Do you love all things furry and four legged? Then pet sitting may be the step you need to take. Pet sitting allows you to spend time with furry friends all while making money. What’s the best part? If you start your own pet sitting business you have flexible hours, too. The pet industry continues to boom every year. Why not put your foot out there? It’s time for you to become part of the pet industry, too!
About 8 years ago I took on my first pet sitting gig. I was working at a local veterinarian clinic that offered boarding. We had an older couple that were regular clients. They had the sweetest, senior Chihuahua mix. The couple was aware we offered boarding. But, due to the numerous health problems their dog had, they wanted another option. They asked the veterinarian at the clinic about other options. In response, she began to spread the word around the office. Then she asked me, directly, if I would be interested.
Prior to that invitation, I had never pet sat. What was pet sitting anyways?! But, apparently I was the perfect candidate. I only had one other dog at the time. Another senior Chihuahua. After talking it over with my roommate, I agreed to do it. I contacted the owners, they dropped the dog off, I watched him a few days, and they picked him up and paid me. Easy peasy, right? Well, it depends.
When I took on my first “pet sitting client” 8 years ago, I didn’t know about the legal side of it. I thought I was just doing a favor. The couple never made me sign a contract or threaten me with legal action. Plus, at the end of it all they paid me in cash. This may still be the scenario in some cases, too. But, there is a lot more behind running a successful pet sitting business.
Shortly after my first pet sitting gig, I wanted to turn it into a business. My #1 information avenue was searching the internet.
There are so many amazing pet sitting resources out there. People really have a passion for the pet industry. Plus, numbers don’t lie when it comes to statistics. The pet industry is a billion dollar industry. It’s a billion dollar industry that blooms every year. People love their pets, that’s for sure.
I highly recommend checking out “Pet Sitting for Profit” by Patti J. Moran. It’s packed with easy to understand knowledge. Plus, it lists almost every resource a pet sitting business needs!
So, let’s start with the basics. There are a few things that should be prepared before you go in full force. I hate to be blunt. But, we live in a sue happy society. You just have to be prepared.
Pet Sitting Business Basics
- In 2016, it was noted that 65% of households own at least one pet.
- Pet owners spent $5.73 billion on their pets. That’s compared to the $5.41 billion spent in 2015.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11% increase in pet industry job growth between 2014 and 2024. Which is considered above average.
The proof is there. The pet industry isn’t going anywhere. It’s a billion dollar industry! So, pet sitting experts are in top demand.
There is a harsh reality to face when considering pet sitting. Well, a few harsh realities. Pet sitting isn’t always playing with cute puppies. Sometimes it can even lead to heartache. But, none the less, it’s a rewarding job that allows you many opportunities. Pet sitting gives you the chance to connect with your community. You can set your own hours (for the most part). Also, there is the opportunity to play with adorable puppies.
Harsh Realities of Pet Sitting
- You’re going to get dirty. There will be poop and urine to clean up. You may even deal with some vomiting. A lot of dogs like to get dirty, too.
- People like to sue people. Why? Because it can equal up to some major dollars. That’s why protecting your pet sitting business is important. But, we’ll touch on that in a little bit.
- There’s a chance you may have to administer medications. That’s why it’s important to be up front with pet owners. If you’re not comfortable, or don’t know how to give insulin – be up front! Proper medicating of pets is very important.
- You’ll experience heartache. Some of your favorite clients will pass.
- Some pet owners are very particular. You may be making homemade dog food. You may even be on a strict schedule.
- Emergencies happen. Make sure you’re 100% honest with what you’re capable of doing.
- Be prepared to have some house cleaning to do. Pets can be messy. Inside and outside.
- Sometimes you may be out in less than desirable conditions. Ya know, like snow, rain, all that good stuff.
- You may be recorded in someones home. If you’re interested in the laws on recording someone you can check out my post: Is Recording Someone Legal? Well, It Depends.
Don’t let the harsh realities of the pet sitting businesses scare you away. There are a lot of positive aspects, too. I hope the reality of pet sitting hasn’t scared you off. Because, now it’s time to learn how to ROCK your pet sitting business!
How to Rock Your Pet Sitting Business
At my other blog, TheThriftyBark.com, you can find a neat little infographic I put together. I’ve posted it below for ya’ll.
Pack the Ultimate Pet Sitting Tote
- Extra Leashes – Accidents happen. Better safe than sorry to keep a few extra on you.
- Treats – A great reward system. Plus, a great way to get the attention of a pet who isn’t quite interested in you. 😉
- Pet First Aid Kit – Once again, accidents happen. Better safe than sorry.
- Cleaning Supplies – I don’t think I have to repeat the “accidents happen” again. Always keep paper towels, disinfectant, extra bags, etc. in case of the occasional “uh oh.”
- Extra Collars – To go with the extra leashes, of course!
- Pet Waste Bags – This kind of falls into the “cleaning supplies” list.
- Extra Pet Toys – I know a few dogs who can’t resist the sound of a squeaky toy.
- Bottled Water – Those walks can get hot. Make sure you and your furry friend stay hydrated.
- Pet Sitting Contracts – These are important to keep. They ensure you’re doing the job the way the pet owner wanted it done.
- Notepad + Pen – This will allow you to jot down any notes about your pet sitting visit.
- Business Cards – You never know who you’ll meet on your walk. Have business cards available in case anyone inquires about your services.
- Camera/Smartphone – One of the things pet owners ask for are pictures. They love seeing their pets while they’re away. Capture your pet sitting stay.
Remember earlier when I talked about people being “sue happy?” This is where the “legal” aspect of pet sitting comes in.
The best way to obtain insurance for your pet sitting business is to look into a pet sitting agency.
Right now, as of 11/21/2016, NAPPS is offering a 10-day sneak preview of what you can get as a member. This is absolutely free. Thanks to NAPPS, though, you can receive many discounts on your pet sitting insurance.
I was a member of Pet Sitters International during my pet sitting career. The best part is they have memberships for the United States, Canada, and International. You can also get discounts on pet sitting insurance through them as well.
Branding your Pet Sitting Business
If you want to go the professional route, make sure you make a name for your business. Create a logo. Have your logo on your business cards and your contracts. Make sure your clients remember you.
Canva & PicMonkey are great and simple ways for you to brand your pet sitting business. CreativeMarket.Com is another great way to find products to help you.
But, I have to say without a doubt, that Patti J. Moran’s book “Pet Sitting for Profit” has been my #1 resource. You can check it out on Amazon here.
Are you into pet sitting? What are your tips on starting and succeeding in the pet industry? Drop a comment below. You never know who you might help!