Learning how to start a dog treat business at home is doable for anyone who has the skills to make their own products or has the resources to outsource production to a manufacturer.
According to Research & Profits, the global pet treat market will reach $72.6 billion by the year 2027. Considering the global pet treat market reached to around $21.4 billion, it’s safe to say that it’s a fast growing category. And fast growing categories mean opportunity.
So let’s talk about how you can make this happen…
Is A Dog Treat Business Profitable?
There are plenty of examples of both successful and unsuccessful dog treat businesses.
This means that a dog treat business can not only be profitable, but it can actually bring in a windfall of life changing money every single month into your bank account. However, you have to do your best to avoid the things that cause them to crash and burn.
The key for you will come down to the economics behind your dog treat business and your ability to hit KPIs or key performance indicators. If you can do that, then you will be able to build a profitable dog treat business.
The good news?
Dog treats are generally more ecommerce-friendly than most human foods.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Dog Treat Business?
The good news is that it doesn’t cost $100,000 to start a dog treat business.
With that said, the cost can vary wildly depending on the different levers you pull. In this case, the two main things you want to worry about are cost per unit and minimums.
Your cost per unit is how much every dog treat package costs. The factors involved include ingredients, manufacturing, and packaging. In other words, if you’re looking to make a high end dog treat business, then it’s going to cost a lot more than starting something cheap.
Your minimums are the minimum volume you’re allowed to manufacture. This is going to be affected most by the manufacturing you’re working with and if you’re doing custom dog treats rather than pure private label.
Ultimately, I would budget anywhere between $5,000-$25,000 to start a dog treat business.
Your minimums will be the biggest factor in determining how high in the range you go. So it’s important to find a good manufacturer who has low enough minimums for you to start, especially if you don’t have a ton of money. Just keep your margins in mind.
The Dog Treat Business Plan: Build
Ideally, you wouldn’t start a dog treat business out of the blue. Not because it’s not a good idea to start one, but because the start of a new ecommerce business is an uphill battle. So to help you get over the hump, you should do things that get you early sales, fast.
That’s why I recommend you build a small, loyal audience before manufacturing your dog treats.
More specifically, I suggest you start building your audience at least 6 months before you launch. This will give you enough time to get some organic traction so that when you do launch, you can drive sales without having to spend a cent on advertising, which maximizes your profits.
Today, I would pick to build an audience with a blog, Youtube, or TikTok.
The rest will come down to you picking just one channel and then building the #1 “magazine” or “TV show” for your niche. In practice, this means opening up a new TikTok and starting a daily “show” all about dogs, especially dog health.
After 6 months, you’ll have a small following of people who already like and trust your brand.
The Dog Treat Business Plan: Launch
It’s time to launch your dog treats, the smart way.
At this point, you have an audience through social or a blog. One month before you launch the actual dog treats, you’ll want to start sending people to an opt-in page to join your newsletter for early bird notifications of your launch.
Every day of that month, you’ll want to send people to that page.
And every week of that month, you’ll want to send people 1-2 emails telling them about the brand.
These will be the “warmest” leads you have when launch time comes.
From there, you’ll want to launch your dog treats in 3 rounds. This means you’ll come up with your first batch of dog treats, sell them all, get feedback, do any product reformulation (if necessary) and then repeat the process 2 more times.
By the 3rd time, your Shopify store should be permanently open.
The reason you want to do 3 rounds is efficiency. The start of a new dog treat brand is fragile. You need fast, profitable sales. You also need to make sure you have a good product. And you need to do it all while minimizing your costs. By launching in 3 rounds, you can hit all 3 goals in a much safer and calmer way than if you just launched permanently.
The Dog Treat Business Plan: Scale
You now have 2 very important assets…
1/ Dog treats that are proven to sell
2/ Organic traffic that converts
To grow the business, there’s now only one thing you need to worry about… more traffic. There are always other things you can do, but nothing matters more than having more people in your target market know what you’re selling.
To do this, you should first triple down on your organic strategy.
So whether you started a blog, Youtube, or TikTok… you need to keep going and publish more. Now is the time to get the most out of organic strategies because while they do take a while to kick in, they will help you build a much more profitable dog treat business.
Second, you need to look into your paid ads strategy.
Paid traffic is the opposite of organic traffic. While organic traffic is slow, paid is fast. While organic is generally more profitable, paid scales really easily. While organic is owned, paid allows you to diversify traffic sources. That’s why you’ll eventually want 50% of your sales to come from organic traffic and the other 50% to come from paid traffic.
Once you have these two pillars, then you can look into other traffic sources.
These can include Amazon FBA, PR, retail, and others. But first, I highly suggest you get the basics done first before you venture out to other million types of marketing channels in the world.