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  • Are Pet Sitters The Tarantulas of The Small Business World?

    Posted March 4, 2011 By in Pet Sitters With | 8 Comments

    terantulaThe tarantula is a large hairy tropical spider with fangs that can inflict painful but not highly venomous bites.

    As much fear as they instill in some, others welcome the chance to own and care for these often misunderstood creature.

    In fact, most tarantulas are calm, docile and make good pets and according to National Geographic “these spiders are harmless to humans (except for a painful bite), and their mild venom is weaker than a typical bee’s.”

    What do tarantulas have to do with pet sitters?

    Well, after a recent Google search, I can’t help but wonder if we as pet sitters are equally as misunderstood to the outside small business world.

    Every time I come across a new article about pet sitting (most often ‘how to start a pet sitting business’), the author is most typically a writer who has never pet sat a day in his life.

    (Is pet sat the correct past tense of pet sit?!)

    Yet, without a stitch of experience working in the pet sitting business world, many writers believe they know what it takes to start a pet sitting business.

    Are other industries and professions exposed to this sort of unjust dialogue?

    Case in Point…

    The first result I found for a popular search term is an article from ehow (never the most informative pages, in my opinion).

    Their article is titled “How to Make Pet Sitting a Profitable Business” and breaks down our business model into an “easy and simple” 4-step process.

    Step 1 is (literally) to “hang some flyers.”

    Step 2 is (again, literally) “it may take a few days but wait for the customers to contact you.”

    And Step 3 is “set up the meet and greet.”

    The last step is just to follow through.

    Seriously. Those are not my words recapping step 4, but the exact words the writer uses to begin step 4.

    Another Crazy Article

    One other top ranking site I came across focuses on the best ways to use your computer and make money on the web, yet has an in depth article about profiting as a pet sitter.

    This writer says, “Currently, pet sitting businesses are one of the easiest, less riskiest and most profitable businesses to start as there are no substantial costs to look after pets.”

    His 4-step marketing plan is:

    1. Listing your Business in the Yellow Pages
    2. Distributing Flyers in the mail or door-to-door at places of businesses or residential areas
    3. Community T.V. Bulletin Boards
    4. and Web Sites which you can develop for FREE

    Apparently, many think you can break down our business approach in 4 steps.

    Why do you think so many who have never done pet sitting purport to know or understand the industry?

    Do you think it has an efect one way or the other on those of us doing it professionally?

    Source 1: http://www.ehow.com/how_5090433_make-pet-sitting-profitable-business.html
    Source 2: http://bucarotechelp.com/getpaid/homespc/93002104.asp
    Photo Credit: goingslo

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Comments (8)

Reply
Tori Lattig » 04. Mar, 2011

All I can say is WOW!!! How completely uneducated the writers of those articles are to the intricacies of a Professional Pet Sitter’s business! It sounds like they believe being a Pet Sitter is a “get rich quick” type of business. I believe to Professional Pet Sitters (and there IS a difference) it’s not about “getting rich quick.” It’s about providing excellent customer services, excellent pet care and building relationships with your clients and community. If it really was a easy to create a great pet sitting company in 4 easy steps, wouldn’t EVERYONE be doing it?

Reply
Vanessa » 04. Mar, 2011

I’m with Tori – WOW. Seriously. It is not easy to work as a full time pet sitter. It’s “easy” if you want to always do it as a second income source not your main business. It’s articles like those that you pointed across that gives me the motivation to educate the public that “not everyone” can be a pet sitter. Not everyone can be a PROFITABLE FULL TIME pet sitter.

http://www.petsitusa.com/blog/?p=2460 is one of the best articles I have read “out there” and is “on the money” !

I love how they both said to distribute flyers – one of the worst ROI forms of advertising you can do as a pet sitter.

I’m still shaking my head. Not surprised really at the same time as people are still amazed that I can do this as a legit full time business :-) Yet it didn’t happen overnight, nor was what I have done to get to this point broken down into four steps.

Reply
Jackie Bass » 04. Mar, 2011

The yellow pages? When was that written, 1996?

Reply
Vanessa » 14. Mar, 2011

Hey Jackie … the paper/printed version is pretty much “old school” however being listed within the online version can still pay dividends for some people. It all depends on whom you are marketing your business towards. I find that the baby boomers tend to still opt for “old school” ways to find people and businesses. Whereas Generation X (the Generation I’m a member) and Generation Y (the one “below” me) are very “online” (read: google, facebook, twitter, etc).

Granted, I did fine without listing my business in the Yellow Pages for two years. I only opted to list it so it is listed (and it was free).

Reply
Sandra » 06. Mar, 2011

I love how neither of these articles mentioned the fact that you need experience with animals to be a pet sitter. I certainly wouldn’t allow some stranger to watch my animal who didn’t even know what breed/species they were watching (considering I own dogs, ferrets, and birds.) But I suppose there MUST be baby sitters out there who know nothing about children, right? Completely pathetic.

Reply
Bella » 06. Mar, 2011

Interesting article Josh. It is amazing how easy people think it is. I am in the process right now of building a pet sitting company with one of my coaching clients and it is taking us about 6 weeks to really get all the ground work set. There are only 24 hours in a day. If you want to do it right and be a professional there is a lot to do other than just hanging fliers.

Hmmmm How can we educated the public?

I think you just gave me an idea for a blog on Bella’s House & Pet SItting!

Reply
Julie » 02. May, 2011

What’s really sad is that one national professional pet sitting organization recently emailed me an ad to order door hangers! Door hangers? Really? They pushed them as a great way to get new business. It made me sad to think how out of touch this organization is. Everyone who has researched it, knows door hangers are a wasted effort, in most cases.

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