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pet sitting

1408 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Sean Rescue Mom
I am trying to start my own pet sitting business. This involves going to your home while you are gone and feeding your dog/cat and taking for a walk/potty break, some playing and companionship. Basically whatever you want me to do to care for your pet. So a few questions to help me out?
1) Have you ever done any pet sitting? If so, any problems or things that I should look out for? What did you charge?

2) Have you ever had anyone do pet sitting in your home and again any problems or issues? What did you pay?

I am volunteering my services for the month of July for references and experience and also am volunteering at the local animal shelter on weekends. I am attending a 3 day "Learning to read your dogs body language" seminar at Wolf Park in Indiana on July 18, 19, 20.
I am looking into purchasing liablility insurance and hope to be an official business in the next 6 months. I also need a business name: I had planned on <u>4 Pleased Paws </u>but found out a local kennel is named Precious Paws so I may change my business name due to they sound alot alike. I live in a very small town and will be servicing 3 counties.
Any infomation or comments would be greatly appreciated.
What a better job than to spend time with fur friends all day!!!
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Yes, I've done it. I didn't really charge, I just took what was offered (like $10/day usually).

However for professional pet sitting I think you need insurance and/or to be bonded. If I was going to leave my dogs with someone, that's what I would require.
i petsit for friends and family members. my goal is to treat their pet exactly the way i would my own and keep their place looking the day they left. i however have not been able to find a petsitter that works to the same standard that i put out. if a dog has an accident on my shift, i clean it whether i feel like i'm "paid enough" to do that or not (****, even when i'm not paid i do it). or if i use a spoon to scoop canned food - i clean it. if a dog is blowing its coat and its EVERYWHERE - i run a broom across the floor and/or brush the dog. if newspapers are stacking up at the front door, i bring them in, not just kick them to the side.

the petsitters that ive had are very literal and either take their description of service to heart or follow my instructions so exact that it clouds their common sense judgement.

all that said... the problems i've encountered while pet sitting, is one of them that i mentioned above... planning to run in for 15mins to feed and potty and getting into the house to find diarrhea or puke everywhere. i also get annoyed when there are too many "favors" that arent pet related ("when you go over to feed skippy in the morning can you stay until 8 to let the guy in thats fixing the dishwasher").

the only major problem that i've had with a long term pet sitter is when she became ill she allowed her mother to walk my dogs. although i'm sure her mom is great and knows dogs, etc... there are a few things wrong... 1 - i have not met nor talked to this woman. 2 - at the time one of my dogs was special needs and i had no way of knowing if this woman was capable of handling that. 3 - should something happen, she is not insured, as she is not an owner/employee of the company. 4 - the petsitter did not call and ask me if this was okay. and 5 - she didnt even TELL me... my neighbor described someone walking my dogs who did not fit the description of the petsitter!!!

okay, end rant

ps. prices vary so much - i'd look for walkers in your area and go $5-10 under the rates quoted on their sites. if i gave you the rates here in los angeles.... HA... well... i just wont
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I'm also starting up my own pet sitting business. I chose an insurance policy with an additional add-on for the personal property of others vs. bonding. It covers theft, breakage, and "mysterious disappearance," and doesn't require a conviction to pay out like most bonds do. Look into this carefully and make the best choice for you.

As for pricing, do some research in your own area to see what others are charging. If you are in a rural area, and thus having to drive greater distances to get to your clients, you may need to charge more than the pet sitter in a more urban setting would just to cover your costs.

Good luck to you!

Originally Posted By: Camerafodderi petsit for friends and family members. my goal is to treat their pet exactly the way i would my own and keep their place looking the day they left. i however have not been able to find a petsitter that works to the same standard that i put out.
if I lived in CA I'd do it for you cause I so agree no one would.
I treat everyone's animal and home like my own.
unfortunately others do not!!!
Ha, I'm actually pet sitting right sucks.

I usually pet sit for family members, right now I am pet/house sitting for a non-family member. Family members always seem to be free. The house I'm sitting for now I get paid $25 a day...BUT I have to stay here overnight. They don't want someone who just comes and lets their pets out. I don't think it's a lot of money because they have a dog and four cats and their cats are a ton of work because they have a lot of health/behavior issues. Plus, it's hard to stay in someone else's house for any length of time when you want to go home to your own house/life/family/pets. The dog I love though...

I think this is the last time I'll pet sit. Now that I'm out of college and have my own house, it just seems like a burden when I have to do it. The biggest problem I've noticed with pet sitting: Everytime you come back to a client, they expect you to do more and they certainly don't pay you more. Now I've always taken care of the pets, made sure the house stayed clean, brought in the mail, put the trash out on trash day. When I came this time there was a whole list of things to do in the yard....
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Doxsee -- You're too much of a bargain. The last I checked each visit for my two was going to be $15. I never could think about getting a price on an overnight! Each pet costs more, too. -- the $15 was for a 20 minute visit. Any walk was more.
Thanks everyone for the advice. There is a lot to think about and I keep reading everything I can. This eventually will be my only income if everything goes as planned. I have read that not to really expect to break even or make a profit until 8 months to a year, so I will keep my dayjob and do this on the side, also to see if it is really what I want to do. I have my first client lined up for Mon, Tue, Wed after work at 5 pm so I guess I will see after that. I informed her of the free services as I need experience and references but she insist on paying me something. Wish me Luck!! Also I am thinking of "My Favorite Fur Friends" for my business name. What do you think??? Any other suggestions??
I have been a professtional pet sitter now for almost 10 years. If you join an organization like PSI or NAPPS, you can get very affordable liablility insurance and bonding. I would suggest finding a pet sitters network in your area. Having other pet sitters to chat with helps tremendously! Call around and see what other people are charging. I wouldn't recommend that you try to "beat" their rates. You won't get the best of customers that way!

In addition to insurance and bonding, you will need to register your business name. I don't know how it works in your state but I went to the county clerks office here in NJ and did a name search. You will also need business cards and a service contract for people to sign before you take them on.

Check out this site. Patti Moran, the founder, has a great book called "Pet Sitting for Profit."
Pet Sitters International
You can also check out this one:
National Association of Professional Pet Sitters

Good luck!
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Thanks, yes I have been checking into the insurance and also need to check into workers comp for myself. Thanks for all of your help
I've used a petsitter for daily visits while I'm at work since Keira was a pup. She charges $12.00 a visit, which is cheap for my area, and stays for about 15-20 minutes each visit.

She is insured and bonded, and actually has grown her business and expanded her coverage area to the point that she's hired other sitters to work for her.

I'm attaching a link to her website in case you'd like to take a look at the kind of services she offers.
We have a wonderful pet sitter who was a childhood friend of one of my co-workers. I treasure and trust her with both Sean and Neely. She lives in our house while we're gone but mind you we don't go away very often. I don't expect her to do any household chores except take in the mail and leave the house in the condition she found it. I'm so anal that I clean the house before she comes.
Her rate is approx. $50 p/day to stay all day and all night but don't tell anyone, she never charges us that amount. I appreciate her so much that I tip her lavishly. A good pet sitter is worth their weight in gold. Good luck starting your new business.
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I have been petsitting for friends, family, neighbors, and close acquaintances for quite a few years now. I have thought about expanding and doing more and if I get more clients I will. I do not currently have insurance, however if I start getting any "public" clients I definately will. My prices have ranged from anywhere between $5 to $70 a day depending on how far and what I have to do. $5 a day for stopping in to my neighbor's house to feed the cats and scoop the litter box and $70 a day (overnights too) for watching 3 crazy GSDs that have every health problem imaginable.
Quote:Her rate is approx. $50 p/day to stay all day and all night
That's exactly the kind of Petsitter I'd love to find around here, but so far, no luck. My parents have always "babysat" our dogs when we're gone, but they're getting up in years and have a few health problems, so I know we're going to have to make other arrangements eventually and I want someone that I trust to stay in our home day and night.

Does your Petsitter travel?! Ohio's not too far away!!
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Originally Posted By: raysmomDoes your Petsitter travel?! Ohio's not too far away!!
Actually she did travel when a client got transferred once. I bet if you wined and dined her she'd travel to Ohio.
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