Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Pet Shop Business in the United Kingdom
From the many social media pet posts to the rising number of pet shops, we cannot deny that more and more people are becoming fur parents. Just this past year, the industry showed an 18% increase in pet ownership level. If you are fond of pets, with a knack for business, then starting a pet shop business in the United Kingdom may be the right venture for you. Starting a pet shop is very rewarding- you get to enjoy it and earn a considerable income, too.
Here is a guide on what it takes to start a pet shop business in the United Kingdom. This article will outline industry practices, business registration, licenses, and permits. By the end of it, you will realize that starting a business is not that daunting, with the right awareness, planning, and support.
What Is a Pet Shop Business
Pet shops are establishments that are in the business of selling animals as pets. This definition also covers private dwellings that keep animals with the view of selling them in time. The most popular animals sold in pets shops are dogs, cats, rabbits, indoor birds, guinea pigs, tortoises, turtles, lizards, domestic fowls, and snakes. Some pet shops are also into selling exotic pets like exotic toads, hedgehogs, ferrets, rats, and spiders.
Most pet shops also sell supplies like starter kits, vivarium, lighting equipment, decor, heating equipment, and animal food. Large pet shops usually offer these general items for a broad range of customers. However, small and starting pet shops need to choose a subgroup so that they can secure revenue from a particular niche. For example, you can start a pet shop catering to bird owners or be a specialty store offering a higher level of knowledge about pets’ special needs.
Moreover, the pet shop sector in the United Kingdom started to become more competitive upon the launch of large chains of pet superstores in the ‘90s. Some of these pet store chains include Pets at Home, Jollyes, The Big Pet Store, and Pet’s Corner, among many others. The rise of these superstores finally revamped the image of pet shops in the UK. From small and smelly shops, pet shops in the UK are now more pristine and hygienic.
Other factors also influenced the growing demand for pet shop businesses in the United Kingdom. For example, the rise of e-commerce makes buying pet accessories or food more convenient. The growing number of accommodations like hotels and cafes allowing pets inside the establishment has relieved the prior restrictions of owning a pet. And just recently, the Covid pandemic led more people to own pets to battle social isolation. If there’s a good time to start a pet store business, it definitely is now.
How to Start a Pet Shop Business
The first step you have to do when starting a pet shop business is to plan. Research and find the niche, like a particular pet animal or supplies that are in high demand in your area but not yet well provided for. Finding a niche is a competitive strategy, so you wouldn’t offer what your competitors are already providing. From this step, you should be able to make at least a tentative list of the animals and supplies you would be selling and estimate how much capital you will need.
Some of the expenses you will have to take note of are supply acquisition, rent, utilities, wages, and the miscellaneous. Starting a pet shop business in the United Kingdom is not heavily expensive. However, you may still need to acquire funding, which you can get from financial institutions and private or government grants. To identify which ones you can apply for, you may contact your nearest local authority or inquire with your local corporate service provider.
Moreover, you need to think of a strategy to attract customers. Going online through social media and websites is a great way to broaden your reach. Selling pet supplies on eBay, Amazon, and other platforms is also gaining popularity. Moreover, if you are in a small locality, you can take advantage of the traditional advertising channels like radio, TV, flyers, and signages.
Finally, when it comes to a pet shop, customer service is very critical. From receiving inquiries to helping them decide which pet to choose, how you interact with customers bears a heavyweight in the success of your business. Therefore you need to create a promotional and operations strategy that will improve customer satisfaction while also creating away so that they will return for another transaction.
How to Register a Pet Shop Business in the United Kingdom
To register your business in the UK, you have to first pick which business structure you think would be best for your business. Registering a sole proprietorship and partnership takes easier processing and fewer fees while registering a private limited company entails lots of paperwork. On their advantages, sole proprietorship and partnership are less complicated when it comes to taxation and reportorial requirements. Meanwhile, corporations are more complicated to manage but give their owners protection against company debts.
If you think incorporating your business is the best decision, here’s a guide to company registration in the UK. Start preparing for your company registration by preparing the details of the company. For one, you need to pick, at max, three options for your company name. Your company name must not be the same as that of an existing company. Additionally, it must end with “Limited” or “Ltd” so that stakeholders will identify it as a limited company.
Next, you have to identify at least one director and at least one shareholder or guarantor. You also have to create the memorandum and articles of association that basically outline how the company is run. Finally, you need to have a registered address for your company. Once you have all of these details and documents, all you have to do is go to the Companies House or their website to apply.
Registering a company online costs £12 processed within 24 hours, while postal applications cost £40 and take 8-10 days to process. Business owners can also register for corporate tax at the same time as the company registration. But if you cannot, you can apply for tax registration with HMRC bringing your company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. For much convenient company incorporation, you may contact a United Kingdom corporate service provider to acquire professional incorporation services.
Licenses and Permits to Start a UK Pet Shop Business
The law protects animals used for commercial purposes, such as those sold in pet shop businesses. Under the Pet Animals Act, owners of pet shop businesses are required to acquire a license from the local authority. In applying for this license, there will be an inspection to check whether the facilities are sufficient to house the animals. Additionally, the authorities will also want to know whether you have appropriate qualifications in animal care.
For your business to be granted a license to sell pets, the business must be able to look after the welfare of the animals under their care. In particular, pet shops must be able to:
- Provide a suitable animal accommodation
- Supply animals with food and water
- See that the animals are visited at suitable intervals
- Ensure that mammals are not sold too young
- Practice precautions to prevent the spread of infectious disease
- Take appropriate measures to ensure animal safety in case of fire or emergency
Moreover, you may need to apply for a special wildlife license if you want to sell rare and protected species. If you plan to breed and sell dogs, you need to obtain a dog breeding license. If you plan to go into the retail of animal medicine, there are certain ones you need to acquire a license for. In particular, you need to register with the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) to supply prescriptions categorized ‘POM-VPS’ and ‘NFA-VPS’.
Other legislations you need to be aware of in starting a pet shop business in the United Kingdom include the following:
- Environmental Protection Act
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations
- Health & Safety at Work Act
- Fire Safety Regulations
- Employment Legislation
- Other Local Regulations
Get Your Pet Shop Business Incorporated With UK Company Formation Services
Start a pet shop business on the right footing with United Kingdom company incorporation. 3E Accounting is an internationally recognized firm specializing in company formation and support services. If you need to incorporate your business in a quick time, 3E Accounting has the manpower and the expertise to get it done.
Contact us today to learn more about our service packages and fees and we will help you to start your business!