If you are looking for a way to make a little extra money but you do not want to go through the hassle of putting out resumes and applications, pet sitting may be a good option. Being a pet sitter is an especially good option if you have pets of your own or experience caring for animals. Pet owners want to know that when they are not available for their pets they will still receive a high standard of care. Whether you want to offer dog walking services or overnight pet sitting, it is fairly easy to get started with a pet sitting business.
The First Steps
If you plan to make your pet sitting service a legitimate business, you may need to begin by applying for a business license. Contact your local city council or a business advisory group in your area to see what the process is to make this happen. In addition to obtaining a business license, you also need to decide whether you will operate your pet sitting business as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC). If you only plan to take a few clients at a time, or if pet sitting will be more of a hobby than a business for you, a sole proprietorship may be the right option. If you want to hire other employees or bring in a business partner, however, you may want to consider an LLC.
Do You Need Insurance?
Caring for other people’s pets means that you will be responsible for them – if something happens, the pet owner could seek damages and that could get very expensive very quickly. Having an insurance policy will protect you against legal action if a pet gets hurt on your watch, or if it causes damage to someone’s property. A pet sitting insurance policy should not cost more than a few hundred dollars and it may end up saving you a great deal of money down the line.
Create A Pet Sitting Service Contract
As a professional pet sitter, it is important to protect your clients and their pets, but also yourself and your business. Part of this is ensuring that clients fully understand the services you will be providing, your policies, procedures, terms and also what is expected from the pet owner. Setting up a pet sitting contract (otherwise known as a services agreement) is the easiest way to clearly outline these items and both parties can sign and keep a copy.
Putting Your Name Out There
Once you have hammered out all of the logistics, you need to start bringing in clients. One of the most effective marketing methods is word-of-mouth advertising, but until you get a few jobs under your belt, you will need to work hard to get your name out there. Try putting up flyers in local businesses, including veterinary offices and pet stores. Design a business card and carry it with you in case you meet a potential client. You should also consider getting listed on LovePets where you can create a profile that people in need of pet sitting services will find when they search for a pet sitter in your area. Finally, create a website where clients can go to learn more about you and to request your services.
Work Out the Details
Once you start bringing in clients, you need to know what kind of services you plan to offer and what you will charge for them. You should iron out these details before you start taking reservations and you need to be consistent – you do not want a client to become angry and to cancel a reservation because they found out you charged someone else a different price. Consider offering additional services, such as watering houseplants or collecting the mail – tasks that you can add on to your pet sitting services easily. Being a pet sitter is a great way for pet lovers to make a little extra money.
It is important to remember, however, that if it is a business then it needs to be run like one. By following the tips above you can get started with your own pet sitting business.
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