- by Trish
You can put your love of animals to work for you by seriously considering to become a professional by starting a pet sitting business in your area. With so many people now having to commute daily and far from home, petting sitting is becoming more and more in demand.
This service may even help the pet owners who cannot afford day care for their dog(s), as pet sitting is done in-home, and for a much shorter period of time.
Taking the proper steps to get yourself and any of your employees bonded, as well as carrying the other types of insurance, will serve to prove to your potential clients that you are a serious professional pet sitter.
To be bonded and insured means that your future clients will be fully protected from any losses that would come as a direct result of dishonesty or criminal activities, meaning that you are trustworthy and reliable.
Types of Bonds
Fidelity – protects you as the policy holder from physical or economic losses incurred due to fraudulent acts instigated by specific individuals. In other words, from an employee. This bond now helps many businesses protect themselves from losses cause by their staff whether mistakes were caused from neglect, deliberate, or accidental.
Here are two PDF documents to help those of you from the USA wanting more information on Fidelity Bonding:
Surety Bond – is much like a money-back guarantee. A surety is a guarantee that a company, business or an individual hired to do the job, will complete the work as specified in a contract.
In researching these two bonds, I have discovered extreme differences between them in Canada as opposed to the United States. Thus, you really DO need to seek the advice from a licensed insurance agent in your area regarding which one of these you need to start your pet sitting business.
Fidelity has four different types in the USA, while in Canada, I could only find two referred to. Surety appeared to be one type in the USA. While in Canada, I found as many as 11 different Surety Bonds explained.
There are other types of insurances that you will need, so contacting a licensed insurance brokerage is a must when considering starting a pet sitting business. There are affordable insurances available for this type of business, so you will need to be prepared to have to shop around.
You will also need a business license.
For this you can seek out the advice of your country’s rules whether you will be operating your new small business from Canada or from the United States. NOTE: Please be aware that you may need to obtain a bond before being able to receive a business licence.
Marketing Your Pet Sitting Services
When starting out, stick with social media, flyers or pamphlets handed out locally and at your local veterinarian offices.
You should seriously consider creating a Google MyBusiness account if you are not afraid to advertise online. If you love Google, Google will LOVE your business.
Google now provides Canadians with a FREE website within your Google MyBusiness account, so take advantage especially if your competition is too paranoid to put their advertising online. In this way, your business can gain even more clients.
If you are in the USA, go here to get your FREE Google website started.
On your free website, be sure to provide what services are included in your rate and what services you consider as an extra cost.
Don’t forget about using the online classified ads too. In the USA, you have access to Craigslist, and in Canada you have Kijiji.
If your budget allows you paid advertising then take a serious look into Facebook advertising.
You could even get your business cards and pamphlets printed for you at a very low price, like the services provided at VistaPrint.
Be sure you check out the many different pamphlet templates available from Microsoft® Word. If you are creative enough, you could even submit your own template for your business card to VistaPrint as well as have them print your pamphlet template(s), and $ave.
References are important for any business, so be sure to ask your clients for them. You might even consider to offer providing your clients with a discount for future services they may use for any reference they send you, and that end up using your pet sitting services.
If you have a Google MyBusiness account, you could also ask your clients to leave a testimony, as that will also help your business rank online too.
Some sitters charge anywhere from $20 to $30 per hour or $12 to $15 for a half hour or pet sitting.
However, do be prepared to do some researching to see what price you might be able to charge for your services in your area. TIP: Being bonded definitely would put your services at a higher price range.
Decide which type or types of pets you prefer to work with and which types you will not, and then create your advertising around those types of pets. In this way, you will be less likely to receive calls for pet sitting someone’s pet alligator if you have already clearly stated, cats and dogs only.
If you like to offer treats to the pets you sit, be sure to ask the pet owners if it is okay and be prepared to follow their preferences, as diet restrictions could be a major issue.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself.
- ) What about pet sitting do you enjoy doing?
- ) What part(s) of pet sitting do you really not like doing?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you better prepare for what you will experience as a pet sitter, to help you setup your different services (and pricing), as well as make yourself aware that pet sitting won’t always be simply about snuggling up with furry babies for an hour or so.
When interviewing your pet owners, be sure to learn of and write down their pet’s Vet contact information and emergency numbers (if different), along with other vital information, like the pet’s name, weight, diet restrictions, etc.
Find out if the pet is known for running away, and if so, what steps need to be taken should this happen while you are sitting their pet. You know, does the pet owner expect you to handle the situation or do they expect to be contacted immediately.
As pet sitter, you need to know and understand EACH pet’s health problems so that you are fully prepared to handle any and all emergencies.
Another important issue is communication with the pet owner while they are away, be it through the day or if they are on an extended absence, such as a vacation.
Knowing ahead of time, how you are expected to communicate… be it through a telephone call or email, will make your pet sitting a lot less stressful for you and the pet owner. Some owners may even wish to have you take and send them an electronic image of their pet periodically throughout the day.
Setting up these standards ahead of time will help establish a more peaceful, calm and happy clients at the end of the day.
Additional Training to Consider
The more training you have as a serious professional pet sitter, the more money you can expect to be able to charge your clients.
Some pet care training programs you might consider are:
Become a Certified Pet Sitter (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Online course: Pet-Care Basics for Professional Pet Sitters
Related Pet Businesses You Might Also Consider
I do hope this post has helped to intrigue you into seriously considering starting a pet sitting business, especially if pets are your passion. It surprising how our passion turned into a business becomes fun rather than work.
Should you have any questions regarding starting your very own pet sitting business, I do hope you will leave me a comment below. Looking forward to discussing this business idea with those who are serious about this business.