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The Big Survey

PETS+ Big Survey: The Average Independent Pet Business Owner Earned This Much in 2021

How do you compare?




Editor’s note: In our first-ever Big Survey, we asked independent pet retailers and service providers to answer 69 questions about how they do business and the industry itself. These owners and top managers — 520 to be exact, from across the U.S. and Canada — shared all in the anonymous survey conducted online from mid-August through October.

Unlike with our monthly Brain Squad survey, those who took the 2022 Big Survey answered anonymously. This gave them the freedom to disclose financial information they might not typically share “in public.” Here’s how they answered this question about earnings:

Only 3% of survey respondents said “the money” was what you love most about being a pet pro, which is probably a good thing considering that the returns on all of your hard work and long hours aren’t, let’s say, overwhelming for most. The mid-point for earnings in our survey was $60,000 a year.

That’s not to say some pet pros aren’t doing quite well financially. About a quarter of you reported earning more than $100,000 a year. How do these pet pros do it?

The six-figure business owners and top managers were more likely to operate pet supply stores without services, accounting for 42% of the 100K+ earners. Pet supply store operators with services accounted for 35% of the 100K+ group. Boarding facility operators who sold pet supplies were also well represented, accounting for 10% of 100k+ earners. Grooming salon operators represented 5-6% of the 100k+ group.

Also, the bigger earners tended to cater to a wider range of animals rather than just cats and dogs, possibly implying they are bigger businesses, and also generate a higher average ticket — three-quarters of the 100k+ earners reported an average retail sale of above $40, compared to about 60% for those earning less.


Some other interesting findings:

  • Despite pet care being a predominantly female occupation, the gender pay gap still exists. While men accounted for only 16% of our survey respondents, they made up 25% of those in the 100k+ club.
  • There is more racial diversity at the lower end. Whites accounted for 91% of the survey-takers, but 88% of those earning less than 30K and 93% of those earning six figures.
  • Economic uncertainty and downturns tend to favor the strong: 79% of those earning more than $100,000 expected to see sales growth this year, versus 55% for those earning less than $40,000.

See the answers to all 69 questions in our November-December issue, mailing out Nov. 15. A big thank you to the American Pet Products Association for sponsoring our inaugural survey!



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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