Are you looking for a low-cost start-up business that’s built upon your love of dogs? Consider starting a pet sitting business! Many dog owners these days are finding themselves spending extra time at the office and away from their pets. The need for quality care for their four-legged friends is an important one. August Wyssman of Pet-Sitters.biz put together these great tips for starting your very own pet-sitting business.
Jobs with Dogs: Start a Pet Sitting Business
As small businesses go, being a pet sitter is relatively easy to become. You can work out of your own home or sit the pets in the owner’s homes. You don’t necessarily need to buy the pets anything because it is generally assumed that either the owners will provide the food or the money to buy the food in their absence. Start-up costs for a pet sitting business are extremely low. Although you can choose to pay for advertising through your local newspaper or yellow pages, most pet sitters find that the majority of their business clients come through word of mouth. If you do an excellent job with one owner’s pet, you can guarantee that they will tell all their pet-owning friends about you. It is important that you can a place that potential clients can reliably reach you, such as a cell phone or even a home phone with an answering machine that you check regularly. Returning phone calls promptly is a sign of a good business owner and is sure to make pet owners more comfortable leaving their furry friends with you.
The number one trait that a pet sitter should have is a love of animals. It is important that you can get along with, play with, and keep entertained different types of pets because pet owners today don’t just have dogs and cats. Research regarding the different types of pets-everything from reptiles to rodents- and how each needs to be cared for should be done before you ever have your first pet sitting job. You need to remember that many pet owners consider their pets to be like their children. You wouldn’t go into a babysitting job unprepared, now would you? A knowledgeable pet sitter is an often-called pet sitter. It is also important to find out whether the owners expect you to do household work while you are watching their pets. Some owners request that pet sitters water their plants and collect their mail while they are out of town on business. Before you accept a pet sitting job you should go over these details with the owner.
Most people who look to become pet sitters focus primarily on the advantages. After all, you get to be your own boss and, within reason, you set your own hours. However, it is important when considering pet sitting that you look at the disadvantages as well. For example, many pet owners who leave town plan their trips during weekends and holidays. This means that you will be working those days that most people have off. Pet sitting can also be lonely if you crave constant human contact, but if you can derive as much pleasure from a wagging tail as from a smiling face, then pet sitting can be quite enjoyable.
Meeting with a potential client and their pet before their business trip is a very good idea when you are pet sitting. It is important that you get to know the pet and that the owner gets to know you. After all, no one wants to leave their pet with a complete stranger. At this time is would be beneficial to watch how the pet typically acts, and to inquire about any bad habits that need to be curbed, as well as which behaviors are allowed and which are not. While some pet owners don’t mind Fluffy basking in the sun on top of the couch, others feel strongly against it and would be very upset if you let them while they were gone.
Something else to discuss with the potential client before an official plan is made is what you are charging. Different services mean different fees, meaning if you are willing to keep their house in tip-top shape then they are more likely to pay you extra. Your fee should also depend on how many animals you are watching, and whether any of them require special handling. For example, one dog with diabetes that requires daily insulin shots would be a lot more work than a healthy dog, and you deserve to be paid accordingly. When in doubt, however, try to err on the side of caution and charge less. As long as you can afford to continue doing what you are doing, then you are fine. However, the worst thing you can do as a business owner is overcharge yourself.
Read more great tips for starting a pet sitting business here. Do you use a pet-sitter for your dog? Tell us why you chose the sitter you did, and any other great tips for our readers dreaming of getting into the business for themselves, in the comments below!