First of all, dealing with new and different animals is not for just anyone. It takes someone who enjoys working with them. Why? Because your customers will know. And honestly, it’s your retirement. This should be something that complements your lifestyle, not adds more stress.
Ideally, you want a situation where people feel they are dropping their pets off at a grandpa’s place for the weekend. While your business understanding and structure must be in place, your public image should be warm and welcoming. There is something about an experienced, older person who loves animals that gives you an edge over other younger, just-in-it-for-money sitters.
Some simple decisions must be made like any new pet sitting business. Like what type and number of animals and what services you will offer. Obviously, your house must be part of your considerations. How many dogs can comfortably be in the house? Is there room in the basement for a shampoo table? There are a number of valuable articles at http://www.WorkingWithPets.com that can help you make these decisions.
Pet sitting is ideal for the older, retired person. Your family is grown and your schedule is your own. This is important because this type of business needs you to be available at the most common vacation times like summer, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Your vacation desires become secondary because you MUST be available when your clients need you.
Word Of Mouth
Getting the word out about your business is the most important factor because word-of-mouth will get you the growing client list you will need. If you can get your customers to recommend your services to others, you’ve got it made.
Assuming you will be sitting for dogs, the dog park is probably your biggest draw. To begin with, a t-shirt goes a long way to advertising your business. Nothing too professional because nothing says loving better than “Grandma’s Dog Sitting Service”. Again, your business has to be solid, but your face has to say ‘family’.
As you play with your dogs or talk with other dog owners at the dog park, they will see your business name and associate it with the care you show to all animals. After all, they bring their dogs to that dog park for a reason and will appreciate that you will bring their dog there as well if he is being sat by you. Be ready with a business card or a flyer when a business connection is made. But don’t force it or go looking for a client. The attention you show to your dogs is your biggest selling point. Make sure you visit all the dog parks in your area.
Business cards and flyers are essential. Not only are they important to solidify that face-to-face connection, they can be left at pet stores or tacked to the local grocery store bulletin board. It allows potential clients to go home and leave your advertising on their kitchen counter. It also shows that your ‘business’ is local and you are part of the community.
Make sure that you collect emails from any clients you have. Creating a mailing list is a great way to remind people of your services when you tweak them in advance of a high-vacation period. Always give them an option to opt out of such a list.
Just as important as the ‘family’ feeling for you business is the internet face you present. Yes this is essential because some people only use the internet for looking for such services. Your website can be simple, but it needs to have at least the services, location and details of your business. Again, you can find some good advice on this site to set up an effective website. Your internet site becomes the go-to place on your business cards and any flyers you hand out.
Is a pet sitting business for you? It can be, with the proper preparation. It can easily supplement your retirement income and provide you with some easy, enjoyable company.