Petmoves Import Consultancy
Today our guest is Sean Bennetts from Melbourne, Australia. He is the Owner and Operator of a small niche business that fills a gap in Importing and Exporting Dogs to and from Australia called Petmoves Import Consultancy. We have conducted an interview with him.
How difficult is understanding the procedural requirements to import or export pets into Australia?
The procedural requirements for the import of pets into Australia is extremely strict and complicated. Australia is one of only a very limited number of countries in the world that does not have Rabies and several other diseases, this makes the requirements to bring pets in extremely strict and no concessions are allowed, as people would understand after the incident over Johnny Depp bringing Boo and Pistol into Australia without ensuring that the strict import measures were met as can be seen from this ABC article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-14/johnny-depps-dogs-cant-stay-in-australia-barnaby-joyce-warns/6468542
The Australian Government has listed Countries into 4 Categories with respect to Pet Imports, these categories are:
• Category 1 Countries: New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island
• Category 2 Countries: Group 2 countries are described as approved rabies-free countries and territories
• Category 3 Countries: Group 3 countries are described as approved countries and territories in which rabies is absent or well-controlled
• Non-Approved Countries: Animals from non-approved countries are not eligible for direct import to Australia, they must be imported into a Category 2 or 3 Country before they can be Imported into Australia.
Each of these Categories has differing entry requirements that need to be met and specific import timeframes before a pet is permitted into Australia. The Department of Agriculture and Water website has an import section for pets, both dogs and cats, which outlines specific step by step guidelines for importing, but they are only guidelines and can be confusing as can be seen from this example of a Category 3 Country Import: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs/step-by-step-guides/category-3-step-by-step-guide-for-dogs
Exporting can be a little more difficult regarding pets as there are specific Australian Department of Agriculture requirements prior to Export and then you need to know the Import requirements that have to be observed to Import to the country your taking the pets to. If you plan on bringing them back, its handy to know what category the country falls into, as taking your pet to a Non-approved Country can make it very hard and very expensive to get them back into Australia. Petmoves can also assist with advice regarding this matter.
How does your business fill a hole in the process of importing and exporting dogs and cats into and out of Australia?
People wanting to import or export their pet to or from Australia, can chose one of three alternatives:
The first option is doing everything themselves according to the guidelines provided by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on their website. Unfortunately, the process and instructions on this website are guidelines and a summary only and don’t explain the finer details which must be met to ensure that the pet is accepted into the country and only spends the minimum 10 days in quarantine. One tiny detail incorrect on a laboratory report for example can invalidate the whole report and export process, costing owners thousands. Owners relying on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources guidelines are often unaware of the finer details until it’s too late.
Add to this that while it would be expected that vets and labs overseas should know the necessary requirements for Australian Imports and duly meet them, on many occasions they actually don’t, meaning that they require extra guidance from an experienced agent. To construct a timeline which meets all the requirements satisfactorily is a complicated process, which is the main reason why there are countless pet transport companies that have cropped up around the world making a very tidy profit by doing just that.
The second option is to hire a traditional pet transport company to do everything and manage the process. Yes, most of the time (definitely not all of the time), the process will go smoothly and the pet will be able to be collected from Australian quarantine as expected. However, because of their overheads, these companies apply a huge surcharge for their services. At least a third of the quote they provide is for “administration costs” – that is, their profit. In the export of a larger dog from the UK, service charges can amount to $3000. It also needs to be remembered that in many cases, these companies have to pay salaries, superannuation, registration on vehicles and insurance so they need to charge far more in regard to import and export transportation of pets because all these subsidiary business payments need to be met to ensure they comply with the Industry standards and Government legislation placed upon them. This leads to a need for them to apply huge additional percentages to costs to ensure they meet the costs of doing business.
The Third option is Petmoves Import Consultancy which fills the middle ground hole in the importing and exporting process. Petmoves Import Consultancy’s main purpose is that it can be engaged to either manage/co-ordinate the entire process, through advising and guiding the owner (and their veterinarians) or assisting the owner at various stages. Because the business has such low overheads, the service surcharge is less than ½ and in some cases less than ¼ of that which a traditional pet transport company would charge – yet the final results are exactly the same, in that a much loved pet is safely imported to or exported from Australia. So, the business offers a far more economical alternative to the pet owner, with the same successful outcome. Petmoves has the exclusively developed Petmoves Personalised Australian Pet Import Guide, which gives a person a personalised plan for importing or exporting their pets to Australia, with all the documents, information and expanded assistance guides a person needs to ensure the smooth import or export of their pet by themselves without any assistance from Petmoves if an individual chose to do that.
What inspired you to start the Petmoves Import Consultancy?
We did not start Petmoves, it is the brain child of a very smart lady by the name of Pam Francis who had worked in the Pet Transport Company Industry and realised that there was a far more economical way of managing pet imports and exports. This filled the hole in the whole pet import / export process that gave her the inspiration to create Petmoves Travel Consultancy which offered people the less expensive option than the traditional Pet Transport Companies and a more in-depth and detailed explanatory option which gives all the information needed for the Import which was missing from the Australian Department of Agriculture’s import website guides.
In February, Pam decided to sell the business after a few years of running it as a small home business. We picked up business purchase offer realising that with my own experience and ability to be able to read legislation and technical requirements with minimal learning input, that it would be a good additional income source which could be grown in size and scope if I ended up having more time to put into it outside my fulltime job. With that, we moved on purchasing the business and are slowly growing it with a bit of help from Pam before we transition fully to self-operation. There was also a slight name change from Petmoves Travel Consultancy as it was when Pam owned it to Petmoves Import Company to better reflect the nature of the business, but otherwise everything has been pretty much left as it was, although we are moving to include a further service which is also a niche service within itself but not offered by normal pet transport companies.
What kind of niche services do you provide?
One of the main benefits of Petmoves Import Consultancy with regard to services is that we are not limited to an all or nothing process with any of the main packages we offer. While our main services are packaged into the Petmoves DIY Personalised Australian Import/Export Guides and the Petmoves Full Import/Export Management Service, an individual is not limited to an either or option.
Due to the structure of the business, we are able to offer part, or individual processes either in full or part. For example if you just want us to assist you with the Import Permit application process, Quarantine application process and to check the required Declaration and Laboratory Report Documents before submitting them, we can tailor just that part of the service, if you would like us to run a full spectrum quote for transport from the country of origin to Australia with different companies and airlines, we can do that for you as well and simply tailor a package for that, we are not limited in what services and assistance we can offer our clients so it gives them the freedom to either do part of the Import / Export themselves and just have us do specific bits or to use a Pet Transport Company for some, do some themselves and have us do some, the mix is limitless in that regard for tailoring to the needs of our Clients as individuals.
Another niche field we are moving the business into is the importation of Semen. Most Pet Transport companies will not involve themselves with this, for this purpose you need to go to a Semen Import/Export Company. From a Dog and Cat showing perspective this is a growing business, even with Horses and other animals the import of Semen is becoming more and more important purely because it’s cheaper from the perspective of not having to buy the Animal. With Petmoves Import Consultancy, the main part of the import is the same as importing the dog or cat, however we are developing relationships with respectable Semen Transport Companies we can contact for quotes on behalf of our clients if they wish to take that path as well. This business move, while taking a little time to get there as we search for reputable importers of this kind to work with is taking a little time, it will certainly add an additional option for people and make this specific niche option cheaper as well.
Something else special with the Business is that we are family owned and operated business. We have no employees except Family Members so any contact with us as a Business means the Clients will always be talking directly to a member of the Family that has been involved in Owning, Breeding and Showing dogs and cats for over 44 years. In this way, we like to see our clients as part of our family and see our family growing because we have kept people with their pets and helped them get through the process of Importing or Exporting them into Australia with as little stress to the owners as possible.
Are there any exceptions to countries you do not include in your services?
Petmoves Import Consultancy does not have any exceptions to countries that we would exclude. The only issue is that for an import from a non-approved country our fees are generally higher due to nearly a doubling in work that is required, as the pet is required to be imported into another country before it can be imported into Australia. This doubles the Import requirements on all levels before it even arrives here.
How can these services help save time and money for clients/customers?
I doubt they will save time, except perhaps in the process of getting quotes from various companies regarding shipping and airfares, as we can contact several Pet transport Companies and Airlines to get better quotes than just contacting one that may be recommended to the Client or the main one they know, however the rest of the process is very specific. Our service does save our clients/customers money in several ways however:
1. The import / export is done by the person, so they aren’t paying somebody to do the running around for them;
2. There is no GST currently needed to be paid on our services, there is an automatic saving of 10% straight up to the Client there, especially if the Importer/Exporter is in Australia;
3. We don’t charge additional “service or administration fees” because as a “Consultancy” we don’t have the overheads that a standard Pet Transport Company has to pay, mainly because everything is paid by the client directly to the people, organisations and Departments that are performing the required work for them during the process or the work is done by the owner/Importer directly.
4. Clients can also save money on our own services because our services can be tailored to suit the level or competency they have or the level to which they may want to do stuff directly from the Department’s Website, so they don’t need to pay for services they may be confident enough to do themselves, only for the services they would like us to perform or assist with. This lowers the costs of our own services for the customer.
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