Starting a Part Time Pet Sitting Service

Type of business:Service.

Skills required: Pet care, usually for dogs, but may include cats or fish. A strong since of reliability is important as well since the owners will be trusting you to take good care of their pet.

Startup expenses:

  • Office space- Set up an office, even if you are part time. This is a real business and you need an office with a phone and voice mail, cell phone, a secure location for client’s keys, desk, chair and file cabinet, office supplies, and forms. It’s also good to have accessories like a computer and internet access.
  • Insurance- This is a must! There are two categories of insurance your pet care business has to have: liability coverage because you are providing services in your client’s homes and protection for your business assets. You will also need vehicle insurance and if you are doing a lot more driving to service your clients, you may want to increase your basic coverage.
  • Advertising- Promote your business through local newspapers, flyers, business cards. Check with your local paper on advertising rates because they vary considerably depending on circulation (between $10.00 and $400.00 per inch). If you design your own business cards and advertising flyers, the cost is your time and printing, about $100.00. Hiring a designer will increase your costs to about $500.00.
  • Transportation- These costs depend on whether you have an appropriate vehicle available or must purchase one. Other than that, the costs are monthly fuel and maintenance.
  • Legal- As a part time business, you may elect to be a sole proprietor rather than incorporate. As a sole proprietorship, your business will not need to file corporate paper work with your state. However, you should check your state and city ordinances to see if you must be licensed to operate a business in your area. For example, the State of Texas offers the following information on legal requirements for starting a business in their state. Processing fees vary by state from $25.00 to $150.00. As a part time business operator you will also need a tax payer ID. Setting up a separate bank account for your business and establishing a professional relationship with a lawyer and accountant are good ideas also. It is really hard to do everything correctly by yourself.

Monthly revenue: As with most service businesses, the revenues of a pet sitting service depend on how much you work. Your first task is deciding what to charge for your services. Begin by investigating your competition to find out what are acceptable or expected charges for a pet sitting service in your market place.

Contact local veterinarians, kennels, and other pet sitters to establish what is being charged. That is your basis for charging your services. You will probably charge $15 – $40.00 per visit depending on locale and services. $1,000 to $2,000 a month is a reasonable estimate of revenue for a one-person part time pet care business.

Monthly expenses: About $300.00 for transport, supplies, communication, taxes, and insurance. Don’t forget your salary in addition to fixed costs.

Estimated monthly income: $700-$1,800 depending on how many hours you work.

Time to break even: 4 months

Description of business: There are many options available to your pet care business. In the office, you will be taking calls, scheduling appointments, establishing client’s contracts, and doing paperwork. On the road, you may be offering:

  • Fresh food and water for pets
  • Playtime and exercise
  • Dog Walking
  • Cat litter changing and cleaning
  • Dispense medications
  • Brushing or (if you’re skilled) grooming

Optional services include:

  • House sitting while owner’s are on vacation
  • Trips to vet
  • Clean dog and cat blankets and bedding
  • Transport to groomer
  • Feeding and care for fish indoors or out