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Old 07-05-2012, 10:11 AM
JacksonsMom's Avatar
JacksonsMom JacksonsMom is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maryland
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Default Pet Sitting Business Start-Up

Ok, so I don't want to impose on the other thread, so I figured I'd start my own.

Basically, I did dog walking "on the side" for the past 4 years. It started just watching family friends dogs and eventually... I responded to a few ads on and got the jobs. They were always very happy with me and I had 3-4 clients that I would visit on a daily basis 5 days a week. I stopped in January and they were all upset to lose me, but understood, as I was going to school during the week almost an hour away so it would've been impossible to keep it up.

However, I really really miss it. And I really think I could make a career out of it and it be something I'm passionate about and make money doing. I've never come up with anything else that I would be good at, or semi-enjoy doing, or whatever. It's something I've always struggled with.

But this time I would do it right. Get my LLC, get bonded/insured, get Pet CPR Certified, and take any other certifications, etc, that would look good.

This area particularly is very dog friendly and people love their pets so I know I could build up a nice clientele if I worked hard enough (possibly getting back my previous ones too). I also know sooo many people in this area (or everyone knows our family, more like it). There's some really high up neighborhoods too near my house where I could market myself.

I did some math last night just for approximations... and with charging $15 per day (which is very low for this area, but I figured since it's just an approx) for a 30 minute visit 5 days a week for 15 different clients... equals out to $58,500/year. That's of course not including any weekend customers or over-nights. I also will be forever running my brother's non-profit foundation and can legally pay myself a salary once we get it a lot bigger, so I will plan on having that too. That is a low also. I still need to do the research and determine proper pricing. But most I've seen charge at minimum $20 per day for a 30 minute walk but I want to keep my fees a bit lower than others.

Also, how do I deal w/ weekends/overnighters? I'm not sure if I should even offer at it first. The only reason I did weekends and overnights with my other clients is because their dogs got along with Jackson and I was able to bring him. I don't want to be unprofessional and basically be like "well I have to bring MY dog if you want me to watch your dog overnight" lol. So I'm thinking, until I am able to get a helper or back-up person, overnighters will mostly be on a case-by-case basis with the clients I'm close with and know, and who don't mind him coming over. I also wouldn't mind watching someones dog in my home if they wanted that. But not sure how to handle that in general.

Also, how do you go about finding a person who could be an emergency/backup type person? Should I try to find someone right away that I can essentially hire? Or get it up and running on my own first and THEN deal with that?

Also, what would you look for in a pet sitter? I was considering offering pet photography on the side, though I still have lots of room to improve with my photography... my previous clients loved when I would bring my camera and take pictures of their dogs and give them to them. I thought it could be a unique little side-service.

Any help, advice, words of wisdom, or anything is appreciated.
Brit & Jackson

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