Pet sitting is an increasingly popular service for millions of pet owners across the U.S. Pet owners need someone to look after their animals if they need to be away from home for any period of time. Customers are looking for trustworthy, reliable and responsible individuals, who will care for their beloved pets. If you think you might like to become a pet sitter, use these four simple tips to help you get started.
Consider whether you are suitable. There are certain pre-requisites to becoming a pet sitter. First up, you need to love animals. It may go without saying, but you cannot be squeamish about poop and other nasty stuff if you are going to look after animals. You will need to be flexible and reliable. Pet owners need to know that they can rely on you. You also need to be good in a crisis. If an animal is taken ill, you need to be able to deal with it very quickly.
Make sure you are properly equipped. For a pet sitter, insurance is essential. It does not matter how conscientious you are, things can still go wrong, so you need to be fully insured. There may be requirements for a license in your state, so check this out with authorities. Spending time with animals at, for example, a shelter can give you invaluable experience, too. It could also be very useful to join an association for pet sitters, to demonstrate to customers that you are committed to the role.
Market your business. Pet sitting is an increasingly competitive business, so make sure that you work hard to spread the word. Print fliers and business cards and hand them out at local businesses. Try to find veterinarians that will allow you to display an advertisement in their premises. Place an advertisement in a local newspaper. Set up social media accounts and grow your presence online, too. Do not expect business to be bedlam to start.
Think about how to add value. Given that pet sitting is so competitive, think about how to differentiate from the competition. You may be able to specialize in certain animals, for example, or for pets that are particularly popular in your neighborhood. Offering other general services, such as cleaning or maintenance, may appeal to your clients. Above all, ensure that every one of your customers is delighted with you. Word of mouth is essential.