Home Based Business Idea 2 - Pet Sitting

(Photos from flickr)
(Photos from flickr)

Pet Sitting is a Profitable Home Based Business

Are you an animal lover? Yes? Then this latest business fad is yours to exploit! According to surveys, the pet sitting business is one of the fastest growing home based businesses today. Some career experts would say, going to be a pet sitter is also a wise career move.

Understandably, your first reaction to these new ideas could be: But I don't know how!

Ignorance is not a problem. There are organizations for pet sitters that provide support and education for the aspirants.

Two of these are:

  1. National Association of Professional Pet Sitters - http://www.petsitters.org/

  2. Pet Sitters International - http://www.petsit.com/

After you get the necessary permits, insurance, and certificates; all you need is a small capital to start up this home-based business. Of course, you will also invest some amount of money and time while completing your pet-sitter papers. In order to be a certified pet sitter, you should finish a short course in business management, animal care and health matters.

Cat on a Plant Pot (Photo from petpals.com)
Cat on a Plant Pot (Photo from petpals.com)

Don’t Get Discouraged by Shortcomings

A small lawn and a small home space should not deter you from starting up your pet sitting business. You can do pet sitting right in your client's home. Some research shows that pets are much better off staying in their own turf rather than in some strange kennels or catteries. Dogs and cats are more amicable to handle when surrounded with familiar smells and noises; and with homely routines.

Throw in some care for plants and home as added bonus for the pet sitting clients that are going away for long holidays.

How Lucrative is the Pet Sitting Business?

A growing number of pet owners are relying on pet sitters to look after their pets when they go to work, or go out of town or country, and to give exercise to their pets. Pet sitters can also take the pets to the vets for vitamin and vaccine shots, and to the groomers for bathing and grooming routines.

Dog and Cat Sleeping Together (from Flickr)
Dog and Cat Sleeping Together (from Flickr)

Ian White pet-sitters.biz reported: "In the United States... 63.2 million individuals own a pet or two. There are roughly 64 million dogs and 76 million cats in America."

It is also reported that U.S. Bureau of Labor has foreseen that the pet sitting business is one of the small businesses that will prosper in the coming years. Any individual who is a genuine animal lover and has a small capital can undertake a home-based pet sitting business. Thus, a vision of having a pet sitting service center in every corner of the states is a great possibility.

A Pet Sitter Who Genuinely Loves Animals

Now is the Right Time to be a Pet Sitter—But Can You be a Professional Pet-Sitter?

Before plunging into the pet sitting venture, please take some time to evaluate yourself. Answer the following questions:

  1. Are you willing to be a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Vice President for Finance, Sales Director, and Director for Customer Service-rolled into one for your own business? And do you know the job descriptions of each role?
  2. Do you have a business plan and goals for a 6-to-12-month period, and for the next 5 years?
  3. Can you be trusted with house keys and other confidential matters regarding your clients?
  4. Can you acquire all the necessary papers that are needed to your business operation? For example: health certificates, insurance, and business license or permit.
  5. Do you have a reliable substitute pet-sitter who can perform your duties according to clients' needs? Train well a proxy pet-sitter or two for business emergencies and personal days-off.
  6. Are you a good listener? A professional pet sitter should be resourceful and flexible enough to fit into the needs of every client.
  7. Are you willing to do networking on a regular basis? Help your business grow through mingling within the community. Join a local pet sitter group to build business relationships.
  8. Can you delegate your duties and leave your business behind to enjoy a well-deserved holiday?
  9. Are you willing to pursue a continuous education, regarding your pet sitting business? Pets are not only dogs and cats. Some pets are birds, rabbits, monkeys, aquatic animals, iguanas, and even snakes. A professional pet sitter should learn to provide the different needs of each pet.
  10. Can you be discreet and professional enough whenever the topic about your competitors comes up?

Of course, you are not expected to get a perfect evaluation score. You should be able to perform your pet-sitting duties professionally even though you have no positive answers to some questions above. It is a must, though, that you pay attention to some of these items as soon as possible. To assure your business' success, give all your best!

Basic Cat Health

Tips on Starting a Home-Based Pet-Sitting Business:

  1. Be honest with your clients. Especially to a client who has a pet that you haven't experienced taking care of. Admit your ignorance but express your strong desire to learn. Your genuine passion to give quality service should make a long-lasting impression.
  2. Learn the ropes of running a small business. As the owner, you should pay attention to the accounting, sales, marketing and bookkeeping aspects of the business.
  3. Be a frugal business owner. Set up a budget and follow it strictly. Calculate how many pet sitting jobs you'd need to perform in order to earn enough to pay bills and basic needs.
  4. Be competitive. Observe the other pet-sitting businesses in your area, and think of more well-organized ways to serve clients better.
  5. Set a reasonable price for your pet-sitting services. Not too high, which might frighten away prospective clients; and not too low, which could crash your business to oblivion.
  6. Always ask the pet owners about their beloved pets and create records of this information for future references.
  7. Enjoy dealing with your clients. Although you are serving the pets, your true customer is the one who pays the bill. You must also build warm relationships with pet owners to show appreciation on their continued trust.
  8. Be an astute business proprietor. A shrewd mind can guide you to make the right decisions. When choosing between customers, always go to the ones with good payment records.
  9. Be a team player. Befriend your fellow pet-sitters. Look for possible candidates who could bail you out of trouble. When you're fully booked and do not want to lose a valued customer, you'll need to recommend a pet sitter. Or vice versa. A fellow pet sitter could give you bookings that your business need instead.
  10. Scout around for helpful information and free publicity. Make friends with other small business owners in the neighborhood: i.e., laundry shops or cleaning services. Some of their clients could be pet owners. Your business will benefit a lot if you can persuade these small business owners to let you put some ‘pet sitter ads' on shop windows or on payment bills sent to clients.

Tips & Techniques on Dog Massage

How to Market Your Pet Care Services

Create a flyer with a tasteful design. Use descriptive words to introduce your business implicitly. A detailed explanation of how your service works will surely catch many pet owners' attention.

Dogs Out for a Walk (Photo from Flickr)
Dogs Out for a Walk (Photo from Flickr)

Here's a suggested content for an effective flyer:

Initial Visit: Free of charge

  1. Introduction with the pet/s,
  2. Interview with owner about particular caring method for pet/s,
  3. Get a complete list of instructions,
  4. Get a copy of the veterinary records,
  5. Fill-up and sign the agreement or contract,
  6. Present pet sitter's license and other necessary papers, and
  7. Pick up the door key.

Following Visits: (Specify fee directly after the respective services)

On Pet Care - (for owners who went away for long holidays)

  1. Play with pet/s,
  2. Give fresh food and water,
  3. Clean the bedding, litter box and eating utensil,
  4. Scoop the poop,
  5. Give medication or vitamin, if needed, and
  6. Brush, comb, or exercise the pet/s.

On Home Care - (This is a bonus incentive without additional fee.)

  1. Bring in the mail and daily newspaper,
  2. Water the indoor plants, when needed,
  3. Bring out the garbage, and
  4. Do things inside the house to create a ‘lived-in' impression, which could help discourage burglars from breaking in.

Short Daily Pet Care - (Specify if you're not available during Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays)

  1. Each 30-minute visit include giving of fresh water and food, and
  2. Exercise the pet/s, through walking and/or playing with it inside a secured area.

Short Nightly Pet Care - (Specify the exact time that you're available to perform your nightly visits.)

  1. A night walk for the animal,
  2. Give fresh water and food, and
  3. Settle the pet/s to bed.

Our Furry Friends (Photo from Flickr)
Our Furry Friends (Photo from Flickr)

A Personal Touch

This part of the flyer is optional but could boost your reputation as a warm and sensitive pet sitter. Include or not, the following poem is a pleasing tribute to our beloved companion animals.

Member of the Family

by Hope Harrington Kolb

What would I do without you, my precious, furry friend?...
Part mischief, but all blessings, and faithful to the end!
You look at me with eyes of love, you never hold a grudge...
You think I'm far too wonderful to criticize or judge.
It seems your greatest joy in life is being close to me...
I think God knew how comforting your warm, soft fur would be.
I know you think you're human, but I'm glad it isn't true...
The world would be a nicer place if folks were more like you!
A few short years are all we have; One day we'll have to part...
But you, my pet, will always have a place within my heart. 

A Cat Watching a Cat-Sitter DVD!

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Comments 11 comments

Kat07 profile image

Kat07 8 years ago from Tampa

Wow, this is comprehensive and in-depth - WONDERFUL hub!


Atif 8 years ago

Thanks for your beautifull page.I would check this page again and again.

When I was little, my family always thought it was such a great treat to take me to the zoo... but it almost always made me feel sad, because all I could think of was the poor creatures penned up in their little cages, so far from where they belonged.I've never liked it the people keep "exotic" pets... wild creatures belong in the wild, not in someone's apartment.

I have just lunched a blogsite.Please check it and comment.Here is the site.

http://reptilez.blogspot.com/

Thanks again for your hardwork.


Live N Learn profile image

Live N Learn 8 years ago from Las Vegas Author

I appreciate all the beautiful comments from beautiful people like you. Thank you very much for such heart-warming words, Kat07 and Atif. Of course, I will pay you a visit, Atif.


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal

Great hub! I guess Portuguese pet owners are still less concern about this kind of service cause unfortunately it´s very usual to see abandoned pets everywhere :(

But nevertheless I´ll look for more info on pet sitting rules over here ;)


Live N Learn profile image

Live N Learn 8 years ago from Las Vegas Author

Thank you for dropping by and for the encouragement, Funride!


review909 profile image

review909 7 years ago from USA

what a unique income opportunity! opportunities like this, most likely you will succeed because only few poeple have these abilities to make a job done, meaning you have few competitors! great post..


Kevin  7 years ago

Very informative , a perfect niche to test out to see how profitable it can be to me . Good job Thanks


Pet Sitting 6 years ago

This is great. Talk about a comprehensive page that talks about a pet sitter and what is important to look for when you need someone to pet sit. One thing, you may want to choose a pet sitter with a physical retail location e.g. Dirty Johnson's Dog Wash, Grooming and Pet Sitting in Salt Lake City, Utah. That way you know where to find the company if you have issues, and know that they are legitimate. Check out www.johnsonsdogwash.com for more info!

Thanks for a great post!


Tiffany 6 years ago

be honest...is it hard getting clients..??


Dog grooming in Utah 6 years ago

This is great information for someone who is looking to make extra money and enjoy the fun and love of someone's pet!


Lea^ profile image

Lea^ 5 years ago from Vancouver WA

This is a great hub! The detail is very helpful, and the videos and photos keep the reader's interest. Good job.

Tiffany, it isn't difficult getting work. I find that a lot of pet parents take their pets with them like they would a child, and when they cannot, they need someone trustworthy and loving to care for them. If you love animals, learn all that you can to care for them, and go for it.

My worst day as a pet sitter outshines the best day working anywhere else.

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