The Pros and Cons of Pet Sitting

The popularity of pet sitting is growing rapidly.  Four years ago when I started my pet sitting business in Dallas Fort Worth many people I spoke to had no idea that pet sitting was an option to boarding their pets when they traveled. Today pet sitting is regularly in the news and the largest pet sitting franchise in the United States opens 4-5 new locations every month.  

A pet sitter is someone who visits a client’s home once or several times a day to feed, water, walk and play with pets while clients are at work or out of town. Often pet sitters also perform home services such as mail collection, garbage disposal, and plant watering. Pet sitting is an alternative to boarding and offers the benefit of keeping pets in a familiar environment and maintaining their regular routine. This means that pets are less stressed and avoid coming in contact with other animals from which they can pick up disease. Pet sitting also offers more convenience to owners as they do not have to drop and pick up pets from a boarding facility.

Pricing for pet sitting varies from $14-25 per 30 minute visit depending on region. Some pet sitters charge extra for administering medications to pets, and charge extra for each additional pet. The price that you charge will have to cover your transportation costs to and from visits. You should do some research about the rates of other pet sitters in your area to see what you can expect to earn per visit.

The Pros

I love pet sitting as I get to interact with many different pets and they always greet me with happy faces and wagging tails. I also get to meet owners and share stories about their pets. At a pet sitting visit you are paid to play and spend time cuddling with the pets, what could seem less like work?   Pet sitting is a business you can start small with low start up cost and low overheads. You can grow the business as you grow your business skills. I started small and have slowly built up a base of regular clients. You are also able to start the business part time while continuing to work a day job. I still run my business part-time and use contractors to help me with pet sitting visits.  It is a great business to start if you have not previously owned your own business as you can learn along the way.

The Cons

Pet sitters take on a lot of responsibility while caring for pets because pet owners are relying on the sitter to manage their pet’s health and well-being in their absence. Pet owners also trust you with the keys and security of their home.  As a pet sitter you need to be organized and keep track of scheduled visits, keys and contracts. The worst thing a pet sitter can do is to miss a scheduled visit.

As a pet sitter you must be comfortable entering client’s homes to visit pets. Sometimes visits will have to be made to customer’s homes at night when the home is dark. You must be comfortable entering customer’s homes and walking around neighborhoods with dogs to walk them at night.   The busiest times of the year for a pet sitting business are during major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, long weekends, and during school holidays. You have to be prepared to work on these holidays and on weekends while your family and friends are enjoying time off.

As a pet sitter you must be prepared to clean litter boxes each visit and clean up accidents in the home whenever they occur. In my business this has often meant cleaning vomit, poop and pee from carpets, hard floors, and pets.

Dogs will need walking come rain or shine and you will often have to make visits when you are tired or even sick. Pet sitting is something you have to make a total commitment to pursuing as you will have to be there when the pets need you.  

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