Starting a pet sitting business is ideal if…
- You like animals
- Want to work your own hours and decide your own schedule
- But don’t actually want the hassle of other people’s pets in your home.
Starting a pet sitting business will often go hand in hand with starting a dog walking business.
As people work longer hours and are often reluctant to leave their pets in kennels or a cattery, the demand for good, reliable pet sitters is increasing, despite the economic slowdown. You are making it possible for them to carry on with their lives in the knowledge that their beloved dog (cat, or any other animal you want to care for) is in good hands. And they will pay you well for this service.
Usually a pet sitting business will offer to go to people’s houses while they are not there, and feed, clean out, play with and generally care for any pets. This usually does involve walking the dogs, and you will be expected to clear up any mess left from their being along there for a length of time.
Advantages to starting a pet sitting business: You work your own hours, your own location and your own terms. You can make very good money if you treat it as a full time job.
Disadvantages: The work is fairly seasonal. Although you may have some clients who want you to care for their pets while they are working, a lot of your work will be seasonal and you can expect to be very busy during the holidays.
Thinking about advertising when starting a pet sitting business?
Obviously this is key when starting a pet sitting business.
1. Think of a snazzy name for yourself – but not so snazzy that nobody knows what you do! Make sure you have ‘dog walking’ or ‘dog walker’ in there somewhere, and a location helps too!
2. You will need your own dog walking website with the details of your business including the services your provide, the areas you cover, your costs and your contact information. It might seems bit over the top when you are starting out, but potential customers will be looking for dog walking services in your location online (isn’t that where you would look? On Google?) and it is a very worthwhile investment, with just one regular customer covering the costs of the investment over a year. I’m offering very reasonable terms on websites at the moment – give me a call or check here.
3. Create a Google Places page so you can be found locally. (I can help you with this if you contact me).
4. Create some flyers for yourself and deliver them to all the houses in the area where you are willing to pick dogs up from. You could also display these in local pet shops, park notice boards and supermarkets.
5. Speak to some other dog businesses in your area (not dog walkers, but places like groomers, trainers etc) and see if they would be willing to advertise your business with their customers if you do the same for them. You could even come to an agreement about linking to each other’s websites.
6. Happy customers are the best way to advertise. If they are pleased with your service, ask them to tell their friends, or even provide a reference on your Google Places page or website.
I’ve also just discovered an excellent website which advertises (free) pet sitters across the UK. Well worth getting a free listing on there to get started! It also offers lots of hints and tips for pet sitters and when starting a pet sitting business.
For more information on starting a pet sitting business, have a look at this book. I’ll find some more UK based resources soon!