Pet Sitters use to be friends, family members or neighbors. When you needed someone to keep a watchful eye over Rex or Socks, you could lean on them to lend a helping hand. If you couldn’t have your pet travel with you for business or leisure, you might ask them to even board them overnight. But in the 21st Century our options have changed. Today, instead of asking for favors, you might seek out that same type of support from a professional pet sitter.
When dual wage-earners became the family norm, our household accommodations changed in a number of ways. When both husband and wife are busy with their careers, they’re away from home for longer periods of time, sometimes weeks on end when travel is part and parcel of their job description.
However with absenteeism, pet owners still want their all of their family members attended to. Similar to seeking out childcare for their children, pet parents are looking to professional pet sitters to care for their pets as well — and they’re willing to pay for it. In fact today, pet sitters are on equal par with other domestic services — such as maid service, landscaping and even daily meal catering.
Why Pet Sit?
Pet Sitting might not be your first career choice. In fact, this option might come later in life. Nonetheless it's a viable alternative for a number of reasons.
For one, anyone who loves pets knows what a stress reducer dogs and cats can be. The job pressures that require multi-tasking, extensive paperwork, presentations, changing schedules, lots of travel and a number of other job responsibilities can become overwhelming. Taking care of pets, on the other hand is almost liberating. It’s a fun job that allows you to engage with pets who are known for their unconditional love.
Secondly, pet sitting can be profitable. And there is nothing wrong in combining your love of animals and making a living while doing it. Most of us have to work to pay the bills. — and it’s a fact that the best jobs are those make you feel good. So why not pet sit?
It’s a business
Pet sitting IS truly a business opportunity. While you might not retire as a wealthy millionaire doing this kind of work, making a living while having fun is not a bad option in life.
However, as a business, it needs to be treated as such. It does require an entrepreneurial spirit. You need to be a planner and an organizer. In the book, The Professional Pet Sitter, authors Lori and Scott Mangold emphasize that organization is a fundamental building block of any successful pet sitting business.
Similar to other start-ups, you will be required to wear many hats, such as, juggling operations, marketing, legal issues, taxes and housekeeping to name just a few of the many job responsibilities.
The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters believe that a good pet sitter is not only good with animals, they are also good at getting the word out. You need to be a good marketer. If you have a made a commitment to this line of work, to be truly successful you need to know how to network and promote your services. This could range from advertising locally, distributing printed materials to your community and creating good word of mouth through positive testimonials from happy customers.
What to charge?
How much to charge is not an easy question to answer. There are no set standards or ‘rules of thumbs’ to apply. Based on the geographic territory you cover and the competition, you need to weigh a number factors before pricing yourself too high or too low.
Some pet caregivers charge by the hour, while others have a fixed rate for certain types and numbers of pets, such as one dog or several cats.
In 2013, Angie's List reported paying an average of $37 a day, with a general range of $25 to $50, for daily pet sitting.
More recently, CostHelper.com posted that overnight stay rates can range between $50 and $75 per night.
According to authors Lori and Scott Mangold, “correct pricing requires a two-pronged approach which compares a pet sitter's costs to market value – what customers are willing to pay. It involves concepts like ‘alternative costs,’ ‘demographics’ and ‘utility.’”
Pet Sitting has gone international . . .
If you’re still not sure that pet sitting is a legitimate profession, be aware that it’s gone international. The Pet Sitter World Educational Conference and Expo attracts thousands of professional pet sitters from all over the United States, Canada and even the Middle East.
Folks that attended the 2017 event in New Orleans September 18-21 were exposed to a wide range of educational workshops and hands-on labs that touched on pet safety, designing effective business websites, CPR and first aid, modern-day marketing techniques and even using technology to enhance one’s business brand.
Attending events such as this expo helps professional pet sitters expand their expertise, learn innovative pet care practices, as well as the opportunity to network with fellow pet care professionals globally.
Are you a pet care professional or are you considering becoming one? In either case, comment below and let us know your thoughts about this burgeoning new 'grassroots' career option.
Primary Source: National Association of Professional Pet Sitters