How to Start a Pet Sitting Business

How to Start a Pet Sitting Business

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How To Start a Pet Sitting Business

Starting a pet sitting business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching your own pet sitting business.

Importantly the most important step in starting a pet sitting business is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template here.

15 Steps To Start a Pet Sitting Business

  1. Choose the Name for Your Pet Sitting Business
  2. Develop Your Pet Sitting Business Plan
  3. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Pet Sitting Business
  4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Pet Sitting Business (If Needed)
  5. Secure a Location for Your Business
  6. Register Your Pet Sitting Business With the IRS
  7. Open a Business Bank Account
  8. Get a Business Credit Card
  9. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  10. Get Business Insurance for Your Pet Sitting Business
  11. Buy the Right Pet Sitting Business Equipment
  12. Develop Your Pet Sitting Business Marketing Materials
  13. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Pet Sitting Business
  14. Hire Staff
  15. Open for Business

1. Choose the Name for Your Pet Sitting Business

The first step to starting your own pet sitting business is to choose your business’ name.

This is a very important choice since your company name is your brand and will last for the lifetime of your business. Ideally you choose a name that is meaningful and memorable. Here are some tips for choosing a name for your pet sitting business:

  1. Make sure the name is available. Check your desired name against trademark databases and your state’s list of registered business names to see if it’s available. Also check
    to see if a suitable domain name is available.
  2. Keep it simple. The best names are usually ones that are easy to remember, pronounce and spell.
  3. Think about marketing. Come up with a name that reflects the desired brand and/or focus of your pet sitting business company.

2. Develop Your Pet Sitting Business Plan

One of the most important steps in starting a pet sitting business is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to funding sources to raise capital for your business.

Your business plan should include the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary – this section should summarize your entire business plan so readers can quickly understand the key details of your pet sitting business.
  2. Company Overview – this section tells the reader about the history of your pet sitting business and what type of pet sitting business you operate. For example, does your pet sitting business work with a variety of animals or only dogs and cats?
  3. Industry Analysis – here you will document key information about the pet sitting industry. Conduct market research and document how big the industry is and what trends are affecting it.
  4. Customer Analysis – in this section, you will document who your ideal or target customers are and their demographics. For example, where do they live? Are they in a particular income bracket? What do they look for when choosing a pet sitter?
  5. Competitive Analysis – here you will document the key direct and indirect competitors you will face and how you will build competitive advantage.
  6. Marketing Plan – your marketing plan should address the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotions and Place.
    • Product: Determine and document what products/services you will offer
    • Prices: Document the prices of your products/services
    • Place: Where will your business be located and how will that location help you increase sales?
    • Promotions: What promotional methods will you use to attract customers to your pet sitting business? For example, you might decide to use pay-per-click advertising, public relations, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and/or traditional advertising with flyers, local newspaper ads, etc.
  7. Operations Plan – here you will determine the key processes you will need to run your day-to-day operations. You will also determine your staffing needs. Finally, in this section of your plan, you will create a projected growth timeline showing the milestones you hope to achieve in the coming years.
  8. Management Team – this section details the background of your company’s management team.
  9. Financial Plan – finally, the financial plan answers questions including the following:
    • What startup costs will you incur?
    • How will your pet sitting business make money?
    • What are your projected sales and expenses for the next five years?
    • Do you need to raise funding to launch your business?

3. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Pet Sitting Business

Next you need to choose a legal structure for your pet sitting business and register it and your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.

Below are the five most common legal structures:

1) Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business entity in which the owner of the pet sitting business and the business are the same legal person. The owner of a sole proprietorship is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. There are no formalities required to establish a sole proprietorship, and it is easy to set up and operate. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it is simple and inexpensive to establish. The main disadvantage is that the owner is liable for all debts and obligations of the business.

2) Partnerships

A partnership is a legal structure that is popular among small business owners. It is an agreement between two or more people who want to start a pet sitting business together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business.

The advantages of a partnership are that it is easy to set up, and the partners share in the profits and losses of the business. The disadvantages of a partnership are that the partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, and disagreements between partners can be difficult to resolve.

3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)

A limited liability company, or LLC, is a type of business entity that provides limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The advantages of an LLC for a pet sitting business include flexibility in management, pass-through taxation (avoids double taxation as explained below), and limited personal liability. The disadvantages of an LLC include lack of availability in some states and self-employment taxes.

4) C Corporation

A C Corporation is a business entity that is separate from its owners. It has its own tax ID and can have shareholders. The main advantage of a C Corporation for a pet sitting business is that it offers limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The disadvantage is that C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation pays taxes on its profits, and the shareholders also pay taxes on their dividends.

5) S Corporation

An S Corporation is a type of corporation that provides its owners with limited liability protection and allows them to pass their business income through to their personal income tax returns, thus avoiding double taxation. There are several limitations on S Corporations including the number of shareholders they can have among others.

Once you register your pet sitting business, your state will send you your official “Articles of Incorporation.” You will need this among other documentation when establishing your banking account (see below). We recommend that you consult an attorney in determining which legal structure is best suited for your company.

4. Secure Startup Funding for Your Pet Sitting Business (If Needed)

In developing your pet sitting business plan, you might have determined that you need to raise funding to launch your business.

If so, the main sources of funding for a pet sitting business to consider are personal savings, family and friends, credit card financing, bank loans, crowdfunding and angel investors. Angel investors are individuals who provide capital to early-stage businesses. Angel investors typically will invest in a pet sitting business that they believe has high potential for growth.

5. Secure a Location for Your Business

It is certainly possible to run a small from your home, but you may find that you require more space. Finding the right location is key. You’ll need a space that is big enough to accommodate both your clients’ animals and your own equipment, as well as a safe and convenient place for your clients to drop their pets off. Here are a few tips for finding the perfect location for your pet sitting business:

  1. Start by conducting some online research to find areas that are densely populated with pet owners. This will help you to better target your advertising and marketing efforts.
  2. Once you’ve identified some potential locations, take a closer look at the surrounding area. Make sure that it is safe for both people and animals, with plenty of nearby parks and other attractions that pet owners can take their pets to.
  3. Finally, be sure to check out the cost of rent and other necessary expenses in the area. You don’t want to choose a location that is too expensive or out of reach for most pet owners.

6. Register Your Pet Sitting Business With the IRS

Next, you need to register your new pet sitting business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will result in the IRS issuing you an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Most banks will require you to have an EIN in order to open up an account. In addition, in order to hire employees, you will need an EIN since that is how the IRS tracks your payroll tax payments.

Note that if you are a sole proprietor without employees, you generally do not need to get an EIN. Rather, you would use your social security number (instead of your EIN) as your taxpayer identification number.

7. Open a Business Bank Account

It is important to establish a bank account in your pet sitting business’ name. This process is fairly simple and involves the following steps:

  1. Identify and contact the bank you want to use
  2. Gather and present the required documents (generally include your company’s Articles of Incorporation, driver’s license or passport, and proof of address)
  3. Complete the bank’s application form and provide all relevant information
  4. Meet with a banker to discuss your business needs and establish a relationship with them
If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template and complete your business plan and financial model in hours.

8. Get a Business Credit Card

You should get a business credit card for your pet sitting business to help you separate personal and business expenses.

You can either apply for a business credit card through your bank or apply for one through a credit card company.

When you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to provide some information about your business. This includes the name of your business, the address of your business, and the type of business you’re running. You’ll also need to provide some information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Once you’ve been approved for a business credit card, you’ll be able to use it to make purchases for your business. You can also use it to build your credit history which could be very important in securing loans and getting credit lines for your business in the future.

9. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits

Every state, county and city has different business license and permit requirements.

Nearly all states, counties and/or cities have license requirements including:

  • General Business License – Every business must obtain a general business license. The cost of the license varies by state. The license allows the business to operate under a specific name in a specific location.
  • Zoning Permit – A zoning permit may be required in your area and ensures that the business is in compliance with local zoning laws.
  • State Veterinarian’s Office Permits – The state veterinarian’s office can provide information on any special permits that may be required to operate a pet sitting business. They can also provide information on the rules and regulations for operating a pet sitting business.

Depending on where you launch your pet sitting business, you will have to obtain the necessary state, county and/or city licenses.

10. Get Business Insurance for Your Pet Sitting Business

Pet sitting insurance policies that you should consider for your pet sitting business include:

  • General Liability Insurance – This insurance will protect you if something happens to one of the pets you are taking care of.
  • Workers’Compensation Insurance – This insurance will protect you if one of your employees gets injured while taking care of a pet.
  • Bonding – Insurance bonding is a way to protect yourself and your business when you are taking care of other people’s pets. This means that if something bad happens to a pet while it is in your care, the insurance company will help to pay for the costs.

Find an insurance agent, tell them about your pet sitting business insurance needs, and they will recommend policies that fit those needs.

11. Buy the Right Pet Sitting Business Equipment

A pet sitting business needs a variety of equipment, such as leashes, collars, food and water bowls, carriers and crates, and grooming supplies. You might also need a van or SUV to transport the pets you’re sitting, as well as a computer and printer to manage your schedule and take payments.

12. Develop Your Pet Sitting Business Marketing Materials

Marketing materials will be required to attract and retain customers to your pet sitting business.

The key marketing materials you will need are as follows:

  1. Logo – Spend some time developing a good logo for your pet sitting business. Your logo will be printed on company stationery, business cards, marketing materials and so forth. The right logo can increase customer trust and awareness of your brand.
  2. Website – Likewise, a professional pet sitting business website provides potential customers with information about the products and/or services you offer, your company’s history, and contact information. Importantly, remember that the look and feel of your website will affect how potential clients perceive you.
  3. Social Media Accounts – Establish social media accounts in your company’s name. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or other social media networks will help customers and others find and interact with your pet sitting business.

13. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Pet Sitting Business

A pet sitting business needs software to keep track of appointments, customers, and payments. A good invoicing and accounting software can help a pet sitting business manage its finances. Examples include FreshBooks, Xero, and QuickBooks Online.

Your business also needs a way to accept payments from customers. A popular option is to use a payment processor such as PayPal or Stripe. These services allow customers to pay by credit card or bank transfer.

14. Hire Staff

If you are starting a small pet sitting business, you might be able to run it yourself. If you plan to hire additional people, however, it’s important to find employees who share your love of animals and are responsible and reliable. You want to make sure that every pet and pet owner feels comfortable with your team.

One way to find qualified employees is to post an ad on local job boards or websites like Craigslist. You can also reach out to friends, family, and neighbors who might know someone who would be interested in the position.

Once you’ve screened candidates, it’s important to conduct interviews and reference checks. Be sure to ask questions about their experience with animals, as well as their availability and willingness to work weekends and holidays.

15. Open for Business

You are now ready to open your pet sitting business. If you followed the steps above, you should be in a great position to build a successful business. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that might further help you.

 

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How to Start a Pet Sitting Business FAQs

No, it's not hard to start a pet sitting business. In fact, it can be quite easy if you have the right tools and information. Some startup challenges include finding clients and funding the purchase of the equipment you will need. Following the steps outlined above will help you get started toward owning a successful pet sitting business.

If you have never owned a pet or worked with animals before, starting a pet sitting business may seem like a big task. However, it is possible to succeed in this industry even if you have no prior experience. The key is to be willing to learn and follow the necessary steps to get your own business up and running.

One way to get started is to offer your services for free or at a reduced rate to friends, family, and neighbors. This will give you the opportunity to build up experience and get some good reviews and testimonials from happy customers. You can also look into taking some pet care classes online or through your local community college to learn more about animal care and behavior. 

There are a few different types of pet sitting businesses that you can start, and the most profitable one for you will depend on your location, target market, and what services you're able to offer. For example, if you live in a rural area with not many pet-friendly businesses or parks, starting a dog walking business might not be as profitable as starting a pet sitting service that offers in-home overnight care.

To figure out which type of pet sitting business will be most profitable for you, it's important to do some research into your target market and what services they're looking for. Once you have a good understanding of this, you can start to build out your business plan. You might also want to explore what other pet sitters in your area charge. This will help you find local competition and figure out what you can charge your new clients. 

The cost of starting a pet sitting business will vary depending on the type of services you plan to offer, the equipment you need, and any marketing or advertising expenses. For example, if you're starting a dog walking business, you'll need to purchase leashes, collars, and other supplies. If you're starting an in-home pet sitting business, you'll need to purchase insurance and bonding.To get a better idea of the costs associated with starting a pet sitting business, it's a good idea to put together a detailed business plan. This will help you understand all of the expenses you'll need to incur and how much revenue you'll need to generate to be profitable. In some cases, pet sitting businesses have low start up costs and you can start a pet sitting business with as little as $500.

The ongoing expenses for a pet sitting business will vary depending on the size and scope of your business. However, there are some common expenses that all pet sitting businesses will need to incur, such as insurance, marketing, and supplies. You'll also need to factor in the cost of food and other care items for the pets you're sitting if you plan to provide them.

Key costs include:

  • Wages – Almost half of the industry revenue is spent on wages.
  • Purchases – Payment for supplies, such as shampoos, pet food, drugs and related items can vary depending on the size and type of operator. However, most industry players operate on a small scale and do not benefit from wholesale prices.
  • Other – Marketing, depreciation, accounting, rent, utilities, and other related costs account for 11.6% of the industry revenue.

A pet sitting business makes money by charging clients for the services they provide. The amount you can charge will depend on the type of services you offer, the location of your business, and the going rate for pet sitting services in your area. Some pet sitting businesses also make money by selling pet food, toys, and other items.

Owning a pet sitting business can certainly be profitable. The biggest factors that will influence how much you earn will be the size of your business and its location. Be sure to figure out how much money you need to make and the demand for pet sitting services in your area before you start.

An average pet sitting business owner earns $25,000 to $60,000 annually.

There are a number of reasons why pet sitting businesses fail. One of the most common reasons is that the business isn't able to generate enough revenue to cover its expenses. This can happen if the pet sitting business isn't properly priced or if there's not enough demand for the services in the area. Another reason why pet sitting businesses fail is because they're not run in a professional manner. This can lead to customers being unhappy with the service they receive and taking their business elsewhere.

There are 106,319 pet sitting businesses in the U.S. that generated $6.7 billion in revenue last year which represents an annual growth rate of 6.6% in the past 5 years.

The main segments of the industry are pet boarding and pet grooming.

A number of factors affect the performance of the pet sitting industry. These drivers include:

  • Number of Pets (Cats and Dogs) - A higher population of cats and dogs means that there is higher demand for pet sitting services. This year, the number of pets is increasing, creating more opportunity for the pet sitting industry.
  • Number of Households - Most households in the US own pets. An increase in the number of households affects the pet sitting industry positively. Households are expected to increase this year.
  • Per Capita Disposable Income - The per capita disposable income does not affect the pet sitting industry greatly. In the previous years, it has been observed that consumers tend to cut back on their expenses when the per capita disposable income decreases but they do not decrease their spending on pet services. An increase in the per capita disposable income however makes consumers more likely to spend more for their pets. This is expected to increase this year and benefit the pet sitting industry.
  • Price of Electric Power - Most pet sitting businesses rely on electricity for their grooming and boarding services. Therefore an increase in the price of electric power hurts the industry. The price of electricity is expected to increase this year.

The largest customer segment in the pet sitting market are Family consumers with children under 18. The remaining segments include:

  • Family consumers with no children under 18
  • Consumers living alone
  • Consumers with roommates

 

Helpful Slideshows, Videos & Images

Sizzlin’ Stats Pet Industry Trends

10 Must Know Tips For Pet Sitters

4 Steps To Growing Your Pet Sitting Business

10 Elements on Your Pet Sitting Website that Will Increase Client Leads

The Modern Rules of using Flyers and Door hangers for your Pet Sitting Business

Why Is a Professional Pet Sitter a Better Value Than a Hobbyist Pet Sitter?

Professional and Hobbyist Pet Sitter infographic

Social Media in the Pet Industry

Social Media in the Pet Industry infographic

 

Additional Resources in the Pet Sitting Industry

For additional information on the pet sitting market, consider these industry resources:

 

How to Finish Your Pet Sitting Business Plan in 1 Day!

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Click here to finish your business plan today.

 

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