Working with animals benefits humans as much as it does our four-legged friends. While working to rescue animals is a noble cause, it is not always a profitable one. However, here are a few ways shelters make money with animals to help them keep the doors open.
The Costs of Animal Rescue
Although animal lovers will tell you it is well worth the cost, it takes a significant amount of money to care for your pets. Depending on the size of the animal and the type of food you buy, it costs an average of $20-$60 a month to feed them. In addition to the monthly food bill, you also have the initials costs of spaying/neutering, vaccinations, medications, cleaning supplies, grooming tools, and toys. When you are caring for multiple animals, these costs become even higher.
For these reasons, many people choose to foster animals in their homes which allows them to help a few animals at a time. However, if you want to move beyond fostering and open a larger facility, the costs to operate a shelter can become staggering. Not only do you have the expenses for animal care, but also the rent, utilities, cleaning supplies, construction materials for kennels, and staff wages. When you account for all these expenses, then you can understand why rescue shelters often ask for donations.
Creating a Sustainable Business with Animals
To help offset the costs of caring for the animals, many shelters ask for an adoption fee. However, this small fee is hardly enough to cover the expenses that went into taking care of the animal. In fact, most organizations have trouble keeping up with the costs of operation. And, many owners and volunteers invest their own money in the organization. For this reason, many rescue operations try to create a sustainable business model which finds ways to make money with the animals and continue to serve their community.
Ways to Make Money with Animals
For those building a new rescue organization, the goal is to stay in operation so it can have the greatest impact and save the most animals. In order to do this, you need a smart business plan that creates longevity. There are several business-savvy ideas to make money with the animals and associated services to help the organization maintain a healthy bank balance.
Even though most rescue shelters are non-profit, they can still operate with positive cash flow. However, there are some important restrictions and laws you will need to be aware of. For example, you cannot use profits for personal gain. All proceeds should only be used for the growth and operation of the small business. If you are looking for new ways to generate income beyond donations, here are a few ideas that could help you stay ahead of the expenses.
1. Paid Pet Services
Caring for animals takes a lot of time and work. Unfortunately, many people are too busy to give them the time and attention they need. So, they are willing to pay others to do it for them. If you already have the equipment and facilities, it will be easier for you to transition into a small business since you won’t need to invest as much in startup costs. You can advertise your services for dog-walking, grooming, and pet-sitting.
2. Certified Pet Training
Anyone who works with animals on a daily basis will tell you how important training is. Not only does it provide a way to communicate with them, but it also ensures they won’t harm themselves or others. It saves you money in cleaning and replacing furniture, flooring, and other personal items as well. If you become a certified trainer, you could offer classes for pet owners in your community.
3. Service and Support Animals
First and foremost, not every animal is destined to become a support or service animal. Some rescues have had a traumatic history and must be handled with care. However, those that show the aptitude and personality for it can be trained as emotional support or service animals. If you believe your pet would be a good candidate, you can find more information here about the training and certification of service animals.
4. Pet-Friendly Cafes
It can be difficult to find pet-friendly venues. So, why not open one in your neighborhood? Opening a café that welcomes pets appeals to a wide audience of animal lovers. They can bring their animals with them while they enjoy a cup of coffee or a light meal to support your business. As a bonus, you get to enjoy your pet’s company while you work as well.
5. YouTube Channels and Social Media Pet Personalities
Some animals have personalities that are too big not to share. Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug have gained millions of fans worldwide through their social media posts and YouTube videos. If you think your pet has star potential, starting your own site and creating your own following could be one of the most lucrative ways to make money with animals.
6. Petting Zoos and Educational Experiences
Rescue animals are not only limited to cats and dogs. There are many kinds of animals out there that need good homes. Shelters often come across horses, cows, goats, pigs, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and other small critters that need rescuing. Unfortunately, larger animals require a larger budget and facility. However, some people have established farms to save large animals and livestock from neglect and abuse. If you have the space, you could turn it into an interactive experience where people can come and learn about the animals and how to care for them. Not only are you saving lives, but also educating the public while finding ways to make money with animals.
7. Using and Selling Animal Byproducts
Although people have been using animals and their byproducts to make money for generations, there has been a rise in the demand for ethically sourced products. I’m not advocating the harming of any animals. However, there are ways to use their products to establish a viable business. For instance, farmers sheer both sheep and alpacas for their wool. Setting up a chicken coop could be a great way to supply and sell fresh eggs. And, if you keep cows or goats, you could start producing your own butter, milk, cheese, and other dairy products.
These are only a few ideas to get you started. People love animals, so if you have an innovative idea that could help you make money, you will never know until you try!
Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.