This year I participated in PSI’s State of the Pet Sitting Industry survey and today I received an email with the early results. The information about pet sitting clients can help you tailor your marketing efforts to attract more ideal customers.  Here is your sneak peek!

This year’s survey was conducted exclusively online. PSI conducted the survey from April 9, 2008, to April 27, 2008. A total of 1,814 members completed the survey, which is a 24 percent response rate.   RESULTS 

Business Profile

98% of all businesses are independently owned.

84% of these businesses are owned by women.

On average, 12% of members have at least one full-time employee and 23 % have at least one part-time employee.

Businesses that made $40,000 or more in 2007 on average have one full-time employee.

On average, those who have been members for more than 7 years and made more than $40,000 in 2007 have 2 part-time employees.

52% of members state they never use independent contractors—23% say they rarely do.

84% of members carry both liability and bonding insurance (This percentage decreases slightly to 77% for those who have been members less than a year.)

Nearly all PSI members service both Dogs and Cats (97%), while two-thirds service Fish (69%), Birds (68%), and Cage Pets (66%).

44% of members primarily service suburban areas—58% of members located in the Northeast United States primarily service suburban areas, more than any other location.

Median revenue for 2007 was $20,000, median number of clients was 50, and median number of pet-sitting assignments was 775.

The median number of pet-sitting assignments quadruples to 3,506 for those who made more than $40,000 in 2007.

The average length of time taken to service a client was 38 minutes.

The average fee charged for a visit was $18.51.

  More than 90% of all members advertise through Word of Mouth (98%), Business Cards (96%), and PSI Pet Sitter Locator Web (94%).

68% of all members advertise through their own Web sites.

The top five services offered by members are: Basic pet care (95%), Dog walking (92%), Care of special needs pets (85%), Pet transportation (62%) and Overnight sitting (54%).

PSI Member Profile

The typical member is Female (92%), Age 41 to 60 (60%), Caucasian (94%), Married (59%) and Owns her home (82%).  Additionally, she has completed at least some college (88%), entered the pet-sitting industry due to her love of animals (55%), and has been in the business for 5 years or less (61%).

Pet sitters most commonly own Dogs (79%) and Cats (61%).  Of these, members typically own 2 dogs and 3 cats.  Approximately one-third of all members belong to the following organizations: Animal Rescue (39%), ASPCA (37%), Local Humane Society (36%), Local Pet Sitters Network (35%), and Pet Sitters Associates LLC (31%).

57% of all members belong to their local Chamber of Commerce, and 23%belong to Better Business Bureau.

Pet Sitting Client Profile

On average the typical pet-sitter client is a married couple between the ages of 36-50.  Members state there are more married couples without children (40.5%), than couples with children (28.9%) who utilize their services.

Single females (24.6%) tend to use pet sitters at a higher rate than males (10%).

Individuals ages 26-35 (24.4%) and 51-65 (23.8%) appear to utilize pet sitters at the same rate.

Less than 25 years old was the smallest group, making up only 4.2% of all clients.  80.3% of all clients pay in the form of a check—only 17.3% pay with cashn and 7.2% use a debit/credit card.

The top three reasons for the use of pet sitters are:  Vacations, Midday walksn & visits, and Work schedule.

Technology 

34% of members were highly interested in participating in PSI Webinars.  The same number of members was moderately interested.

Pet sitters who have been in the business less than one year had much higher interest (51%).

“Pet Care and Education,” “Running Your Pet-Sitting Business,” and “Marketing/Advertising” were the top three topics mentioned for possible PSI Webinars.

More than 57% of members stated that petsit.com is the Web site visited most often for pet sitting and business-related issues.

58% visit the site at least once a month or more.

46% stated they visit the Members Only section at least once a month. Of those who have been members less than one year, 67% visit at least once a month (22% once a week or more)