Business Overview

Every year, about 3.2 million dogs and cats are adopted. Most of these adoptions are done through non-profit pet shelters. It’s possible to run pet shelters as for-profit businesses, though.

For-profit pet shelters take in unwanted pets and pets that people can’t care for. Shelters provide veterinary care for these pets. Then, they find new owners who will adopt the pets.

Who is this business right for?

Anyone who loves pets and has good business sense might enjoy running a pet shelter business. A heart for animals is needed because these businesses focus on helping pets. Business acumen helps owners transform a traditionally non-profit model into a for-profit business.

What happens during a typical day at a pet shelter?

Business owners spend time taking in pets and caring for them. Caring for pets involves feeding them, getting them veterinary care, brushing them, cleaning their cages and playing with them.

Owners also work to get pets adopted. This involves going to events, promoting adoptable pets and interviewing potential adoptees.

During slow times, business owners pay bills, manage volunteers and employees, and promote their business.

What is the target market?

A pet shelter business’ ideal customer is someone who loves animals. Such a person may want to adopt a pet, and they might be willing to pay a sizable fee to do so.

How does a pet shelter make money?

A for-profit pet shelter business can make money when pets are dropped off and when they’re donated.

For instance, Mike Arms requests a payment when a puppy is dropped off. He also charges a fee to adopt a puppy. (If people won’t pay the drop-off fee, Arms will still take a pet.)

What is the growth potential for a pet shelter?

Most pet shelter businesses serve a local area. For example, DogsAspen operates in the Aspen, Colorado area. Staying local helps a business owner network with vets and pet lovers in the region.