Buying a cattery
Part 1 of our focus on businesses for animal lovers, during National Pet Week
With tens-of-thousands of businesses for sale in the UK – as well as plenty of other ways to make money – what would motivate someone to buy a cattery? After all, this is a business that is less about investment and financial reward than it is about compassion and personal reward. Let’s be honest too, anyone thinking of buying a cattery would have to be fanatical about everything feline. Can you get rich from buying a cattery? Well, it depends on your interpretation of rich. You can certainly make money and run a profitable business, but it’s unlikely it will make you millions. What it can do, though, is enrich your life if you genuinely care about cats and their wellbeing. In short, buying a cattery gets you a lifestyle business, and it gets you a love job that will typically appeal to the most dedicated of animal lovers.
As a lifestyle business, what sort of hours will you work if you end up buying a cattery? Well, for one thing, it’s not going to be your standard nine-to-five occupation. As a cattery owner, you’ll be up early to feed your guests, to clean up after them and, in some cases, to administer medicines. You’ll have to do the same in the evenings too. But what you sacrifice in terms of early starts and unsociable hours, you’ll make up by working close to home and, in most cases, at your home. Lots of catteries are set up in people’s own properties, so bear in mind that if you’re considering buying a cattery you might need to purchase the business with a home attached.
So you might be working some unsociable hours. That’s not unusual when you own a lifestyle business like this. But if you’re serious about buying a cattery, you also need to consider the peak times in your business. You’ll be in demand at most during weekends and holiday periods, when cat owners need somebody else to take care of their pets. And that will mean you’ll need to take your own holidays at different times in the year. The plus side, of course, is that you’ll probably save money booking your holidays outside of peak times!
Do you need any qualifications if you’re buying a cattery? Actually no. There are no formal qualifications required, but there are courses in cattery management that will serve you well. What you will need if you’re buying a cattery, though, is the requisite licences from the relevant local authority. If you’re buying a cattery that is already trading, of course, there will be licenses in place. But these licenses are often in the name of the existing owner, not the business, so you will need to ensure it can be transferred to you as the new owner.
Buying a cattery that is already established should mean you have an existing customer base too. There’s a lot of repeat business in this industry, especially if you have a good reputation. Cat owners are naturally very protective of their pets, so if they are to leave them in somebody else’s care, they need to know their feline friends will be well looked after. Once they’re comfortable with that, and trust a cattery with their treasured pets, then they’ll keep coming back year after year, or even month after month.
With dozens of catteries for sale right now, there is clearly a good investment to be made for the right individual. Take into account the lifestyle you’ll be leading. Ask yourself whether you can handle being the business owner, carer, cleaner and nurse every day of the week. And, finally, decide whether you want to live and work in the same location. If you do, then buying a cattery might be the right business decision for you.