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What could be better than making a living taking care of cats and other furry, four-legged friends? If you’re a dedicated animal lover looking to start your own business, then pet sitting might just be what you’re looking for, but make sure you understand everything involved before you make a decision.
What Does Pet Sitting Involve?
Many people don’t like the idea of putting their beloved pets into a cattery or boarding kennels when they go away, as some animals are very sensitive to change and suffer when they’re taken out of their home environment. While some people have friends and family who are happy to look after their pets in their own home, some people either don’t have that luxury or would prefer to hire someone who dedicates their time to looking after other people’s pets.
While you obviously do get to spend quality time with your clients’ pets, don’t forget that you’ll be responsible for everything involved in taking care of them – just like your own cat. Playing, feeding, watering, grooming, walking dogs and changing litter trays are all common parts of the job, but you also have to make sure that your furry charges are healthy, so you might end up with emergency vet visits. Make sure that you have all the necessary information, such as vet details, before you take on any pet sitting job.
Getting Started in Pet Sitting
Pet sitting is a business, so make sure you understand everything you need to do to start your own business – see the FAQ for more information. A business plan is essential, especially if you need funding to start it up, and you’ll need to choose a unique and engaging name for your business.
One thing to consider is whether you’re happy to sit for any animal, or whether you have limitations – make sure you decide this upfront so you can make it clear in your advertising.
Now it’s time to get some clients!
How to Attract Pet Sitting Clients
Get flyers, posters and business cards printed up to distribute in places where pet owners are likely to see them, like local vets, animal shelters, dog groomers and shops that have notice boards. It’s fairly cheap and easy to set up a basic website for your business.
Word of mouth is always the best marketing, so the more happy clients you have, the more referrals you’ll get.
The Other Side of Pet Sitting
It’s not all pet paradise, here are some of the not so nice aspects of pet sitting you could have to deal with:
- Cleaning up after a sick pet.
- As with any business, you have to keep marketing yourself even when you’re busy to avoid the ‘feast or famine’ cycle.
- No sick pay or holiday pay.
- Not all pets are friendly, and while you shouldn’t have to deal with dangerous animals, you do risk being scratched or bitten.
Pet Sitting FAQs
Do I need qualifications to be a pet sitter?
Not necessarily, but any qualifications you have relating to animal care and health will obviously be an added bonus.
What are the legalities in setting up a pet sitting business?
There are different codes of practise for each state or territory so make sure you check what’s relevant to your area. You’ll also need an ABN (Australian Business Number) to set up as a sole trader.
Do I need insurance to be a pet sitter?
As with any service business that deals with the public, you should consider public liability insurance, which covers any legal claim made by your clients.
Have you considered starting a pet sitting business or taken the plunge? What advice do you have?
Images: spilltojill via Flickr
Christy Paws says
Mom has been a pet sitter for several years. We recently moved to a new area and getting reestablished has been a challenge. In the end, word-of-mouth is always the best advertising.
GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES says
You shared valuable information, I’ve never considered becoming a pet sitter, but always wondered things a pet owner should look for when choosing a pet sitter. Would love to read a blog post from you on that perspective. #hinthint Very nicely written.
Sharon, Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog says
There’s a lot more to pet sitting than people think. All of these are excellent tips to consider before making this your new career.
Fur Everywhere says
Thank you for the great information. Pet sitting would be a fun job, but also a lot of work.
Rosa @ Cat Lady Confidential says
This is great information for someone interested in starting a pet sitting business. In Portugal pet sitting is available only in a few bigger towns, so the option usually are pet hotels – that many pet product stores now offer.
I do cat and dog sit for neighbors but never thought to do it on a business level. You bring up some great points to think about in this post. Thanks for sharing.
Ellen Pilch says
I cat sit for friends and family, but I have never thought of doing more- with 14 of my own, my hands are full 🙂 Great information though for those that want to start a business.
The Swiss Cats says
A friend of us started her pet sitting business three years ago ; she started slowly despite many ads, and then her first customers were her best reference, by word of mouth. Purrs
Kristen–well minded says
I started my pet sitting business a little over ten years ago. You make some really great points. I especially agree with your thoughts on marketing. When I first started out, I spent a ton of money on ads that didn’t gain me many clients. Business cards in the right places, networking, and client referrals have been the ways I’ve gained the most new business. Great post!
Melissa & Mudpie says
Great tips! I’ve been pet sitting for neighbors for years (and they are kind enough to pay me even though I don’t ask!) They’ve urged me to pet sit as a business and have recommended me to friends, but I haven’t taken the plunge…yet!
The Island Cats says
The mom has considered starting her own pet sitting service once she retires from her current job. These are some great tips!
Good pet sitters are hard to find! We treasure ours, even though I don’t get to see her often – it’s more Binga and Boodie, because I usually get to go out of town with my human. The really good pet sitters are almost always in demand, so there is a lot of opportunity in this type of work.