Pet shop assistants sell animals, such as hamsters and guinea pigs, as well as fish, birds, rabbits, reptiles and insects. They also sell pet food, accessories and bedding.
You could be:
feeding the animals and exercising them when necessary
cleaning out cages and tanks
making sure the temperature and conditions are correct for the animal
catching a particular fish or other animal for a customer
serving the customers and taking payment
advising customers how to look after the animals they buy
selling pet care products
ordering, receiving and unpacking stock and filling shelves
cleaning and tidying the shop.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is £5.28 an hour for workers under 18, £7.49 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £10.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over is £10.42 an hour.
Supervisors or assistant managers may earn around £20,000 a year. Managers may earn around £25,000 to £30,000 a year.
You would work around 40 hours a week, perhaps working five days out of seven.
You would work mainly indoors at a retail outlet, store or larger pet store supplier.
You would deal with animals and rodents such as guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits, as well as reptiles, insects and fish.
You have to handle animals carefully as they may bite if scared or anxious.
You will clean out dirty, smelly cages.
You have to carry heavy items such as cages and sacks of food.
You might spend most of the day on your feet.
You may be provided with a uniform to wear, and may sometimes need an apron or gloves.