A pet shipper or pet transporter is a person or company that assists people in moving their animals from one location to another. The transport can occur in any means but is most commonly via a car, van or by airplane.
Pet shippers are a really critical service to move animals across large and small distances across the United States. They are most often needed when a person is moving house or buying an animal from a specific breeder.
Setting up a pet shipping business
Becoming a pet transporter requires investment and training. For the sake of this article, we discuss the ways a sole trader can enter the shipping industry. However, there are also many ways to become a pet transporter through a larger transport company.
First, it is essential to have appropriate transportation. Many animals are shipped in large pet carriers. A small van with interior tie-down hooks is a good choice. Station wagons or larger SUV’s may also be appropriate, depending on the size of the animals.
As with any vehicle for professional transportation, the vehicle should meet or exceed all state requirements for roadworthiness. Appearance is an important aspect of pet transportation. Having a vehicle that appears trustworthy, well-kept, and well-maintained will ensure you are making a positive impression on your customers.
The vehicle should also be suitable for long-distance driving. Things to consider here are the comfort of you and the animal. Is there air conditioning? Functioning windows or skylight etc? Additionally, the vehicle needs to be mechanically reliable and efficient in fuel use. Having an efficient, low fuel use vehicle will increase your profits.
Pet shipping requires several key pieces of equipment. The most essential being the transportation carrier for the animals. The safest way to transport an animal is inside a carrier that is fixed to the car’s interior, ensuring it cannot move. There must be adequate room for the animal to be comfortable without a large enough amount of space that it could damage itself in anyway by running or jumping.
Other equipments you will need are leashes or harnesses for walking the animals during breaks, food bowls, and water bowls to provide refreshments and toys and blankets if the animals require calming or distracting during the journey. Clients may provide these items in some cases.
Pet shipping is not merely moving an animal from one place to another. The job requires training in animal handling and recognition, advanced driving skills, and animal first aid.
You can access animal handling training and pet first aid courses through your local veterinarian service or online through the RedCross. These courses should give you the skills to recognize fear or distress in animals and the steps to take to calm them down, and basic first aid treatments such as allergic reaction, accidental poisoning, and wound management.
How to find clients
CitizenShipper is a shipping marketplace that connects customers to drivers. Drivers create a profile on the site listing their experience, vehicle type, and availability. Customers who need to get animals shipped post their shipping requirements on the site, including detailed information about the animal. Drivers can then bid for the shipment over the platform. Customers can review the bids and select the one that is right for them. Typically, customers are not looking for merely the lowest price but consider a driver’s experience, equipment, and reviews from previous clients.
How to keep clients and improve your reputation
To create a sustainable pet transport business, it’s essential that you forge a positive reputation within the industry and on the CitizenShipper platform. Providing exceptional customer service is a key element here. To ensure you have the highest rating possible, it’s important to:
- Respond to customer inquiries and questions as quickly as possible.
- Be on time and fulfill the job as agreed upon.
- Maintain your transport and equipment to a high standard.
- Be honest and upfront about accidents, delays, or mishaps.
Being a professional pet transporter requires continuous learning and a dedication to updating training where required. A good way to stay up to date in the industry, including trends, challenges, opportunities, and seasonal changes, is to subscribe to a pet transporting forum—CitizenShipper moderates several active and information groups on Facebook.
You should ensure that all First aid certificates and state licenses are renewed on time. Be sure to add these credentials to your driver profile.
Pet transport is a great small business option, and with CitizenShipper, you can start your business confidently and securely. Investing in the right transport, equipment and training early is essential to quickly building a positive reputation and client base. If you have more questions about becoming a pet shipper, get in touch with our driver liaison team today.