Should Solo Local Pet Sitters Network?
YES. NO. YES. NO. YES. NO. YES!
I've met a lot of professional pet sitters in my time. Some I've bumped into locally. Some I've approached because they were wearing a pet sitting company's t-shirt. I've met many at annual pet sitting conferences, and some I've talked to only on the phone. I've met some pet sitters who work for a larger pet sitting business and many sitters who are solo-acts: a business of one. I have found networking fun and interesting and I encourage all pet sitters to network!
I think most solo pet sitters like being solo. This business for them is a lifestyle business and they don't want to either work for a big pet sitting company and they don't even want a small company. They want to be solo and that is A-OK. I was a solo pet sitter and for me it truly was a lifestyle business creation.
If interested, I invite you to see my posts on pet sitting as a lifestyle business at these links:
I don't believe (most) pet sitters are competitive with one another. At least not here in suburbia where I live. I've only ever talked to one unfriendly pet sitter on the phone, but I just chalked it up that she was having a bad day ! Otherwise, I have never met an unfriendly pet sitter. Pet sitters love talking about their furry and feathery clients and love talking about what they do.
If you are a solo pet sitter I encourage you to network with others in your area. You don't have to open up your finances to one another, or share all your "trade secrets", but there is much value to networking.
Solo pet sitting can be a little lonely sometimes if day after day, week after week, your main conversations are with dogs and cats and birds, and few conversations during the day are with people. Phone calls with people are business-related - talking to pet owners - or vet staff.
The benefits of networking with other sitters in the area can include having another sitter who is "in the trenches" to talk to about certain situations that may arise. Sometimes solo sitters can vent with one another. You might work out some sort of backup deal with each other for emergency situations. You can work together as a part of a professional pet sitting organization like NAPPS or PSI, or something more regional to your area. Working together can increase knowledge of all aspects of pet care and boost your business knowledge and sense.
But there are two things I want to caution solo pet sitters about :
* Be truly non-competitive with one another. There are PLENTY of pets in any given area to go around. Some clients want male sitters, others feel their pets do better with female sitters. If there is a certain pet you can't handle - like say, German Shepherds or snakes or iguanas or birds - then refer them to another sitter in the area. You spread goodwill that way and the favor will be returned to you eventually.
There is a neat website - https://www.zippia.com/pet-sitter-jobs/demographics/
where you can read about pet sitter demographics and statistics in the USA.
If any pet sitter is nervous about another sitter taking all the clients in the area, these demographics will show you that there are more than enough pets in the area who need sitters.
* Don't share your fees with one another unless you can refer your new solo sitter contact to a list on a website. Set your own prices. Do what works for you. You don't want anyone copying your pricing because each sitter's services are different because their skill sets, animal knowledge base, and personalities are different.
The world we are living in seems to get stranger every month. As I write this war is happening in Ukraine. Russia is threatening the power grid in the USA, so consider this: If things really do get "that bad", then local pet sitters will have to network. So, why not start now?
Networking doesn't have to happen every day or every week, but if you can connect with another solo sitter at least once a month to every six weeks, I believe it will be a benefit to you and I encourage you to try it.
P.S. - I offer phone mentoring sessions for new pet sitters, or for pet sitters have an issue they need to discuss / brainstorming / problem-solving. E-mail me about how this works and for pricing: email@example.com.