The modern world is all about nuclear families with lesser number of family members, which gives people the scope to have pets at home. As families are reducing in size and incomes are rising people do not mind adopting a pet and taking its care.
In fact, there are still many people who have taken their pet love very seriously and they enjoy having even more than five pets. This has paved the way for setting up pet-sitting and pet-boarding business.
If you are a pet lover, this can be an ideal business for you. Pet-sitting commonly refers to looking after pets while their humans go to work, and pet-boarding when they are on vacations.
Here are certain tips on how you can turn your hobby of pet-sitting and pet-boarding into a money-generating business –
Register your business
To start your pet sitting and boarding business, you need to get registered with the local authorities and apply for a license. The business can either be a sole proprietorship wherein you are solely responsible for all the operations, or you can set up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with your partners wherein everybody has certain amount of responsibility but not the complete liability.
Get an insurance
If there is any mishap that leads to the death of a pet or if a pet is hurt, it is important that there are requisite insurances in place to take care of it. This helps to avoid any legal hassles and protect you under any adverse situation.
Marketing is crucial
You need to get the word out that you have started this business and people around you need to know that you provide specialised pet care at your pet sitting and boarding center. Create a poster or flyer around your services and also post it on the digital medium. Make sure it also reaches the renowned vet clinics, supermarkets, dog grooming centers and pet stores in your area.
Records are important to manage the operations at your pet care center. Keep files or maintain records on your computer or laptop. Segregate information on the basis of fields such as owner’s name, address, contact number, email, type of pet, breed, color, date of birth, health history (allergies, previous injuries), diet, veterinarian’s name, medication, exercise schedules, and clinic contact information.
Contracts, agreements and clauses
Specify the contract details in writing which would include service offerings, pricing, payment options, cancellation policies, damages, veterinary situations, etc. Keep important agreements containing necessary clauses signed by the owner in place. One such agreement would be the veterinary contingency plan which would provide you the rights to take the pet to a vet of your choice when the owners are unreachable or on vacation.
Pricing your services
It is up to you whether you wish to price your services on per day basis or on the basis of a program. You can always check how your competition is pricing. Make sure that you account all your costs while working on financials, and accordingly price your services so that you make a profit.
Always remember, word of mouth is the best form of advertisement when it comes to pet sitting and pet-boarding. Doing a great job for first couple of clients can lead to a dozen referrals.
Like any other business, pet-sitting and pet-boarding business also has its share of pros and cons. Take your time to weigh these before you jump in.
Pros of a pet-sitting and pet-boarding business
• Relatively low startup cost
• No storefront required
• You can work as much or as little as you want
• There is a wide range of potential clients and multiple ways to reach them
• It can be done full-time or part-time
• Turn your love for animals into a business
Cons of a pet-sitting and pet-boarding business
• You need more than just love for animals - While no formal training is required, you should have enough knowledge to handle multiple types of pets.
• Higher than average level of physical fitness is very much required
• You will need insurance to protect yourself from liability
• You should have an on-call emergency veterinary service - This gives you as well as your customers confidence in your business. Knowing first aid is an added advantage.