Many animal lovers are interested in starting their own pet related business, but it is difficult to face the prospect of leaving your day job (and guaranteed salary and benefit package) to strike out on your own. It is usually a good idea to give your business idea a test as a part time affair before taking the plunge and going full time. You may also decide that your part time business should stay just that—a part time business—acting as a supplemental source of income.
So what animal related businesses can turn into a profitable side hustle? Here are some of our favorites that feature a very flexible schedule and low start up costs:
1. Pet Sitting
Pet sitting is one of the most popular pet business options and offers an extremely flexible schedule. Demand is extremely strong for this service on weekends, during summer breaks, and on holidays. While most pet sitters travel within a defined radius to care for local clients a few times each day, some pet sitters provide 24/7 care in their own home. There is no equipment to buy, no training courses required—you can simply place an ad and get started.
2. Dog Walking
Dog walking can be tough to swing if you work a traditional schedule, but if you only take on a few customers near your office you could probably complete a few walks during your lunch break. Prices usually range from $10 to $20 per visit, so you could rack up some decent spending money by providing daily service. Some owners also want early morning, evening, or weekend services, so that is something to consider pursuing if you aren’t able to walk dogs at lunch.
3. Dog Training
Dog trainers can easily offer classes in the evening or on weekends. Many dog owners may even prefer this type of schedule, as they will want to attend classes with their pet and are likely tied up at their own 9 to 5 job during the day. Dog trainers can offer one-on-one private sessions or group classes. The earnings from training classes can be significant, especially once a trainer has built up their reputation in the community.
4. Gourmet Pet Treats
Pet bakery businesses are becoming quite popular as owners are demonstrating a strong interest in providing food and treats made from organic, wholesome ingredients. In fact, this is a very strong movement within the pet product industry, and you can really capitalize on this trend. It isn’t difficult to set up a website to sell your treats online, or you can use a website like Etsy. You also won’t be subjected to the strict health regulations that are imposed on businesses that create products for human consumption.
5. Animal Massage Therapy
This is another trending area in the animal industry, as pet owners are becoming more willing to spend money on services that keep their pets healthy and pain free. Massage therapy courses can be completed in a relatively short time frame, with some courses even available via distance learning (completely online). Owners will appreciate the chance to have you visit in the evening or on weekends when you (and they) are free. The going rate for a pet or equine massage therapy session can run from $50 to $100 per hour in many cities, so earnings can be very significant.
6. Pet Photography
Pet photography sessions can be scheduled for whenever you have free time. If you already own photography equipment and take pictures as a hobby you should consider picking up a sideline business like this. In addition to the photos themselves, you can offer photo related products like calendars or coffee mugs. Some photographers also sell their images to stock photography suppliers and commercial publishers.
7. Pooper Scooper Service
If you aren’t put off by cleaning up a mess, demand for pooper scooper services has skyrocketed in recent years. There are even several major franchises that have popped up in this niche industry. Pooper scooper service can be completed at any time during the day, and it makes an excellent evening and weekend job. You will need some basic clean-up equipment and access to a vehicle that can carry waste (like a pickup truck), but the costs are relatively low. A single weekly cleanup visit averages $10 to $15, and a technician can generally complete 4 or more yards in an hour depending on their proximity.
Writing is something that you can do anywhere and at any time. As a freelancer you can write pet care articles, books, blogs, websites, or whatever strikes your fancy. Earnings for writers can vary widely depending on what type of market publishes the work (and whether they pay by the word, by the piece, through an advance on sales, or by a percentage of advertising revenue).
9. Pet Supplies or Accessories
You can set up a basic website to sell pet supplies, apparel, beds, carriers, food, or whatever interests you. The pet supply market is always strong, and you may do particularly well with high-end or hand crafted items. If you have the ability to create your own items it is certainly an avenue worth exploring.
10. Pet Taxi Service
This is a bit of an unusual entry to the list, but pet taxi services look to be a growing niche market for busy owners. Think of it as Uber for dogs. The owner has a pet that needs to be delivered to an appointment at the groomer or at the vet, and then returned home after the appointment has been completed. Pet taxi drivers can offer “drop off” as well as “stay and wait” rates for their clients. This one might be harder to swing if you work traditional hours, but you could always start out by offering weekend services or teaming up with a few other people that have varied schedules. It could be a great side business for college students! All you need are some pet carriers of varying sizes and a reliable vehicle.