Does a pet sitting job sound like something you’d enjoy?
If you love pets and other animals, and you’d like a career or business that would give you a lot of freedom and flexibility, then becoming a professional pet sitter could be for you.
Just rememeber that becoming a professional pet sitter requires a lot more than just feeding a walking dogs and other pets. There are marketing, bookeeping and other skills that you’ll need in order to become successuful, just as in any other business. And you’ll need to know what to do if an emergency arises with the animals in your care. It’s also important to have some knowledge of animal health and nutrition.
Generally, pet sitters care for people’s pet in the owner’s home. Some jobs require just a stop by to feed or walk the dog or other animal, while other client will want you to sleep over and watch the house as well while they’re away. Some jobs will be ongoing - such as walking a dog in the afternoon several times per week, while other clients may only need your services once or twice per year when they’re out of town on vacation.
Because you’ll often be in the client’s home when they’re away, there’s a large trust issue with hiring a pet sitter. It may be tough at first getting your first few jobs. But if you prove to be responsible, and good with the client’s animals, you’ll start to get referrals that you can use with future prospective clients. You’ll also want to look into becoming licensed and bonded as a pet sitter, as this can go a long way in reassuring a prospective client.
If you do become a professional pet sitter, you’ll also want to take out liability insurance that covers injury or damage to a customer's pet or home. Another option is to purchase insurance that protects you as well, in case you’re injured while caring for a dog, cat, or other animal.
Because there’s a considerable amount of exercise involved with dog walking, most pet sitters are active, physically-fit individuals who enjoy being outdoors at least part of the day. They also need to have a way with animals, and not have a problem doing less-enjoyable tasks like cleaning out litterboxes or giving animals prescription drugs and other medications.
One of the attractive features of pet sitting for many people is the ability to set their own work schedules and pay rates. Charging competition rates is essential in today’s market, especially with all of the doggie day care and other dog walking businesses springing up around the country. You’ll want to find out what others are charging in your area, but you’ll probably want to charge at least $10-15 per visit, and double that if you’ll be expected to stay at the client’s home overnight.
Training and education: where there’s no formal schooling or educational requirement to becoming a professional pet sitter, there are certainly ways you can make yourself more marketable to prospective clients. As mentioned earlier, becoming bonded and insured is one way to accomplish that. Another option is joining local business organizations in your area, and registering a trade name and getting a business license in your state.
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