As a pet store, saving money is generally a top concern. In fact, as with any kind of retailer, saving money is likely one of the primary concerns of running a business. However, pet stores will often have more to worry about as they not only have product to sell, but also live animals. The live animals often bring on additional complications as they require more attention and care than consumer goods. With these additional costs, it makes sense to want to save up every penny, while also ensuring quality care of the animals until they find their forever homes. Fortunately, there’s a few simple ways to save money as a pet store.
1) Only sell animals from the highest quality breeders
It is well-known that there is a controversy surrounding the ethical nature of selling live animals within pet stores. Most of the claims of bad conditions and “puppy mills” come from those stores who aren’t sourcing correctly. We as members of the pet industry should be working to improve the conditions of live animals that are sold in pet stores. Not only will this benefit overall animal welfare and get rid of the “bad guys” of the industry, but it will also actually improve costs to you as a pet store.
While you may be spending additional time and money investing in high quality breeders, it will eventually end up saving you even more money and headache in the long run. For example, animals coming from low quality breeders, or puppy mills, are often known to have health conditions associated with them. Because of this, customers are legally allowed to bring the sick animal back to where it was purchased. While pet dealers are legally not allowed to sell animals with health problems, these exchanges do unfortunately occur. If this happens, then according to Pet Shop/Pet Dealer Model Law,
“In the event the animal is diagnosed with a health problem, which existed at the time of purchase, the pet dealer shall provide the purchaser with one of the following remedies selected by the purchaser: return the animal to the pet dealer for a refund of the full purchase price; exchange the animal for an animal of the purchaser’s choice of equivalent value, providing a replacement is available; or retain the animal, and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees.”
With this much-needed law in place, it’s very easy for costs of returns and health bills to add up, making it difficult for a pet store to improve the conditions of their animals. However, animals coming from high quality breeders, or even rescues who have taken on the costs of health care, will likely have less health problems and result in lower costs.
While ensuring all animals only come from high quality breeders is a great way to save money as a pet store (and keep the “bad guys” of the industry away), it’s only the first step. In order to keep costs down, it’s important to hire the right people and invest in the right products to use in-store.
2) Hire and educate high-quality employees
While this step may seem obvious, it’s one that many pet stores surprisingly have problems with. It’s difficult to know with just an interview or two how trainable and trustworthy a particular candidate may be as an employee. However, when asked the right questions and educated thoroughly, the chance to hire high-quality employees increases tremendously.
The benefits of hiring and investing in training for a great employee include
- Reducing live animal habitat cleaning time
- Higher engagement rates with customers looking for both pets and products
- Improved online customer reviews on sites such as Yelp
- Lower turn-over as employees feel valued enough to receive regular training and time to care for the animals
Of course there are many other benefits, especially when considering everyone wants good employees. So how do you get employees to the point where they start helping you save money as a pet store? For one, you’ll want to start by asking the right questions during the interview process. Instead of downloading “Top 10 questions to ask in an interview” from Google, sit down and ask yourself: “What qualities do I really want in an employee?” If you want someone who can learn quickly, problem solve, and communicate knowledge, put them to the test and ask questions that relate to the top qualities you are looking for in a candidate.
There are only so many potential candidates out there, especially those who are looking to work in a pet store. Don’t limit yourself to only those who meet all your criteria, but also consider candidates who may not meet one or two requirements, but are great learners. These are people who will consume training and use it in their daily routine.
What about training? There are many sources out there, and we at All Points Marketing are even working on some pieces that will help you more easily train your staff. Until then, we have found that programs like Pet Store Pro’s free training are useful and informative. This is a great step toward training your employees, which will then lead to lower costs.
3) Invest in high quality products for live animal care in-store
All retail companies are always on the lookout for the next big product to sell in store. However, many don’t have to consider the products they use in-store to care for live animals. Whether you’re selling puppies, cats, and small animals, or just guinea pigs and birds, there are always considerations that are required to care for animals while they are waiting for their forever homes.
One of the main concerns of keeping animals in store is the quality of the bedding within their habitats. Many pet stores often make the mistake of using cut up newspaper or an inexpensive brand of bedding which offers the illusion of a cheaper way of maintaining the habitats of live animals in store. However, it’s only just that: an illusion.
The problem is that cut up newspaper and less expensive brands of bedding are often not very absorbent, if at all, and needs to be cleaned out and replaced very often. As the product is replaced more often, the costs of the product add up quickly. It’s like going to the store and looking between two brands of paper towels. One of them, the off brand, is much cheaper, and low quality. The other, a well-known brand, is a little bit more expensive, but lasts twice as long. The less expensive brand may look more appealing at first, but at the end of the year when you’re reviewing your budget, you may notice you spent more on paper towels than you expected. The same goes for the bedding you use in your store.
Fibercore Eco-Bedding is a high quality bedding that is more absorbent than competing brands, and works much better than crumpled up newspaper. Because of the material and the way it’s crunched up, it is able to take in a great deal of moisture. This means the high-quality employees you just trained and the healthy animals you’ve gotten from the country’s top breeders will not go to waste. This is because:
- The employees will be able to spend less time cleaning
- The healthy animals are more likely to stay healthy in clean habitats, resulting in lower vet bills
- The bedding will pay for itself as it will need to be replaced half as often as shredded newspaper
- The bedding gives off less dust in store which turns into cost savings paying employees to dust your merchandise and replace filters as often
In addition to the cost savings, the bedding also improves the look of the store that it’s in. It results in neater cages, reduced dust, and fun colors which attracts customers to the habitats.
Of course the bedding isn’t the only products that the idea of “good welfare is good business” applies to. Using high quality foods such as Supreme’s Science Selective diet on small animals and Applaws’ limited ingredient, no additives food for dogs and cats will sustain animal health by resulting in less health problems overall.
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About the Author
Ashley Hoffman – E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Manager joined the All Points family in April of 2015. Ashley brings a fresh outlook to the marketing industry as well as a constant desire for learning something new. She is dedicated to consistently improving her skills and efficiency in the marketing industry and using those skills to promote APM and all brands we represent. Ashley has grown up with many animals throughout her life and is currently the loving owner of two cats.