Weird Business #9: “Start a Pet Detective Business”

A person puts a lost pet poster on a tree.
Getty Images

C’mon admit it. You all saw Ace Ventura. Maybe you laughed, maybe you cried after realizing you were going to be stuck in the theater for 90 minutes, but surely you left the theater thinking a pet detective was one of the coolest jobs you’d ever heard of.

Believe it or not – pet detectives are a real thing, and the best ones can command big bucks! Fees for pet detectives vary, with some charging a flat rate around $250 for their services, while others can demand a daily fee of up to $1,000.

There’s also a never-ending pool of clients because according to the Humane Society more than 5 million pets are lost each year.

What Pet Detectives Do

After an initial consultation, pet detectives employ a number of a methods to help track down lost pets. Basic services include blanketing the city with posters, checking shelters and interviewing neighbors in the area where their pet was lost.

Professional pet detectives also often have a trained dog that can help track the scent of the client’s lost pooch or feline. Some even employ CSI-like techniques including forensic evidence gathering, DNA testing and video monitoring.

How to Start a Pet Detective Business

Before you open shop, you’ll want to apply for a business license and attend some training on how to find lost pets. Mission Reuinte is a useful resource, and you might even be able to receive some free training through your local Humane Society.

There are plenty of ways to drum up business including word of mouth and Craigslist. It might also be helpful to leave a stack of business cards at the animal shelter so they can give them out to pet owners.

Another way to make money as a pet detective is to work as a freelancer by looking for pets that you see on reward posters. Rewards can range between $100-$1,000, but the downside is that you will only be paid if you are successful.