According to the Pet Food Institute, in 2013, America's pet dog population was nearly 72 million, while its pet cat population was over 73 million (www.petfoodinstitute.org). Pet stores supply owners of these animals with food, toys, and accessories. Pet store owners, whether independent or part of a larger retail chain, are responsible for running these businesses, which may include hiring staff, ordering stock, and maintaining the store.
|Required Education||Bachelor's or master's degree in business administration|
|Other Requirements||General knowledge of animal care practices and products|
|Projected Job Growth||12% for all general and operations managers from 2012-2022*|
|Median Salary (2014)||$97,270 annually for all general and operations managers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Pet Store Owner Job Description
Pet store owners can be divided into two categories: those who own independent stores and those who own one store in a franchise. While the qualifications for each may differ, most of the guidelines for both are the same. These guidelines include making sure that licensing procedures for shop ownership are followed and that conditions in the store are sanitary. This may include providing veterinary services to the animals and cleaning cages.
Independent Pet Store Owners
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, many pet store owners who pursue independent ownership have a business background (www.census.gov). Those who hold master's degrees, typically in business administration, will have completed classes on business start-ups, including accounting, basic business law, and management techniques. In addition, many pet store owners have experience working with animals and some have completed courses or degree programs in animal science, veterinary medicine, or biology.
Independent pet store owners are responsible for all of their products, so it is important that they fully understand and research the goods they sell. This is particularly necessary for pet food. Owners should monitor manufacturer and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls consistently.
Franchise Pet Store Owners
Owners of a franchised pet store branch may have an easier time establishing their business, since much of the training, equipment, and advertisement is taken care of by the company once the prospective owner's application and initial investment is approved. However, these owners must also have an understanding of business practices and techniques. In addition, a background in animal care or products is generally necessary.
Job Outlook and Salary Info
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information for retail store owners, such as pet store owners, it does track the salary and employment statistics for general and operations managers. Many store owners choose to fulfill these roles themselves, rather than hiring at an additional cost. In May 2014, the BLS reported that the median annual salary earned by all general and operations managers was $97,270, although that number may be heavily affected by the location of the store and the overall sales enjoyed by the store. Typically, store owners do not take a salary, but rather retain the net profits following all expenses.
In 2010, the BLS reported that there were an estimated 15.3 million individuals in the U.S. who were self-employed. Of that number, approximately 5.5 million had incorporated their businesses, as pet store owners do. Although it almost impossible to predict the success of a business, it was noted that the percentage of self-employed individuals in the US held steady from 2003 to 2009.