What It’s Like to Have Your Own Pet-Sitting Business

A little over one year ago, I started my own pet-sitting business called Rachel’s Pet Care, and in honor of Her Campus Scranton’s Pet Week I decided to share some of my experiences as a pet-sitter thus far.  

1. Starting a pet-sitting business requires some creativity.

When I was starting my pet-sitting business, I tried to keep things simple.  I wanted my customers to know that, while most of the animals I watch are dogs, I could handle all different kinds of pets, so I just called my business “Rachel’s Pet Care.”  However, I had to be more creative when I was thinking of a slogan.  You would be surprised to hear how many slogans I thought of that were already taken!  Finally I created a phrase that no one seemed to have used before:  “Rachel’s Pet Care – Love and care when you’re not there!”  Sounds cheesy, but a catchy slogan helps people to remember you and your services!

 

2. Determining pet-sitting rates was far more complicated than I expected.

After creating some advertisements and getting my name out there, I ran into some difficulties figuring out how much I would charge to watch someone’s pet.  You really have to take each circumstance into account.  For example, if the customer just wants me to stop in 3-4 times per day, I charge $20/day.  This rate is for pets that that do not need company overnight, but need to be let out/fed/walked throughout the day.  However, I was surprised to learn that most people prefer that I stay at their house while they are gone because their pets get anxious being alone at nighttime.  Therefore, I created a different rate of $35/night, which includes 3-4 visits throughout the day as well as an overnight stay.  I also throw an additional $10 on the final bill as gas money if the customer’s home is 10+ miles away from my own.  It was difficult for me to make set rates that were fair to both the customer and me.  However, some still say that I am not charging enough, so creating set rates is difficult because the prices really vary from customer to customer.

 

3. People need to trust you.

I have found that building trust with customers is the most important part of owning your own pet-sitting business.  Think about your own pet, and your own house.  You wouldn’t let just anybody stay over to watch your pet when you are not around, right?  Showing up when you are supposed to, keeping track of house keys, writing down everything the owner has to say about the pet’s daily routine, and sending the owner pictures of their pet while he or she is away are all good ways to show that you are a trustworthy pet-sitter.

 

4. It is a lot more work than you think.

Pet-sitting requires a lot of responsibility but can really improve your time-management skills.  If you decide to take more than two pets at a time, suddenly your weekend consists of running around to different places throughout the day to let the dog out or to feed the cat at all the proper times.  This job also demands that you wake up early for the dog who eats at exactly 7:00am, or make late night trips so that the dog can use the bathroom before bedtime.  However, a huge benefit of owning your own pet-sitting business is that you can choose your availability, so if you feel overworked with more than two customers on the same weekend, you can choose to avoid that the next time around.

 

5. You have to love animals.

I do not have any pets myself, so I really enjoy this job because it allows me to spend time with a lot of different animals with a lot of different personalities!  I learn about what these animals like and dislike so that I can provide them with exactly the care they need.  And not only do I get to meet these awesome animals, but I create close relationships with their owners as well.  Pet-sitting is so rewarding because you help pet owners enjoy time away knowing that their pets are safe at home in good hands – and you get to play with their pets all day long!  If you are interested in veterinary medicine like me or if you are an animal-lover looking for a way to make some extra money, you may want to consider starting your own pet-sitting business!