Before you decide if you’d like to become a pet-sitter, there are several factors to consider. First of all, are you planning to pet-sit at your house or offer mobile services to check in on pets while their owners are traveling? If you want to invite pets into your house, you’ll have to make sure your home has enough space and supplies; consider the allergies or preferences of your family, roommates, or whoever lives with you; and make 100% sure that your own pets are okay with other dogs and cats.
You’ll also want to think about your schedule and your personal life. Do you work a night shift? If so, you wouldn’t be able to stay with canine clients overnight. Do you have health problems? That might prevent you from regularly walking cooped-up dogs. Do you live in a very rural area? It will take some driving time and gas money to get to where your clients are, or for them to come to you.
And remember, well over half of “pet-sitting” actually involves interacting with humans, not pets. Make sure you’re prepared to be a good communicator and problem-solver.
If there are no conflicts, it’s time to begin your pet-sitting business.
If you want to use pet-sitting as a fun way to make a little extra cash on the weekends, there’s no need to join any kind of agency. You can simply advertise on social media (neighborhood or county Facebook pages are great places to do this), tell all of your friends, and even post some flyers if you feel like going old-school. No, you won’t be running a full-time business, but you’ll still get some clients and be able to get your feet wet.
If you’ve decided pet-sitting is definitely for you, though, it’s time to get serious and join a pet-sitting website. Popular choices include:
- Rover — Rover will conduct a background check on you and let local pet owners view your availability
- Care.com — Once you create a profile, Care.com shows you jobs in your area and lets you apply
- PetSitters.org — This website is run by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
You got your first pet-sitting job — congratulations! Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Consider scheduling a meet-and-greet with your client (at their house if you’ll be staying there, or at your house if they’re bringing their pet over). Be friendly and approachable, asking get-to-know-you questions about both the pet and the person. Take detailed notes as the owner gives you instructions to care for their pet.
When it’s time to pet-sit, you’ll want to keep a few things on hand: treats, a leash, basic medical supplies, and animal handling gloves. If you’ll be traveling to clients’ houses, make a portable kit that you can easily carry with you.
If you’re pet-sitting at your house, put away any furniture or items that you don’t want to get chewed up. Give your furry client some time to adjust to you, your home, and your pets.
If you’re staying at the client’s house, make sure to respect their privacy and don’t go poking into anything that’s not necessary to do your job. Refer to your notes to make sure you do everything that needs to be done, and keep the house keys on you the whole time you’re there so you don’t accidentally walk out without them.