Starting a Pet-Sitting Business

Pet sitting can be a rewarding and profitable business. While you probably won’t be moving next door to Bill Gates anytime soon, even part time pet sitters can make several hundred dollars a month.

Pet sitting is an ideal business for stay at home moms and other non-traditionally employed people. I’ve supplemented my writing career for several years by pet sitting. Many people with full time jobs are also able to run successful part time pet sitting businesses.

Pet Sitting Customers

Who might use a pet sitting service? Just about anyone with a pet, that has to be away from home for any length of time. America’s eighty million pet owners represent a vast customer base.

Many people do not like the idea of leaving their pet in a boarding kennel when they leave on business or vacation. Dogs with separation anxiety often do better staying in their own homes, rather than penned up in an unfamiliar place with a bunch of strange dogs.

Cats are pretty independent, but still need fed when their owners are away. Litter boxes need to be cleaned out at least every other day too.

An in home pet sitting business provides peace of mind for people. They can leave home without worrying about the well being of their pets.

Pet Sitting Provides Home Security

Burglars prowl neighborhoods looking for signs that homeowners are away. Mailbox theft is a growing crime as identity thieves look for personal information to purloin bank accounts and credit cards with. Having a pet sitter stopping by once or twice a day and bringing in the mail and newspapers helps prevent owners from becoming crime victims.

Getting Started

A pet sitting business takes very little in the way of start up expenses. The chief requirements are a love of animals, a telephone and reliable transportation.

Advertising Your Pet Sitting Services

Flyers and brochures advertising your pet sitting service can be printed at home for a few cents apiece. Make sure you have individual slips with your contact information that people can tear off.

You will want to have business cards and leave them every where. Business cards can be ordered at most print shops for around twenty bucks for a box of 250.

Classified ads in small Nickel Ad type papers will bring in several calls a week and more than pay for themselves.

Bulletin boards at stores and schools can give your pet sitting business excellent exposure at no cost. Always keep business cards and flyers in your car to take advantage of any free advertising space you happen across.

Veterinarians will often let you leave promotional material in their office. Try and establish contacts with as many Vets in your area as possible.

Animal shelters are another good source of pet sitting referrals. Donate a little time or money to a shelter and they will usually be more than happy to recommend you to new pet owners.

Pet groomers are yet another great source for new customers. Most will be happy to let your you leave brochures with them. Better yet though is to work out an exclusive deal with the largest pet grooming business in your area. You promote their business with your clients and they will do the same for you

Advertising is necessary to get your business going but over time you will find that most of your business will come by way of referral and word of mouth from existing customers. When you finish a job always leave a business card with the bill. Offering a reward, like a discount or free day of pet sitting, will encourage clients to recommend you to their friends.

Should Your Pet Sitting Business Have A Website

Should you have a website for your business? It isn’t critical to success but it can reap huge benefits. People are accustomed to getting information about a business from the Internet. A well-constructed web site provides another layer of professionalism to your business.

Don’t despair if you don’t know the first thing about HTML or nested tables. Web space providers nearly all offer easy to use web page templates. All you have to do is type in the information you want prospective customers to see.

Should you have a website for your business? It isn’t critical to success but it can reap huge benefits. People are accustomed to getting information about a business from the Internet. A well-constructed web site provides another layer of professionalism to your business.

Don’t despair if you don’t know the first thing about HTML or nested tables. Web space providers nearly all offer easy to use web page templates. All you have to do is type in the information you want prospective customers to see.

One final word about web sites. Always use your own domain name, like www.superpetsitting.com. . Many sites will offer you a free subdomain that looks something like this, www.1millionwebpages/businesses/superpetsitting.com. Not very professional looking or easy to remember is it? Domain names can be purchased for fewer than ten dollars a year.

Professional Accreditation

Many people like the idea of having their pets cared for in their own home but are leery of letting complete strangers into their house while they are gone, quite understandable in today’s world. You can ease their worries by getting liability insurance and bonding through Pet Sitters International or other national pet sitting organizations. The cost is minimal and the words “bonded and insured” on your business cards will mark you as a professional to prospective customers.

Joining Pet Sitters International should be the first step in starting a pet sitting business. In addition to insurance they offer a vast array of resources and advice.

How Much To Charge

How much should you charge? The short answer is it depends on the area you live in. Pet sitters in metropolitan areas generally charge more than pet sitters in smaller towns. If there are established pet sitting businesses in your town, your prices need to be competitive.

A good starting point is $20.00 dollars a day for two half-hour visits. During a visit you would take the dog for a walk and put out fresh food and water. I charge $2.00 more for each additional dog. If my clients have a dog and one or two cats I generally don’t charge in additional fee as long as the cats don’t require much more care than feeding.

Customers who work long hours may just want you to come by once during the middle of the day to let Rover out to empty his bladder. I charge $10.00 for this service unless I have an extended contract with the client in which case I’ll charge $8.00.

For senior citizens and disabled persons I always offer a discount. For many of these people their pet is all that is between them and a life of loneliness. Be generous with them, the good karma you generate will come back to you many times over.

Occasionally owners will want you to house sit in addition to taking care of the pets. I charge a flat $25.00 a day for overnight stays, regardless of the number of animals, within reason of course. If your client has four dogs, six cats, two dozen chickens and four horses, you might want to raise your rates a bit.

The upside to over night jobs is occasionally getting to stay in some pretty spectacular homes. Just remember you are a professional. Snooping through closets, emptying the fridge and watching porn on Pay -Per-View is not going to garner many repeat customers!

Adding More Pet Related Services To Your Business

As your business grows you might want to consider adding other services. Delivering animals to veterinarians and pet groomers are popular with busy people.

Another profitable sideline is canine waste removal. “Yuck”, you say! No one likes cleaning up yard bombs. Which is why being a pooper-scooper can be financial rewarding. Many people earn thousands of dollars a month doing weekly yard calls. Landlords and property management companies will readily pay you $25.00 to $50.00 to clean up after a messy tenant has vacated. After all, the fee is coming out of the security or cleaning deposit.

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