My Process of Starting a Pet Sitting Services Business
This hub actually started out as an answer to this weeks questions about starting a business. I actually completed it and hit the submit button only to get one of those dreaded "error" messages. It informed me to either make a hub or delete it. So it is now a hub, for better or worse.
I am in the process of offering pet sitting services as a part-time business. My 20 year career was in the new homes construction industry, which for now, is pretty much dead. I'm not sure I would even want to continue in the field given all that has gone on in the real estate industry. I took up writing because I love reading, research and creating something from a blank slate. After a few part-time jobs here and there, I decided that I needed to start some kind of a business because I am very self motivated and I like being more of a free spirit. I love animals, especially dogs. I know that the pet industry has seen a rise in general as more and more people are getting a pet of one kind or another. When I go on vacation, it is very difficult to have to leave my three girls in a kennel. It is a fact that many animals are so traumatized when left, by the time their human family returns to retrieve them, they are sick. When I searched for someone who would come to my home several times a day to take care of my girls, my search found no services of this kind. There and then is when I decided to do a little research. Here was my process:
1. Found out as much as I could about people who have started this kind of a business and are successful. Read over their websites to see what services they offer and what they charge. See how long they have been in business and have they expanded with additional services; do they now have other employees, if so how many? Are they located in a rural area or more highly populated city? These are the things that the answers will provide you with a wealth of information. It will also demonstrate how successful they have been.
2. Looked on-line for all associations of any kind relating to the pet services industry. I spent weeks reading all of the information available.
3. Always the big one - what will be my start-up costs and if I don't have the capital, where can I get it? A Pet Services Business can be started for $500 to $1,000 so I did not need to find funding. Business funding for start-ups is difficult to obtain but there are government websites that are very helpful in sorting out the wheres and hows. Make a formal written business plan no matter how small your business is. These same government sites can show you how to make a business plan. There are also non-profit counselors for those needing information on starting a business.
4. Decided that I would give it a try and joined one of the largest international pet associations which provided me lots of information on the business specifics as well as marketing and other links for all kinds of information. These types of associations will provide you with all the legalities that you must be concerned with and making sure you do things properly. Examples: will you incorporate or be a sole proprietor. Register with the Federal Government and get a tax ID number which you must have. For a sole proprietor the tax ID number is usually your social security number. You must then check with your individual state to see what they require. I am in Delaware and they charged me $150.00 for a license.
5. I spread out the process in steps. This made the initial financial obligation more doable over a period of time. I did not have to put out all of the money at one time. It has been step by step and I am still in process.
6. I then built a website for the business and for which I have still need to work on the SEO part, but I'm still learning about Google algorithms, search engine optimization and all that other cool stuff. That is a process in and of itself and which, I am sure, will be forever ongoing.
This is my story and how "Pet Sitter Gal" was born. The "Error" message is how this became a hub. If anyone gets a spark of an idea or information from this hub, it was worth expanding it to fit the hub format even though I was not planning on creating a hub tonight. The message told me I must make a hub or delete what I had already written....and I detest the "Delete" button.