Starting a Pet Sitting Business

Job Duties

When starting a pet sitting business your job duty will be to care for a wide variety of pets including dogs, cats, hamsters, birds and lizards. It is your responsibility as a pet sitter to ensure the pets under your care are fed and have water to drink. You will also have to take the dogs on walks.

Where will you work?

starting a pet sitting business
When starting a pet sitting business you can decide to provide your service out of your own house or go to the client’s home. If you rent an apartment you must first ask the owner of the house for permission before starting a petting sitting business from there. Make sure you have enough space. Know your limit of how many pets you can take. If you see that your business is expanding and you need more space you can consider finding a seperate location.

Basic Costs

Costs for starting a pet sitting business are very low since you can work out of your own home or in the client’s home. Clients usually supply their own pet food but you can have extra stored just in case. When starting a pet sitting business consider purchasing a cell phone if you don’t have one. Also have pet bowls and beds if you will be offering services out of your home.

Tips for Starting a Pet Sitting Business

  • Patient, Trusting and a love for animals– Working with animals requires a love for them, a caring nature and patience. Pets are thought of as another family member in many families, that is why it is important for the pet owners to trust you. Nobody wants to leave their pets with someone they do not trust. One of the most critical steps of starting a pet sitting business is developing a trusting relationship with your clients.
  • Find out if pet sitting is in demand in your area.– A main ingredient in a successful small business is supplying a service or product that is in high demand and low supply. Do you know many people in your area that are in need of a pet sitter when they travel but can’t find one? Is there a lot of competition in your area already offering pet sitting services?
  • In the case of an emergency– When starting a pet sitting business you need to ensure that you have a plan of action should a medical emergency arise. Make sure to obtain written permission from pet owners to obtain medical service in the case of an emergency. Make sure you consult with pet owners on what actions to take in the case of a medical emergency. Do this in a professional manner; don’t scare away your customers. Assure them that you will take necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of their pets. You can consider getting pet sitter liability insurance which covers accidental incidents. Clients may feel more secure leaving their pets and home under your care if they know you have insurance. For your protection and the protection of the other pets under your care do not accept violent, risky or dangerous pets.
  • Consider offering other bonuses for clients– If you are pet sitting in a client’s home you can offer light cleaning, getting the newspaper or watering plants as bonuses to make your service more appealing.
  • Have a Reliable Phone– If you don’t have a cell phone consider purchasing one when starting a pet sitting business. Clients need to get in contact with you to inquire about your services and to find out how their pets are doing.
  • Zoning Laws– Before starting a pet sitting business be aware of local zoning laws. Zoning laws govern the area and can pose restrictions on how local businesses operate. Find out if there are any zoning laws that limit the amount of pets allowed in a home.

Advertising

  • Word-of-Mouth– Word of mouth is usually the most effective way of advertising a pet sitting service. Get recommendations from friends and family. Let everyone know you are offering pet sitting services.
  • Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, pet stores, pet supply stores, dog grooming centers, veterinarian offices, parks, travel agencies and community centers. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. You can conduct a search on a search engine to locate these businesses in your zip code or local area. Also hand out flyers to passer byes on the street.
  • Pet Sitting Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears.
  • Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
  • Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.
  • PetSit.com– You can consider becoming a member of PetSit.com where you can add your pet sitting service to their local search results.
  • Form a Partnership– Ask local travel agencies or house cleaning services if they can give out your business cards or recommend your services and in exchange you can do the same for them. Travel agencies in particular may be a good place to advertise petting sitting services since pet owners usually can not take thier pets with them on vacation.
  • Website– You can decide to develop a website to provide clients with access to general information about your pet sitting business.
  • Newspaper classified ads– You can consider advertising in newspaper ads in your local newspaper. However since newspaper ads can be expensive, experiment with them first. See if they bring you customers and if it is worth their cost.

Not sure about starting a pet sitting business? See a list of small business ideas

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