If you love animals, this self employment option may be perfectly suited for you! I love talking about different ways that people can become self employed. So as my little brain started churning out ideas, one idea that came out near the top was how to start a pet sitting service.
Many people are interested in this type of business because it is such a FUN business idea! I like pets of all kinds and the thought of taking care of them all day long and getting paid for it sounds awesome!
As far as setting up a business like this, it really can’t get much easier…there simply isn’t a lot of overhead. If you love animals and have a reliable form of transportation, you’re halfway there! That’s not to say it isn’t hard work – there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved in starting ANY business wouldn’t you agree? But some aren’t as tough to get started as others.
Before getting into a more in-depth discussion of a pet sitting business, I want to briefly talk about the differences between pet sitting and pet boarding.
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Pet Sitting vs Pet Boarding
Pet Sitting is taking care of a pet (any pet) in it’s own home while it’s owner is away, and this can include dog walking.
- Checking food and changing out water.
- Making sure the home is safe and there are no environmental hazards.
- Playing with and giving out some good ole TLC!
- Helping out the owner by taking in mail and looking for any problems with the house.
- Being available to handle emergencies i.e. being able to take the animal to the vet if it gets sick.
Pet Boarding is a place or business where owners can bring their pets to when they need to leave town for a few days (or weeks) for business or vacation. Examples could include dog kennels, pet day care centers etc.
- Owners bring their pets TO this place of business, which can be a home or business location.
- Will be there with other pets.
- Food, Water, Exercise throughout the day
- Handle all health emergencies as needed
- Depending on the way the business is set up, it is often cheaper than a pet sitting service.
Points To Consider Before Running A Pet Sitting Service
As with any new business, it’s important to consider what will be needed to start up your new endeavor. In pet sitting, the following should be hashed out before rolling out your new biz:
- Find out if/what types of pet sitting businesses are already out there. Call to get additional information about types of services they offer (do they include house sitting? getting mail?)
- Try to tap into the market in a way that’s just a tad different from your competition – an example could be offering to run extra errands or do some housework etc. You’re creative, right? Use that creativity to think of a marketing angle no one else has!
- Market your business to a location that doesn’t yet have a pet sitting service.
- Determine what to charge – again, by checking with other pet sitters in your area, this can give you a good starting point.
- Estimate pet related expenses you may need to get started – food? leashes? toys? treats?
- Estimate non-pet related expenses like gas, marketing costs, taxes.
- How will you structure your time? Make sure you determine how many customers you can take on at one time – it’d be GREAT to have a lot of customers, but all pets need to be cared for during the span of a day.
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How To Market Your Business?
This is a HUGE part of setting up any business and the pet sitting business is no different. I’ve outlined a few options below…
** Word of mouth – tell everyone you know!
** Post business cards or flyers at local veterinarian offices near your home.
**Check into the Small Business Administration (SBA) – I’ve called them about many ideas I’ve had and they are a WEALTH of information. Check out their website for more information.
**Pet Sitters International – Another incredible resource. This is an organization specifically for entrepreneurs like yourself who want to start a pet sitting service. You may be able to get certified and join this organization as a way to stand out from your competition.
**Build A Website – Don’t be scared, building a website isn’t as bad as it sounds! There are a lot of good website hosting providers out there that do most of the work for you.
The one I use is called Site Rubix and it was easy to set up my site. It took all of 30 seconds and the bones of the site were up and I was ready to add content!
**Grow Your Business – Ok, you’re site’s up and running and it looks great! Now it’s time to get more customers visiting it. Wealthy Affiliate is a program that can teach you to grow your business via your website.
It’s been an invaluable part of my business since I had no experience in setting up websites, growing a business etc. It’s FREE to check out as well. Wealthy Affiliate works in tandem with Site Rubix, providing top notch hosting and marketing education all in one.
**Craigslist – Free advertising! And you can target customers close to your geographic location.
**Google My Business – Another great resource for online exposure.
**Yellow Pages (online)
**elocal – Another FREE way to focus on your local area.
I hope you’ve gleaned some helpful information here. Running a pet sitting business can be an incredible business and a perfect opportunity to be your own boss! The Start up costs are not excessive compared to other start up businesses and the joy factor in a job like this would be high, right?
Thanks for stopping by and considering one of the many roads leading to self employment. For more information and review on Wealthy Affiilate, read more here.
Please leave a comment if you have experiences in pet sitting! I would love to hear what’s working, what’s not etc. Thanks for stopping by!
6 thoughts on “How To Start A Pet Sitting Service”
I have been considering this idea of considering this idea but the problem I have had is the marketing aspect. Can you help me set up the marketing website for Melbourne petting service?
Or can you direct me to someone who does it, and how much they charge.
Thanks for your reply. The marketing is diffficult in any new business and as for recommendations, I suggest checking out the training at Wealthy Affiliate It is a comprehensive program to help with all the online marketing aspects. This program can teach you the do the marketing yourself so you don’t have to shell out money to someone else. Best of luck to you!
I enjoyed your post on how to start a pet sitting service. This is an idea I’ve been chewing on for a while. I like your suggestion of distinguishing your services by offering extras like housecleaning tasks. If you’re at the client’s home twice a day already to care for their pets, this may be something to consider. Thanks for giving me some good food for thought!
Hi Linda – I completely agree! Anything you can expand to the pet sitting idea can set you apart from the competition! I wish you the best of luck and thanks for the comment!
Thank you for this very informative article on starting a pet sitting/boarding business.
I love animals and this would be an ideal way for me to make a little extra money. My only concern are liability issues. Wouldn’t we have to be bonded? This would be the only way I could see of protecting ourselves from potentially being sued should something go wrong.
Hi – you make a great point! I checked into it and found there are reasonably affordable ways to get pet sitter Insurance. Here is the link if you’re interested. It can cover things like a pet getting sick while you’re taking care of it, damage to the home etc In today’s world one can’t be too careful – thanks for the comment!