Like any small business, a pet shop must have defined aims and objectives, and these shouldn't be kept quiet. The public will want to know not only your business's purpose of selling pets, but also why you chose to do this, what you are giving back to the community, and whether their money is going to any causes they approve of. Being open about your objectives will widen your customer base, and the transparency will be appreciated by your patrons and employees.
Matching Pets With Owners
The first goal of any pet shop is to sell animals. You want to do this as quickly as possible, not only for profit margin, but also because pets in a caring home will thrive and grow much better than even in the best pet shop. The animals need the loving attention of their new owner. To that end, the shop should take the time to match appropriate pets to people. Don't push puppy sales on a family that clearly would do better with a cat. If a dog is lively and needs to run around, a family that is gone eight to 10 hours a day is not going to be a good match. Ethically, making good matches is the right thing to do, but it also protects you against returns. The customers should know what they are getting into and whether or not they can handle the responsibility.
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Caring for Animals
While the animals are under your roof, they should be impeccably cared for. Make sure they are fed regularly and always have enough water. Living in cages is fine for some animals, like lizards, but others, such as puppies, will need to run around as much as they can during the day. Give them a space to do so. You can even make it a glass-encased room, so that customers can see the little furballs in action. Happy and healthy pets in the shop make for more sales. Customers looking for a pet to love will be interested to see that the pets are being well cared for right out of the gate. This includes vet visits and immunizations where applicable.
As families come in and out of your shop, they're going to need more than just an animal to bring home. The pet shop should work hard to provide new owners with the resources they will need, including local and emergency veterinary numbers, grooming options, food descriptions and alternatives, and any special instructions. Give your buyers paperwork on the breed or type of animal they are buying so that they have something to read as they get used to their new pet. This will encourage a sense of goodwill about your organization. People will feel that both they and their pets are being looked after. In this way, provide resources even if you don't make a sale. If someone is looking for a service animal for instance, and you cannot provide one, have a list handy of places the person can go to look for what he needs.
Ensuring Ethical Treatment
While you truly only have control over the animals during the time they are in your shop, you can take steps to ensure they are being treated ethically and well elsewhere -- and advertise that. Don't buy cheaper animals from mills or large corporations that ship them from far away. These pets are born under stressful conditions, are often not treated well, and usually are not suited for traveling as far as they are forced to. Look to local breeders and to area organizations such as bird and reptile clubs to find animals. Many animals need to be re-homed, so you may want to look into that option as a service, too. Once the pets leave your shop with their new owners, you'll want the buyers to feel comfortable calling you with any questions they might have. This will help alleviate any accidental mistreatment after the animals have been bought.