Pet sitting and dog walking services can be the perfect way to launch a good income- producing business during tough economic times. When start-up capital is in short supply and you need to get going with something fast, this might just fit your needs. Most animal lovers already take care of pets for friends and family during vacations and short trips, so why not turn that skill and passion into the work you love to do? While the idea of running a pet sitting business may seem like a piece of cake at first, there is quite a bit involved with it that many people don’t think of right away. There is much more to it than simply showing up to feed, water and walk pets. As a pet care business, you will develop relationships with clients, both human and animal, that are pivotal to the success of your business. A basis of mutual trust, respect, and excellence in care giving is necessary. There is a need for organization, starting from the services offered and fees that will be charged, to contracts, forms, and the service area within which you will work. Additionally, insurance, bonding, and safely carrying out duties so that pets are healthy, as well as the home secured, are neccessary factors. Protecting yourself and your clients from liabilities comes not only with insurance coverage, but also in how you perform your work. Here are the main points a new start up for pet sitting and dog walking should consider: 1. Services and Pricing. It goes without saying that the busiest periods for a pet sitting business is the summer months and holidays. But there is an array of services that can be offered, including daily dog walking for those with long work hours, medical problems, etc., that can keep a pet sitting business busy during other times. The average professional pet sitter with insurance charges anywhere from -25.00 per visit to a client home for pet care. 2. Insurance and bonding. As a professional pet sitter, securing commercial liability insurance, and when needed, a bond, is essential when taking on a service that requires entering homes and working with animals. There are pet sitting trade organizations that offer this specialized insurance through membership that make this aspect of the business affordable for a new start up and for established businesses. 3. Service area. Knowing where your service area boundaries are as a new start up is very important, and must be determined according to your location. A pet sitting service located in a compact, high population city is different from providing service in a rural or semi-rural area. Even the sprawl of some suburbs, and weather conditions for your part of the country can have an affect on choosing the service area you will start with. Eventually, growth beyond the initial area can be pursued as your gain experience and are in a position to hire help. 4. Advertising and marketing. There are numerous traditional and more innovative ways that you can get word out about your pet sitting and dog walking business. As a new start- up, obtaining your first clients is the most important step to growth. Most of these early clients will service as your initial references and often provide word-of-mouth referrals to their neighbors and friends. However, keeping your business name in front of new clients throughout the year is also important, and the most important way to start is with a good website that can be easily found on the Internet searches. It has been recently estimated that over 80% of American households now have a computer and Internet access, and using search engines has become the standard when looking for products and services. A website is not longer an option, but a necessity for any business. 5. Management. Every business has to have organization, whether is it scheduling services, collecting money, contracts, forms, record keeping, accounting, etc. Pet Sitting and dog walking businesses are no different, and in fact , pet care can have some of the more complicated and changable scheduling challenges of all. People change their travel plans, work hours, and have sudden needs (like a death in the family) that may require last minute changes and need for service. Having a good system in place to handle these events will go far in running a smooth and worry free service. Now that the essentials have been discussed, how does one get started with a pet sitting and dog walking business? Although a pet sitting and dog walking business can be started fast and easy, some guidance will make you more successful. Having the resources in one place with everything you need is hard to come by. That’s why Pet Sitter Boot Camp(tm) was created. A one-stop online course that gets to the core of what it takes to operate an in-home pet care business. Everything that is relevant to a new start up is covered and included, saving loads of time and research. Most participants are ready to start in less than a month. Even ready to use forms, contracts, how-to’s for conducting new client consultations, daily visit routines – simply everything you need to know and have.
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