Pet Sitter International successfully campaigned for the word “pet sitting” to be included in the dictionary in 1997. In the dictionary, we now define “pet sitting” as taking care of someone’s pet while the owner is away. Therefore, pet sitters care for someone’s pet while the owner is away. But is that a surefire formula to become a pet sitter? Would a petsitter need pet sitter’s insurance too?
What Do Pet Sitters Do
There are many tasks that a pet sitter can do. In general, they provide tender loving care to their client’s pets. 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 owners may request you
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 connection between them that would make 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 work around. Pet owners will want a sitter who can step in at 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 for all pertinent details about the pets during the first meeting.
Responsible and trustworthy
People hire most pet sitters through referrals. Potential clients usually 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 lose hope. You can gain experience as you go along, and if you are a fast learner, you can make the necessary adjustment in no time.
Pet sitters must consistently do their pet-sitting chores, especially if it involves training the pets. You have to ensure that what you teach or do to the pets is also what the owners do. You cannot teach a dog not to lie on the couch and bend the rules for your convenience.
Positive and Happy
Owners or employers always look for a positive and happy attitude in any work. Nobody would want to leave their pets to a grumpy or cranky pet sitter.
Aside from the invaluable connection to pets, 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. Some people left their professional careers to become pet-sitters. If this is your dream job or career path, or you love pets, you can be a pet sitter. In addition, if you possess all of the above-mentioned characteristics of a good pet sitter, you can aspire to be one.
Sure-Fire Formula To Become A Pet Sitter
The number of U.S. households that own pets has increased dramatically in the last decade. This has enabled the pet service and food industry to boom and become multi-billion. Small pet businesses have cropped up to provide services, food, and accessories for all pets.
However, even with all the unique services a pet shop can offer, like boarding and pet sitting, most people still hire pet sitters for their homes instead. One of the reasons is that their pets are more comfortable at home than in other locations.
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 usually 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 must also 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 decide whether you want to accept it.
Set your own rates
Independent sitters can set their own rates. You can ask for a certain amount of payment depending on what you need to do. You can start from the basics and then add as you gain more experience and a client base.
More tips to get hired as a Pet Sitter…
If you plan to be a professional pet sitter, you need to enroll or attend courses that will help you. 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 to handle pets well. You can start with an introductory dog or cat walking course and eventually train the pets to manage their behavior.
- First aid – you can also never avoid accidents when pet sitting. Knowing how to react and what to do can save you and the pet’s life. You need to prepare to deal with emergencies.
- Pet care – caring for pets is the ultimate goal of pet sitters. Taking care of different pets will make you more confident in handling them.
- Business setup – learn how to set up your pet-sitting business by enrolling in business courses. Here, you will learn how to professionalize and market your business.
- 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.
More Info About Getting Certified
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), a pioneer in the pet-sitting industry.
You can also join the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) to obtain a NAPPS certificate by taking their self-paced course and passing the exam.
Do petsitters need petsitters insurance or any insurance for that matter? Starting a pet-sitting business and having a side hustle by becoming a pet sitter involves risks. To protect yourself from these risks, you would need 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.
Workers’ compensation is mandatory if you have other pet sitter employees working for you. This will protect your employees if they get injured 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 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 must always be protected.
Getting pet sitters or professional pet care insurance will always protect you. You don’t need to spend too much to ensure you’re protected from the risks of your type of work. Call us today at Advantage Insurance Solutions in Denver, CO, and find out your options.