What is this career about?
Pet stores are all about helping people give their loved pets a better life. Pet shop jobs are retail positions, though, and this means that a balance between loving animals and customer service is a must for every employee. Careers in pet stores can be laid back at times, but this depends upon the individual store’s culture and clientele. There are times when this job can also be very demanding, so being flexible and dedicated are key traits that all pet store employees should have and be willing to grow.
What growth is likely?
According to recent statistics, this industry is growing and will continue to grow by about 15 percent through the year 2022. This is encouraging news, as it means that there will likely be far more job openings in the future than there are right now. Those that are already in this career have a great chance of advancement, and the sooner you start, the sooner that you can see your job prospects within the industry grow, too. There are many large chains in the United States right now, and a huge number of independently owned or smaller chains, as well. These stores are growing more and more in popularity as pets are something that will always be in demand, even during poor economic times. Having a solid existing customer base is a must for the success of any store, and that gives chains a bigger advantage over other stores. Applying for a job in a large company can lead to better career stability, if that is something that you are concerned about.
Entry level jobs like cashiers tend to start out at somewhere between minimum wage and $10 an hour. Your experience in the industry and in retail in general will help you to determine what you will be paid, as well. Upper level jobs, ranging from supervisors to store managers pay a bit more, this pay ranging at about $25,000 per year for new supervisors to about $65,000 a year for store managers with some experience. These numbers will vary from company to company, of course, but this should give you a rough idea of what pay you should expect for the position you apply for.
In addition to cashiers, pet stores also have a need for store associates, trainers, groomers, and other positions, depending upon the specific functions that a location may fulfill. Trainers and groomers are typically expected to have some job experience, and this is something that store associates often can gain on the job if they are interested in switching roles within the company. These jobs tend to start out at a higher rate of pay, usually around $10 for those new to the position. Moving upward in these roles depends upon the store’s needs and your job performance.
How to succeed?
Being a hard worker is a must in this career field. Even if your store is not particularly busy at certain times, that does not mean that there is not work to be done. People that work around animals are always busy because animals have many needs. Cages must be cleaned out, pets must be kept nice looking and fed, and shelves must be stocked. This is a job where loving animals is a necessity. If you possess this trait, then the above listed tasks will feel less like work and more like fun. Animals need attention and love, too, and providing this is a key part of your job. You should be able to fulfill this need for them even when you don’t necessarily feel like it.
You should also be willing to be flexible and learn new things. Pet stores might have odd hours to incorporate the needs of their customers, and working nights or weekends is a good way to set yourself apart from your other coworkers. Also, being willing to work in areas that you never have before can help here. It shows that you are flexible and willing to work hard for the good of the company and yourself. This kind of work ethic is a good way to show your bosses that you are supervisor or even management material. Even if this is your first job and you have never worked in retail before, you should have certain character traits such as being friendly, compassionate, and enthusiastic. These things are far harder to learn, but they do show that you have potential for success.
Who should apply?
You do not need a ton of retail experience in order to apply for a job at a pet store. What you do need are great people skills, a desire to learn about the industry and work hard, and a genuine love of animals of all sorts. The first impression of pet stores is that they are just about cats and dogs, but pets of all sorts exist, and being equally willing to help someone find the right food for the iguana as you would be to help them find the right dog collar is a must.
Most pet stores, especially larger chains like Petco or PetSmart, do prefer their employees to be 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or a GED, but this can vary from store to store. Many are willing to hire employees as young as 16 years old on a part time basis, provided they have the right paperwork from their school. Upper level positions may require a college degree, especially if you want to play a role in the corporate structure or upper management of your company in the future.