If you’re a pet lover, and you’re looking for a business that has a low start-up cost, then a pet sitting business might be right for you! As the name implies, a pet sitter takes care of other people’s pets. These pets are typically dogs and cats. That’s not surprising since there are nearly one hundred and forty-five million dogs and cats in the United States.
Sometimes, though, you’ll be asked to care for other pets, including birds, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, snakes, turtles, horses, and more.
Pet sitting is a relatively easy business to start, and anyone- whether you’re a college graduate or a high school drop out- can run their own successful company in this field. People are always looking for someone who’s reliable to care for their beloved pets. That care usually entails feeding and watering people’s pets, exercising and playing with them, administering prescription medications they need, scooping poop, and just taking good care of them until their owner returns. Pet sitting gigs can range from one day to several weeks.
To start your own pet sitting business, you’ll need to create a name for your business. The simpler and more to the point the name is, the easier it will be for your customers to find you. I take my dogs to a professional groomer whose business name is, “For Pets’ Sake.” Cute name, but if she weren’t listed in the phone book under “dog groomers”, I would have never found her. Her roadside sign lets you know that she deals with pets in some way, but it doesn’t give you a clue what she does exactly. Why not make your name simple, like, “Frank’s Pet Sitting Service”?
You’ll also need a business license or a permit. Check with your local court house to find out the laws and regulations regarding starting a business in your area. Be sure to get the red tape taken care of before you start your venture so you don’t run into legal hassles later on.
And you’ll need to decide on a fair price to charge for your pet sitting services. The best way to do this is to check out your competitors and find out what they’re charging. Then, charge a little less than the going rate, and you’ll instantly have an edge over your competition.
You should also have a contract that details your services, your rates, a disclaimer that releases you from responsibilities for accidents, et cetera.
Now, in order to get needed customers, you’ll need to advertise. There are free advertising opportunities everywhere. That is, you can print up flyers on your computer and post them on bulletin boards everywhere around town. Be sure to include your business name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. If you have a web site for your pet sitting business, you should list that too. You can also print up your own business cards and place them in veterinarians’ waiting rooms, at pet shops, at groomers, in feed stores, and at travel agencies. (Pet owners who go on vacation always need someone to care for their critters.) Don’t forget to pass out business cards and flyers to your family, friends, and neighbors too.
The best form of advertising is, of course, “Word of Mouth.” As your own successful pet sitting business grows, word of your success will get spread around, and you’ll attract even more customers.
Once you get your first phone call, you’ll be on your way to having a successful pet sitting business. You can use a notebook to keep track of your customers at first. Just write down their name, address, and phone number, and the details of the services they need.
And finally, remember to keep track of all of the expenses that are related to your business. If you don’t have a filing cabinet at first, you can place all of your receipts for travel expenses, supplies, advertising costs, et cetera, in a shoe box until income tax time. Many business expenses are tax deductible. A certified accountant or bookkeeper can prepare your income tax return for you and handle the financial end of your business.