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6 Great Small Business Opportunities for the Animal Lover

Sep 14, 2008
As all good businesspeople know, business often follows social trends; whatever people like, is what smart entrepreneurs can sell or service to make their living. Right now, a major American trend is pets, or more specifically, dogs. We like them because they're sort of like people in that they can have loyal, almost loving relationships with us, but unlike people, they don't break those loyal, almost loving relationships with us.

Regardless of whether the dog holds a central or peripheral role in a household, all pets cost money. Recent studies indicate that 63% of American households have some kind of pet, and 44.8mil of those households (more than half) have dogs. The pet market last year was a $43.4bil industry, and although it's the least of all the pet sub-industries, pet services alone raked in $3bil. What this means is that pets not only cost money, but their owners are more than willing to spend it, which is good news for any entrepreneur who also happens to like dogs. There are plenty of good pet franchises already established that know how to sell the products and services used when caring for other people's critters. If you're an animal-loving businessperson, here are some small business opportunities in the pet-service industry that might be just right for you.

Dog Training

When I was a child, I remember watching my parents make valiant attempts at teaching our family dog to heal, sit, lay down, and not pee all over the living room. They completely failed, until they finally broke down and took the dog to a weekly class with a dog-training professional. And my folks aren't alone; dog training is a serious business. Because too many dog owners don't know how to teach a dog to do what they want, they are more than willing to pay anyone who can. If you truly love dogs and are willing to learn the art and business of teaching them not to chew the furniture, then there are at least two dog-training small business franchises that you could seriously profit from.

The first of those options, Canine Dimensions In-Home Dog Training is an exceptional opportunity to start and sustain a lasting dog-training business that addresses the needs of busy people who don't want to have to give up their unruly dogs. Unlike many work from home trainers, Canine Dimensions franchisees work with the dogs in the customer's home, providing humane and effective training to animals, and insight to owners, right in the place where the problems arise.

Another excellent home based business in this field is The Dogsmith. Instead of providing training in the home of the client, training sessions can be done in the yard of the franchisee, making this a work at home business that can address the needs of multiple clients at one time, and the quality of the training is second to none. Developed by a highly respected animal behaviorist, the training and business methods are passed on to franchisees during a two-week teaching intensive in Florida, but the business goes beyond training, also providing dog walking, home visits, medicine administration, and pet shuttling, should clients need those services as well. It really is a full-service pet-service franchise.

Dog Waste Management

The term waste management has, historically, most often referred to gentlemen in full-body jumpsuits who drive a trash truck and empty our cans, but with the number of dogs, and thus the amount of dog waste, increasing in America, the definition of that term is changing. In the past, the person to clean up the mess left in the yard has been the owner himself, but some wise entrepreneurs have found an excellent way to make a profit: save the owner the time and effort of scooping poop and charge money for it. Surprisingly, it works for them and can also work for you.

Doody Calls, Pet Butler, Hounds Mounds, and Doo Care are all franchises that share something in common, aside from their humorous names: they all specialize in picking up what dogs leave behind. Though they share the same basic mission, each one does some aspect of it with a particular flair. Pet Butler has been in the business for 20 years, making it the most recognizable name in the industry. Unlike the others, they provide a turn-key system that funnels all client calls, administration, and sales through the central hub, leaving franchisees with only the responsibilities of ground-level marketing and poop-scooping. The differences that Doody Calls and Hounds Mounds bring to the table are their use of computer and GPS equipment. Doody Calls has a central intranet that gives all franchisees immediate and constant access to a collective of knowledge in all areas of the business, and it is constantly expanded by all of their franchises. Hounds Mounds has taken GPS technology and turned it into a handheld system enabling all their scoopers to mark off their progress minute by minute. So what does Doo Care bring to the table? They have built a system as functional as all the others, one that has been built and is sustained by a group of executive businesspeople who have a combined total of 50 years of franchise-making success. It may seem kind of strange that all these businesses have put so much time and effort into the practice of picking up dog waste, but it definitely works, and earns big profits for any interested franchisee.

Whether you want to teach dogs where to do their business or be the one to clean it up, there are plenty of pet franchise opportunities for you; the entrepreneur who also happens to love animals. Pets are serious business, seriously fun business.
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