Pet Sitting Business
Copyright © 2005 Ian White
The Pet Sitting business is booming internationally. In the United States alone there are upwards of 63.2 million individuals who own a pet, or two. Reports tell us that in America there are roughly 64 million dogs and 76 million cats in households. These numbers support why the Pet Sitting Business is on an upward swing. It is fast becoming one of the best small business ventures that an individual can undertake. The Pet Sitting business has been ear marked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor as a small business industry that will thrive with the coming years, with Pet Sitting services located throughout the states.
Pet owners world wide are breathing a sigh of relief that they have this option for their pet when they travel. In the past when an individual would travel for business, or a family would vacation, they would rely on grandparents or relatives to see to the needs of their pets. This is no longer an option for many people. Family's don't always remain in the same community. Statistics show that it is common for parents and siblings to live hundreds of miles apart. Once the family option for pet sitting evaporated, people turned to their neighbors. This was soon found to be a bad option for both the neighbor and pet owner. Neighbors felt used, and the traveller felt as if they were putting the neighbor out by asking the favor.
Some individuals tried to travel with their pets. They assumed that it would be best for their pet to not be separated from them. These good intentioned pet owners soon realized the folly of their ideals when they discovered that drinking water in some areas weren't up to par, leash laws were different in each area, and the chances of finding a lost pet in a strange area were minimal. Extended car travel is not good for a pet, either. Animals can quickly become dehydrated and agitated when left in a locked car while the family is inside a restaurant, or mall. The chances that a pet could possibly get hit by an automobile rise every time a pet is taken into a public area, such as parking lots or the city. Pets do not like being kept in a crate in a hotel. They do not like being muzzled for barking or for snipping at strangers. Pets just generally do not like being away from home.
Air travel is not pleasant for a pet, either. The cargo holds on airplanes have erratic temperatures. There is no heat, and there is no air conditioning. The sounds in these cargo areas also frighten animals and make them skittish and nervous. Some pets even require medication prior to flight. Taking your pet on a plane should only be considered under extreme circumstances.
Pet owners soon realized that while they were comforted by the presence of their pet on a trip, the pet was out of its comfort zone and did not behave like its usual self. The route of kenneling a pet was soon taken and though it saved the day in a tight pinch, pet owners tended to know from the start that this was not a good option for their pet. Their pets were kept in small quarters. They were only allowed out a couple of times a day for a few minutes to do their business. Being crowded in an area with other barking and whining animals would leave a pet out of sorts for days after their owner came home.
Options were limited for a traveling pet owner. Some people gave up and simply refused to have an animal if they were going to have to be away all the time. That was until the Pet Sitting business made its arrival into the small business industry.
True animal lovers were the first to recognize the need for the Petting Sitting business. They were the ones who took it the hardest when they were forced to see what their pets went through when they were forced to travel with their owners, or how they behaved after being picked up from a kennel after a week or more away from home. Truthfully, these individuals could not enjoy their trips for worry. These were individuals who hung a stocking for their pet at Christmas, and made them a birthday cake on the pets special day each year. These people saw the need and they stepped out on a limb. They started a Pet Sitting service. Word spread like wildfire and pet owners world wide started seeking these services in their own area.
The rapid growth and success of a Pet Sitting business come when the business owner realizes that it is a business. A love for animals is the foundation, but smart business sense is what will keep you operating. There is only a minimal amount of cost in starting up a Pet Sitting service. That is a major plus for anyone thinking seriously about going into this animal care business. A budget should be laid out to meet the costs of the outgoing business. Do not ever under estimate these expenses. It is better to over estimate than to cut yourself short. Set goals for six months, one year, three years and five years. Try to stick to your plan to achieve these goals.
You should research other Pet Sitting services in your area.
Find out what their strengths and their weaknesses may be. Learn what the going rate for Pet Sitting is in your area. Be competitive in your rates. Just because you may be doing what you love is no reason to do it for pennies. On the other hand, no one is going to pay your Pet Sitting business a small fortune, either.
You have to be a people person.
The reason you get into the Pet Sitting business may stem from being an animal lover, but if you are not warm and friendly with people you can forget about your Pet Sitting business getting off the ground. Pet owners are particular about whom they let care for their pets. If they sense that you are uncomfortable around them, they will be wary of you. Try to develop your people skills if you lack self- confidence in that area. You don't want your shyness to keep you from doing what you love. You don't want to come off as a phoney, but maintaining eye contact and being able to carry a conversation with the pet owner without looking at your shoes will go a long way.
You should go out to the home and get acquainted with each pet
and design a list of duties that the client is wanting you to
perform while they are gone.
The pet owner will familiarize you as to the habits, character and personality of each pet. You should know what they like to play with and what special nicknames they have. You should also ask the pet owner for clues about their pet, or signs you should watch for in case of illness. Some dogs may lay around and sleep all day. Others may not settle for a moment. You should know what to expect from each pet in the home. If they are not doing their usual activities that should throw up a red flag to you. You should make sure that the client gives you all the information on the pets in the home. You will need history of illnesses, vaccination records, veterinary information, as well as a place to contact the pet owner if needed. It is important that you are given a key by the client and that you are not expected to retrieve it from a hiding place. A possible thief could be watching the home and may see you getting it and replacing it. That is a disaster waiting to happen.
Besides walking the dog, feeding the bird, tending to the cat,
and playing with the pets, a client sometimes will want a Pet
Sitting service to do other things.
The Pet Sitting business can offer many services for the traveler, besides pet care. The first one being home security. You can pick up the mail, newspaper, water the potted plants, and do a thorough walk through of the home to make sure that everything is as it should be for your client. Simply opening the curtains on one visit and closing them on the next will give the home a lived in look. These services are in addition to pet sitting. The possibilities are endless as to what a Pet Sitting service can offer the client.
The Pet Sitting business is booming.
Everyone is happy. The small business owner gets to do what he loves for a living . . . being around animals. The traveler can enjoy their trip knowing that all is well on the home front. The pets get to stay in their own home, around their own things, eating their own food, and they get to go out and play like they usually would on their regular routine.