6 Things Every Newbie Pet Sitter Needs to Know
Pet sitting is a great way to indulge your fondness for animals, provide a service that pet parents appreciate, and earn a little extra on the side. It can be a full-time career, and the job is also quite welcoming of newbie pet sitters—even those who only have their pet parent experiences under their belts.
However, as every ardent pet lover should know, pet sitting is a serious business. It means being entrusted with your client’s furred family members, and naturally, your clients want nothing but the best for their companion animals. It’s important, then, for aspiring pet sitters to decide once and for all if they’re willing to shoulder this responsibility.
It takes more than a passionate commitment to animal welfare to become a pet sitter. You also need to make sure that you have all the things you need to successfully pull off an assignment. Here are some of the things you need to know and be prepared for once you start sitting for pets as a part-time or full-time job:
You Need to Be Prepared for the Business Side of Pet Sitting
While your soft spot for animals will certainly contribute to your longevity in this career, you must remember that pet sitting is still a source of income. You need to have the right tools, skills, and disposition to get the job done right the first time and earn your keep.
If you’re planning to turn this venture into a serious business, it’s time to invest a bit in the tools and skills that you need to be a good pet sitter. This can mean buying supplies for the pets you’re looking after, such as custom leashes with your brand on them. It’s also a good time to consider if additional training in pet behavior and getting bonded and insured will help attract more customers to your business.
Getting Comfortable Around a New Pet Can Take a Bit of Time
Earning the trust of a companion animal is a process, one that you need to work on alongside the pet owner. Once you’ve reached an agreement about the services you offer, it’s important to get acquainted and be comfortable with the pet in question before the actual pet sitting sessions start. The process of introducing yourself to a pet will require you to pay supervised visits and multiple test runs with the dog or cat. You must first establish yourself as a trustworthy human to the pet before you can continue with the engagement.
You’ll Have to Deal with Last-minute and Late-night Calls
Emergencies and urgent issues can pop up at any time, so you should expect that you’ll be called to cover last-minute and late-night pet sitting assignments at some point. These kinds of assignments can get frustrating pretty quickly. To get around the inconvenience of this type of arrangement, some pet sitters charge an extra fee for last-minute calls.
Cleaning Up After Your Pet Is Part of Your Responsibilities
Anyone who’s ever taken care of a dog or cat understands how messy they can be. They’ll inevitably shed fur, drool, and excrete waste while their owner is away.
When this happens, it’s your responsibility to bring order back into the home. This means scooping up their poop, especially if they defecate where they’re not supposed to or while you’re taking a walk. Your clothes and tools will inevitably have fur on them, and you’ll likely have to clean up messes in your client’s home. You’ll have to accept, sooner rather than later, that cleaning up is part and parcel of pet sitting.
Your Clients May Forget to Pay You, and It’s Your Job to Remind Them
Your clients are likely busy people who have little time left at the end of every working day. It’s not unusual for some clients to lose track of whether they’ve paid you for your services, and you may be left wondering why. When this happens, you only need to gently remind them about your payment. It’s likely they just forgot.
No Matter How Friendly the Pet Is, Always Be Careful
Dogs and cats have different temperaments, and some pets may feel attached or comfortable with you more quickly than others. However, don’t let your guard down no matter how friendly an animal may be. The dog or cat will likely treat you differently compared to their pet owners, and there may be instances where they can get anxious and react negatively to your routine activities.
Taking on the role of a pet sitter is often a solitary job, especially if you’re new to the business. Still, remember that the pet owner is your partner in ensuring that the pet in question is living its best life. Open communication, flexibility, and trustworthiness are keys to ensuring a great professional relationship with the families you’re pet sitting for.
That said, starting this job can be a challenge at first. But if you’re able to find the right clients who understand your current potential, then growing in this field will be a much easier and rewarding task.