasks including hiring new staff and providing sales training.
  • Stock management: Store managers must merchandise products, oversee and execute inventory control,
  • Customer service: Maintain and monitor high standards for customer service.
  • Financial management: Create financial budgets to manage costs, and make sure that store sales goals are met or exceeded.
  • Animal care: 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.

    These duties are part of the store manager's primary function, which is to provide operational oversight. 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, or one-location shops, may require the store manager to cover all departmental duties, directly supervise the sales associates and product deliveries, and perform many more hands-on duties such as cashiering or customer service.

    Pet Store Manager Salary

    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.

    • Median Annual Salary: $45,080 ($21.67/hour)
    • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $69,290 ($33.31/hour)
    • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $25,720 ($12.37/hour)

    Large corporate chains tend to offer salaries at the higher end of the range for those pursuing this career path.

    Education, Training, & Certification 

    There is no specific educational requirement for a pet store manager, although a degree in business can be very helpful. The job requirements often include:

    • Bachelor's degree: Many of the larger stores prefer a four-year degree in business management, marketing, or a closely related field of study.
    • Experience: 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 be able to utilize their experience from those positions. Good working knowledge of the pet product industry also helps. 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.
    • Broad knowledge base: 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.

    Pet Store Manager Skills & Competencies

    A pet store manager must have a good grasp of certain soft skills in addition to other job-related experience or qualifications. These skills include:

    • Decision-making: A good pet store manager can make the right decisions quickly.
    • Communication and interpersonal skills: The store manager must be able to communicate effectively and positively with both personnel and customers.
    • Customer service skills: The store manager sets the tone for the rest of the employees, and providing good customer service will keep customers returning to shop. The manager must also have the ability to resolve any conflicts.
    • Dependability: The pet store manager must be able to keep commitments to come into work and take care of all necessary tasks. This is especially critical at a pet store, because of the live animals that must be fed and cared for.
    • Leadership: The store manager must be a good leader that can motivate the staff to do their best job, and also possess the ability to delegate responsibilities to other store workers.

    Job Outlook 

    Major pet chains have expanded quickly in recent years, and the pet product industry has benefitted from steady increases in consumer pet spending.

    As an indication, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for animal care and service workers, in general, is projected to grow 22%, which is much faster than the 7% growth that is expected for all occupations over the next decade.

    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.

    Work Environment 

    Pet store managers spend their working hours inside the pet store in an environment that is full of chirps and squeaks from all of the animals. The store carries the smells of animal cages and, on a bad day, possible excrement from animals brought in on-leash by shopping customers.

    A pet store is typically a lower-stress environment due to the animals and the general mood of customers who come in to shop for their furry friends or bring them in for grooming or vet services.

    Work Schedule 

    The store manager position is typically a full-time position. The job may require extra hours if the store is short-staffed. 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.

    How to Get the Job

    PREPARE A RESUME

    Prepare a concise, professional resume that highlights your valuable experience and proves that you have the diversity of skills and experience needed to oversee a pet store location.

    PRACTICE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

    Brush up on your interviewing skills and rehearse your responses to a variety of potential interview questions.

    APPLY

    Look for pet store manager job openings using online job-search sites such as Monster.com, Indeed.com, or Glassdoor.com.

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