How to start a pet-sitting business

start a pet-sitting business

If you love to care for pets, you’ll find pet-sitting a rewarding career. You can make the most out of this passion by creating your own pet care business. But to start a pet-sitting business, you must understand the requirements and qualifications.

To start a pet-sitting business, consider earning a certification or formal training, and develop your skills by doing animal companion services. Then, start creating your business plan and pursue the necessary paperwork. Once the legal requirements are met, you’re ready to market and open your business to clients. 

Learn more about how to start a pet-sitting business as you read on. 

1. Secure proper training and certification 

As a side hustle, you can become a pet sitter and not have some formal training as long as you can take care of pets handed to you. But when you start a pet-sitting business, your competitors may leave you behind without these qualifications.

Courses in animal care

It’s a clear advantage to have a degree in animal care, but it can also be an overreach if you’re already been pet-sitting for quite some time and want to secure a diploma or certificate of completion. Your best option is to enrol in online courses or certification programs for animal care specific to companion animals. 

Some schools offer a part-time program that could take over a year to complete the certification. Distance learning is also available, which you can finish within six months. 

2. Gain enough experience as a pet sitter 

On top of certifications and courses, your actual experience handling pets and showing evidence of the skillsets required to care for companion animals makes you desirable as a pet sitter and business owner. 

You may have thought about starting a business while already providing sitting services. But if you’re starting from scratch or have only been doing the job a few times, expand your experience through the following ways. 

Get into Pawshake

Pawshake is an online platform specifically for pet owners to book pet-sitting services. To become a pet sitter in Pawshake, you must create an account. Afterwards, build a portfolio where you describe yourself and your skills related to pet care, and add other crucial information that makes you a desirable choice for the job. 

After completing and submitting your application, Pawshake’s Success team will evaluate and inform you of the result via email within seven days.  

Essentially, the client will take a closer look at your profile and contact you for a meet and greet (think of it like a job interview of some sort). The owner will book your service when they see you fit and bond well with their pet. You can agree on a home visit or having the pet stay with you, depending on how long you’ll have to pet sit. 

The main advantage of getting into Pawshake is that you’ll have the opportunity to build a large client base. The app is also simple to use, and you get the flexibility of setting your price. 

Offer services in your neighbourhood

If you’re starting as a pet sitter and are a bit anxious about extending your services to a larger market, consider pet sitting for owners in your area. For example, you could do it for friends who plan on leaving their pets for a vacation or business trip. Perhaps a couple or family needs pet care when they’re out of the house during the day. 

If you live in a suburban area with a clubhouse or places where you can post listings, make some flyers to let people know about your services. You can also connect with potential clients through closed neighbourhood groups on social media platforms like Facebook. 

3. Create a business plan 

After obtaining a certification in animal care and gaining sufficient experience as a pet care provider, it’s time to start a pet-sitting business by forming a detailed plan. But first, you can adopt a standard business plan that encompasses crucial information about the nature of your business, your mode of operation, and marketing channels.  

Key elements you should prioritize

All business plans follow the standard format, which includes an executive summary, market and industry analysis, company overview, operation plan, and marketing plan. To develop a business plan, you’ll need ample research, especially if you’re planning to have a more extensive base of clients.

However, suppose you’re a pet sitter who has already established a reputation and wants to start in the middle. In that case, you can set the status of your business plan as a “work in progress” and prioritize vital details like the following.

Pet sitting business name: What name you choose for your pet-sitting business should reflect your brand and how your clients perceive your services. 

Business names have to be memorable. It helps if they can connect it with what you do. So do some brainstorming and think long and hard about the right business name, as it will impact your marketing in the future.

Services: Specificity is the key to clarity. And the more clients understand your business, the more likely they will avail of your services. 

That said, be transparent with your services – whether you’re only pet-sitting during the day or offer extended services like dog walking and boarding. Specify the types of companion animals you care for as well. 

Pricing: As a business owner, you’ll have the freedom to set your prices based on your work expenses, skillset, and the figures’ competitiveness in the market. 

Do proper research before fixing your prices. The last thing you’ll like is setting them too high that clients will easily ignore your business or too low that you won’t make any profit. 

Marketing Strategies: The digital world is a treasure trove for developing marketing strategies, given its multiple platforms to reach potential clients. Nonetheless, you must create one that fits your market, the nature of your business, and your budget. 

A good marketing strategy is to maximize social media use since most pet owners can be found on places like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook. 

4. Process the paperwork 

When you already have a clear direction to start a pet-sitting business, it’s time to work on the legal side of things. 

First, you’ll need to register your business to verify your services. Then obtain a business number and connect with your local council for other specific business requirements. The process varies from country to country and even at the council level. So, check with a financial advisor or a trusted accountant.

Next, open a separate bank account for your business and get insurance. Any form of caring services needs protection against liability. It’s particularly useful in cases of accidental injuries. 

Finally, set up your administrative workspace. Prepare the contracts, billing system, invoice database, and scheduling organization. 

5. Open for Business 

Once you’re all set with the paperwork and your business plan is ready, you can spread the word that your pet-sitting business is open. You can announce it through your business page on Facebook, send emails or direct messages to your former and present clients, send business cards to potential clients, and prepare flyers for listing boards. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do I need to pet sit?

As far as qualifications go, anyone can pet sit provided they have the right skills and passion for animal care. For example, suppose you’re applying for a full-time job in a pet-sitting business. In that case, you should have a high school diploma, with sitting experience and knowledge of basic animal first aid and species behaviour. 

Is a pet-sitting business profitable?

The pet-sitting business will likely thrive in terms of profitability in the next years. Today, you can charge between $20 to $50 per visit or $15 to $20 per day to board or take care of pets. But these figures could increase as more people need pet sitters after the world started to reopen following the pandemic. 

Also, there is a growing demand for pet care on a global scale. By 2030, it’s predicted to grow market size by $179.45 billion (US dollars), according to Verified Market Research.  

How do I sell myself as a pet sitter?

Like any other business, a proper marketing plan can help you find clients for your pet-sitting services. Some of the best strategies include creating a Google business profile and Facebook business page, getting into pet care forums or job posting sites, and banking on word-of-mouth from satisfied clients. 

Alongside digital marketing tools, consider traditional materials, such as business cards and flyers. For example, with permission, you can pin business posts about your services in animal care clinics. 


Pet care is a booming industry, making pet sitting a potentially thriving business in the next few years. However, with high demand comes increasing competition. That said, you must carefully follow through with the key steps to help you start a pet-sitting business on the right foot. Ensure you have the skills, training, certification, and, most importantly, reputation to thrive in your industry. 

Elizabeth Dodd

I have a passion for animals and the arts, and I live in the footsteps of the beautiful Waitakere ranges in Auckland, New Zealand. We had animals for as long as I can remember, and I find an endless source of inspiration in them and our beautiful surroundings. Visit my store to see my latest work:

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