The Pet Sitting Business The Pros and Cons of Pet Services in the Clients Home Reality Series

The last two posts about the pet sitting business, educated you about the pros of dog boarding and cons of dog boarding.  Now it’s time to discuss pet services in the client’s home.  In home pet services are when the pet sitter goes to the client’s home to take care of their pets and home.  This may include walks, feeding and changing their water, cleaning out the litter box, administering medication and/or injections, playing with them, picking up waste, and anything else the owner wants.  It can also include watering plants, taking in the mail, garbage, turning blinds etc.

Overnight pet services are also included in this category.  Overnight pet services are when the sitter goes to a client’s home in the evening and spends the night with their pets. Usually, the owner will let you sleep in a guest bedroom or their own.  If you feel uncomfortable about sleeping in someones bed, you can always bring a sleeping bag and sleep on top of the bed.

For my pet sitting business, I choose to board dogs in my home and do very few in home pet visits.  I prefer to stay at home and not drive all around town.  The only pet visits I do now are ones that I’ve been doing for years as it’s very hard to say no and not to mention that you get attached to the animals.

When I first started out, I tried everything and weeded out what I didn’t like to do.  However, if you decide you don’t want to do a specific service, it’s hard to say no to a client you’ve been servicing for a while.  Getting yourself clear at the beginning will alleviate a lot of stress later.

Clients Home

So, if you’re still on the fence, here’s the pros and cons of Pet Services and Overnight Pet Visits in the clients home:

Pros:

  • You get to play with animals all day! Each home you go to has different animals with all new adventures.
  • In home pet visits can be very profitable. Depending on your rates, you can make hundreds of dollars a day.  For instances, if you charge $20 a visit and have 12 visits a day, that’s $240 a day.  Of course it take years to have a regular clientele that can afford you this many visits.
  • You will get plenty of exercising walking dogs and being outdoors is a plus. 9 times out of 10, they will want their dogs walked and that could be a lot of walking!  Of course cats don’t need to be walked.  If you are unable to walk this much, then pet sitting is not for you.
  • You can make your own hours. You establish how early and how late you are willing to perform your duties.
  • In addition to sitting dogs and cats, there are a number of other animals Rabbits, birds, hamsters and the other rodent varieties.  Let not forget those reptiles!  If you’re lucky enough to live in a rural area, you can visit farm animals. Of course if you’re afraid of reptiles, you don’t have to do the job.  They are so few and far between, that it won’t affect your bottom.
  • For Overnight visits you can think of them as mini-vacations. There’s no laundry or errands to do just keep their pets happy.

Cons:

  • Pet Sitting is not for late morning risers. Depending on the dogs access to the outside to go potty, you may need to be at your clients home, usually no later than 7:00 am, and let them out at night for a last potty break in the evening around 8:00 or 9:00 pm.  These times will be worked out with the owner at the initial consultation.
  • However, many dogs have access to the back yard and cats can be visited at any designated time during the day. The most common times that people need pet visits is in the morning, sometimes mid day and evening.  Depending on how many visits you have, you’ll have free time in between
  • If getting up early in the morning doesn’t appeal to you, you can always specialize in cats or mid day walks, but keep in mind this will limit the amount of your income.
  • You will have to do a lot of driving around town. Know how far you will be willing to drive before you market yourself to a certain area.  You don’t want to drive 20-30 minutes for a 30 minute visit.  That just doesn’t make sense unless you charge a service fee for out of area clients.  This may not apply if you live in rural areas and the homes are spread out.
  • Pet sitters work 24/7. People go on vacation all the time and will need their pets to be looked after on the weekends too.  I have been at social functions and had to leave for ½ hour to do a visit.  It’s only for a short time and people may not even miss that you’re gone, but it’s hard to leave. Once you are with the animals, however, all is well with the world.  They’ll put a smile on your face every time and you won’t miss being somewhere else.  But, if you go away for the weekend a lot, or your children need to travel for sports, this may not work for you.
  • If you have an infant or toddler children, you will not be able to take them to the client’s homes. The likely hood for injury is just too great and it would be very unprofessional.  You are there for the client’s animals and small children are just too distracting.  You should be the only person entering the client’s home.  It’s a business just like any other.
  • If you’re that busy, hire an employee or Independent Contractor to take up the slack or learn to say NO!  Remember, you got into this because you love animals.  If you’re exhausted, you won’t be able to enjoy yourself.  Pet Sitting has a high burn out rate, so you need to construct your business to your life.  Believe me, it can take over your life in an instant!
  • Overnights can be hard if you have children or choose to board dogs in your home. Seriously talk this over with your significant other to decide if this is something you can live with.  Some overnight assignments can be a week or more.  An overnight here or there may be all you’re willing to do.

I realize that pet sitting sounds like the most fun, awesome job in the world, but it is a business with pros and cons.  Think very carefully before you dive in.  Do you have the time it takes to market yourself?  Do you want to work weekends and holidays?  Talk to other pet sitters (out of your area) and get the real scoop from them.  I’ve had a few calls from people thinking about getting into the business.  We love to help other animal lovers!

Lola R. Steele
 

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