Looking to get into the pet sitting industry? It’s actually 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 start a pet sitting business.
Make A Business Plan For Your Pet Sitting Business
As with any business, your first step before you begin should be to draw up a business plan. Of course, you already know that you’ll be pet sitting for your neighbors and anyone else who wants to take your business. But there are plenty of 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 pet sitting business will work, like what days you plan to work and how many people you want to eventually have under your employment. 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 be able to find success that much more quickly.
Determine Your Market
Related to the above, be sure to determine your pet sitting market before you get started in earnest. That means figuring out whether a pet sitting business actually has any chance of success. If there aren’t that many pets in your small Alabama town, for instance, a pet sitting business might not be very profitable.
Or you can decide to seek out clients in a part of your city where folks are usually away from home most of the day and, thus, need someone to babysit their pets. 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
But before you begin marketing, you need to figure out your finances. Although a pet sitting business isn’t nearly as material intensive as something like 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 medicine should also be accounted for as you determine your overall financial situation. 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.
Register For A Business License
The majority of pet sitters need to register for a business license before they can accept any kind of client. That means you need to contact your City Hall and decide whether to operate your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or sole proprietorship. A sole proprietorship is a business where your personal and business assets are together instead of separate, making you, instead of your company, responsible for all your business debts.
If you don’t know which of the two you should choose, consult an accountant. 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.
You should always have insurance when starting a pet sitting company. Insurance policies for these businesses 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 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 For Your Pet Sitting Business
After doing all the above, it’s time to actually gather the pet sitting materials and tools you’ll need to run your business. Go out and buy them if you don’t have them in your home already.
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, even if it takes longer. It’s much more worthwhile to hire excellent employees slowly than it is to have high turnover and bring on a bunch of duds.
Also, be sure to look into worker’s compensation insurance if you hire employees.
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 business 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 you can market your pet sitting business is through drafting business cards and flyers. You can easily 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 potential customers. Flyers can be posted on bulletin boards or around the city; make sure these are attractive and clear for anyone who might read them.
Make A Website
In the digital age, it’s arguably essential that you create a website to market your business. 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 by interlinking your site with your social media profiles, like your Facebook page.
Draw Up Contracts
Lastly, it’s a good idea to come up with pet sitting contracts for every customer you plan to take on. Don’t rely on verbal agreements; have a legal document that you can draft yourself and have a lawyer look over before finalizing. The legal document can be signed by you and your customer and will protect you from any legal problems in the future. It’s always better to have everything in ink!
Starting your own pet sitting business will definitely take some work, but it can be worth it!
Now you know every step you need to take to get your business up and running. All that’s left to do now is to begin your business and start meeting your clients! Good luck and happy pet sitting!