Showing posts with label how to set up a pet sitting business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to set up a pet sitting business. Show all posts

Start Pet Sitting Business

Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business Today!

Are you ready to be the owner of your own amazing professional pet sitting business?

Are you read to be your own boss?  Set your own hours?  See happy pets on a daily basis that bring a smile to your face?

If so, you are at the right place!
We will tell you ALL you need to know to start your own professional pet sitting business!

Best of all...IT IS ALL FREE!!!!
That is right.  We want you to have all of the available, up to date information to help start you on the right track.

We know how hard it is to find all the information you need.  We understand the frustration and neck aches while you are browsing for this information all over the web.  Now, you can find it ALL right here!

This blog will discuess all areas of pet sitting from setting up to the day to day activites to hiring help once you grow.

Even if you already have your own pet sitting business, we will still be providing you with very useful pet sitting business advice.  We will be discussing many aspects of advertising with a focus on free and low-cost advertising.  So, this is even for you veterans out there.

More Pet Sitting Business Info

Business Name

How to Pick a Business Name

Your business name will be very important to your business image. Think about names that will be easy for your clients to remember, stand out and sound professional but also spells out what you do.  You want to make it easy for your clients to be able to refer you to their friends.

Take a look through the internet for plumbers and check out the business names. You will find the very small business owner and the large franchised companies. What do you notice when you read through the names? This is what your potential clients will be thinking about when they look for you. Your potential clients may have a list in front of them of 2 pet sitters or if you live in a very large area such as LA, they may have a list of 100 or more!  What is going to make you stand out of the crowd so they will look over all the rest and call you?

There are four important things to think about when picking out a business name:
  1. Originality: You want your name to be original. There are tons of Pampered Pets and Pet Sitters R Us. Once you pick out your name, do a Google search to see if anyone else thought of it first.  If someone nearby is using it, definitely do not use it.  You don't want the companies to get confused especially if someone has had a negative experience with that other company.
  2. Spell out your services: If you are pet sitting, you must let the consumer know. If you just call your business Pet Perfection, your client's may forget who they are calling. Add on your services to the end. For example, you can call it Pet Perfection Pet Care Services. Be sure when you add on your services, you are not limiting yourself. You may want to grow in the future. So, if you think you may add on errand services or home care, you may want to add pet & home care services to the business name.
  3. Location: Personally, I believe this is very important when thinking of your business name. People love where they live. They love their state, town, street, etc. Tying that in to your business name will make people remember you. For example, if you live in Florida, you can be the Sunshine State's Best Pet Caretakers. Doing this also increases your chances of having an original name.
Once you have picked out your business name, it is very important to make sure no one else is using it. Some businesses will federally trademark their name. This is to ensure no one else can legally use their name nationwide. To check the trademark database click here.

Now that you have checked the federal database, you need to check your state database. There is a separate database available for each state. To find your state database, go to the Secretary of State site and click on your state. Find the area where you can do a business search. Then just type in the name you are thinking of using. If nothing comes up, that means no one is registered in your state with that name.

You may also want to check the Internet, just in case someone is using it but is not registered with the state.  You can not use a name which is in use in your state or nationally even if they have not registered it.  You can't even use a variation of it.  Why would you want to get confused with another business anyways. Pick a different name if you are unsure. 

In conclusion, be sure to check all your resources before putting your business name on paper.  It will be much harder to change it later, so be sure before you go any further.

Now that you have your business name ready, you can get your business license. We will discuss how to do that in the next installment.

Business Structure

What Type of Business Structure Should You Set Up?

There are 5 different business structures in which you can set up your business as.

These are:
  1. Sole Proprietor -Most common
  2. Partnership
  3. Corporation (Inc. or Ltd.)
  4. S Corporation
  5. Limited Liability Company (LLC) - Second most common

Let's talk about the Sole Proprietor first: The sole proprietorship is the most common structure to form amongst pet sitters. It is inexpensive to form. It is usually owned by a single person or a married couple. The owner is personally liable for all business debts and may file on their personal income tax.

Next is the Partnership: Partnerships are also inexpensive to form. They usually require an agreement between two or more individuals to jointly own and operate the business. The partners share all aspects of the business (good and bad) in accordance to the agreement. It could be a 50/50 partnership or anything else agreed to in writing. Partnerships do not pay taxes, but must file an informational return. Individual partners would then report their share of profits and losses on their personal return.

Next is a Limited Liability Corporation or LLC: This is very common amongst pet sitters. It is advantageous for small businesses because it reduces the risk of losing all your personal assets should you be faced with a law suit. It separates your business and personal assets. You can also elect to be taxed like a corporation which saves you at tax time.

Next is a C Corporation: This is a complex business structure with more start up costs than many others. This is not a very common structure amongst pet sitters since there are shares of stocks involved. Profits are taxed both at the corporate level and again when distributed to shareholders. Lawyers are usually involved at this level.

And Finally is a S Corporation: This is more common than the C Corporation since it avoids double taxation. It is taxed like a Partnership. A business must be approved to be classified as such, so it is not a very common entity amongst pet sitters.

There are also other structures which are specific to certain states. Some of these include Limited Partnership and Limited Liability Partnership. As always, we recommend getting professional advice from your accountant and lawyer as to which would be more advantageous to your business from a legal and taxable point of view.

In the next installment we will talk about where to purchase insurance and bonding.

Business Forms for your Pet Sitting Business

Pet Sitter Insurance

Pet Sitter Insurance

In this section we will discuss the different types of pet sitting insurance companies available for your pet sitting business.

Pet Sitting insurance is very important for your business. Pet Sitting Insurance will cover you from any damage you may cause to the client's home such as knocking over an expensive vase. It will also cover you if you lose grip of the dog's lead and it attacks another dog or person. Most clients will expect you to have pet sitting liability insurance to protect themselves and their pet while they are in your care.

Below is a list of all the pet sitting insurance companies we could find in select countries. We have provided you with a link to each company website and some pricing information (scroll down the page).

Please visit each pet sitting insurance company in your country to compare deductibles, premiums, coverage amounts, etc. to be sure you are receiving the correct coverage for your business.

United States Pet Sitting Liability Insurance Providers:

  • In the US, you can purchase pet sitter insurance through PSA, LLC. This organization is different because their pet sitting insurance fee is included in the annual membership fee. The membership dues are a low fee of $190 per year! This is for membership AND pet sitting insurance. You can also purchase special property coverage for an additional $100 per year. This works similar to bonding (only better) and will cover your business against personal property damage, care, custody and control and theft.
Visit for more information on their membership or to fill out and application. You can also see there pet sitting insurance coverage specifically at
  • Business Insurers of the Carolinas is contracted with PSI and NAPPS. This means you must be a member of either organization in order to purchase their insurance.
  • Pet Sitters International (PSI) membership only starts at $145/year plus $10 initial fee.
  • National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) membership only starts at $175/year plus application fee.
Once you pay for membership to either PSI or NAPPS, you can then purchase pet sitting insurance through Business Insurers of the Carolinas. Insurance coverage starts at $470/year.
  • Mourer Foster offers pet sitting liability insurance. Insurance coverage starts at $350. You can also pay your premiums annually, semi-annually or quarterly which is nice for those on a tight budget.

Canadian Pet Sitting Liability Insurance Providers:
  • Canadian Pet Pro offers pet sitting liability insurance for $800 per year. You do not need to belong to any organizations. You can pay with credit card as well as make monthly payments.
  • Binks offers insurance to Canadian members of PSI. The cost of the insurance starts at $600 plus membership to PSI (which starts at $145).
  • Again (for Canada), Mourer Foster offers pet sitting liability insurance. Insurance coverage starts at $350. You can also pay your premiums annually, semi-annually or quarterly which is nice for those on a tight budget. 
United Kingdom Pet Sitting Liability Insurance Providers:
  • Pet Business Insurance provides insurance starting at £109.00 for care, custody and control. You can also add on employee coverage, equipment coverage and more. 
  • Protectivity offers insurance specifically to pet care providers.  Their rates start  at £73.59/year.
Australian Pet Sitting Insurance Carriers:

If you know of any pet sitting insurance company not listed above, please let us know so that we can update our information. Click here to send an email.

Pet Sitting Business Forms

Protect Your Business with a Signed Contract

You have done all the basic necessities to start your pet sitting business.  Now it is time to get ready for clients. The first step is to get your paperwork in order. This is essential to your organization.

The essential business forms you will need are:
  1. Service Contract
These are what I would consider the bare necessities, but there are many more that will contribute to making your business much easier and much more organized.

Let's talk about what should be in your pet sitting service contract first. Firstly, I don't like (and your clients will not like either) to call the contract a "contract". I like to call it a service agreement. It is essentially the same thing just with different terminology. Contracts have been given a bad rep and therefore scare people off. People feel they are signing away their options and are obligated to then stay with your services no matter what. Instead of a pet sitting contract, I like to call it a pet sitting service agreement. It sounds nicer and less binding although it is just as binding.

The pet sitting service agreement should include the name and address of the home you will be working in as well as your name to show it is an agreement between yourself and the homeowner.  This allows you to be in the home. It should then lay out what you will be doing there.  You should have all your business policies spelt out and a place for your client to agree to them.  Some of your business policies should include liability issues such as damage, aggression, illnesses, accidents, etc.  You should also list your cancellation policy, payment policy, etc. There is a lot of thought that should go into a service contract and it should not be taken lightly. The contract is there to protect your business and your pocket.

The next item is your pet care information sheets.  These sheets will have all the required information to care for the pet such as breed, color, microchip number, shot record, birthday, etc.  Then they will ask questions about how the client wants you to take care of the pet.  These sheets should be pre-filled with all the questions so you will not forget to ask the client any important questions.  You should have a separate sheet for each type of animal because each type of animal requires different sorts of care.

When I first started my business, I did not have a sheet and just came with pencil and paper.  I found upon returning to the office, that I was notorious for forgetting something which would result in me making a phone call.  I then made an information sheet to help guide me in these questions.  You can even give the information sheet to your client to fill out, but I would recommend you doing it with your client so you are both on the same page.  You would then save this form for each future visit to refer back to.

The next essential form is the veterinarian release.  This is used to allow you to take the pet to the vet without baring the responsibility of the payment.  It will list who the pet's normal vet is and give you permission to take to another vet if necessary.

The last essential form is the report card.  This is left behind after each visit to document what you did and how the pet(s) did on each of your visits.  The client's like to read about their pet's day upon their return.  This will also help eliminate the need for follow up phone calls.

There are many other forms which will aid you in simplifying your business such as the medication permission slip which will give you permission to administer meds and give medication admistering instructions.  The telephone reservation form will help with those phone inquiries and the satisfaction survey will help you get some feedback on your services.

All of these forms and more are offered in the pet sitting package located on the Home Business Forms website.  This complete package includes 26 forms for a low price of $44.99! All you will need to do is print the forms.  You will receive a completed product.

Once you have done all the above steps, it is time to start getting some clients.  We will discuss marketing tips next.

How do I get my Pet Sitting Clients?

How do you Market your Pet Sitting Business?

Now that you have your business set up, it is time to get clients. In this installment we will discuss your many options and what options have been proven most valuable.

Some of your marketing options include:
  • Flyers
  • Phone Book
  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Online Advertising
  • Groupon
  • Newspaper
  • Magazine
  • Car Magnets
  • Business Card Distribution
  • Valupak
  • Word of Mouth

Flyers: Flyers are a great, cheap way of advertising your business. I don't recommend printing up mass quantities and distributing them door to door. This has been proven to be very ineffective and time-consuming. It is also illegal to put them in mailboxes, so you are going to have to walk door to door. People also do not like to have people walking on their property placing advertisements so that may be a turnoff for your potential clients.

You can print up a mass quantity and put them on cars in a parking lot, but you have to get a permit for that. Make sure you conduct your business legally to show you are a professional.

The best thing to do with those flyers is to print up a bunch of them and leave them in your car. Anytime you go to a store and notice a bulletin board, place your flyer there. Some of the best places are post offices, sandwhich shops, diners and coffee shops.  Get your flyer here.

Phone Books: Phone books are a thing of the past and do not recommend this type. There are so many other ways you can advertise for much cheaper.

Websites: A website will be your BEST advertising tool next to word of mouth. Most of your clients will search for what they need on the internet while they are at work. I definitely recommend a website above anything else. Your website does not have to be fancy, just professional looking and informative. You don't have to spend a fortune on it, you can even make one for free.

If you do not want to worry about designing your own website or your website is not bringing in clients, we can help out too.  We offer cheap website design and overhauls.  Just click here.

Social Media: This is a great way to get local clients and testimonials.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  There are so many ways to get your name out there on these.  Get an account with all three and start posting fun tips that will get people to notice you and share your page.  There are also lots of local Facebook pages that you can post your business on.  So, get browsing all over your local Facebook pages and start posting.

Online Advertising: Once you have your website ready, you can advertise it online for free at many places. Even if you don't have a website, there are many places online to advertise. Some of those places are CraigslistMerchantCircleSuperpagesGoogle MapsYahoo and more. I have created a tutorial on how and where to advertise your website. You can find it here.

Groupon:  Groupon offers a great way to get new clients and on-going clients.  You offer your first time clients a deep discount, usually 50% off.  This may seem like you are going to do a lot of work for very little, but you have to look at the long term benefits.  If they like you, they will have you back and tell their friends!  So, in the long run, it works out great!

Newspapers and Magazines: Newspapers are a good option to try out but I recommend the local/town paper, not a large paper distributer.  Some areas do well with newspaper advertising and some do not. The only way you will know is to give it a try. 
Magazines are more expensive and do not focus on a certain area in which your service area lies. Magazines may not be a good option to advertise this sort of business.

Car Magnets: Car magnets are a great advertising option. They are a cheap, one time cost, so it doesn't hurt to try it out.  Make sure you let your insurance know b/c if you get into an accident in a "work" vehicle and you didn't tell them it's a work vehicle, they won't cover you.

Business Card Distribution: Handing out business cards to everyone you see is not very cost effective. I don't recommend this form of advertising. However, always have your cards available should you see an opportunity to hand one out or display it. 

Valupak: Valupak is, in my opinion, not a good option for this sort of business. For one thing, it is distributed to a large area most of which you may not be covering. Second, it is very expensive. However, if you have the money to try this form of advertising out, give it a try.

Word of Mouth: This will be your best form of advertising once your business gets going. If you have happy customers, they will tell all their friends and family about you. Always be sure to conduct your business and yourself professionally in order to get those referrals. Leave your clients will plenty of business cards so they can hand them out to their friends and family. It is also a great idea to offer a referral bonus such as one free visit for every paid referral or $30 off a vacation week. This is a nice incentive to get them to hand out those referrals.

These are the most common types of advertising methods people use for their pet sitting business. I recommend trying out what you can to see what works and what does not. In the beginning, you will spend a lot more money until you are busy enough to stop advertising . Once you hit a slow spot and think you need to advertise again, hopefully by then, you will know what worked and will only need to spend money on that form of advertising.

Business Forms for your Pet Sitting Business