Australia has one of the highest rates of pet owners in the world. In fact, at the time of writing this article, 61% of Australian households have pets. The pet industry was worth $13 billion in 2021 alone. 

As the market continues to expand, starting a business in the pet industry can be a fulfilling and worthwhile venture-. In this article, we’ll explore some ways to go about it and the legal considerations for each one. 

What Are Some Pet Services In Australia?

There are a range of ways to get involved in the pet industry in Australia. Pet services are sought after by pet owners, and anyone looking to start a business in the pet industry can choose which one they want to venture into. 

Common pet-related services include: 

  • Pet care
  • Pet treats
  • Pet grooming 
  • Breeding services
  • Pet day care
  • Adoption services 
  • Courier services

We’ll explore these services in more depth – keep reading to learn more. 

How To Start A Pet Care Business

Pet sitting is one way to get into the pet industry. This involves watching another’s pet while they’re away for the day or overnight. In order to do this, take into consideration what types of pets you’ll be open to looking after and research the standards for pet care

You will also want to be prepared with equipment such as water bowls, the right kind of food, treats, leashes and clean up materials. 

Pet owners might be more comfortable with people who are trained and experienced in looking after animals. Expanding your qualifications can make you better prepared and more attractive to potential clients (consider taking Tafe Courses in Animal Care such as a Certificate III in Animal Studies). 

Like any other business, a pet care business should also follow the correct process for business registration and drafting the right legal documents

You’ll also want to think carefully about your business structure, as this will determine how you can conduct your business activities moving forward and the kinds of business dealings you can enter into. 

How To Start A Pet Treat Business

Treats for pets can be made and sold from home. In fact, treats made from small businesses may be more appealing than store bought treats for some owners (you may even want to start your business from home entirely!). 

If you’re thinking of selling pet treats, then it’s your responsibility to research and prepare the treats using ingredients and methods that will create a product that is safe for animals. 

Further, if you mislead or deceive consumers about the contents or anything else about the pet treats you sell, this could lead to a breach of the Australian Consumer Law and make you liable if something goes wrong, so if you’re making treats for other people’s pets, be sure to get it right! 

Another important aspect of selling pet treats is complying with packaging and labelling requirements. Consumers have a right to know about the products they are purchasing. 

So, it’s important to make sure all items are labelled correctly and to be transparent about your ingredients as well as the cooking process so pet owners can make an informed decision about what they are giving their pets.  

How To Start A Pet Grooming Business

Pet grooming is a great way to work with animals and own your own business in the pet industry. There are no strict legal requirements for pet groomers, however, there are some steps to take into account before you hit the ground running, such as:: 

Pet grooming requires different types of equipment to perform services, so you may need to draft Supply Agreements with your suppliers. This is even more important if you are engaging overseas suppliers, as issues with customs and taxes may become obstacles for you without your details set out in writing. 

How Does Mobile Pet Grooming Work?

Mobile pet grooming is when the groomer travels to meet the pet owner. Many pet owners prefer mobile services like this, as it can be difficult to bring pets to an unfamiliar location.  

As long as there’s access to a powerpoint and tap, groomers are often able to bath pets at the doorsteps of pet owners. Despite dog groomers being mobile, it’s good to start at smaller locations and then expand from there, depending on what is more cost effective for you. 

How To Become A Registered Dog Breeder

Dog breeding laws vary depending on the state and locality, so if you want to become a registered dog breeder,  be sure to do your research before making any commitments. In NSW, all animals need to be registered (this includes pets used for breeding). 

In order to legally start breeding animals for commercial purposes, you will need to be registered as a breeder. For NSW, you can look at the Guidelines for Approval as a Recognised Breeder Body in order to determine whether or not you meet the requirements. 

Once you have done so, fill out an application form and await approval. It’s also important to familiarise yourself with the Pet Registry, something that both you and your customers will need to use. 

Finally, all your practises as a breeder must be in accordance with the Animal Welfare Code of Practice Breeding Dogs and Cats.  

What Should I Know About Pet Breeding Businesses?

Pet breeding in general is one of the more regulated areas of the pet industry. As there continues to be a greater push for transparency in breeding practices and a rise in standards, the current rules could be subject to change. 

To ensure you are not in breach of any animal welfare laws, it’s recommended to stay on top of any potential changes.  

Starting A Dog Daycare Business

Dog daycares are another aspect of the pet industry that seem to be gaining traction. The social nature of these pets means more dog owners are looking to keep their dogs in a social environment when they can’t be with them. 

Dog daycares, much like childcare centres, are places for dogs to be while pet parents are busy. Dog daycares often provide play time, stimulation activities, snacks, water, shelter and nap areas for dogs. 

If you’re thinking of starting a dog day care, it will require some business planning. Consider matters such as: 

  • Getting the correct space and equipment
  • Having Service Agreements in place with clients
  • Limitation of liability
  • Consider getting insurance coverage 
  • Check to see any local regulations such as zoning laws and council rules – you may need to obtain permission 

Laws On Running A Pet Service From Home

The most important thing to consider here is zoning requirements and council regulations. Unfortunately, there’s no uniform answer to this – it will really depend on your locality. 

Additionally, as the pet service is from home, you should also take into consideration animal welfare standards. Ensure your space and equipment is not only sufficient enough for the animals, but also pet friendly. You should also reside in a neighbourhood that is suitable for pet caring – for instance, are there nearby parks or access to veterinary clinics? 

You may also need to think about getting insurance to make sure you are protected in case something goes wrong. Noise complaints from neighbours could be an issue as well as parking for clients when they are picking up or dropping off their pet companions. 

It’s best to write up a business plan to prepare solutions for any potential issues, and to set out the general blueprint of your business journey moving forward.  

Can I Start A Pet Adoption Service?

Starting a pet adoption service is a great way to find a family for animals that have not yet been placed into a loving home. In order to start a pet adoption service, you will need to clarify whether this will be run as a charity or a regular business. 

If it’s a charity, you will need to register it as a charity. However, if it’s still a business venture with the purpose of making a profit, then you will need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and follow the standard business registration process

Set Up A Pet Courier Service

Offering a service to transport pets safely is another way to be involved in the pet industry. Since it involves the responsibility of pets’ safety while you transport them, you’ll need to have legals in place that mitigate risks and limit your liability where necessary. 

You may also want to consider insurance, start-up costs and any restrictions when setting up your business. 

Transporting pets requires reflection on matters such as: 

  • Think about the regions you will service and the kind of transport being provided
  • Depending on the type of transport, you may need to attain special provisions or permission
  • Animal comfort and care will need to be a priority
  • Some pets may require veterinary consultations before long travels
  • Less common equipment, such as travel crates and mats, will need to be provided  

What Documents Or Licences Do I Need?

As we mentioned, the documents and licences needed will depend heavily on the type of business and location you are in. Despite your location, animal welfare standards will apply to all individuals and organisations involved in caring for an animal, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with animal welfare laws. 

These also vary from state to state, so you may need to chat to a professional to ensure you’re looking at the right laws. 

We’ve also mentioned having Service Agreements in place. Service Agreements let clients know what they can and cannot expect from your business, what your duties are towards them and their obligations as well.

It’s a legally binding document that keeps everyone on the same page and can aid in protecting your business – we highly recommend getting a Service Agreement  if your business is involved in pet grooming services or looking after pets in any capacity. 

Key Takeaways

Starting a business in the pet industry is a great way to combine a love for spending time with animals with a potentially profitable venture. 

However, like any other business, it’s important to look out for any legal considerations to make sure you’re running a legally compliant business. To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • Before you get involved in the pet industry, it’s worth getting qualifications and insurance 
  • If you’re making dog treats, make sure you are abiding by the Australian Consumer Law and avoid misleading conduct
  • You will need to register your business and think about the correct legal documents, such as a Service Agreement 
  • Dog breeders need to be registered and treating their pets according to a particular standard
  • Most regulations and rules will depend on your locality – it’s important to find out what they are and be compliant with them
  • Lastly, having the right equipment, training and space is also important! 

If you would like a consultation on starting a business in the pet industry, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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