Do you love animals more than anything? We totally get it. If you’ve ever thought about making a career out of your love of animals, becoming a professional pet sitter might just be the perfect job for you. You can provide care for dogs, cats, and many other kinds of pets as well. How do you go about becoming a pet sitter? Here are a few tips to get started.
Decide on what services you want to offer
One of the best things about pet sitting is being able to decide exactly what you want to focus on. Services can range from walking people’s dogs while they are at work, making daily visits to care for cats while their owners are on vacation, or even specializing in pocket pets, birds, or reptiles. Keep in mind that many people who hire pet sitters when they go away on vacation may also want you to do things like take in mail and newspapers and water the plants.
Make a business plan
A new pet sitter has many options when it comes to what type of business they want to start. Some people who are new to the field may wish to join a large pet sitting company or apprentice with an established solo pet sitter first. When you’re ready to go it alone, you can still work through a service provider like care.com or get clients on your own. You may need to talk to a lawyer to decide what type of business structure you want, and don’t forget to think about things like liability insurance, licenses and permits, and registering the name of your business.
What to charge
There are lots of things to think about when you’re setting up a pet sitting business. One of the most important is coming up with the right prices for your services. You don’t want to charge too much or too little, but you also don’t want to be a carbon copy of the other pet sitters in your area. Think about what makes you unique and the type of client you want to attract. Maybe you have a special expertise like setting up habitats for exotic pets. Or perhaps you want to provide an extra level of service like sending daily pet photos to owners who are out of town. Make sure to price accordingly.
You will need materials to promote your business, whether that’s a website or paper brochures. A must-have document for any pet sitter is a client contract. Talk to your lawyer or get in touch with a professional pet sitter association when you’re ready to draft a contract your clients will fill out and sign. You need to be clear about important things like what happens in a veterinary emergency, the exact services you will provide, and how you expect to get paid. You’ll also need a reliable method to keep track of your schedule and appointments. Many pet sitters will also invest in a small safe to keep client keys.
Making it official
Consider joining an organization like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) for networking and support, and also to add some professional polish to your resume. You can sign a pledge of professional conduct, take pet sitter certification courses (including pet first aid) and advertise your services on their website.
Your Animal Hearted purchase saves lives! 25% of all proceeds are donated to no kill animal shelters!
- Aaron Seminoff