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Have you ever wanted to start your own pet sitting business? Well, we did and we made all rookie mistakes along the way. Unfortunately, due to this, our little hometown pet sitting business lasted a measly half a year. But, they say things always happen for a reason. I have to say that I believe that. In fact, I think our mistakes opened our eyes to the bigger picture.
Pet sitting wasn’t what we were originally destined to do.
That doesn’t mean that starting your own pet sitting business isn’t the right path for you. Sure, there are a lot of places that have an abundance of pet sitters available. As a result, that may make the competition tough. Quickly, you’ll learn that it isn’t always just the number you should observe.
The pet industry is super hot right now. It doesn’t seem to be simmering down anytime soon, either. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2016, the pet industry was worth over $66 BILLION dollars. If you’re thinking about joining the industry as a pet sitter, the good news doesn’t stop there. The industry is expected to grow another $2 BILLION in 2017.
Pet sitting is an extremely rewarding career!
Although our relationship only lasted six months, my pet sitting business was my “baby”. At the time, I was also working at a local veterinary office. Needless to say, my opportunities were almost endless. Especially during the holidays. We’d proudly work 12-14 hour shifts to make sure all our pet sitting clients were cared for.
During our time as pet sitters, we met so many interesting people. As well as some very influential local people. So, in addition to the pet sitting fees, we’d often get concert tickets, gifts, etc.. Material things aren’t the only thing we gained. We also gained friendships and playtime with a lot of cute pets!
Although our pet sitting business didn’t lack clientele, it lacked “know how”. Sure, we did our research on how to start your own pet sitting business. We read a few blogs. Surprisingly, I even read a book or two. But, that’s all I did. I read them. What we DIDN’T do was reference back, understand them, or do enough research.
When you start your own pet sitting business, do your research first!
When I say research, I mean research. Write information down. Bookmark websites. E-mail yourself pet business templates. Because, if you want to thrive, you want to stand out. Not only do you want to stand out, you also want to do everything the legit way. Missing even the tiniest piece of information can cost you. Without a doubt, I’d say research IS a pet sitting businesses secret sauce.
With the right research, you’d, without a doubt, end up discovering some of the pet sitting business core ingredients I’m about to share with you. Don’t let the word “ingredients” throw you off though. We’re obviously not talking about making a recipe. Instead, we’re talking about a masterpiece. That masterpiece is your pet sitting business.
Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business Using These Core Ingredients
Have you decided you’d like to launch your own pet sitting business? Then, let’s get cooking! Well, maybe not “cooking”. Let’s get pet sitting!
Do endless research before you begin your business.
We literally can not stress how important it is to do your research. I’d even suggest contacting a local, established pet sitting business prior to beginning. Ask them if you can shadow them during their daily business operations. This will give you a feel of the job itself.
We’ll touch on resources that help organize all your research in a future post.
Promote before, during, and after you start your own pet sitting business.
Promoting your pet sitting business is super important. Even before the final details are set, you should get the word out about what you have coming up. Especially if you’re already known in the pet industry.
Even if you aren’t sure about final touches, you can share your upcoming business venture and add anticipation to your launch.
The cool thing about promoting is, you get to let your creative side shine through. Plus, you get to make a lot of cool decisions like business card designs and website content.
Bonus Tip: An awesome FREE program to create promotional material is Canva. They even have an affordable — and AWESOME — paid version.
Accustom yourself to daily social media usage.
Honestly, I don’t know too many people who don’t use social media on a daily basis. But, I know they exist. So, if social media is a foreign language to you, it’s time to learn it. We’re not just talking one social media channel either.
It’s super important you’re active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Google Plus is even super important when it comes to getting your own pet sitting business out there. As well as YouTube. Who doesn’t want to create a viral video?! We all know that’s where the advertisement is at.
So, go ahead and get yourself a few social media accounts. I’d start with personal ones so you can get a feel of each platform. You don’t want a dozen of your unfinished pet business social media pages running around. That will leave people with too many unanswered questions and confusion.
Set your pet business social media accounts up for success.
Here’s another core ingredient that requires endless research. You want to ensure that ALL of your social media networks are set up in a way that you can track every aspect of it. You’ll want to track visits, engagement, reviews, etc. In order to do this, you’ll need to do a TON of research of setting up your pet sitting businesses social media accounts.
Thankfully, there are many great automation options available that do exactly this. They take care of all the “back end” work for you.
Don’t skimp on the pet sitting business legal stuff.
It’s tempting to want to avoid Uncle Sam’s radar. It’s also quite expensive to get the legal process done. But, if you’re really passionate about your pet sitting business, you don’t want to lose it. Which could easily happen in the event of an accident? Which, we all know, accidents happen every day. Especially when you’re working with live animals.
So, don’t skimp on the legal side of your pet sitting business. Instead, make sure all of that is in check and legit before opening your doors. So, in the event you are questioned about licenses and/or insurance, you’re always covered.
Know ALL specific details about the different services you can and will offer.
Embarrassingly, during our first pet sitting business venture, we were NOT 100% aware of the true definition behind different services pet sitters may offer. We weren’t schooled on the differences until many years later. It was a close pet sitting assignment with a local dog trainer when we found out the true services “pet sitters” offer.
So, make sure that whatever service your own pet sitting business decides to offer, you do your research on it. There’s that word again. Research.
Have your pet sitting business brand organized, and ready before you launch your business.
I think the most frustrating part of running my own pet sitting business I struggled with was knowing what my business really “was”. Of course, I knew it was a pet sitting business. But, what about Y pet sitting business would reel people in? How could I market myself, and my business, in a way people would remember us?
So, instead of being decisive during this process, I was very indecisive. Which, in the long run, cost us unnecessary headaches, lost money, and lost time. It’s not necessary for you to have 75 different color schemes for your website and promotions. You also don’t need 20 different logos.
Research what you need, narrow each category down to one or two choices. Then, just roll with your choices!
It may take a while to find the “perfect fit”. But, in the long run, that wait is totally worth an epic end result.
One of our biggest initial problems was finding a “color scheme” or two that we absolutely couldn’t live without. Thankfully, I eventually found the Colour Lovers. They have some pretty sweet color schemes with the hex and RGB codes available. Making it super easy for you to implement the one that you love your brand.
Explore every tiny technical element, design element, and overall feel of your own pet sitting business website.
Locally, we know of quite a few pet businesses that host their pet business website with a free plan. Now, I’m not to say those businesses aren’t flourishing. Because I know a few of them are doing quite well.
But, as most of us know, there are quite a few “detailed” pet owners out there. They look at every tiny detail about who you are and how you represent yourself. Down to if your website is secure or not. Who can blame them? They’re trusting you with a prized possession!
That’s why, in the long run, paying for the website hosting and domain name hosting is a better idea than free options. Plus, with most paid domain hosting, you’ll also get an e-mail address that matches your domain name. That’s is a great branding looking for your business.
Many people think of hosting a website as an expensive venture. In reality, you can actually get a domain name AND host WITH an e-mail address for as little as $12.00 a year! Also, if you take the time to do the research, you’ll find many domain hosting companies offer great offers throughout the year. As a result, saving you even more money!
In addition to the website name and design itself, you want to make sure your website is easy to access. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and can be found by search engines. All of this takes quite a bit of work and knowledge.
This is one of those cases where you may have to outsource someone. But, there are so many great tutorials out there on setting up your own website. If you have the time to take a look at a few tutorials, you could easily do the whole process yourself. But, if you have any doubt in your mind of your abilities, I’d outsource this job. Who knows, you may have a friend who knows the ins and outs of websites.
But, in the case you DO decide to outsource, there are many great remote workers out there. Then you don’t have to take more time out of your day for in-person interviews and lengthy phone calls. Unless, of course, you decide that’s the right choice for your own pet sitting business. But, if you’d rather, not you can check out websites like Upwork for people who can do this work for you.
Have ALL of your pet sitting business forms ready to go at LEAST by the day that you start your own pet sitting business.
Having all business forms prepared for your pet sitting business is necessary. You’ll want to have all the documents clients need to complete ready. You should also have all current promotional material ready to go.
Here are a few examples of business forms a pet sitting business should definitely add to their business:
- Business cards
- New client information form
- Pet information form
- Veterinarian release form
- Special event marketing material
- List of all services and their rates
- List of all policies and procedures for your pet sitting business
- Incident report form
- Pet report card
- Client invoices
- Business expenses spreadsheet
There are also many other forms that are available. By having your overall details organized, you will be able to start your own pet sitting business without any hurdles.
Have a separate “everything” for when you start your own pet sitting business.
When we first began our pet sitting business, I used my personal cell phone number for my business number, too. So, regardless of the time, pet owners would call my personal cell phone. In a way, I didn’t really have “business hours”. Because they were able to reach me any time of the day and/or night.
Because of that, I was miserable. It was almost as if my life didn’t exist outside of my pet sitting business. They would call during dinner. While I was on vacation with my family. It was almost always at every possible inappropriate time. This didn’t just interfere with my personal time. It also put a wedge between my family and me.
If maintaining a life-work balance is important to you, make sure everything is separated between your personal life and your own pet sitting business. Actually, even if you could care less about the “life” aspect of it, still separate everything. It will make life easier on you as far as taxes, invoices, and all that goes.
When I say separate everything, I mean separate everything. You should have a personal AND business banking account, business only social media accounts, business e-mail address accounts, and so on. You should even have specific business hours for your own pet sitting business. These hours should be set and aside from your personal time.
If possible, ensure you always have some kind of “pet sitting kit” on you at all times.
When you own your own pet sitting business, you have a very “on-the-go” profession. Emergencies happen every single day. So, many times, that means that, as a pet sitter, you may have to be available at the drop of a dime. Especially if you want to seem reliable and caring to your clients.
The same goes for making expectations clear from the get-go. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you think you won’t always be available for emergencies, don’t promise that you will be. Because, it only takes that one “major” emergency, that you’re not available for, to make you lose a client or client(s). If you can’t-do it, you can’t-do it. Pet owners will respect the upfront truthfulness.
But, you still want to be available if possible. So, carrying a “pet sitting kit” is a smart thing to do if you own your own pet sitting business. Your kit may include things like pet sitting forms, business cards, promotional material, reports, information sheets, and coupons. It may also include pet sitting essentials such as extra leashes, extra collars, water bowls, food bowls, treats, cleaning supplies, pen, paper, camera, and a cellphone.
Dedication and research will help you start your own pet sitting business with all the right core ingredients.
Is moving forward to start your own pet sitting business the right step for you? If so, go ahead and put all of that dedication I know you have your dream. Because, although I didn’t succeed in actual pet sitting, I still have no doubt it is a WONDERFUL part of the pet industry. Pet sitting is also a very much needed part of the industry.
We’re excited about our segment on pet sitting. In fact, our next post is a dedication to tools that will greatly help you start your own pet sitting business. They will also help you manage your business as a whole.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about how to start your own pet sitting business, feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to try our best to answer any questions you may have.