Everyone loves their pets. Seven out of 10 US households have pets that they think of as family. Some pets, like dogs, would be content if their owners never left their sight. But most of us have to be away from our furry friends for work, trips, and social events. Pet sitters come in.
In the past few years, the pet care industry as a whole and pet sitting businesses in particular have grown very quickly. You should start your pet-sitting business right now if you’re thinking about it. Here’s how pet-sitting services work and how to start your own, whether you want to start a dog walking service or stay the night at pet owners’ houses.
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Six steps to begin a pet-sitting business
There are many steps that need to be taken to become a professional pet sitter, just like when starting any other small business. To start a business, you need to pick a name, study potential customers, choose the right business structure, get any necessary licenses or permits, and set long-term goals. Take a look at this list of things to expect.
1. Making plans and getting ready
Before you start your pet-sitting business officially, you should look into what other pet care services are available in your area. A lot of pet shops in the area have bulletin boards where pet sitters can post ads for their services. A web search could also show you who your area competitors are.
Find out how much other pet sitters charge before you set your own rates. Their prices might be shown on their websites, or they might tell you if you ask. People in the area who own pets might also be ready to talk about how much they’ve paid pet sitters in the past.
You can find your own field if you know more about the other businesses in your area. You should think about what kind of pet owners you want to reach. You might want to focus on dogs, which could mean starting a dog-sitting, dog-boarding, dog-walking, or all-in-one service. If you think this market isn’t being served enough, you might go after unusual pets.
2. Decide how your business will be set up legally
Pick a legal format for your pet-sitting business when you’re ready to make it official.You could even get help from a small business lawyer.
- A sole proprietorship is the easiest way to run a business. It is basically an extension of the owner’s personal legal persona. Because you are the only owner, your business assets are the same as your personal assets. This isn’t good if your business gets sued or if you take on business bills.
- LLC: Many small business owners choose the relatively easy limited liability company (LLC) structure because it keeps personal and business assets separate, which is a very important benefit. As an LLC, your pet-sitting business needs a business bank account that keeps your personal and business funds separate. The IRS and your company’s shareholders or co-owners (if you have any) will look at your books and financial records at the end of the year. Shopify can help you with your accounting for your business by letting you keep track of sales, control inventory, and handle returns, and refunds.
- A corporation is a type of business that is owned by a group of owners. Like in an LLC, a corporation’s cash and assets are separate from those of its owners. Also, if the company goes bankrupt or is sued, they reduce the personal liability of the shareholders. There is a special tax rate for corporations that is different from the personal tax rates that owners pay on their income.
3. Get a licence and insurance
Check with your state or local government to see if you need a business license or sales tax card to run your business. You might also need to get insurance. If you have staff, you might need workers’ compensation insurance. If not, you might need general liability insurance and pet-sitting business insurance. Note that taking a class on how to give first aid to pets can sometimes get you a discount on pet-sitting insurance. There is a 35-minute online lesson from the American Red Cross that goes over the basics.
Some pet sitters choose to add a license from a trade group like Pet Sitters International (PSI) to their resumes to make them look better. These certificates aren’t needed by law, but pet owners will see them as more professional if they trust you to care for and make decisions about their furry friends. PSI also has classes on how to prepare for disasters and give first aid to pets.
4. Start making your business grow
You can start writing your business plan once your company is up and running.
For many, the first step is to make a website and use social media. People can find your business online and learn about what you offer if you have a good website. Shopify has an integrated platform for making ecommerce-focused websites, which has worked well for pet business companies like Supakit and Little Chonk. You can also make extra money from your pet sitting business by selling related items like pet food, grooming products, or brand merchandise.
People who know you will remember you if you stay involved on social media sites. Then, set up a way to make reservations and a plan. Someone could see it publicly so they can book a time with you, or it could be hidden so you can only see it when you’re committed to something. You can use free tools like Google Calendar or pay for ones that do more.
Last but not least, if you think you need more help, get a group of pet sitters to work for you. They will represent you and your business whenever they interact with pet owners and their furry friends, whether they work for you full-time or as independent contractors sometimes. Find people you can trust and train them well.
5. Get your business out there
Now that your pet-sitting business is up and running, you need to let pet owners in your area know about it. This is where ads and marketing come in. You could try the following plans:
- Make business cards and flyers. Use flyers and business cards to get people to come to dog parks and pet shops. You can make these things yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
- Use internet phone books and review sites. Put your pet-sitting business on sites that pet owners like. You could use Google Maps, review sites like Yelp, or Pet Sitters International, which is an industry directory.
- Make friends with the vets and pet shops in your area. Most likely, the best people to connect with will be local companies that work with pets in related fields. Pet food shops, grooming salons, and health care professionals (like licensed veterinarians) may be the best places to get referrals.
- To get new customers, run sales and deals. As a way to get new customers, you might want to offer discounts or deals like “buy one, get one free.” This will depend on your business costs and funds. You should get gigs because of these discounts, get to know the pet, and then the owner will ask you to come back for more sessions at your usual rate.
To keep in touch with your clients and keep your pet-sitting business fresh in their minds, you can send them email messages on a regular basis. If you only have a few clients, you can send them personal emails and ask for suggestions to keep in touch. People who hire you to watch their pets expect you to keep them updated on their furry friend while you’re away.
6. Taking care of your business on a regular basis
After starting your pet-sitting business, make sure you keep the quality of your services good so that you can get new clients. Keep up with the latest trends in your field and your financial and tax reporting duties. Over the years, pet ownership and expectations have changed a lot. For example, more people are getting pet insurance and spending more money on their pets generally. Because rules can change, it’s important to know what’s new in your field.
- What do I need to be able to do to start a business pet-sitting?
You can start a pet-sitting business even if you haven’t had any training. You can raise your image, though, by taking classes in pet sitting or getting certified by a business group like Pet Sitters International. Pet owners may not have strict medical and physical requirements, but being in good shape is a good idea, especially if you’re taking care of big dogs or pets that aren’t well-behaved.
- How do people who sit for pets get a job?
Pet sitters can get new clients by handing out business cards, word of mouth, or flyers. They can also sign up for pet-sitting websites like Rover or Pet Sitters International. One good idea is to make connections with people who work in pet care, like vets, groomers, and pet shop owners, not just other pet sitters. These workers might need trustworthy recommendations for clients who own pets.
- What do I do if something goes wrong while I’m pet sitting?
Do not call 911 if the animal you are pet-sitting has a medical emergency; that number is only for emergencies involving people. Get in touch with your neighborhood vet or animal emergency clinic. Don’t know what else to do? Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661.
- How can I make my pet-sitting business bigger?
Putting your service on a number of online directories and markets is a good idea. Make an account for your business on Yelp or Google Maps if you’re already on Rover. You can find pet owners in your area through neighborhood listservs or sites like NextDoor. Offer deals to people who are buying from you for the first time. Finally, you could ask your present customers to tell their friends and family about you. In many service industries, like pet sitting, word-of-mouth is what keeps them going.
We hope that reading this article helped you find the best company to make an app for pet care. We’ve put together a list of the seven best companies on the market to help you make your choice.
Still, if you’re not sure, you should talk to Appic Softwares. The company has an ISO certification and strictly follows the rules set by the NDA. For those who want to make their own pet care app, they also have pet care app writers available. Additionally, Appic Softwares has a group of business analysts who can help you create a plan that will work in the future.
So, What are you waiting for?