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