So you’re thinking about starting a pet-sitting business?
Not sure where to begin or what you need?
Then hopefully this post will provide all the information you require to decide whether a pet-sitting business is for you!
12 tips for starting your pet-sitting business
1. You must love animals
Make sure you genuinely love pets of all species and breeds. Of course, you don’t need to care for all types of animals. As the business owner, you would decide which animals you feel comfortable sitting for. But whichever animals you do offer to sit for, you really have to care for them. Pet sitting is a serious commitment. You are expecting a home and pet owner to trust you not only in their homes but with their very much loved pets. A professional pet sitter shouldn’t see pet sitting as an opportunity for cheap travel
2. Business name
Decide on a name for your business and do some Google searches to see if there are any other businesses with the same name! You don’t want to be sending business to a competitor after all.
3. Get a logo
If you want to look professional, you have to spend a little bit of money. So either design a logo yourself, or find someone who can design one for you. If you don’t know anyone you can find reasonably priced designers on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. Or drop me a message and I may be able to assist you.
4. Purchase a domain
Even if you don’t have money to create a website right now it is worth securing the domain for your business before someone else does! Domains cost as little as £10 per year.
5. Get an email address on your domain
Which looks more professional to you email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ?
Investing in your business with a personalised email address shows potential clients that you are serious about your business. When you register a domain, you are typically given the option of purchasing a mailbox (email address) as an extra.
If you need assistance with this drop me a line as building online presence for startups is my main service offering. Check out my website design, SEO and Social media management and training website
6. Get a website
A Wix website on the Lite plan costs £100 per year and will allow you to have a professional online presence that you can send your clients to get more information about you, the services you provide, reviews you’ve collected, image galleries etc.
NOTE: When you purchase a Wix plan you get a free domain for the first year, so if you are considering getting a website online then my personal recommendation is to get the domain included for free for the first year as every penny helps right?
I am offering a special website design package for fellow pet sitters. I will create a 3-page website (home, about and reviews/gallery) for £200! Whilst you may think, well, I can just build one myself using a Wix template, which is all good and well, but how well do you know SEO (search engine optimisation)? If you don’t have a good understanding of search engine optimisation then the only way people are going to find your website is if you provide them with the link. What you really want is for people in your local area (if you concentrate your services on your local/ish area) to find your website when they search for a pet sitter on Google!
You may not have the budget for my professional package but for £200 I will ensure your technical SEO is on point and perhaps when you start earning some income from pet-sitting you may want to reengage with me to help you optimise your search engine optimisation to start getting inbound leads without having to spend hours on social media trying to secure clients!
You can see more information about my website design services here. This special offer is not listed on my website but if you contact me and are after a pet-sitting website I will provide the ‘Basic package’ which is normally £400 for just £200!
7. Start a Facebook page
A Facebook page is completely free and allows you to let people know what services you offer, post helpful information, share reviews, and pictures of your time with pets etc.
In addition to using it as a marketing tool a Facebook page also allows your clients to leave you reviews that new or potential clients can look at when deciding whether you are for them. Spend time on your Facebook page as you want to make it look professional and be sure to post to your page at least 3 times a week!
Make sure to invite your friends to like your page once you have created it and share any posts you make on your page to your own profile and any suitable groups on Facebook.
8. Get pet-sitting reviews
If you are starting out, one of the biggest challenges is getting reviews.
The easiest way to start getting reviews is by offering a few free sits initially. Start locally so that you don’t have too many travel expenses to cover until you start earning an income.
You can also join a site like Trusted House Sitters (use this link to get 25% off) where you pay to join but then have the choice of 1000s of sits around the world! They are free so you will have to cover your own travel expenses, food etc (although some homeowners do provide food but should not be expected and is rare in my experience)
Once you start getting reviews from your free sits, be sure to use these in your social media posts. Share them to relevant pet sitting groups, your local community groups etc. Showing people your reviews will reassure them that you are a reliable sitter.
Using sites like Trusted House Sitters provides some legitimacy to the reviews as you can’t simply get your friends and family to leave you a review as they can on Facebook, Google etc.
Check out my reviews here
9. Get pet-sitting business insurance!
This really should not be an option! Insurance is one of those things we hate to pay every month but are so relieved to have when things go wrong!
Pet sitting as mentioned previously is a serious commitment. You are committing your time and taking responsibility for a home and pets.
Accidents happen, whether that’s a pet injuring itself, being attacked by another dog, attacks another animal or person or gets lost.
We always assume nothing will happen with the pets in our care but if there is one thing I’ve learned in my 50 years on this rock is that life is simply not predictable. A few examples of things that could go wrong:
You’re playing with a dog in a house who gets overly excited and accidentally knocks a table and breaks something valuable. That’s on you. 3rd party liability comes in handy here if its an expensive item.
You’re out walking a dog, something spooks it and it veers into the road, a cyclist tries to avoids it, Hits the sidewalk, falls off his bike and hits his head on the ground. (this was reported in the media). That’s a big claim!
You’re walking a dog and it slips its harness (surprisingly easy given how many dogs I’ve seen do this) and runs off. Most insurance policies include a lot pet payout to help with advertising, searches etc.
Protectivity are pretty good and are my chosen insurer currently.
10. DBS checks for your pet-sitting business
Whilst I personally do not see the value in DBS checks, as all they show is that a person has not been convicted of a crime, some pet owners do require them. A DBS check does not tell anyone if the person is reliable, will provide good care for pets or any insight into their personality, reliability or professionalism. So for me, it is really not worth the paper it’s printed on. I always let my clients know that if they want a recent DBS check they are more than welcome to pay for one and I’ll happily get one done if they think it would provide any further reassurance to them.
11. Set your pricing
How much you charge will depend on the area you cover and your experience.
if you are just starting out, you will likely start at a lower daily rate whilst you build up your experience and client base. Once you have regular bookings you can then look to increase your prices to reflect your experience. Reviews play a big part here too. The more 5* reviews you have the more likely someone is to pay a higher daily rate.
Do some research of the other sitters in your area to get a feel for what people are willing to pay in your area. Pet owners in London are likely to pay more for a sitter than those in the North of England, Wales etc.
You don’t want to price yourself out of the market so being competitive with your prices is going to be an important factor in your success in getting regular bookings.
12. Supplement your pet-sitting business income
Depending on your area and experience, on average pet sitters charge between £30 – £60 per day for the first pet. They then typically charge a small supplement cost for each additional pet. So this means that you’re essentially working for less than minimum wage.
Most sitters therefore supplement their income with other activities. This could be other services entirely unrelated to pet care for example providing Virtual Assistant support, website design, social media management, teaching English etc.
Other sitters, if they focus on a specific area supplement their potential daily earnings by providing additional pet care services, for example, dog walking (£12-£15ph per dog) and drop-ins. Obviously, if you do provide additional services these should not impact your availability to the pets you are caring for as a pet sitter. Ie, if you’re doing a dog sit, most owners require that their dogs not be left for more than 3-4 hours. This limits the time that you can provide other services away from the home.
So there you have it, the ultimate guide to launching your pet-sitting business. From the unconditional love for our four-legged friends to the not-so-cuddly aspects like insurance and SEO, we’ve covered all the bases.
Starting a pet-sitting business isn’t just about spending your days surrounded by wagging tails and purring companions. It’s a serious commitment that requires a blend of passion and professionalism. But don’t be daunted; every successful venture started with a first step (or paw).
Remember, your business name and logo aren’t just frills; they’re your first impression. Your website isn’t a luxury; it’s your digital storefront. And SEO? Well, consider it the scent trail that leads clients right to your doorstep.
So go ahead, take the plunge. Your future furry clients are waiting for you, and who knows, you might just find that this is the purr-fect career you’ve been searching for.
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