Turning your passion for reptiles into a successful small business can launch a new career or become a profitable side hobby. Starting out small can be done from your home. With a home reptile business you can save on retail space costs and use the Internet and networking to grow your business and reputation. There are several steps to take before becoming a fully fledged reptile home business beyond just breeding and caring for the reptiles.
Research what types of reptile business are in your area and can be found online. Find a niche that needs to be filled and a species or two to start with that you enjoy and are highly experienced with.
Research your city, county and state laws and regulations regarding reptiles in the home. Find out if there are any limits on the number of reptiles you can have in the home or any species that are restricted.
Check your city, county and state rules on what business licenses you need. Acquire them. In some areas, a city business license is all that may be needed since you will be based out of your home.
Join reptile associations such as the United States Association of Reptile Keepers and local herpetological clubs. Get your business recognized and find others to learn from.
Set up a website. If you are inexperienced with creating a website, then pay a professional. Make your site look professional and reputable, and be educational.
Get liability insurance for your business. Selling reptiles as pets does come with some risks. The reptile may bite or transmit diseases to people, even under the best of care. If this happens, purchasers might blame you and file a lawsuit. Insurance protects you and your business.
Set policies on how people can purchase a reptile from you. Be a responsible reptile business by educating reptile owners and selling only to those who, in your best judgment, will take care of the reptile properly. Having some written policies can help guide you and your customers. This level of responsibility will increase your reputability within the reptile community, driving more attention to your business.
Write a business plan, even if it’s a short, simple one, to guide the growth of your business. There are several big topics that should be covered: What will you do if you get too many orders – will you get more reptiles to breed or limit orders? What will you do if you do not have enough orders – will you continue to care for the reptiles you cannot sell? Where do you want the business to be in five years and how will you take it there?
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