Your Cat magazine reported in January that 2015 is set to be the year of the Petsitter http://www.yourcat.co.uk/Your-Cat/study-unveils-pet-sitting-as-best-business-to-start-in-2015.html with this type of business being identified as the ideal business opportunity according to the website Startups.co.uk, who recently conducted a survey surrounding the best business ideas for this year.
Whilst we would certainly agree that petsitting is a fantastic idea for a genuine animal lover, sadly there are too many people who see it as an easy way to make money without considering any of the true implications of providing a good petsitting service. Unfortunately there is not as yet any policing of many types of pet services which means that pretty much anyone can set up without insurance, relevant experience or even any pet-owning knowledge. Added to this the fact that said petsitter will have access to your property while you’re away and there is scope for it to go disastrously wrong.
The economic pressures faced by so many people over recent years have meant that more people have been looking for ways to supplement their income, perhaps something to do alongside another part-time job or to fit around school hours or childcare restrictions. As petsitting requires very little financial investment – no premises to buy or rent, no specialist equipment – this also makes it seem like an easy option – what most people don’t factor in is the expertise required.
Petsitting brings with it an enormous responsibility. Not only is a petsitter responsible for the pets in the household, but for the property too. They need to be able to deal with illness and medical emergencies that may arise with any pets in their care, but also any household issues such as burst pipes, break-ins etc. They need to have good knowledge of the local vets in the area and need to know when an animal should be taken to the vet or just kept an eye on. What happens if there is an emergency situation and the owner can’t be contacted, what about paying any bills that might arise – some vets, particularly out-of-hours services, require payment in advance. This can amount to hundreds of pounds. Freelance Petsitters don’t always have back-up available so what happens if they are taken ill halfway through a booking and can no longer continue?
Fortunately many clients are now much more careful when choosing a petsitter and have far higher expectations. When Total Pet Services launched its first business in 2001, clients didn’t tend to ask many questions, some even would have been happy to leave a key under the mat for us to collect on our first visit, never having met us before. That has now changed and it is not unusual for people using a petsitter for the first time to interview a number before making their decision. A new client visit should be treated like a job interview and petsitters can expect to be grilled about previous experience, how they would respond to certain situations, provide proof of insurance and police checks. It is no longer sufficient to stick a card in the newsagent window and expect to win business.
At Total Pet Services we are proud to provide the highest quality service every time – the number of clients who use us over and over again do so because they know they can trust us and we do a good job. We regularly take on clients who have had a bad experience with a less professional petsitter and we work hard to gain their confidence so that they can go away knowing that their pets genuinely are in safe hands. It’s not enough to just be an animal lover and petsitting should never be treated as a hobby – it is a professional business, but one that, done properly, can provide a fantastic lifestyle business and a good income.
If you are interested in joining our team and learning how to build a sustainable business that you can be proud of, have a look at www.totalpetservices.co.uk to see whether we have any opportunities in your area.