Starting A Pet Sitting Business

Starting a pet sitting business is one of those helpful services for pet owners.  And it's no surprise, business is booming in this industry! 

This is a business you can launch today.  Think about alternative ways to make this an inexpensive home business idea that's easy to implement from home with minimal start-up expenses. 

I've known a couple of individuals who have started this type of business for <$250.  

Dog Pet Sitting Business
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Or look for other alternative places where you can provide a larger operation housing pets on an overnight and longer-term basis. 

As a good addition to my pet business ideas collection, it can be grouped with other ideas to grow your robust business for greater income.

Make sure to figure up all of the costs before you get started so you don't have any surprises and develop a business plan to determine what services you are going to offer and the price you'll charge for these services. 

Contact your neighbors, family, or friends to let them know you’re starting your pet day care business.   This is easily started from your home, have “Fido” and “Bruno” brought to you or visit “Fifi” and “Whiskers” in their environment (home) on a regular basis while the family travels. 

Make sure you have what you need to care for the pets you’re sitting including crates, pet food, leashes, medicines “Whisker’s” may require, pet toys, etc. 

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Discuss the temperament and special needs of each animal with the owner prior to taking on the job so you know what will be involved in each pet sitting assignment. 

As you know, each pet has their own unique personality and desires (just like children). Discussing these needs upfront with the owner will provide for a smooth experience when the owner is gone for an extended period.  

If you're a stay-at-home Mom, starting a pet sitting business can be a super way to care for your children at the same time while quickly make extra income without a large investment.    

Determine if you’ll include pet walking in your business or if you’ll just keep the pets in one place.  If you enjoy the outdoors and like walking/running, you may want to add this as part of your pet sitting services.

It will get you outdoors :) and allow you to multi-task by getting in some quality fitness time, get some family/friends time (take them along on your walks), and keeps “Fido” and “Bruno” on their daily exercise routine. 

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Starting a pet sitting business is a great service for single business professionals and families who may travel frequently or are away from the home for long hours throughout the day.   

When starting a pet sitting business, attend networking groups along with local home/travel shows in your area.

Create a "catchy name", make up a business card and/or flyers to let people know about your services. 

Contact local pet stores, pet shelters, animal hospitals, dog kennels, and other pet businesses to get the word out about your new business. 

These businesses may need a reliable person to pet sit in the evenings, weekends, or holidays to allow regular staff time-off.

N2 - Niche Notes

Niche Notes!!

Add a variety of other services to increase the value you provide to your customers.    

1) Pet food delivery.

2) Pet photography (send pics to the family while they’re away!),

3) Dog walking service

4) Pet training.

5) Pet grooming.

6) Pet waste removal.

7) Contact farms/ranches/petting zoos to help with large animals, etc.  

8) Make "Fido" and "Bruno" some terrific baked treats for their "puppy playovers". 

9) Work with local veterinarians to provide relief for their employees or fill-in while employees are away.

10) Provide both day care services for children and their pets -- make sure to have children and pets who are compatible with one another.  

Starting a Pet Sitting Business -- What's It Take?

Interests/Skills:  

  • Interest in pets
  • Ability to handle animals – large/small dogs specifically
  • Time management  
  • Communication skills  
  • Follow-up for repeat business

Resources: When you start your pet day care service, obtain a few good quality leashes, doggie waste bags, treats (for both large/small dogs). You may also need a pet bowl for water depending on the length of your walks. Have a good calendar, watch, or phone that keeps you on schedule with your pet responsibilities. You may also want to have a simple contract to help you remember all of the details you and the pet owner discussed -- what you'll do, what the owner will do, veterinary information, house access, price for services, etc.

Time Required:    Part Time 8-10 hrs/wk; Full-time 30-40+ hrs/week

Training: Knowledge and ability to handle all types of pets (sizes and disposition of dogs and other pets).  Make sure you can safely handle the pets you intend to walk – keeping yourself, the pet, and other people/animals safe.  Consider joining and/or online training opportunities with the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

Market:  Busy families/professionals who own pets, dog kennels, pet stores, animal hospitals, etc. 

Home Based:       Yes

Internet:              No

Location:             Local

Start-Up Costs:    $50 - $250

Minimizing Start-Up Costs:  When starting a pet sitting business, have pet owners provide the required equipment and food for their pets – this works best for you and the pet.  This will keep your out-of-pocket costs to a minimum and it works well for the pet because they are being treated the same way as when their owner is there (creating familiar surroundings).   You may choose to invest in a few pet treats and good quality leash that you’re comfortable with for walking dogs, etc. Make a small business card or flyer to leave with potential customers and have some reliable transportation for getting to the pets on a regular basis.  

Pet Sitting A Rewarding Career
For Dedicated Animal Lovers

Pet Sitting - A Rewarding CareerPhoto Courtesy of Courtney Pherson and The Oregonian

So I get tons of questions about starting a pet sitting business and what it takes to be successful.  As we've talked about over the past few years, Americans are spending more on pet services than any time in our history.  This is a terrific trend if you are a pet lover who wants to start your own business. 

The American Pet Products Association estimates $4.7 billion dollars will be spent this year on pet services such as grooming, boarding, pet waste removal business and pet sittingFor more statistics on this booming industry . . .

Well, the question on your mind is do you have what it takes to be a pet sitter?   I just finished reading this article about three different ladies in Oregon who have rewarding careers operating their pet sitting services.  One thing is clear from the article is you need to have the ability to build relationships with both the pets and their owners (yes, humans!)

Another "trick you'll want in your bag" is different ways to calm "Fido" when his owners are away.  Pets get stressed (just like people) while their owners are away from the home and new people are around.  

I think you'll enjoy this article with more specifics about what it takes to be a pet sitter.  

Pet Talk: Pet-sitting a rewarding career for dedicated animal lovers

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