Specializing within the field of professional pet sitting. Is it for you?
Lots to consider before choosing to specialize in pet sitting.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that each post focuses on a different aspect of professional pet sitting and, like any business, there are nuances and unique things to think about. Specializing in pet sitting is one area that can be considered.
Do you have a special affinity for a certain type of pet or a desire to provide a specific kind of pet sitting service? Have you ever thought about pet sitting for just one kind of pet? Perhaps, like me, you love all animals but you have a special interest and love for birds...
When I was considering starting my pet sitting business I just wanted to care for birds. Parakeets. Cockatiels. Cockatoos. Amazon Greys. Love Birds. Canaries. Birds would be my speciality and I was excited about the thought of spending every day hanging out with my fine feathered friends! Oh, it was going to be such a wonderful life and a wonderful way to spend my days!
As I considered and researched specializing in birds - in New England - I quickly became to realize a few things. One is that it seems that many bird owners don't necessarily seem to go away as often as pet owners of other types of pets. The other might be because it is difficult to find the right bird sitter. Birds need a lot of attention and there seems to be much more cleaning involved - more than just sifting a litter box or scooping some poop during a dog walk.
Another thing I realized is that many homes are multi-pet owners. So you might want to specialize in say, iguanas, but the family also has an aquarium and a hamster. So it can almost be impossible to specialize in a specific pet.
I've met a few lovely pet sitters who have specialized in caring for very old pets, pets with medical conditions, disabled pets, and the like.
The other dilemma with just specializing in one type of pet is it will reduce your ability to make a higher income.
That said, if you are not needing, or looking for, a big income from pet sitting, but want to keep your business small and specific, then it is understandable to focus on just one type of pet. Just know that you probably won't have a big roster of pets and won't be very busy, at least not for a very long time.
As I mentioned, initially I was just going to care just for birds. I ended up advertising that I'd care for "cats, dogs, birds and bunnies". But soon, because of multi-pet households, I also cared for turtles, fish, chickens, hamsters, frogs and guinea pigs. You get my drift!
Another way to specialize in pet sitting is by not focusing on the type of pet, but the service you provide. For instance, you may decide to pet sit and house sit at the same time. You may just decide to offer pet sitting in your own home - where the pets come to you. You may decide to only pet sit for the hotels in your area or the local RV park.
From a business perspective, you must decide if it is going to be financially profitable for you. You must also understand that you will get oodles of calls asking for other services or other pet care and you will spend time explaining your specialized business or listening to people try and talk you into pet sitting for their 3 eyed snake who likes to wear skirts on Friday nights. (What?? LOL!)
Then there's specialization in farm animal pet sitting - caring for cows, sheep, horses, etc... On more than one occasion I was asked about sitting for horses, but I always said no because I knew nothing about them and they intimidated me. But, depending on where you live, this could be a good business focus for you.
Make a list of pros and cons. Think about how specializing will affect your life, your business - both short and long term. Discern. Reflect. Plan. And then take the plunge if specializing is what you decide to do.
If you already specialize, please e-mail me at email@example.com and tell me about it! If you have any suggestions for further blog posts please let me know that too and I'll do my best!