The Pet Sitter International successfully campaigned for the word “pet sitting” to be included in the dictionary in 1997. Pet sitting is now defined in the dictionary as the act of taking care of someone’s pet while the owner is away. Therefore, a pet sitter is someone who takes care of someone’s pet while the owner is away.
What Do Pet Sitters Do
There are many tasks that a pet sitter can do. In general, they provide tender loving care to the pets of their clients. Some stay during the day while the owner is at work and some stay overnight or for a few days if the owners are away on vacation or work travel.
Some pet sitting tasks include:
- Feeding the pets
- Playing with the pets
- Give medication
- Taking dogs out for a walk
- Cleaning the litter and other pet messes
- Other tasks that may be requested by owners
What Are The Characteristics Of A Good Pet Sitter?
A good pet sitter must be someone who would work well with pets. There must be a certain connection between them that would make both the sitter and the pet enjoy their time together. Aside from the connection, a good pet sitter should be:
At the initial interview, a pet sitter must be able to commit to the owners a flexible schedule that they can workaround. Pet owners will want a sitter who can step in at a short notice for unplanned events and emergencies.
- With a caring nature
Much like caring for a baby, a pet sitter must have a caring nature that will make pets more comfortable with them. They should be able to ask all pertinent details about the pets during the first meeting.
- Responsible and trustworthy
Most pet sitters are hired through referrals. Potential clients normally do background checks and contact references before they turn over the key to their houses. An employer will be able to identify a responsible and trustworthy pet sitter on the first meeting usually just by their gut feel.
A good pet sitter will be able to recognize the needs of a pet and its owners. If you see the owner needing more time, you can extend your pet sitting time even for a few more minutes. If you walk the dog and notice something is wrong, you can immediately address it.
An experienced pet sitter will likely be chosen over an inexperienced one. But do not be discouraged. You can gain experience as you go along and if you are a fast learner, you will be able to make the necessary adjustment in no time.
Pet sitters must be consistent in their pet sitting chores especially if it involves training the pets. You have to make sure that what you teach or do to the pets is also done by the owners. You cannot teach a dog not to lie on the couch and bend the rules for your convenience.
- Positive and Happy
In any kind of work, a positive and happy attitude is always what owners or employers look for. Nobody would want to leave their pets to a grumpy or a cranky pet sitter.
- Pet lover
Aside from the invaluable connection to pets, it goes without saying that pet sitters must love pets. A pet lover’s face will light up every time pets are around. You can gauge a pet sitter’s love for pets with their level of excitement and enthusiasm.
Pet sitting is a serious job. There are people who left their professional careers to become pet-sitters. If this is your dream job, your career path, or you just love pets, then you can definitely be a pet sitter. If you possess all of the above-mentioned characteristics of a good pet sitter, then you can aspire to be one.
Sure Fire Formula To Becoming A Pet Sitter
The number of U.S. households that own pets have increased dramatically in the last decade. This has enabled the pet service and food industry to boom and turn into a multibillion industry. Small pet businesses have cropped up to provide services, food, and accessories for all types of pets.
However, even with all the special services that a pet shop can offer like boarding and pet sitting, most people still hire pet sitters to their homes instead. One of the reasons is that their pets are more comfortable at home than in another location.
If you plan to be a pet sitter, you need a fool-proof formula to become a good one. Read on to find out more.
Do your research
Get a clear understanding of your job description and the essential skills needed. Knowing what you need beforehand can help you plan and find ways to enhance your skills.
Set your working hours and conditions
Pet sitters normally make room for flexibility. However, you still need to set your working hours and allow flexibility in case of unplanned emergencies. Setting your working hours will help you schedule more efficiently and make room for when life happens.
You also need to set the conditions to avoid personal risks in pet sitting. Make a list of things that you will not be able to compromise. This will help you in making a decision if you want to accept it or not.
Set your own rates
Independent sitters can set their own rates. You have the flexibility to ask for a certain amount of payment depending on what is expected of you to do. You can start from the basics and then add as you gain more experience and client base.
If you are planning to be a professional pet sitter, you need to enroll or attend courses that will help you in your profession. Some of these are:
- Pet grooming – different pets require different grooming skills. Learn how to do them by attending grooming school. You can earn a certificate after you finish this course.
- Pet walking – pet walking involves another skill set that you must learn in order to handle pets well. You can start with a basic course in dog or cat walking and eventually train the pets in managing their behavior.
- First aid – accidents are bound to happen when pet sitting. Knowing how to react and what to do can save you and the pet’s life. You need to be prepared to deal with emergency situations.
- Pet care – caring for pets is the ultimate goal of pet sitters. Learning how to take care of different pets will make you more confident in handling them.
- Business set up – learn how to set up your pet sitting business by enrolling in business courses. Here, you will learn how you can professionalize your business and market it.
- Business management – learning to set up a business is not the same as managing it. Even if you are the only person in your business, you still need to learn how to manage yourself, your time, and your money.
Aside from short courses, you would want to earn a professional pet sitting certificate by becoming a CPPS-Certified Professional Pet Sitter. This can be achieved by becoming a member of Pet Sitter International (PSI) who has been a pioneer in the pet sitting industry.
You can also join the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) where you can obtain a NAPPS certificate by taking their self-paced course and passing the exam.
Starting a pet sitting business or any business for that matter involves risks. To protect yourself from these risks, you would need a form of insurance to help you in case of accidents and injuries. It will also give you financial protection if you are brought to court by the pet owner.
There are several coverages that you can avail of for your pet sitting business. You can start from the basics and assess it later on if you need more. Basic coverages are:
General liability insurance will protect you from bodily injury and/or property damage to a third party. It will cover medical payments, personal and advertising injury, and legal defense
- Professional Liability Insurance
Sometimes called Error and Omissions Insurance, this type of coverage helps protect you from lawsuits if you are accused of making a mistake in your professional service.
If you have other pet sitter employees working for you, workers’ compensation is mandatory. This will protect your employees if they get injured on the job and need medical treatment and rehabilitation. They can also be compensated for lost wages and even funeral benefits in case of death.
If you are using your own car during working hours, you need commercial auto insurance. You may need to bring the pet to the park to walk or exercise, or buy pet supplies and food using your car. If you get into a car collision or accident, commercial auto insurance can help you pay for medical expenses for yourself and the other party involved.
Pet-sitting can be more than just a hobby or a way to earn extra money. It can be a career opportunity for anyone who loves pets. Whether you want to be a professional pet sitter or not, you need to be protected at all times.
Getting pet insurance will ensure that you are always protected. You don’t need to spend too much just to make sure you’re protected from risks that come with your type of work. Call us today toll-free at (855) 973-1202 or (855) 712-6584 and find out what your options are.