Pet Sitting Business Startup

By: John Corey
It's the nature of the pet sitting business; the unexpected is looking for you all the time. The question is: are you prepared and ready to make smart, level-headed decisions? This all goes back to being prepared from the moment you meet the customer on day one. Did you get the name and phone number of a friend or relative who lives close enough and has access to the home to care for the pets should a real emergency prevent you from traveling to the home? This is your first line of defense for weather related or government imposed travel restrictions.

Weather is likely to be the most common barrier you will deal with in your pet sitting business startup; the challenge will be different based on where you are located. In the North Country, snow and ice pose the greatest challenge to a dog walking business. Is your regular vehicle equipped with four-wheel drive and special tires for bad weather? Or, do you have an alternate vehicle available should your daily drive not be suitable because of heavy snow or ice? A friend or family member with a four wheel drive on standby is a very handy arrangement to have when you start a pet sitting business in a colder climate. My recommendation for your daily vehicle is that it should definitely be a front wheel drive at the least and have real snow tires during the winter, not all season radials.


Heat and Air Conditioning emergencies can be life threatening to your customer's pets. Always be alert to conditions in your customer's home; if it feels cold or hot, check the thermostat and be sure. Thermostats have two readings; one is the temperature the unit is set for and the other is the actual
temperature. My general rule of thumb is that they should be within a degree or two of each other. If not, you have a problem which you can confirm by turning the heat up or the air conditioning down and seeing if the system responds by heating or cooling. If not, call the emergency number the customer gave you and work with them to get the problem fixed.

In the meantime, be sure the conditions are safe for the pets; if they are not, you will have to move them to safe place. In cases like this, I usually check with the emergency contact or bring the pets to my location. In any case, the pet cannot be left in an unsafe environment. Remember, just because you are running a dog walking business does not mean that your responsibilities end when the dog is walked.

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