If you have hired a pet sitter for yourself (or browsed a competitor’s website), you might have noticed professional sitters offer a variety of services that differ in name, description, price, and duration. Here is a simple overview of the industry’s basics so you can design services that fit your business goals and communicate clearly to potential clients. More information about pricing, availability, and liability can be found in our community pet sitting group Pet Sitting Tycoons and sign up with our partners at Tycoon Companies if you’re starting a pet sitting business.
This blanket term is often used to describe the entire industry but if we are getting specific a pet sitter makes several visits a day while their client is gone from home for an extended period of time. The pet sitter provides routine care such as feeding, walking. brushing, litter box cleaning, medicating, etc. until the client has returned. (Additionally, you might offer to bring in the mail and take out the trash, or even vacuum if lots of pet hair has accumulated. I have a handful of customers that hire me just to water their gardens or alternate lights while they are away. The little touches that make returning home more comfortable will go a long way.)
Overnight Pet Sitting
A pet sitter that is available to stay overnight (or all day) at their client’s house is going to have no problem finding work. This is a coveted service due to the limited availability of pet sitters who can take only one overnight client at a time. Bookings will often consist of a combination of overnight stays with additional daytime visits to allow sitters time for other client’s pets during the day. (Plan your schedule wisely if you’re taking overnight jobs as the time commitment can be overwhelming. I have seen these demanding schedules derail eager new sitters that bite off more than they can chew.)
By far, the most well-known and popular service is dog walking. Dog walkers make routine or à la carte visits while owners are gone for the day or are unable to walk their dogs. This is usually a midday gig and most popular during the traditional work week but expect these visits to pop up any day and time. (If you’re picturing the iconic twelve dogs pulling one person through a park with a jumble of leashes it might surprise you to know these visits are most often individual walking sessions and not group excursions. Unless you’re living in a very dense neighborhood with adjacent pet-friendly spaces it will be easier and safer to walk one dog at a time.)
It’s fun to take your work home with you when it wags and gives you kisses! Many sitters offer boarding in their own homes as an alternative to pet sitting in their client’s home. Boarding can provide lots of extra attention for pets while their owners are away, and it can be very lucrative when watching multiple pets at the same time. (Look for a future blog post all about boarding as there are many important considerations to take before offering this service.)
Ready to Learn More?
Are you interested in learning more than just the basics? Every category of pet sitting has variations and nuances that will effect the price and description of the visit. Many pet sitters offer farm sitting, pet taxi, feline-specific care, and other unique services. Will you charge more for late nights, holidays, last minute bookings, or multiple pets? Do you have a cancellation policy? Are you able to give injections to diabetic pets? There are many considerations to be made when deciding on the services you’ll offer and clear communication with your clients about their expectations and your abilities is the key to a successful professional relationship.