Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business

Overview

This comprehensive handbook, part of Entrepreneur magazine's highly successful StartUp series, guides you through the steps of setting up and operating a pet-sitting business, covering both the business fundamentals and the specialized knowledge required for animal care and handling. Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business focuses mainly on dogs and cats, the most popular pets, but also covers barn animals and exotics.

Cheryl Kimball writes and ...

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Overview

This comprehensive handbook, part of Entrepreneur magazine's highly successful StartUp series, guides you through the steps of setting up and operating a pet-sitting business, covering both the business fundamentals and the specialized knowledge required for animal care and handling. Start Your Own Pet Sitting Business focuses mainly on dogs and cats, the most popular pets, but also covers barn animals and exotics.

Cheryl Kimball writes and edits books while working toward her veterinary technician license.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Cheryl Kimball writes and edits books while working toward her veterinary technician license.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Chapter 1 Your Customers Are Human 1
Where to Start? 2
Is Anybody Home? 3
Laboratory Research 4
Cat Fight or Mutual Grooming 5
The Odd Dog Out 5
What Do Humans Want? 5
Trust 6
Confidence 6
Professionalism 6
Reliability 7
Customer Care 7
Giving Good Customer Service 8
Pest Control 9
Are You Ready? 11
Chapter 2 The Working Parts 13
Business Setup 14
McPet Sitter? 14
Pet Sitting in the Clients' Homes 16
Pet-Related Things You Need to Think Of 17
Pet Care in Your Own Home 18
Pet Sitting as a Side Job 18
Don't Zone Out 19
Phoney Stuff 21
Do You Need a Business Plan? 22
Summary 23
Industry Overview 23
Your Credentials 23
Operating Overview 23
Financials 23
Start-Up Costs 24
Forms 24
Client and Pet Profiles 25
Emergency Care 25
Chapter 3 Basic Services 27
The Real Goal 28
Feeding 29
Details, Details 29
Multiple Priorities 30
Water, Water Everywhere 30
Doing Business 30
Exercise 31
Get the Low-Down 32
Cat Exercise 32
Laundry Time 33
Grooming 33
The Environment 34
Mail Sitting, Newspaper Sitting, and Other Fundamentals 34
How Much Is that Doggie in the Window? 35
How Many Clients Are Enough? 36
Day Care 36
Long Weekenders 36
Business Travelers or Extended Vacations 36
How Many of Each? 36
So What Do You Charge? 37
Your Salary Expectations 37
The Numbers Can Tell a Lot 38
Chapter 4 Putting Your Best Paw Forward 39
Marketing Basics 40
Building a Customer Base 40
The Chicken or the Egg? 41
Finding Customers 41
The Marketing Plan 41
Printed Marketing Materials 42
Press Releases 42
Business Cards 42
Slogans 44
Brochures 44
Fliers 45
A Web Site 46
Paid Advertising 47
Vehicle Sign 47
Association Memberships/Web Site Links and Searches 48
Newsletters 49
Speak! 49
Try Something Different 50
Chapter 5 Useful Credentials 51
Firsthand Experience 52
Licensing 53
Training 53
Best in Show 53
Grooming 54
Be a Techie 55
Visit Your Veterinarian 56
Nutrition 56
Business Credentials 56
Chamber of Commerce 57
Better Business Bureau (BBB) 58
Pet Sitters International 58
Chapter 6 Insurance and Legal Matters 61
Insurance 62
Liability Insurance 62
Bonding 63
Disability 63
Health Insurance 63
Auto Insurance 64
Legal Issues 65
Corporate Structure 65
Service Contracts 65
Employees 66
Noncompete and Confidentiality Agreements 66
Workers' Compensation 67
IRS Obligations 67
Independent Contractors 69
Chapter 7 Financial Considerations 71
Class Act 72
Cycles of the Financial Moon 72
Keeping the Books 73
The Checkbook 73
The Old-Fashioned Way 74
Software 74
Accounting Methods 75
Making a Statement 75
Accountants 76
Taxes 76
Auto Expenses 77
Client Invoices and Receipts 78
Payment Options 79
Policies 79
Collections 79
Paying Yourself 80
Obtaining Financing 81
Chapter 8 Raining Cats and Dogs 83
Basic Dog Care 84
Feeding 84
Water 85
Treats 86
Toys 86
Exercise 86
Dog Restraint 86
Vital Signs 87
Temperature 87
Pulse 88
Respiration 88
Capillary Refill Time 88
Basic Cat Care 89
Cat Restraint 89
Basic First Aid 91
Signs of Illness 91
Wound Care 92
Client Attitude 93
Chapter 9 Other Common House Pets 101
No Free Lunch 102
Saying No 103
Birds 104
Rodents 104
Fish 105
Ferrets 106
Rabbits 107
Reptiles 108
Chapter 10 Barn Animal Care 109
Livestock Care 110
Fees 110
Services 111
Weight Lifting 112
Horse Care 113
Horse Vital Signs 113
Bad Signs 113
Horse First Aid 114
Sheep and Goats 115
Cows 116
Other Types of Charges 117
Llamas and Alpacas 117
Pigs 117
The Importance of Gates 118
A Word about Barn Cats 118
Chapter 11 Jungle Fever 119
Wild Animals 120
Chinchillas 120
Sugar Gliders 121
Hedgehogs 122
Potbellied Pigs 122
Monkeys 123
Wallabies 124
Marketing Specialized Knowledge 125
Chapter 12 Expanding Your Business 127
Some Questions 128
Expanding Revenue, Not Customers 129
More Services 129
Products 129
Expanding on Site 130
Some Considerations 130
Thinking Outside the Box 131
Office Care 131
Nightwatch or Off-Hours Feeding 131
Web Sales 132
A Bona Fide Kennel 132
Classes 133
Training with or without Pet Owner 133
Rehab 133
Pet Taxi Service 133
Other Home-Related Services 133
Get It in Writing 134
Extra Services 134
Mail 134
Plant Care 135
Cleaning 135
Shopping 136
Being Around for a Home Maintenance Appointment 136
Appendix Pet-Sitting Business Resources 137
Glossary 139
Index 141
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