A pet sitting business is the sort of business you can easily start from home, providing a valuable service to customers in your local area.
If you are looking for a small business to start from home, love animals and are good with them, then a pet sitting business may be a great option. It is also the sort of business which you can run part-time through the holiday period and is even something an (older) teenager could start-up
So how do you go about starting a pet sitting business?
First of all, your main requirements will be enthusiasm and a love for animals. Without a love for animals of the novelty of earning money through pet sitting is going to wear thin very quickly.
The second thing to appreciate the responsibility you are taking on. For a pet owner, leaving their pet in someone’s care may be on a close level to leaving their children in child-care.
So in order to be successful as a pet sitting business you really need to have a true love of animals. This enthusiasm will help you stand out from any competition who are around purely to make a fast buck
Here’s how to get started with a pet sitting business
1) Do a Self -Inventory
A pet sitting business carries a great level of responsibility because you are in charge of and responsible for your customer’s most precious things.
So it is important to do a bit of self-searching and determine whether this is the sort of business which would suit you as a person
Here are a few questions to ask yourself (which of course will partially depend on the service you are going to offer)
- Do you love animals?
- Are you reliable?
- Are you flexible
- Will you be able to deal with emergency situations
- Are you comfortable with cleaning up an animal’s mess?
2) Identify Your Service
First of all you will need to identify what type of service you are going to offer
Take your time over this as it is probably the most important thing you will do when setting up your business
It will help you determine what it is you are offering and just as importantly what you are not offering as part of your business
- For example, will you care for pets in their owners’ homes or your own?
- Will you offer dog walking as well?
- Will you offer extended pet care for people going on vacation?
- Will you take on just dogs? or cats as well? or small animals such as reptiles?
Writing a detailed list of the services you feel you’re able to offer will help you get organized and know where to place your marketing efforts.
Everybody’s list will be different depending on what they are prepared to offer, the time they have available, the space they have available, and the skills that they themselves possess.
3) Make Your Business Legitimate
Once you have a clear idea of what you’ll be offering, you’ll want to make the business legitimate.
You can get information about registering your business at your local county office bearing in mind that registration requirements will be different country to country and state to state. This will ensure you present a professional image and that you’re meeting all regulations and are properly licensed.
It may be necessary to get training in basic animal welfare depending on what service you are offering
It is wise to get advise from a small business advisor in your local area – some banks provide such a service
4) Work Out Your Costs
Even though the costs of a pet sitting service seem small (and one advantage of such a pet sitting business is indeed the low startup costs), there may be some items you want to invest in. Here are some items for consideration
- Collars, walking leads etc
- Pet food
- Animal transportation devices
- Wear and tear on your own home
- Rugs, blankets, beds for each pet you mind
- Clothing such as Uniform/T-Shirts/gloves
The most important start-up costs are likely to be insurance and advertising.
5) Get Insurance
It’s vital to get insurance to cover you in the event of a tragedy happening or unforeseen circumstances, and whilst you want to make sure you are not paying too much for insurance you will also want to make sure you are adequately covered.
6) Market Your Business Locally
Next thing is to get the word out about your business
You can get started by sending flyers out in your local area and advertising in your local paper.
Get a logo created and have some business cards created and get your message out to your local community
7) Market Your Business Online
Don’t forget your internet presence. Even a small local business can benefit from an online presence. Here are just a few reasons why:
- People may find your website when using local searches for pet sitting or pet care. This will increase your client reach.
- People will have time to look through your website and learn more about you and your services. This means that once someone contacts you, your website will already have pre-sold your services.
- People can get recommendations. A good website will include testimonials from other customers. This creates trust and reassurance for any potential new customers who may find your website. Again, this helps to pre-sell your services.
8) Be Professional and Reliable
When prospective customers meet you for the first time you will need to come over as professional and reliable so always consider the image you portray
Once you do have some clients always be
- Professional in approach
9) Gather Testimonials
There is no better way to grow a business than through positive testimonials and word of mouth
Start to collect some testimonials from clients on your website
Whatever you do, do not make-up testimonials (some businesses do)
And if you are having difficulty getting off the ground, then offer your services to friends and collect (legitimate and honest) testimonials from them
10) Grow Your Business
Once up and running think about extending your business so that you employ other pet minders
Or consider setting up a “per minding hotline” where you can put customers in touch with pet minder (for a small fee of course)
This sort of expansion (whilst more work) is where you will start making the sort of money you can live off
If you love pets then this may be just the right venture for you.