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  • Legal Ins and Outs of Pet Sitting

    Posted July 27, 2011 By in Pet Sitters With | 4 Comments

    This is a guest post by Ashley Spade.

    gavel photoAs soon as law school started, I knew right away that I had to find a way to pick up some extra cash.

    Law school is far from cheap, so I decided to make use of my dog sitting experience to set up my own little pet sitting service.

    I took advantage of email marketing software to help get the word out, and before too long I was getting customers left and right.

    Maybe it’s just the law student in me, but as I started this little service of mine these worst case scenarios started popping into my head. What if one of the dogs runs away? What will happen if one of them gets sick and dies? Will I be liable?

    But I told myself not to worry because I knew that if I took the right legal measures then I would be protected. For those of you who are thinking about starting your own pet sitting service…

    Here are a couple of ways to ensure that you will not end up in the doghouse (pun intended)

    First and foremost, you will want to make sure that you get insured. This will take care of potential damage to the client’s home or situations such as losing their keys, which is a blessing for me as I tend to lose things way too easily.

    I usually spend a number of my weekends at my clients’ homes watching their pets so I have to bring my own dog, Sir Winston Pugsalot the First (Sir WP for short), with me. The problem is that this just presents even more bad possibilities.

    Sir WP could get one of the other dogs sick or he could possibly harm another animal, which would make for a pretty pricey bill from the veterinarian. On top my wonderful law school bill, a bill from the vet should be the last thing that I’m dealing with. Luckily, there is help for us pet sitters.

    There are a number of ways you can obtain a pet sitting agreement.

    This will give you a well-constructed contract in which both the sitter and client understand their rights and responsibilities. You will be able to secure your rights as a pet sitter through this kind of agreement, so it is vital that you have such a contract before starting your pet sitting services. You do not want to be liable for some random, unforeseen misfortune.

    You can obtain such a contract through any legal service, a number of which offer their services online and can be found with a simple Google search, or by joining APSE – a pet sitting agreement is just one of the dozens of free forms inside your members area.

    If you realize before going into your pet sitting service that there are a number of legal concerns that need addressing – and as long as you address those issues through insurance and a proper legal agreement – then you should have no concerns.

    Now besides those crazy few like me who actually enjoy legal jargon and proceedings, legal work is the last thing you’ll want to deal with when starting your service. But it is definitely a necessary action.

    Wrap Up

    What other legal ins and outs do you need to address or consider when starting your pet sitting business? Let us know in the comments below.

    Ashley Spade, also known as Sir Winston Pugsalot the First’s favorite human, is a law student in Chicago. When she isn’t studying, she enjoys competing in 5K races, trips the the bark park, and blogging. Keep up with her adventures on twitter: @ashspade

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Comments (4)

Christina » 09. May, 2017

I am a local petsitter in SC. I have been keeping a clients dog for over 18 months now. We had an agreement with pay. He has always been late at paying. But the issue is I love the dog and he text me telling me he was going to let me have her. In the past year he has seen her 3 times. He has basically abandoned her. Now because I had to be at work and didn’t have time to bring her to him(he could easily pick her up) he has summoned me to court. I love her as my own because I have took care of her without his support for over year. What are my options? Am I in the doghouse? What are my chances at keeping her?

Bernadette » 06. Sep, 2017

Not sure if anyone will reply but here goes. We started using a pet service and have an issue we’ve never come across. We scheduled him to come Sept. 5-9 while we were supposed to be on vacation in Pompano Beach Florida. Obviously hurricane Irma changed those plans and we had to cancel the afternoon of September 5th. Only then does he tell us he has a cancellation policy of 7 days. Never once during our initial consultation, on his Facebook page, or on his website under the list of services does it mention anything about a cancellation policy. Now he is trying to force us to pay the full $220 for the week. Are we required to pay this man for services he did not provide when there was no clear cancellation policy? Just curious on what people think.

Lexi F. » 20. Sep, 2017

He should have been clear from the start that there was a cancellation fee and if there was no proof of it you should not have to pay him. I am looking to start my own pet sitting service soon, if you’d be interested I can personally email you my contact info. I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Lexi F. » 20. Sep, 2017

I live in the state of Florida and I am looking to start my own pet sitting business. Would I need to obtain a license to hold dogs in my home? I would be both pet sitting at clients homes or at my own.

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