This is a blog I wrote for HungryBun my e-commerce business. I thought it may be appropriate to post it here too.
As you may know we’re very into rabbit welfare here so when we’re not chatting to you on social media, or making treats, we’re perusing the forums and rabbit welfare groups. The past couple of nights there has been a story going around about a rabbit treats business on Facebook that has scammed customers, and potentially made a rabbit ill with their treats.
Now, I don’t know this company so I can’t weigh in on these claims, but with more and more of these businesses cropping up I think you should be informed before you try to make some extra cash.
So buckle up, we’re talking about what goes into a treats business. If you’re looking at starting a business then you should know…
- You can’t just up and sell treats
This is really important. You can NOT just wake up one morning and decide to sell rabbit treats. You have to be regulated and getting regulated is HARD. It took months upon months of reading through the various EU regulations, back and forth communications with Trading Standards, paperwork and inspections. The EU regulations cover everything from safety and contamination during production to labelling requirements. Even the scales you use to weigh the ingredients have to conform to government requirements. To top it off, we have inspections every 12 months to ensure we’re still meeting all of the requirements.
- You can’t just buy fruits and veggies from anywhere
Everything that you sell has to be traceable. I mean right back to the crop. You need excellent relationships with your suppliers, and you need documentation of where your ingredients are from. Authorities will spot check you, and in your 12 month inspection they will read through your logs. If they aren’t up to date then you’re out of business.
- Insurance is vital but hard to get
E-commerce businesses are notoriously hard to insure. Plus a good policy is expensive. You need insurance before you can sell, so you need to be sure that you can cover this overhead before you start trading.
- HMRC need to stay informed
Self-employed or not you need to keep a watertight record or your earnings and expenditure for tax reasons. If you mess up and effectively lie to the tax man you can get into some serious trouble. All receipts must be kept including travel, supplies, postage, web hosting, insurance, stationary, marketing, everything. No receipt, no proof of expenditure. Then logging it all into a format that HMRC like is difficult. Therefore you’ll need an accountant, which is expensive.
I’m going to stop there because I think if you’ve read that and still want to go ahead then fair enough, but hopefully this has put anyone off who thought it would be an easy venture.
The reason for this is because we see businesses crop up all the time. Not only are they dangerous for the rabbits to eat treats that aren’t properly regulated, but it’s so dangerous for the shop owner.
When we were starting out we were told that getting approval for selling animal food is harder than selling baby food. This is the truest statement I’ve ever heard. So please, be careful who you buy from, and think before you try to sell.
On a lighter note here’s Gary and Penny taste testing some treats from January’s box. They love the banana chips in particular. Greedy blurry bunnies!