Last Updated: December 13, 2023 • Visit Blog Homepage

Starting an in-home dog sitting business can be a great way to turn your love for dogs into a career. It can also be a great way to put a little extra money in your pocket. You're not going to become a millionaire by watching a couple dogs in your house, but you might earn enough to pay off your house a bit faster, buy a new car, etc. As a dog sitter, you'll be able to provide one-on-one care for pets in the comfort of your own home, avoiding the stress and anxiety that can come from staying in a kennel. With a little planning and effort, you can start your own successful dog sitting business in six simple steps.

Determine Your Niche

Before you start your business, it's important to determine what type of dog sitting services you want to offer. Do you want to focus on providing care for small dogs, or would you prefer to specialize in working with senior dogs? Are you open to caring for dogs with behavioral issues, or do you want to focus on providing care for healthy, well-behaved dogs? By determining your niche, you can focus your marketing efforts on reaching the right audience and attracting the right clients. Since you're most likely going to have a free roam type of boarding, you'll most likely need to pick a size of dog that you watch. You don't want to have toy poodles and larger aggressive breeds in the house when you're not there. If you decide to watch all sizes of dogs, you'll need to make sure to keep them separated in different rooms, etc.

Get Certified and Insured

In order to provide professional, trustworthy dog sitting services, you'll need to obtain pet first aid and CPR certifications. You'll also want to make sure you have liability insurance to protect yourself and your business in case of any accidents or incidents. You might not think it's worth the investment to get CPR-certified, but you never know when you're going to have a dog choke on a toy and it's going to be up to you to save their life. Getting certified is something you can also use in all your marketing materials. It will show your future clients that you take your business seriously.

Establish Your Rates

When starting your dog sitting business, it's important to determine your rates based on the level of care you'll be providing, as well as the costs associated with running your business. Some factors to consider when setting your rates include the cost of certifications and insurance, as well as your overhead costs for things like marketing and supplies. Do some research and see what dog sitters are charging in your area and price yourself a tiny bit less. This way, you might be able to get some of your first clients quickly. Over time, as your customer base grows, you'll be able to slowly start increasing your rates. However, at the start, being the low-cost option in your area will be a good thing.

Build Your Client Base

Building your client base is one of the most important steps in starting a successful dog sitting business. You can do this through word-of-mouth referrals, networking with other pet-related businesses, and by marketing your services online through social media and online directories. If your clients are okay with you using their pets on Facebook, make it a point to produce some content for every one of your pet stays. Take some pictures of the pet inside your house, out on your morning walk, etc. This will show any potential clients that you enjoy pet sitting and that you take pride in your work. If your clients share those stories on their on feed, you'll most likely get some referrals as well.

Set Up a System for Scheduling and Communication

In order to provide efficient, organized dog sitting services, it's important to have a system in place for scheduling and communicating with your clients. Consider using a scheduling software, such as a calendar app or online booking platform, to keep track of your schedule and make it easy for clients to book your services. Google Calendar can be a great choice at the start. It's free to use and it can help you keep your pet stays organized. Once your business gets a little busier, you might want to look into DoggieDashboard. It's online software that will help you track your appointments as well as save pet and client data.

Offer High-Quality Services

Finally, in order to be successful in the dog sitting business, it's important to offer high-quality services that meet the needs of both the dogs and their owners. This includes providing attentive, compassionate care, as well as keeping detailed records of each dog's behavior, eating habits, and other important information. Come up with a template that you fill out during the pet's stay at your house. You can keep track of what they ate, when they went potty, and all those other little details. When the owner comes to pick up Fido, you can hand them your report so that they can see how the stay was. You might want to even include a discount on the template for a future stay.

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