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Business advice for running a pet care sanctuary

Have you always wanted to spend your life helping animals?

There are certainly a lot of abandoned pets out there in need of care and support, and a lot of people who would like to help but can’t take them into their own homes.

If you can harness their support and turn it into a viable business, you could run your own pet sanctuary and provide a safe space for lost animals until they can be adopted or until the end of their natural lives.

Getting started

Taking on just one pet is a big responsibility; giving a home to many also entails legal responsibilities.

You’ll have to read the Animal Welfare Act and make sure that you properly understand your duties.

It’s a good idea to get an animal care and welfare qualification, which you can do at most City & Guilds registered institutions.

You’ll need to make sure you have planning permission for the premises you plan to use and that you can provide suitable housing for the animals.

You’ll also have to accept that your resources won’t be infinite and that sometimes you will have to turn animals away.

Every business venture starts with a business plan, and it’s all the more important to get this right when lives are at stake.

Most importantly, you’ll have to understand what your day-to-day running costs will be.

Even if you can find enough reliable volunteers to staff the place day-to-day (bearing in mind that some people will inevitably drop out).

You’ll have to make sure that your own living costs are accounted for if it’s taking all your time, that you have enough money to feed the animals and that you can afford other consumables such as straw or chew toys.

You will also need to be able to pay for veterinary care and insurance.

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Finding funding

Funding a venture like this is never easy, but it can be done.

There are grants available in some areas, and you may be able to get local businesses or wealthy individuals to sponsor you.

You can also hold fundraising drives to attract donations from local people.

A lot will depend on your ability to generate publicity.

Understanding business practice

Being in business involves a constant process of learning.

The best way to avoid making mistakes is to learn from other people.

The Lord Laidlaw Scholarships are designed to help pass on knowledge like this.

Lord Laidlaw himself has been in business for several decades and has based his success on understanding the needs of both customers and other business people.

This approach can stand you in good stead in your sanctuary as well.

Setting up a sanctuary will always be a challenge.

There will be times when you’re working all hours and really feeling exhausted, because everything centres on the animals’ needs – they can’t fit around yours.

Despite this, you’ll find few ways of living that are more rewarding, and when you look in the eyes of the animals you’ve saved, you’ll know that it was all worthwhile.