When you’re starting as a pet sitter, it can be hard to know when to begin—so we got the inside scoop from top sitters Caitlin D. and Patricia P. They told us all about their experience pet sitting and what advice they’d give to sitters just starting out.
Building Her Reputation
I rely heavily on reviews to attract new pet owners. Many new owners have told me they booked me primarily because of my many good reviews.
I also make sure to meet other owners on walks and at parks. I’ve gotten many new bookings by meeting them this way.
Bonding with Pet Owners
The most rewarding part of being a pet sitter is when the pet becomes comfortable with you and starts to feel at home with you. I love when a pet curls up next to me and falls asleep.
That’s when I know the pet is really comfortable and I’ve done my job!
Advice for a New Sitter
I would tell a new sitter to make sure they are pricing their services in a range that will get them booked. Making money is great, but you want to make sure that it’s affordable enough that owners will book you.
Also make sure you check in regularly with the owner and send photos. I’ve gotten many good reviews and re-bookings because I constantly kept the owner updated on how their pet was doing.
Finding Out What Works
To start, I only took a max of two dogs at a time, but I took a wide range of sizes. Eventually, I figured out what combination of dogs works best for my home and my family. I also have a lot of repeats and because I know their personalities, I know what dogs will work together and which won’t!
You can’t be afraid to say “No” to a pet owner if you think a certain dog won’t get along with others. For instance, there have been times where I have an older dog coming, and someone wants to bring a puppy. I will turn the puppy away because I know it will make the older dog miserable.
Providing Stellar Service
There are several things I did to build my reputation. In the beginning, I asked every pet owner to please go online and post a review. I would say about half of them did it. I also do little things to make life a little easier… I pick up pup toys that are scattered, I’ve washed a dish or two or taken the trash out (because everyone likes to come home to a clean house!)
However, I think the most important way to build your reputation is communication. I have conversations with my pup parents about things that I notice (like when the dog has diarrhoea). Sometimes they don’t know because they don’t walk them. Also, everybody loves pictures of their pet.
The Key to Success
My best suggestion for anyone starting out is to make sure you can separate your doggy guests. I have a family room with a baby gate on it. Sometimes you need to separate for meal times, sometimes dogs just don’t like each other and sometimes you need to clean the floors—and you can’t have a bunch of dogs trying to bite the mop!
Starting out as a dog sitter doesn’t need to be daunting. Thanks to the advice from these awesome sitters, you can provide the best experience possible for both your canine guests and their owners right from the get-go.