Quick Guide: Quick Guide: How to Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business

Aware of it or not, by only making a small initial investment, pet sitting jobs can turn into a successful pet-sitting business that can generate you a six-figure income in a short period of time. So, depending on where you live (meaning, your income will be limited if you live somewhere where there are not so many pet owners) and how much time you want to put in, your business can blossom in three years.

Many people who were pet sitters grew their business by adding contract workers. They had someone to manage their marketing, client interviews, scheduling and other aspects. Some pet sitters have thousands of clients and hire dozens of independent contractors to help them out.

Every organized pet lover who wants to put in some effort and time and get into the pet-sitting profession can launch this business with a modest investment and minimal commitment. Meaning, you should start with no more than three clients. You need to understand what work will be involved and what resources you are going to need.

Dog Walking

Pet Sitting or Dog Walking?

You need to understand that pet sitting is different from dog walking; a dog walker just walks the dogs and in urban settings and they can walk several dogs at a time. A pet sitter is more involved with both the pet and their owners. In many cases, they become the primary caregiver, they learn about the medical needs of the pet, their nutritional requirements and behavioral issues.

So, if you want to earn a lot of money, you need to offer pet sitting services. One typical pet sit lasts for 30 minutes, more or less, and it includes watering, feeding and playing. You may be even be asked to water the plants, take in the mail, turn the lights on and off, if your client is out of town, that is.

You Have To Love Animals

Many people say that they enjoy what they do for a living, but being a pet sitter is one of the few professions a person must do with love. This is because you will be taking care of a living creature and you need to make an emotional commitment to this business and the fury animals that are a part of it. You will never make it in this business if you enter it simply because you want to be an entrepreneur and earn an impressive amount of money.

In addition to the joy of playing with cute animals and working, you will also have to face seeing some animals in pain, because you will be working together with clients in resolving the health and behavioral issues with pets, and these tend to arise rather often.

Working Hours That Are Not That Traditional

Pet sitters do not exactly have the luxury to work from Monday to Friday, from nine to five. In many cases, they work in the evenings, during weekends and holidays. These are actually the busiest days for sitters. Do not be afraid; this does not mean that you will need to work 24/7, but you will have to limit the number of clients, or hire assistants if you want to stay sane.

As the primary caregiver for the animal, a pet sitter is the go-to contact for the pet owners before the veterinarian. When your assistant, or one of the contractors cannot make it to their scheduled sits, you may be the one who will have to step in. Pet sitters cannot just leave an animal in a house or apartment for a couple of days when the sitters are busy.

Working Hours

Pet Sitting Business Basics

This is the part where you do not have to reinvent the wheel when you are looking to launch your own pet sitting business. First, you will need to write a business plan, and it needs to include a detailed analysis of your competition, pricing structure, the equipment you will need to purchase and, of course, you will have to learn everything about the legal requirements concerning a pet sitting business.

Specifics of Pet Sitting

In addition to the pet sitting basics you will need to cover, you also have to do some specific tasks to manage this type of venture. You will have to decide whether you will make on-site visits, take pets to vet appointments, provide daycare, offer overnight stays or bring the pets back to your home in case of extended stays. New pet sitters need to do certain things and these include:

Insurance And Bonding – You will need to find an insurance provider that will provide you with the correct type of insurance and liability to run your pet sitting service. In addition to liability insurance, take a look at custody and control insurance that will cover the animals in your care.

Permits and Licenses – This is where you need to contact your state’s business offices to see what kind of license you are going to need based on the type of services you will offer. The more services you will be providing for the animals, the more paperwork you will need to have. If you are going to take care of pets at your place, check to see if you will be needing a license to board animals.

Payment System – Some pet sitters accept only cash or checks as a payment method, and there are others who accept credit cards or PayPal. If your clientele will consist mostly of elderly people, you might need to opt for cash and checks, whereas younger clients will want to pay with credit cards or PayPal. If that is the case, you can consider using a payment system, and if you are not sure which one would be best, you can take a look at online software reviews that will help you choose the one which will suit your needs.

Contracts – you will need contracts that will cover the agreements made between you and your clients, and as your business grows, you will also need contracts for contractors and employees.

Interviewing Procedures – Pet sitting can be considered to be a two-way street when it comes to interviews. Pet owners will want to meet you and see how their pet will respond to you. They will want to see your references and your pet sitting background. And, as for you, you will want to see how your potential clients treat their pets and if they are too demanding.

Pet Sitting Business

Try To Practice before Starting Your Own Business

If you are not sure that this pet sitting business is the right venture for you, or you just need some experience before you start your own business, you can consider working as a contractor for a pet sitting service. Inform the owner of the service that you want to learn the basics of the business and that you are not able to stay long-term. Contact a pet sitting service outside of the area you have projected, because you will be asked to sign a non-compete agreement. You can offer to pay the owner of the pet sitting service to teach you some of the basics, including various tips related to paperwork, marketing practices, payment methods and other advice.

Reasons Why This Business May Be a Failure

Many people who start this business fail within the second year, mainly due to these four reasons:

  • Driving too far
  • Charging too little
  • Lack of organization
  • Burnout

This is where you need to run some numbers to see how much revenue you may bring in. Calculate the driving time which raises the gas costs and the number of hours you will be working. Our advice is to limit your service area to a radius of 5 to 10 miles. Even though turning clients down in the beginning is difficult, trying to cover a large area can get overwhelming and that will lead to many difficulties when your business starts to grow.

In conclusion, if you believe that you are able to meet all of these three key success factors and run a successful pet sitting business, then this is one business opportunity you need to go for. So, if you love animals, and are willing to work odd hours, you will be on the right path.

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