Professional photo of me and my dog Bailey for marketing
As the owner of a pet sitting business, I get contacted by people enquiring about how to go about working in pet sitting. Some are from other places asking about starting a pet sitting business. Some are local and ask if they can come and work for me. Here is a recent enquiry:
"I saw your facebook page and thought this was a fabulous thing. I am really interested in animals but could never be a vet as there is a bad side to doing that where it seems like you just get to have fun with the animals. I currently work with children which is great but i prefer animals heaps more.
I was wondering how you got started in this?"
Instead of writing a personal reply, I decided to write a blog post to hopefully address enquires like this one.
Me and my dog Bailey, 11 years. Photo courtesy of Zoo Studio.
This blog post is to educate and inform and is not a substitute for seeking legal advice.
Starting up as a solo pet sitter is relatively straight forward - a professional pet sitter in Queensland will obtain an ABN and register a unique trading name (this is not the same as trademarking a name, which costs thousands of dollars).
A professional pet sitter will take out a public liability insurance policy, which may or may not cover pets under their care.
A solo pet sitter (and business owner) will most likely opt to operate as a sole trader. An alternative is to structure their business as a company, which has greater set up costs and accounting requirements.
The pet sitting business owner will often choose to be available to work 7 days per week, 365 days per year. There are seasonal fluctuations, typically with high peak times at holiday times such as christmas and easter. The rest of the year can be unpredictable.
Many solo sitters have no back up plans for emergencies. Others have an arrangement to contract the services of another sitter if required (and most likely will pay the full client fee to the contracted sitter). This is not an ideal arrangement for peak holiday times, as both sitters are likely to have full schedules.
Pets are depending on them to be fed, so the sitter needs to turn up even if they are feeling unwell. A pet sitter needs to be comfortable with working on weekends and when others are on holiday. If the pet sitter would like to take time off, whether a day off each week or a week or two each year, they have the choice of letting their clients know they are unavailable (and possibly losing them to another pet care service) or hiring help.
As a solo pet sitter, I decided to investigate my options for hiring help. It would be nice to have extra help for peak periods, as well as a reliable backup. I'd like my business to operate 365 days per year even if I have some days off. I currently work part-time in my business and full-time over peak periods. I didn't want to wait until I was working full-time and getting burnt out as many pet sitters do before exploring my options.
I've started this blog so you can get to know me and my journey with my new pet sitting business. Home Petz is a pet sitting and dog walking business in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
Pet sitting is still emerging as a profession in Australia, yet is well established in the US.
Home Petz is a small family business owned and operated by me with support by my husband, Rhys and assistance outside school hours by our son, Lachlan. I'm parent to one human child and five children of the furry and scaly variety.
Home Petz opened for business in mid-December 2011, just in time for christmas holidays. Furry and feathered kids we've cared for in the past few weeks have included over a dozen dogs, half as many cats and one bird.