In the age of remote work and entrepreneurship we’re living in right now, many people are trying to turn their interests, passions, and hobbies into a side hustle for themselves. Making money while having fun with something you enjoy should be an ideal money-making scenario, but it doesn’t mean everything’s going to go smoothly from the start.
If you love being around animals, becoming a petsitter is one of the most popular ways to bring in another source of income, especially in a pet-friendly environment like Nashville, Tennessee. There are a lot of things you need to consider when becoming a petsitter, though, and we’ll discuss some of them here.
You may be tasked with feeding the animals, walking them, and giving them any medications they need to stay healthy when their owner can’t be around. Dog exercise needs by breed vary, so just because something works for your Great Dane doesn’t mean it will be sufficient for a Labrador retriever. Here are some of the best expert tips for a pet-sitting side hustle.
#1 – Make Sure You Understand Entrepreneurship and Business
Becoming a pet sitter means you’re required to license your petsitting business and get commercial insurance for yourself. This is the difference between simply looking after a friend’s dog as a hobby and taking care of many different clients’ pets as part of an official business venture, and this entails learning about these items.
Without licensing your petsitting business, you’re not running an actual side hustle. You need to license your business so the income can be taxed, and so you can write off items like the living space you’re working in and the gas that was spent driving to your customers’ homes. Talk to a tax expert about all of the deductions you can make as a pet sitter.
You need business insurance to make sure you protect yourself from any damages that customers claim you caused them or their pets while you were conducting business. Your personal homeowner’s insurance won’t cover petsitting issues. If you’re going to be driving a lot for your petsitting job, you need to buy commercial auto insurance.
You need to take this business approach to all of the things you do while petsitting. You may enjoy the act of taking care of the dogs, but all of the financial aspects of a side hustle are what separates it from just being a hobby. Talk to other people you know who’ve worked in entrepreneurship so you can get some information on being a first-time business owner.
#2 – Educate Yourself on Pet Needs
Being a pet lover doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a pet expert. Becoming a pet sitter means you’ll have to learn about a lot more than just what one specific pet needs. Some dogs need more exercise than others, and you need to talk to each pet owner about the walking schedule for their pet.
What do dogs eat? Some breeds can tolerate different types of food that others can’t. Going to a veterinarian and getting a crash course on each dog’s nutritional needs will be valuable in your petsitting career. For example, younger dogs need more food than older dogs because they move more and burn the fat in their diet easier and with more frequency.
You need to learn about the temperament and behavior of the dogs you’re taking care of. Are they emotional support dogs? Are they puppies who need a lot of care and attention, or are they independent older cats? You may be taking care of several different types of animals and need to educate yourself on all of them to be effective and gain new customers.
Don’t spread yourself too thin, though. If you only know how to take care of one type of animal, being a specialist may be the right route for you to go if you’re making money. Attempting to be a master of everything is a recipe for disaster sometimes.
#3 – Communicate With Your Customers
Just like any other business, having good customer service and communication skills with your customers is a great way to grow your business. Treat your customers with the respect they deserve, but don’t put up with poor treatment just to make money. Small business owners may have to hustle to find customers and success, and they deserve respect.
Make it clear what services you provide in your pet sitting business. If you’re only going to feed the animal and walk it, make that known. If you’re willing to take the animal to the veterinarian, play with it throughout the day, and then advertise that to the public.
Make your rates clear and discuss whether they’re negotiable depending on what tasks will be done during the day petsitting. Decide where the care for the pet is going to take place. Is it going to be at your house or the customer’s home? If it’s at your home, make sure your living space is open and suitable for a variety of animals.
Try to respond to customers who give you reviews online. This shows potential new customers how engaged you are with everyone you work with, and it becomes a convincing argument for them to sign up for your petsitting services.
#4 – Have Fun
Even though you’re running a business, remember to have fun while you’re petsitting. Sometimes people let all of the business aspects of their side hustle ruin their original motivations for starting them: to make money while they’re having fun. The making money part shouldn’t become the only thing you think about.
If you love taking care of animals, you don’t get irritated when they get rowdy or have a bathroom accident, and have great patience for all of the random things that pets do, you’ll become a very successful petsitter in no time at all.
If the business parts of petsitting are getting you down while taking care of pets, think about hiring someone to handle some of the financial aspects of the side hustle. This will streamline the business, but make sure you have the money to pay this person before hiring them.
Hopefully, you can see that petsitting is an excellent side hustle for those who have an eye for business and a love for animals. Be patient learning about the financial aspects of small business, and enjoy the hobby you’ve always loved in the meantime.