Six often overlooked things you need to consider before starting a pet sitting business.
Go into business with both eyes open!
Starting a pet sitting business is not a difficult thing. You don't need tons of expensive supplies and the legal setup is fairly simple, especially if you will be a sole proprietor. However, there are some very important things to consider before you take the plunge into this wonderful field - things that might take you by surprise if you aren't prepared.
Being a professional pet sitter is a very active "job". You might be providing more than several dog walks a day in all sorts of weather. Are you physically able to do that? Can you walk dogs of various sizes and strengths for a total of maybe five hours a day or more? Besides dog walks you are very active in people's homes - going up and down flights of stairs, lifting pets, litter boxes, lots of bending and dogs pulling at the leash.
Are you organized? You don't want to forget any clients on your daily roster. You want to be able to keep files organized on your computer and in physical form in your car when you go out on your daily pet sitting visits. Can you be organized in your thoughts so that you are proactive and prevent problems at a client's home?
How are your detailed documentation skills? This includes everything from gathering the necessary information regarding pet care for each pet in the home, to writing a log in a notebook and/or e-mail/text in a way that clearly communicates how things are going with the pets. If handwriting a log to leave on the kitchen counter after every pet visit, is your writing legible? Are you able to identify the important visit details that should be communicated to the client?
Do you have a sense of timing? Do you know how many minutes it will take to and from a client's home? Can you mentally keep track of time while at a pet visit so you know how long it takes you to do the various tasks within the time frame you promised to be at the client's home? Ex: In a 30-35 minute time frame can you adequately feed pets, take a dog for a walk /outside piddle break, sift the litter box, give fresh water, play with them, give meds if needed, take in the mail, or other agreed-upon duties, and write a log to clients and give plenty of TLC to the pets?
How will you manage the wear and tear on your body? Will you have the proper footwear to keep your feet healthy? When will you have rest periods during the day? Can you manage your business while also taking care of your personal life without getting mentally or physically exhausted? Will you have time for wellness appointments with your doctor, chiropractor, or massage therapist in order to stay in tip-top shape for this physically demanding career?
Do you have the leadership skills necessary to hire and train new employees when your business picks up? Have you thought out your policies, standards of care, and values that you want your employees to absorb in order to work for you? Can you communicate well and teach customer service to new hires.
I guess what I'm saying is this - I want you to succeed in your business and your life. This is a lifestyle business and it encompasses all that you are and want out of life. It is important to be prepared and be aware of what you need to prepare for BEFORE it happens. Don't fly by the seat of your pants just because you think it is fun to hang out with pets. It is FUN, but it is also a business and you have important responsibilities, so it is important to THINK THINGS THROUGH before you start.
I hope you will take the time to scroll through the many posts I have on this blog site. They are designed to help you so please take advantage of the wisdom I gained throughout my many years of being a professional pet sitter.
If you have any questions or blogpost ideas - please e-mail me at: email@example.com.