Owning a pet sitting business can be a lucrative and enjoyable career. If you do not mind the holiday and weekend work, your pet sitting services could bring in six figures a year. To accomplish this you will need more than hard work and a love of animals. You will need to stand out from all the other professional pet sitters.
New Client Meeting
Offer a free meet and greet to new clients. Potential clients are not going to want to pay a fee to interview you. At the interview, take the time to greet each pet and ask questions. Pet owners want to know that their pet sitter is interested in all their pets.
Make it obvious that you worked hard while the owners were gone. Pet food and water bowls, bird cages, litter boxes, and floors around the cages and litter box should all be cleaner when the owners come home than when they left. Also, leave your client's house each day as if the client will be returning home that day. You will be surprised at how often clients return home earlier than scheduled. You don't want them to come home to messy cages or litter boxes.
Research the Pets
Be knowledgeable about the species or breeds you are caring for. If someone emails you requesting care for a budgie, do not ask him or her what a budgie is! If you do not know, research it yourself. If you are taking on a new type of pet such as a large snake, it is okay (and advisable) to say you have not handled a 12 foot red-tailed boa before. Make up for it by having done your research and demonstrate that you know about the proper care of a red-tailed boa.
Leave a Note
Leave a note or pet report card telling stories about the pets that you cared for. Make a note of additional pet sitting or house sitting services you performed. Some owners may not notice the floor around the litter box was swept unless you tell them. They will however, notice if it is left a mess.
Send pictures of your time with the pets with a camera phone. Owners like to be reassured that their pets are being cared for. However, some clients can be chatty and you may not have time for a 15-minute phone conversation about Fido's dog walk that day. To alleviate your client's worries easily, you can just snap a picture and send it.
New Client Gifts
Leave new pet sitting clients with a "new client" gift. This can be a basket of goodies for the dog, the latest Bird Talk Magazine, or a new branch for the gecko. Of course, include your brochures and business cards so that they can refer you to friends.
Offer Discount Services
Offer discounts for extended vacations or for new client referrals. There are clients that may need your services for several weeks at a time, which can add up. Offer a free day for every 10 or 14 paid days to help with the costs to your client, and to keep your favorite clients happy. To bring in new clients, encourage happy customers to refer you to friends and family for a discount on their next service.
The goal of providing exceptional pet sitting services is not just to take care of the pets, but to take care of the client as well. After all, the pet's owner is the one paying you for your services. Although taking Fido for a walk and playing with the cats is important, do not forget the pets' owner who will not see you take Fido for a walk every day. By focusing on the pets and the owner, you'll make your pet sitting business stand out.