So you’re an avid animal lover and would like to turn your passion into a career? It’s the purrfect time to find out everything you need to know from a legal standpoint to make sure your pet shop is a roaring success.

Where do I start?

Think about your business requirements. You might be a whiz with animals but are you ready for the challenges of running a business? Make sure you’re personally ready and experienced enough to get through the difficult initial stages. First thing is you need to decide what kind of business structure you will be, for example, do you want to be a sole trader, run a company or be in partnership with someone else? Then you will need to get an Australian Business Number (ABN) and register a name for your business. Coming up with a name that is catchy and has natural spelling and pronunciation is essential for customers to find you and be enticed by your business.

Once you have an ABN, you can register for Goods & Services Tax (GST) and Pay As You Go (PAYG) Tax. You can then set up a bank account for your business and consider whether you will need any business loans and merchant credit card facilities. You will also need to make sure you can manage your administration requirements, budgeting and business plans, and get the relevant insurance. You might also consider setting up a website, establishing a computer network and planning for the equipment you will need to purchase to keep your animals healthy and happy.

Setting up shop

Once you know your business requirements, you need to think about where you are going to locate your pet shop. It would be a good idea to consider leasing or purchasing premises in a location with good exposure. Particularly with animals, you need to consider any industry requirements about the type of facilities required to care for the animals. There might also be council requirements and restrictions for where you can locate a pet business and checking this first with the council will save you a lot of hassle down the track. Similarly, it is important to ensure you can get all of the right licenses to operate the pet shop, including any to do with water or sewerage that might apply to your store.

Most States and Territories also have Codes of practice to do with running pet businesses, and you will need to have a look and make sure you can meet their requirements. For example, they have a focus on protecting the welfare of animals in the care of pet retailors. Some of their provisions include meeting certain hygiene requirements, pest control and animal health care. There are also special requirements for categories of animals including differences in the required care of dogs and cats, fish and birds.


Now that you understand where to start and the requirements you need to meet with your business, you might also want to consider seeking legal advice, particularly in setting up your business structure, getting the right insurance and leasing or buying a premises. LegalVision can help make your legal issues bearable and ensure you have the right koalafications to make your business a success!

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