Harry writes, “Can you suggest websites where I might contact people already in a dog walking/dog sitting business? I’m looking for hints & tips as to how to get started, upfront costs such as liability insurance, what to charge, how to advertise-any info I can get. My target market is Loudoun County, Va., about an hour from my home. It has an upper middle class to wealthy demographic, and in my direct experience (in my current job), about 40 to 50% of households have at least one dog. Many are two-earner households.
Melissa Maroff over at eHow has some great tips:
1. Check online to see what pet sitters work in your area and in surrounding areas. It helps to know your competition and should give you a good idea where the demand is.
2. Check online to see what pet sitters work in your area and in surrounding areas. It helps to know your competition and should give you a good idea where the demand is.
3. Become licensed, bonded and insured (professional pet sitting organizations offer these services). Check online to see your options. However, you might want to start out on a small scale working with people you know before spending money on these services.
4. Join a professional pet sitting organization such as Pet Sitters International (PSI). They keep you informed of the latest trends and developments in professional pet care and offer helpful advice. You will also have the opportunity to network with other pet sitters. Pet owners may feel more confident knowing you belong to one of these organizations.
5. Leave your business card at local veterinarians and pet supply stores. Also high traffic places such as markets, car washes, spas, restaurants and large companies.
Photo by Paul Keleher.