Starting your own business and being your own boss remains a dream for many people left bored or uninspired by their current careers. For dog lovers with an entrepreneurial spirit, setting up a pet business can give them the fulflment they crave.
British pet owners are spending increasing amounts of money on pets and this has led to more business opportunities emerging.
Starting any new business requires hard work; and many entrepreneurs highlight the personal and financial sacrifices they’ve made to make their business a success.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting their own pet business is failing to research the industry thoroughly enough to understand the scale of responsibility they are taking on. Working with other people’s pets presents risk and having the right insurance cover in place is vital.
Do I need insurance for my pet business?
If you're setting up a pet business you may be required to have business insurance in place.
For example, your local authority may check you have liability insurance for a kennel, cattery or home boarding business.
And if you have employees or volunteers it’s a legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance.
Having insurance in place can also reassure customers, some of whom may not use a company that does not have cover.
Although other products may not be mandatory for all professions, business insurance can cover expensive claims, from legal expenses to damage to your property or covering costs if a pet in your care dies or needs vet treatment.
Find out more about the cost of liability insurance.
It’s important to understand what pet business insurance does and doesn’t cover to see if it is appropriate for your kennel or cattery.
Business owners should think about the type of claims that might be brought against them. The severity of any possible damage or injury should help owners decide on an appropriate level of cover.
When taking care of lots of dogs, business owners need to remain mindful of dogs in their care damaging property or causing accidents or injuries to people. But it’s not only dogs that can be a challenge, pet owners can be equally difficult to deal with.
Pet owners may not always be happy with the service provided to them and their pets. In recent years there have been more reports of dog owners suing dog trainers after being left unhappy with the outcome of the training sessions received.
Managing client expectations can present its own challenges. The insurance cover taken by owners needs to protect them from a variety of possible scenarios that could damage or disrupt their business.
What types of pet business insurance is available?
Public Liability Insurance
This protects individuals when a pet they are looking after harms another person, damages property or causes an accident.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
This protects people in the case of a pet being hurt or lost while in their care. They are also protected if they harm their client’s property or lose the keys to their house.
Employer’s Liability Insurance
If someone has staff, including volunteers, they have a legal obligation to take out Employer’s Liability Insurance, which covers them in case of claims by or relating to one of their employers.
Business equipment insurance
Insuring equipment is likely to be of importance to many owners particularly if they are running a grooming or pet boarding business. Dog groomers will have specific hoovers and brushes that they use, while daycare centres and boarders will have different types of equipment for the animals in their care.
Who provides pet business insurance?
You can get an immediate online quote for dog walking insurance at the Petplan Sanctuary website. If you decide to buy, you’ll have immediate access to your policy documentation.
A specialist insurance company focused on pet and animal businesses. Cliverton was founded over 50 years ago and is the trading name of Lycetts Insurance, which is part of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.
Pet Business Insurance
They provide insurance cover for a variety of pet businesses, with particular focus on the insurance needs of small and medium sized businesses that offer pet grooming, animal training, pet sitting, dog walking and boarding.
They provide specialist insurance for pet businesses, providing cover for 14 different activities in the pet industry.
National Association of Registered Pet Sitters
NARPS is the largest Pet sitting and Dog Walking Association in the UK. They provide members with dog walking and pet sitting courses. Joining NARPS also entitles members to discounted prices on dog walking insurance from Pet Business Insurance, reducing the cost of insurance by approximately 50%.
What training and qualifications do I need?
Qualifications aren’t a legal requirement for many pet related businesses but having a certain level of training and qualifications will help give business owners more credibility and enhance their reputation.
City & Guilds offer a range of different training options that are not only respected throughout the industry but are recognised by the public.
They provide an Accredited Dog Training course. It is designed for animal enthusiasts, specifically dog lovers who have a keen interest in learning many of the skills needed to become a qualified dog trainer.
The Pet Industry Federation runs three qualifications in conjunction with City & Guilds, each of them aimed at groomers at various stages in their career.
What pet businesses can I get insurance cover for?
You can get insurance for the following businesses:
- Grooming Salons
- Specialist dog birthday parties
- Daycare and puppy training
- Pet nutrition
- Pet photography
- Pet fitness classes for conditioning and strengthening
- Boot-camps for dogs
- Dog behavioural specialists
Dog walking, grooming, and home boarding are the most popular business ventures. One advantage of starting a dog walking or grooming business is the relatively low start-up and overhead costs needed to begin working.
With people working longer hours and travelling further in their commutes to work, they don’t have as much time to spend with their pets as they would like. This has created more demand for dog trainers to take on the role that previously would have been the responsibility of dog owners.
Dog walking remains one of the most popular pet service businesses. A dog walking business has low overhead costs, with travel and advertising being the main expenses.
Dog grooming is one business that has benefited from the increase in spending by pet owners. Boutiques and salons are increasing in popularity with owners keen to pamper their dogs with some of the best grooming products available.
Dog Boarding & Daycare
Dog boarding and Daycare centres are more costly start-ups than some other pet businesses but they offer the potential of high financial returns. These businesses are tailoring their services to meet the individual needs of dogs. There’s a growing emphasis on providing an environment where dogs can be stimulated by engaging activities and socialising with other dogs.