Dog sitting businesses can be fantastic ventures for people who want to get out of the office and spend time with animals, all while making money. Read on to find out what a day in the life of a dog sitter involves.
It’s often said that you should try to turn your passions into profit. For dog lovers, this could mean a number of things. For those that love dishing out some TLC, a dog-grooming salon could be a good option. But for those who want to be paid to hang out with pets all day, setting up a dog sitting business is the only way to go.
The dog sitting sector
As dog owners increasingly opt for pet sitting options that offer more than traditional kennels, there’s plenty of scope to start a profitable business by joining a franchise in the sector. Dog owners make up a huge proportion of society – in fact, more than a quarter of adults fall into the demographic.
When they go away, 90 percent use professional pet sitting services and pay an average of £17 per night. This makes the pet care and boarding sector a £4.3 billion-a-year industry (Compare Your Life, Channel 4).
Despite this, 38 percent of pet owners feel guilty when leaving their pets behind and 27 percent would be open to using a pet-friendly hotel and bringing their pooch with them. With so many dog-lovers looking for alternative options to the traditional kennel, there’s great potential to run your own profitable franchise unit in the sector.
>> Read more:
A day in the dog sitting sector
You may have thought that days in a dog sitting business are filled with games of fetch, tug of wars and leisurely strolls. Many hours will be, but running a franchise in the dog sitting sector involves much more than this. If you want to be profitable and respected, you’ll need to make sure you’re on top of your paperwork.
To look after other people’s dogs, you’ll need to be familiar with the relevant laws and regulations so you don’t make any mistakes. You should also take out pet insurance and, although you don’t technically need any qualifications, it can be helpful to get some. They’ll give you more credibility in the eyes of your customers and boost your confidence when it comes to caring for the dogs you take on.
Did you know? More than a quarter of adults own a dog.
As well as a professional pet sitter, you’ll also be a franchisee, so you must take the time to make sure you’re adhering to all the rules set out in the franchise agreement you signed at the start of the process.
On top of this, you’ll spend your time talking to the dog owners that use your services, feeding their pets responsibly, walking them and buying quality food, toys and equipment. Depending on the service you offer in your dog sitting business, you may also wash and dry the dogs every day too.
Advantages of joining the dog sitting sector
• It’s flexible – You don’t necessarily have to rent business premises; you can look after dogs in your own home if you have the capability to do so. This means you can save money in the long-term.
• It’s not a 9-5 job – Being a dog sitter involves working evenings and weekends as well as during the day. This can be a great way to improve your work-life balance, as you can get tasks done while your family are out of the house and spend quality family time with them when they get home.
• You can spend all day with dogs – Although this is only a plus point for some, we’re assuming you love dogs if you’re reading this article! So, you should enjoy spending time with dogs as a key part of your working day.
Challenges of joining the dog sitting sector – and how to overcome them
• It can be a seasonal sector – It’s likely you’ll get a lot of business during the summer months when people go on holiday, before things quiet down towards the winter. For this reason, expect peaks and troughs in the amount of work you get. However, this can be a positive factor if you take time off every year or start up another seasonal business to get some variety into your work life.
• You’ll need to be discreet – Your customers won’t appreciate you pulling up to their house in a branded vehicle every day they’re on holiday, as this will let unsavoury characters know that it’s empty. Therefore, you’ll need to think of a way to get around this issue – and reassure customers that you’ve got it covered. Perhaps you use an unbranded car or ask your customers to drop off their dog at your house before they leave?
>> Read more:
Become a franchisee in the dog sitting sector
When it was launched in Cumbria in 2000, Barking Mad offered an alternative to traditional kennelling. Trusted dog carers are enlisted to look after owners’ pets while they’re away. The dogs stay in the carer’s own home, rather than in a kennel, so it should feel more at ease in a relaxed atmosphere.
- About Barking Mad: Alongside its bespoke dog care service, this dog sitting business offers quality dog transportation, photo updates and a ‘mini sleepover’ for one night before your dog moves into your host’s house for a longer stay. This dog care franchise has grown into the industry’s most trusted dog-sitting service, boasting a score of 9.9 on Trustpilot.
- How to become a Barking Mad franchisee: To become a Barking Mad franchisee, you will, of course, need to have a love of dogs. You should also have a can-do attitude and the drive to support an expanding business. Barking Mad currently has sites in the North of England, South-West England, Scotland, Wales and other locations across the UK.
How much you need to invest upfront: If you want to join the franchise’s 80-strong network of dog-sitting carers across the UK, a minimum investment of just under £15,000 is required.
- What you get for your investment: As well as a comprehensive training programme, Barking Mad offers franchisees operational equipment, FIDO business software, corporate apparel and marketing materials as part of its franchise package.
Having cared for pets since 2007, Wagging Tails is one of the leading dog boarding services in the UK. It believes dogs need a holiday too, so it makes sure it matches dogs with carefully selected, licensed Wagging Tails carers, with whom the dogs can enjoy stress-free, home-from-home holidays.
- About Wagging Tails: The dog sitting franchise is a member of two respected organisations, the British Franchise Organisation (BFA) and Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF). Therefore, it must operate in accordance with their high franchising standards and ethics and be able to prove how successful its franchisees are, as well as the vast scope to make impressive profits.
- How to become a Wagging Tails franchisee: The dog care business’ first franchise unit was launched in 2010 and, ever since then, the franchise network has expanded to comprise 20 franchisees across the UK today. To become the 21st, you’ll need to be responsible and have a love of animals, as well as business acumen.
- How much you need to invest upfront: In order to invest, potential candidates need a minimum of £7,995 and a total of £12,995.
What you get for your investment: If you join, you’ll benefit from a comprehensive training programme that addresses topics such as the recruitment of carers, using Wagging Tails bespoke systems, marketing and taking bookings.
Founded in 2005, PetStay is a dog care franchise dedicated to giving personalised and specialised care to dogs. The dog boarding service states that the dogs’ happiness is at the centre of everything it does. That’s why it never mixes dogs from different households.
- About PetStay: So far, PetStay has opened 35 branches across the UK and recruited over 500 dog carers to look after pets from across the country. The dog care franchise is also a member of the EWIF and works to ensure all its vets, groomers and trainers are fully licensed and insured.
- How to become a PetStay franchisee:This franchise is seeking entrepreneurs who are on the lookout for a flexible business opportunity. You’ll need to love dogs and have great customer service skills to launch a profitable PetStay franchise unit.
- How much you need to invest upfront: In order to invest, interested franchisees need a minimum investment of £17,000.
- What you get for your investment: After investing, they’ll be able to attend the dog sitting franchise’s dedicated three-day induction programme at the company’s head office in Yorkshire.
To find out more about any of these businesses, just click on the links above.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©