How do I open a Pet Store in southern Arizona?

OK. Not a pet store like what jumps to mind when someone says that. I don't plan to carry any animals other than feeder rodents, feeder fish, and various feeder insects. and occasionally some of the baby dragons, snakes and hamsters that I've bred myself or maybe those that are given to me because the owners don't want them or can't keep them anymore. And only supplies geared toward caring for various reptile species… If you haven't guessed, I plan to make it a Reptile Feed & Supply store. Since I already breed most of the rodents here at home in order to feed my own snakes, and I sell some to help pay for the added expense of keeping breeder animals. Working in pet stores is the only long term job I've ever had. It's something I really enjoyed. Anyways, I'd like to turn my hobby into a full time job as a home-based business. I have the space to expand into a small shop in my home. I just don't want to end up getting into trouble for not having the proper paperwork and whatnot if it ever came up… The problem I'm having though is that I can't find any guidelines on what licenses/permits I'd need to have (other than an EIN and Tax ID for collecting sales tax and being able to hire help if needed). There is a lot of information on the internet for home businesses in Sierra VIsta, AZ. but I live outside those city limits so I'd like to find the laws that apply to all of Cochise County as well. and so far have had no luck.

I know this is kind of long, so thank you to anyone who takes the time to read it, and thanks in advance for any helpful information.

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Register the pet store. When opening almost any type of business, you have to register it with the different levels of government, and this is true for a pet store. At the federal level you need to obtain an employer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service, while at the state level you are required to register with the Department of Revenue in order to collect and report sales tax on the pets and products you sell. You may also have to collect sales tax for the local level as well as get a special license, because you will likely have more animals than allowed per city law.

Learn the demand for pets in your area. Whenever opening a business, it is important to learn the demand for products and services the business can provide, and this is true for pet stores. You should become knowledgeable about what type of pets are in high demand in your area, as this will lead to better sales after you open your store. There are many different ways to find this information out. Talk to veterinarians to see what animals they most often care for, and check animal licenses and permits at city hall. Most cities can tell you not only how many animals are registered but what breeds are most popular.

Determine what animals you will offer. Although you want to offer popular pets for sale in your store, you can also offer some uncommon and unique pets. You can obtain pets to sell in your store from breeders. It is highly advised that you get to know your breeders and learn the conditions into which their animals are born and raised before coming to your store. Negative news stories about puppy mills have made many people suspicious about buying dogs in pet stores.

Set the price for the animals. Pricing animals to sell in your store can be difficult. You’ll need to take into consideration how much you paid the breeder for the animal as well as how much it’s costing to feed and care for it as it remains in your store. The price you sell the animal for should cover all of these expenses and still leave room to generate a small profit for you.

Find a facility to house your store. The pets you plan to offer for sell at your facility will play a major role in the size and layout of your facility. A fish pet store can be in a smaller location than a general pet store, because several fish can be housed in one tank. However, for animals such as cats and dogs, your pet store will need to have adequate room for them to move around and exercise.

Learn how to care for the animals. In an ideal world, the turnaround time for pets remaining in your store would be short or nonexistent. The reality, though, is that pets may live at your store for several weeks or even months before a customer buys them and takes them home. During this time you’ll need to provide good care for the animals, which may include feeding them, grooming them and caring for them if they are sick. In addition you’ll need to get shots and vaccines for many of the animals, especially if they remain in your store for a few months before being bought. You’ll need to consider the cost of these vaccines when determining your price for the animal.

Get insurance to cover your business. With almost any type of business, it is a good idea to get insurance to protect your investment, and this is true for pet stores. Not only do you want to have insurance to cover any disasters that may happen such as a fire or flood, but you also need liability insurance that protects you in the event someone gets hurt at your store. Not only is there the potential for individuals to fall or slip in your store, but they may get bitten or injured by an animal on your premises.

Hire staff to assist you with the pet store. Caring for the animals in your store and catering to customers with questions and needs often requires more than one person.

Promote your pets and your business to get business flowing into it. Many people are searching for pets to provide them with companionship; thus your business is ideal for them. Let them know what animals you have to offer as well as how you can help them find the right animal for them.

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