10 Things Nobody Ever Tells You About Running a Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Business

frog in a tree

Do you love surprise parties?

I know some people who secretly wish that every year someone would throw them a surprise birthday party. And I know others who need to know everything up front and dislike any sort of surprise (including one that results in a party!).

Life is full of surprises. Personally, I enjoy navigating through life with a sense of wonder and enjoyment.

Business, however, is a different story. A successful business person will do a certain amount of research and preparation before investing their time, energy, and finances into any venture.

Starting a pet sitting business is no different.

Whether you are thinking about becoming a working, professional pet sitter, or are a seasoned pro, knowing what the road ahead looks like will keep you sane and successful.

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A Look Back: The First 5 Years of PetSittingOlogy – 2009 through 2014

passion and persistence for successThis May (in 2014) marks the 5 year anniversary of PetSittingOlogy’s first published blog post, which led to more professional goodies for the working pet sitter.

I have more zest, excitement and desire to nurture this brand than ever before. And I credit that to one specific attribute:

Passion.

The word passion is defined as an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.

I don’t need to tell you that nearly everything we do in life must have a bit of passion behind it, or else it becomes what we call a chore. And the more passion you have for what you do day in and day out in this industry, the more success and longevity you will find.

[Passion + Persistence = The Pet Professional’s Secret Sauce for Success!] (Do you have both?)

As with any reflection of a 5 year chunk of time, a lot has happened. A lot of good, and a lot not so good. It had it’s ups. It had it’s downs. But the internal desire to serve and remain available continues to shine.

My work has also been able to resonate because of a tremendously motivated, kind, and generous industry (that’s you!).

I’m what you might call a social guy. I like talking. I like meeting new people. I like asking questions. And I like learning new things. I’m curious.

But more than anything, I enjoy listening.

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Are You Fully Trained in Pet First Aid and CPR? Would You Like To Be?

first-aid

Are you trained in pet first aid and CPR?

Have you ever come upon a client’s pet that needed immediate attention?

Or what if you could sleep well at night simply knowing that you have the skills at the ready to handle any emergency situation.

As a professional pet care professional, you have no doubt come across the concept and idea of first aid training.

Perhaps you have also come across the name Pet Tech and Thom Somes aka The Pet Safety Guy.

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I Need Your Input, Please – Do You Want Pet Tech At The Conference?

pet tech badgeOne of the greatest pleasures I receive when putting together the details for the upcoming 2014 PetSittingOlogy Conference is the input from other pet sitters.

I love receiving suggestions for topics and speakers, being connected to potential sponsors, and hearing details that would make the event that much better for you.

One such approach is today’s topic: a potential Pet Tech training and certification course built right in (and at no additional chargeā€¦ keep reading!).

Are you familiar with Pet Tech?

At its core, Pet Tech bills itself as the first international training center dedicated to CPR, First Aid and Care for dogs and cats.

As pet sitters complete their own training, many go on to become trained instructors to teach other pet sitters in their local market to become trained, themselves. Instructors will learn the necessary skills and teaching methods to properly train pet owners in first aid and care, too.

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Does Angie’s List Work for Gaining New Pet Sitting Clients?

listing optionsAs you have certainly seen in the recent past, many directory-style profile websites have popped up catering to our industry.

Sites such as Angie’s List, Care.com, DogVacay, Rover, and others are looking to be a viable resource to pet owners looking for reliable pet care.

I completely understand that the conversation here may be “these sites are nothing but filled with hobby sitters.”

But is that the case with Angie’s List?

And if that is the case, what does this mean for the future and direction of you and me (the professional pet sitter)?

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Harness Lead May Be The Answer To Your Dog Walking Prayers

harness lead

You know when you see a product online and your first thought is, “How can this not already exist??”

Well, that’s what went through my head when my good friend, and pet sitting colleague, Tori Lattig of Endless Pawsibilities introduced me to Lisa Flynn, inventor of the Harness Lead.

As you’ll see, the Harness Lead is a 3-in-1 harness lead, slip lead, and collar lead, that can truly transform the way you walk dogs for a living.

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What Does This Pet Owner Really Want? A Lower Than Low Rate?

one flower in the crowd

Where do YOU stand among other pet sitters around you?

You know that phrase that says “you can’t please everyone?”

Well, I’m starting to believe that no matter what price you charge, some pet owners will still think it’s too much.

Get this…

We had a call recently from a woman that began like most others.

After spending 20 minutes on the phone it was time to discuss prices based on the needed service (daily dog walking). We quoted our fee for service and this was her reply:

“Wha?? I just spoke with someone who can do it for $12. Thanks very much. [click]”

And that was it. She had hung up.

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Do You Drop A Pet Sitting Client If The Dog Becomes Aggressive?

pear bite

Are all bites created equally? How do you handle them with pet sitting clients?

As a business owner, you are faced with dozens of decisions every single day.

Some are big… (“Do I take on that client even though I see some red flags?” “Do I hire that person or go back to the drawing board?” “Who do I pay to redesign my pet sitting website?”)

While other decisions are not so big. (“Should I send a text or email?” “Do I run to the bank today or tomorrow?”)

Regardless of size, your ability to simply MAKE decisions will play a big role in the overall success of your pet sitting career.

The Big Decision — When To Drop A Pet Sitting Client

When is it time to drop a pet sitting client because of an aggressive dog?

Is it when the dog draws blood? Or when the dog growls and does not show signs of letting up?

Or is it close to never so you don’t lose out on the money?

These are the general choices a pet sitter has when faced with this decision.

I received this question from a Facebook fan and it’s a dilemma she finds herself in:

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Case Study: Starting A Bunny Rabbit Rescue [Audio]

bunny rescueJust a couple of short months ago, friend and pet sitter colleague, Sarah Johnson (of Menly’s Pets in Michigan), started a rescue and shelter for bunny rabbits.

It’s called Beyond Easter Rabbit Rescue – and she has already successfully adopted out her first bunny; “Sherlock!”

(See the rabbits on Pet Finder.)

In the past, I have interviewed Sarah on 2 different occasions.

For one, she is not only a very successful pet sitting business owner about to reach her first six figure year, but she is the youngest professional pet sitter I know.

Currently just 21 years old, Sarah launched her pet sitting business just out of high school at 18.

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Halloween Safety for You and Your Furry Trick or Treater

This is a guest post written by Ashley Spade

If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait for Halloween to roll around. It’s the perfect opportunity to eat candy, dress up and show your pet a good time.

Last year, I took my dog, Sir Winston Pugsalot, around with me for a round of trick-or-treating. He loved the opportunity to walk around, see all the costumes and traverse other people’s lawns all night.

This year, I’m living in Chicago, so we can’t quite have a repeat of last year. I was pretty bummed, until a friend told me about a shelter fundraiser at two downtown Chicago hotels. It’s a Halloween party for you and your pet, with prizes for the best costumes. Sign me up!

Whether you’re hosting a party, taking your pet out trick-or-treating, or heading out sans pet, you’ll need to keep a few tips in mind for a safe Halloween for you and your favorite furry friend.

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