How To Start a Pet Sitting Business
Do you love spending time with animals and looking to get into the pet sitting industry? Then, keep reading.
Pet sitting is a lot more popular and profitable than you might think! Although you might be getting into this business for the opportunity to work with furry friends of all kinds, there are serious steps you need to consider before you start your pet sitting business. So, let’s dive in so you can learn exactly how to become a pet sitter.
Make a Business Plan for Your New Pet Sitting Business
As with any business venture, the first step before you begin should be to develop a business name and draw up a business plan. Then, of course, you already know that you’ll render pet sitting services to your neighbors and any pet owner who wants a sitter. But there are many other smaller factors you should nail down before you begin buying stuff (and you will need to do that!).
For instance, it’s a good idea to figure out exactly how your new business will work, like what days you plan to work and how many people you want to have under your employment eventually. Is this a single-person business? Or is it a venture that will have teams of pet sitters roaming your hometown? Decide these things early, and you’ll have a successful pet sitting business in no time.
Determine Your Market
Related to the above, be sure to determine who your potential clients are before starting. That means figuring out whether you’ll be a successful pet sitter. If there aren’t that many pet owners in your small Alabama town, for instance, a pet sitting business might not be very profitable.
Alternatively, you can decide to seek out pet owners in a part of your city where folks are usually away from home most of the day and, thus, need someone to pet sit. The point, overall, is to get a grasp of the geographic details and demographics of your market, so you know where to hit the pavement in terms of marketing once everything else is set up.
Figure Out Your Finances
Like every business owner, you need to figure out your finances before you begin marketing. Although pet sitting businesses aren’t nearly as material intensive as a contracting business, it’ll still require a significant amount of stuff.
For instance, you need pet care supplies, like leashes, bowls, or even kennels. Then you’ll also need a good pair of walking shoes at the bare minimum; chances are you’ll need to walk some dogs at some point.
Other pet-related products like shampoo, conditioner, or pet first aid should also be accounted for as you determine your overall financial situation. But, of course, it all depends on your business plan and what you think you’ll be offering your customers.
Figure out how much you should likely spend in a month and double that when saving up or asking for a loan. Also, open a business bank account. It is always an excellent idea to separate your business and personal finance.
Register for a Business License
The majority of pet sitters need to register for a business license before accepting any client. Unfortunately, that means you need to contact your City Hall and decide whether to operate your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or as a sole proprietor.
A sole proprietorship is a business where your personal and business assets are together instead of separate, making you responsible for all your business debts instead of your company.
Consult an accountant or business attorney if you don’t know which of the two you should choose. The chances are high that an LLC will be better if you plan on making this pet sitting business your primary source of income and want to expand it in the future.
It would help if you always had pet sitting insurance before starting a pet sitting business. Liability insurance policies for pet sitting jobs can protect you from legal actions if a disaster occurs while a pet is under your care. What if a pet becomes hurt, but it isn’t your fault, for instance? Pet business insurance is ultimately a small price to pay compared to the fortune you might have to cough up if someone takes you to court.
Gather Materials and Hire Employees
After doing all the above, it’s time to gather the pet sitting materials and tools you’ll need to run a successful business. Then, go to pet stores and buy them if you don’t already have them in your home.
Similarly, it’s time to hire employees if you plan on running a small team of pet sitters instead of going at this by yourself. When hiring employees, be sure to hire people that’ll do a good job and act as champions for your brand. It’s much more worthwhile to hire excellent employees slowly than to have high turnover and bring on a bunch of duds.
Also, be sure to look into worker’s compensation insurance if you hire new pet sitters.
Market Your Pet Sitting Business
Once all your proverbial ducks are in a row, it’s finally time to begin marketing! You have to spread the word about your pet sitting business if you expect to get any new clients at all, or at least business that isn’t sourced from your close friends and family!
Business Cards and Flyers
One of the best ways to market your pet sitting business is drafting business cards and flyers. You can quickly get hundreds of these for relatively low costs by making them yourself, or you can hire a designer to do it for you.
Either way, business cards be handed out at every opportunity, and you can give several to your friends and family for them to pass along to other pet owners. In addition, you can post flyers on bulletin boards or around the city; make sure these are attractive and clear for anyone who might read them.
Create a Website
In the digital age, it’s arguably essential that you create a website to market your business online. This can even be a great place for people to sign up for a pet sitting appointment or contact you about your business. You can direct traffic to this website by ordering advertisements or interlinking your site with your social media profiles, like your Facebook page.
Draw Up Contracts
Lastly, it’s a good idea to develop pet sitting contracts before accepting clients. Don’t rely on verbal agreements; have a legal document to draft yourself and have a business lawyer review it before finalizing. The legal document can be signed by you and your customer and protect you from any legal problems in the future. But, of course, it’s always better to have everything in ink!
How Much Do Pet Sitters Charge?
Like many pet sitters, you make money from caring for other people’s pets. But the price can vary based on the services offered, the type of animal, and the duration. So the money charged for watching two cats differs from a cat or a dog.
Also, if you watch pets at clients’ homes and help with watering plants, it is a great idea to charge for the additional services. Some local businesses charge by the hour. The pet sitter may fix a set rate if it’s a weekend but charge more for grooming or specific training.
Summarily, the contributing factors are:
- The type, size, and number of animals
- The number of hours and type of service requested
- Physical and medical requirement of the animals (charge for pet emergencies too)
- Demographics and local pricing comparisons
Always check the prices other businesses in your service area are offering. This way, you don’t charge lower or higher, thereby limiting your opportunities. For example, most simple hour-long walks in the local neighborhood cost between $15 and $20. So, it would help if you didn’t charge lower or more.
Ensure your prices are consistent. Inconsistent pricing may cause people not to view your business as a strong brand. Finally, always offer discounts to loyal clients.
Starting a pet sitting business and becoming your own boss will take some work, but it can be worth it!
Now you know every step you need to take to get your pet sitting business up and running and that it has low start-up costs. All that’s left to do now is begin your own pet sitting business and meet your clients! Good luck and happy pet sitting!