Making money as a pet or house sitter is fun and rewarding if you know what you’re doing and enjoy doing this service. You only need a few things to start this business, most of which you probably already have, such as a phone to make and accept calls from clients, transportation to take you to where your clients are, a computer, and some advertising budget. Of course it will be a big help if you also got a healthy love of animals to go with all of these necessities.
To distinguish your pet or house sitting service from others in the same business, come up with a catchy name, something that potential clients will find easy to remember. Do your homework and find out what you need to do before setting up a small business, like getting bonded and insured, securing the necessary licenses, and filing your taxes. Your local small business administration may be able to help you create a business plan and marketing strategies, as well as provide business counseling.
Getting in touch with pet and house sitting associations may also provide you with information and support. You can also get to know people in the same business who can give you tips and advice and may even give you some clients if they find themselves overbooked.
Come up with a rate that is reasonable and competitive with other pet and house sitters in your community, factoring in the cost of living in your area and any other expenses you might incur while providing your services.
More often than not, potential clients will be asking you for references. To build your reference, offer to house sit or take care of the pets of your friend or family member for free. You can also offer your free service to neighbors you know personally, and ask all of them to become your references.
Advertise your business in your community, create a business card, flyers, or brochures and hand these out to friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors, and around your neighborhood such as pet shops, vet clinics, pet grooming centers, and even supermarkets, bookstores, community centers, and people with pets at the park.
Use your computer to create a simple website for your business, putting some text that talks a little bit about yourself, your contact information, areas you cover, and working hours. You can even sell pet food and accessories later on in your website, once your pet and house sitting services are well on its way.
Take advantage of the reasonable advertising rates of the Yellow Pages; your ad will run for a full month for a fixed price, and many people still refer to it when looking for products or services. There are also community papers that run ads for free, and they are not only found in small communities, but also in larger cities.
Join community fairs, garden expos, craft fairs, and set up a booth where you can advertise your services. This allows you to meet potential clients and chat with them and answer any question they might have about your services. Make sure they leave with one of your business cards or brochures.
Soon enough these marketing efforts will yield you clients who can be repeat customers if you provided them excellent service. Before you start with a new client, ask them to fill in a questionnaire or you can fill it yourself by interviewing them. This questionnaire will give you important information about the pet or the house you will be taking care of, other specific tasks they might want you to do while pet or house sitting for them, their emergency contact details, among other things.
If your clients are going to be gone longer than a couple of hours or more, you can ask them if they want you to do something else for the house, like watering their plants or turning on the sprinkler, turning on the lights when it’s already dark when you have to leave, answering phone calls and jotting down messages, collecting their mail, etc.
Now who are your clients? You might be surprised but there are many people who will actually need your services, giving you a good chance of making money as a pet or house sitter.
Single, working individuals who have pets normally leave their beloved animals alone at home. These people care a lot for their pets as these animals give them the companionship they need since they live alone. They will be happy to have someone look out for their furry friends while they do their daily toil at their workplace. With a pet sitter, they are assured their pets receive the care and attention they need, like food and water and a walk to the park or the neighborhood.
More and more married couples nowadays are both out there working to provide better for their families, especially if their home is a full house, with kids, pets, and a busy daily schedule. Having a pet or house sitter will help settle their mind that their animals are well fed, entertained, and happy, and that someone they trust is in their house during the hours it is normally empty.
People who are elderly may also require the services of a pet sitter who can help them feed, walk, and take them to where they need to go, like the vet for some treatment or a pet salon for some grooming and pampering.
You can also find clients at hotels that allow their guests to bring pets. Travelers normally bring their pets with them to the hotel because they cannot bear to leave them behind when they have to take a trip. But they will have to leave them at the hotel for some time as they go about doing whatever it is they came to do. So here is where you can come in. You offer your services to the hotel that can refer you to their guests with pets who need to be fed, walked outside for some exercise and fresh air, or who simply need to have someone to take care of them while their masters are away.
House sitters are also in demand by people who want someone to man their houses while they are away, giving them the assurance that their home is safe from intruders and burglars. There is nothing more inviting to burglars than an empty house, and they are good at spotting houses that are left unattended by homeowners going on trips or vacations. Needless to say, as a house sitter, you are giving your clients some peace of mind while they are away.
Of course there are more people out there who will be needing pet or house sitting services for their own reasons. It is important that you provide good service at the very least, whether it’s your first client or the hundredth. Top-notch quality service is expected by every client, regardless of who they are.
It will be to your advantage to continue improving your standard of service as you go. If you put in enough working hours or have built a good clientele base, you will continue to make good money with your pet or house sitting services.
Are you making money house and / or pet sitting or thinking about doing so? Be sure to share your comments, thoughts, ideas below…