Showing posts with label start pet sitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label start pet sitting. Show all posts

Job Description

What Does a Pet Sitter Do?

You own your own business you can offer whatever services you want to offer!

Pet sitters usually offer an array of services from pet sitting, dog walking, pooper scooper, pet taxi and even house sitting. The most advertised is the pet sitting aspect of the business.

Pet sitting consists of taking care of all types of pets in the comfort of their own surroundings. Pet sitting does not mean taking the pets into your home. That would be considered animal boarding.

The purpose of pet sitting is to limit the stress to the pet while the owners are away for the weekend or on a long vacation. Most pets do better when they are in their own home with their own bed and blanket, their own toys and their own buds (other pets). Pet sitters provide this luxury by making daily visits to their homes.

The following is a list of common pet sitting duties during regular visits:
  • Potty Break for dogs (can consist of a walk)
  • Feed/Treats
  • Refill water dishes
  • Play time
  • Snuggle time
  • Petting time
  • Clean any messes / litter box / cages
  • Administer Medications
  • Getting Mail
  • Taking Garbage to the curb
  • Watering Plants
This is what most pet sitters will do on most visits.  The purpose is to keep the pet in his regular routine. So, if the dog normally gets a treat when he wakes up, you would give a treat when you arrive in the a.m.  f the pet normally takes a walk around the block daily, you would do the same. If the pet likes to get read to (birds like this), you would read to it.  This minimizes stress and allows the pet owners to relax more while they are away.  If the pet needs a pill everyday at 6pm, you would be sure to arrange your schedule accordingly.

Pet sitters can also offer many other services to supplement their income.  Many pet sitters will also offer daily dog walking to help those clients who work long hours, have an elderly dog or have a new puppy.  Pet sitters may also offer pet taxi to the vet or pet taxi to the groomer.  Pet sitters may also offer pooper scooper.  This is picking up what the dog did while you were not there.  This is a nice convenience since you are already there.  You can use their scooper, plastic bag and throw it in the trash.  You can make a nice $15 or so for just 20 minutes of work or less depending on the size of the yard.  Basically any service you can think of which is pet related you can add on to a pet sitting service.  You can even add on errand services.  The possibilities are endless!

It is recommended to start off with just pet sitting and start building your business based on customer requests.  This way you will learn what your area is in need of and start advertising based on that.  The bulk of your requests and client bookings will more than likely be derived from pet sitting and dog walking.

Now that you know what a pet sitter does, you can determine if this is the right business for you.  Remember you are taking care of pets.  You may have some messes to clean up and you should have some basic knowledge of pet care and breeds.

Once you have determined if this is the right job for you and you have thought about which service you would like to offer within the pet sitting industry, it will be time to set up your business. 

The first step in setting up your pet sitting business is picking a business name.
We will discuss how to pick a business name in the next installment.

Rates and Services

What to Offer and What to Charge?

Now that you have the knowledge about what a pet sitter does and you have chosen a business name, it is time to write down exactly what you will offer and what you will charge. 

Get out a piece of paper and start writing.

What services do you want to offer?

Do you want to start out with just pet sitting?

Will you offer other services such as:
· Dog Walking
· Pooper Scooper
· Overnight Care
· Taxi Services
· House Sitting

Now that you have written down what you are going to offer, it is time to determine what you will charge.

In my opinion, it is best to charge for your time. Have time slots set up with a rate for each.

For example:
A 15 minute visit is $15; a 30 minute visit is $20 and so on.

This is for as many pets they have in a single household. In my opinion, I don't think it is wise to charge extra fees for more than 1 pet or 3 pets. It turns out being a turnoff for your client when you start to add on more and more fees. If your client has more pets than you feel you can handle in the time slot they request, they would have to purchase a longer time slot.

Many pet sitters will charge a small fee for administering meds (injectible meds or difficult to handle pets).

A nice up sell is to add on Pooper Scooping. Cleaning up what the dog does while you are there is included, however, you can offer to clean the remaining yard for another small fee.

Next we will be discussing getting a business license.

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.