A Paw-rent Yourself? This Might Be the Perfect Side Hustle for You

April 24, 2023
7 min read
A Paw-rent Yourself? This Might Be the Perfect Side Hustle for You

Do you love spending time with animals? If so, pet sitting might be the perfect part-time job. You can get paid to cuddle cats and walk dogs—what could be better? Pet sitting can be financially rewarding and emotionally fulfilling.

Pet-sitting could be the perfect side hustle for you if you're an animal lover and have extra time on your hands. It's flexible and can be quite lucrative if you market yourself well. There are plenty of websites that can help you find potential clients and get your name out there.

Pet Sitting: What Are the Responsibilities?

Pet sitting involves understanding the needs of your client’s pet and providing them with adequate care while they are away. It’s vital to be familiar with the responsibilities of a pet sitter before deciding if the job is right for you.

A pet sitter’s responsibilities include:

  • Brush fur and teeth, and other grooming procedures.
  • Clean litter boxes and cages.
  • Give medications if needed.
  • Walk dogs.
  • Provide enough food and water.

If your client's pet becomes ill or gets hurt while under your supervision, you should let them and take them to the vet if necessary. Make sure you fill out a contact sheet with your info and emergency contacts before leaving the pets, including their age, breed, weight, prior medical conditions (if any), and what medications they're on.

Pet Sitting: What Should Be the Qualities of a Pet Sitter?

Before you decide to take on the role of a pet sitter, think about whether or not you're ready to handle everything that comes with it. Here are the most common skills and traits of successful pet sitters:

Excellent listening and communications skills. Communicating with pet owners is a crucial part of being a pet sitter. You'll need to be attentive and understanding of each animal's needs and preferences, as well as keep the owner updated on their schedule regularly.

Good time management. If you have multiple clients, it can be tough to keep track of everything. You have to get to each job on time and take care of all the tasks quickly and efficiently.

Compassion and patience. The personalities of animals you interact with will vary. Some may need a bit of time to warm up, while others will show enthusiastic affection from the moment you arrive. So it's crucial to be more understanding when dealing with pets, especially new ones.

Willingness to do anything. No matter how clean you are, at some point, you have to deal with poop. We've all been there–you're out for a walk with your dog and find a mud puddle or maybe dig up the backyard. Either way, it happens.

Being an excellent pet sitter requires more than just loving animals; it takes patience, understanding, organization, and planning skills to provide exceptional services over time.

Pet Sitting: How Much Does a Pet Sitter Earn?

On average, home visits cost $20-30/hour. The total earnings depend on your hourly rate and the services you cater. You can also change your pricing based on the number of pets to sit or during holidays.

If you're uncertain how much to charge, look at what other pet sitters in your area are already asking. And if this is your first pet-sitting experience, you can start with lower prices and increase them as you build a client base and get more experience.

Pet Sitting: How Would You Qualify?

Established websites aren't the only way to get work as a pet sitter. You can also go out and set your rates and schedule. Each type of site has its benefits and drawbacks. Although third-party websites will take cut off your profits, they might also save you time and effort in the advertisement.

Starting Your Own Pet-Sitting Business

If you want to retain all your profits and do the work yourself, here are some things you can do to bring in clients. While there are many advantages to working for yourself, you will have to cover the costs of running your business.

  1. Gain Related Working Experience

Don't worry if you're a pet enthusiast but have no professional experience in the pet industry. You can start by offering your services for free to friends and loved ones. Posting on social media and in local yard sale groups is a great way to advertise your services.

If you don't know where to start, head to your local animal shelter. You can gain experience and help dogs in need by volunteering to walk them.

  1. Secure Proper Certification

Get certified as a professional pet sitter to make your business stand out. Several reputable organizations offer certification, such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) and Pet Sitters International (PSI)

Although the courses and exams can be pricey at around $200, they provide valuable knowledge for pet sitters and help legitimize your business. While other certification courses may be expensive, sites like petsittercourse.com offer cheap pricing. Which include:

  • Certification Course for $45 (One-Time Payment)
  • Hiring Course $89 (Lifetime Access)
  • Team Training $119 (Annually)

3. Get Insurance

Owning a pet can be expensive, so many people avail of insurance for their furry friend. Insurance is also a great way to protect yourself and your clients in case of unforeseen events.

Companies such as Pet Sitters Association and Pet Care Insurance offer general liability insurance for as low as $195 per year. By having this insurance in place, you can avoid potential financial losses from unexpected medical expenses or liability claims.

4. Determine What Services to Offer

With more experience, you'll have a better understanding of the services you want to offer. You may stick to cat and dog care or open your business to horses, hamsters, and other animals.

Think about whether or not you're willing to put restrictions before establishing your pet-sitting business. Make sure to set competitive rates and prepare all of the necessary supplies depending on the services you plan to offer, m

Pet-Sitting: Making It Through Websites

Pet-sitting websites are a perfect way to find gigs if you don't want something too long-term or simply need some supplemental income. These websites have job postings tailored to fit perfectly in line with your skillset and can be a budget-friendly option - though some fees may still apply.

1. Care.com

Babysitting probably comes to your mind when you think of Care.com, but they also connect pet sitters to potential clients. Care.com offers two membership levels: Basic and Premium.

Basic membership. You’ll pay $18.99 annually for a background check and can only find and apply to jobs. Premium membership. You'll pay $8.99 per month to have first access to jobs, higher ranking in search results, and be able to see who has viewed your profile. They also waive the background check fee.

When you set up your profile, you can select your schedule, availability, and hourly rate. An advantage to using Care.com is that you get paid quickly, typically within a day.

2. Fetch! Pet Care

At Fetch! Pet Care, you work with an established local owner as long as one is available. You'll be undergoing an assessment by the owner, but still, you can decide on your schedule. When you commit to Fetch!, you're committing to getting to know your clients and their pets.

The company assigns a primary and backup sitter for each client. You'll need to track or list your progress via a Pet Journal! Fetch! Sitters are reliable and trustworthy; they only choose the best of the best to join their team. All potential sitters go through an interview and background check process before they can start working.

3. Rover

Rover is one of the most popular pet-sitting websites available. It offers sitters a flexible schedule, allowing them to choose their services and prices. Services through Rover include drop-in visits, walking, sitting, daycare, and boarding.

On Rover, you can set preferences for animals you want to take care of, like size and age. They also have a $35 profile review fee when you first sign up, but after that, you get to keep 80% of your earnings from each job.

The site needs to approve your profile first, which takes 10-20 days, and then you have to pass a background check.

4. Wag!

Wag! is a website with over 400,000 caregivers that offers pet-sitting services. You get to choose your schedule and prices, similar to Rover. To complete your profile, you will need five endorsements from friends or family.

On average, it takes 14 days to be approved after you submit your application to start providing services. You'll need to pay a one-time background check fee of $39.95 and pass a pet care quiz.

If you're a caregiver for Wag!, you'll be paid every Friday via Stripe for the services you completed during the previous week. Wag! charges a service fee of 40%, and you get to keep all of your tips!

Start Your Pawsome Career Today!

If you're an animal lover and have the time, taking care of other people's pets can be a fun way to make extra cash. However, before agreeing to look after someone else's pet, it's essential to consider your safety and well-being.

Conduct quick research on the pet owner before accepting a job and make sure that you are comfortable with them. Start your pawsome career today!

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