If you’ve been thinking about how to start a pet sitting business, then look no further.
It’s likely that you’re here because you’ve been thinking about starting your own pet sitting business. You probably have a passion for pets, and even, quality animal care, but you want to know:
- Whether it’s a profitable business model
- What is the cost to start a pet sitting business
- How to advertise and sell your services
- And what it takes to get started in the industry
Is the Pet Sitting Business Profitable?
Profit is an equation with three main levers: sales volume, price, and expenses. One of the benefits of owning a pet sitting business is that it can be run from home, which means it costs less to start than many other businesses.
All you really need is a cell phone, advertising, some poop bags. At times, you may need a business license, but that’s not always the case (check with your local government for requirements)!
If you want to work outside of your own neighborhood, you’ll need a vehicle that’s insured and fueled.
In order to run a profitable pet sitting business, you need to budget, and ensure that the expenses for your business are less than your income.
A pet sitting business can be very profitable when you have a service that stands apart from the rest, when word gets out about your business, and when your sales exceeds the amount needed to run your business.
What would it cost to Start a Pet Sitting Business?
This question can have varied answers depending on the preferences of the business owner. For example, some pet sitting businesses may prefer to stick to flyers or newspaper ads, whereas, another may prefer to run ads on Facebook.
The costs of acquiring the customer would be varied in those instances.
For a “rough” estimate to startup a pet sitting business, we can estimate the need for things like:
- Insurance and business license – $200(varies by city and state)
- Pet First Aid Class – $50-$200
- Advertising (even if it’s just hosting, a domain name ,and SEO training) – $300
- Supplies (water dishes,leashes, poop bags etc…) – $25
If you wanted to start with the basics, you’d spend around $750, and you’d want to be prepared to re-invest into the business until it becomes profitable.
Other expenses that are common with pet sitting businesses are:
- Digital advertising
- Specialized certifications
- Paying for help
- Car insurance and gas
- and More
How to Get Started with a Pet Sitting Business – Step-by-Step
If you’re ready to get started with your pet sitting business, here are some recommended steps:
1. Create a Business Plan
Be clear and concise:
- When do you want to launch?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What type of animals will you care for?
- What services will you offer?
- How much will you charge?
- What products and services do you need to launch?
- and More
Even in the beginning, it’s important to set goals that help guide your actions.
Make sure you emphasize the problem that you’re solving for your customer. You can’t sell the solution if they don’t know there is a problem. For example, many pets experience less anxiety when left in a home setting opposed to going to a boarding kennel.
Your business plan is your own personal map that guides you to your solution and explains the steps you’ll need to take to get it to those that need it. It’s the cornerstone of starting your business.
You can use our Business Planner to help you get clear about your goals and tasks you can do to attract customers online.
2. Build a Website
Nowadays everyone is shopping online so a website can be a very wise investment. And, it’s very inexpensive as an entrepreneur to have your website setup so clients can book services. Plus, setting it up online can save you time on appointment setting! For less than $300 you can buy a domain and get hosting. These are two foundational assets for starting a business website.
3. Map your Customer Journey
Think from the buyers perspective of what their wants and needs are. Make sure you’re clear on what services you offer and make it easy for clients to book appointments. Don’t over complicate things or make it hard.
On several occasions, I’ve found myselfon websites that aren’t entirely clear about what their services include or where I’m supposed to go to book an appointment.
Also, make sure your website looks trustworthy. Client reviews are always a great option to help with this.
Your customer journey could look like this:
- Make contact with a potential customer
- go to either an opt-in page for a free and helpful gift (such as a discount on their next service), or to a sales page to book a service with you.
Having a potential customer visit your website with a clear customer journey is much less about “leaving it to chance”. You’re being intentional. Instead of handing out business cards and hoping that they’ll go to the website to book your services.
Your sales process may look more like…
- Internet ad or job post (on places like Task Rabbit or Care.com)
- Post a proposal
- Build trust by meeting live
- Make the sale
- Schedule the first pet sitting
- Make money
Customer journey mapping lays out how a stranger (who knows nothing about your business) turns into a customer who trusts you with their beloved furry family member.
4. What Qualifications Do I Need?
There are no specific qualifications needed to become a pet sitter, though many clients often view animal first aid as a desired prerequisite.
If you would like to offer additional services like grooming or obedience lessons then additional training or certification is recommended.
5. Create Ways for Customers to Find You Online and Offline
The pandemic has shown that you don’t need a storefront to run a successful business. But, now more than ever having an online presence is crucial to not only survive but thrive in the business world.
You have to make sure that when you start your pet sitting business that you spread the word. Luckily for you the internet has created new ways of building awareness to your brand. You can use tools like search engines and social media, as ways to target people with certain interests and needs to learn about your business. But let’s not forget about the offline world too.
You want to think about offline sales the same as online. Target customers who need your business.
You might want to look for opportunities to increase brand awareness by doing things like handing out business cards at local vets or groomers, or even attending local dog competitions.
6. How Do I Get Customers to Pay Me?
Your hands are most likely going to be full while you’re running around with your furry clients, so how will you get paid? You’ll want to have your website set up for easy quick payments on the go. Here are some recommended services:
ThriveCart – You can use this to set up one-time payments or recurring payments. Check out the full ThriveCart Review here.
Leadpages – Leadpages can be used to design very nice landing pages, and with the pro plan, you can accept payments thru Stripe.
Grow your Email List to Get More Clients!
When you are out meeting people who are ideal customersfor your services, make sure to add them onto your email list. If you give something in exchange (such as a free dog training tip) for email addresses, you can build up an impressive client list very quickly. Then when you launch a new service, you’ll be able to launch to a targeted list of buyers who have already shown an interest in your business.
7. Make Money
When people start coming to your website and see that you have a reputable service that fills their need, then you’ll be making money!
Additional Resources to Start your Dog Sitting Business
Starting a pet sitting business can be a very rewarding job and great way to make money while setting your own schedule. You can start off in your neighbourhood to keep costs low and offer low cost perks like poop pickup that’ll make you stand above the rest.
Get started with our free business planner, and begin getting a clearer picture of your goals. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments section below.
If you’re ready to get started with your business, I recommend you check out the Startup Entrepreneur’s Toolkit and learn how to master the process of getting consistent online sales.