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Starting up few questions

Discussion in 'Animal Jobs & Working with Animals' started by HayleyA, Jun 22, 2017.


  1. HayleyA

    HayleyA PetForums Newbie

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    Hello,

    I'm looking to start up Business as a pet sitter , in the Garforth area of Leeds.

    I am finishing my job on the 18th July and putting all my time in to setting up as a sole trader. I have financial security as I know it won't be instant.

    A few questions that i would like some feedback on are

    what insurances do you need to be a pet sitter ? is it just public liability or is there others I haven't considered ? I noticed some specialist pet sitting insurance online are these worthwhile ?

    I will be working independently and am hoping to provide a one on one personal service for each pet and to make it more exclusive however this will be an issue when I want to go on Holiday myself . I am thinking If i explain from the offset that these periods of time will need to be covered by the client will this be an issue ? anyone else had this issue and resolved it in another way ?

    Any other formal certs , courses etc I should apply for that are regular looked for by people looking for pet sitters ?

    I've been looking at pricing and researching but any guide lines on what has worked well as in pricing structure ?

    would be grateful for any input thank you x
     
  2. DogWalkingPeople

    DogWalkingPeople PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Hayley

    I'm not trading yet but I have done a good few months of research so maybe I can help answer some of your questions until someone more experienced comes along.

    As for Insurance, Cliverton gets very good reviews and they also cover losing customers keys. I would suggest a policy specific to your area of business would be better than just a blanket public liability - you will be going into people's homes.

    A DBS check has been recommended (sign up to the update service too) to show your clients that you are trustworthy will a clean record. This would make you more appealing.

    As for other courses, Pet First Aid would be strongly recommended. You can do courses online or search for a classroom one based near you. I've been looking and they seem to be priced around £50 for 3 hours course.

    For pricing, research your competition. Get to know what they charge and charge the same or slightly more. There's no point trying to undercut them because you don't generally 'steal' business from any others unless they really aren't doing a very good job. So if they are fully booked charging what they charge, charge the same or more. What do you do that separates you from the others in the area? What do you do to justify charging extra, even if it's just £1 more per hour/visit.

    One of the downsides to being self employed is that you don't get given holidays. On top of that, you are offering a service to someone else who clearly needs you while they are away or unavailable so it is even trickier to take holiday. However, we all need a break and so if taking regular holidays is what want to do then I'm sure that as long as you let your clients know from the start, it gives them plenty of notice to find an alternative for that time.

    I hope this is helpful, good luck :)

    Out of personal interest because I will be taking the plunge hopefully by September, how many months have you planned to financially support yourself? It's a bit daunting!
     
  3. HayleyA

    HayleyA PetForums Newbie

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    Hi ,

    thank you for the reply .

    My Husband is able to support us until I get up and running however I have decided to take on some bank care work so i can work around building up a client base without the commitment of a full time job
     
  4. Dr Pepper

    Dr Pepper Banned

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    Are you just pet sitting or walking as well?

    We cover 365 days a year so holidays don't effect us. Give your clients at least two months notice, or better still stuck to the same weeks every year.
     
  5. HayleyA

    HayleyA PetForums Newbie

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    Hi ,

    I haven't made a definite decision on the dog walking side , It is something I would do but will prob not be my primary service . I plan on working one to one for an individual service to suit each clients needs so depends on what they want / need .
     
  6. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    I don't work in the pet sitting / walking trade but do work for my self in another industry. I tend to block out weeks / days holiday in advance - I try to keep away from standard holiday periods and school holidays so as to be more available for clients. If you decide to not use the blocked out period it is easier to offer the now available periods to clients than it is to try and sort out leave dates when people have already made bookings. Some people may make bookings well in advance so as to ensure they can get a place.
     
  7. Dr Pepper

    Dr Pepper Banned

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    You'll find it difficult to make decent money mainly sitting. The going rate is around the £40 for a day and that's usually retired people topping up their pension. What does work is overnight sitting from say 5pm to 7am with walks added on top. You should get £25 - £30 (plus walks) for that. Then doing walks, feeding, puppy visits during the day.

    Whatever you do get walker insurance as it'll cover the dogs whilst in your care no matter if your sat in the garden with them or out walking.
     
  8. HayleyA

    HayleyA PetForums Newbie

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    I will book my Holiday in advance ( I do this currently ) and around the clients as much as poss, I was thinking more if i get regular weekly clients that it may effect
     
    kittih likes this.
  9. HayleyA

    HayleyA PetForums Newbie

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    I am wanting to do pop ins on a regular basis which could include walking for people who work full time , holiday cover / sitting , puppy pop ins / play time . I'm open to any services really but on a one to one.

    I don't need to make alot of money I want a more flexible/ enjoyable/ relaxed work life and if i can earn in the area of 1.000 in a 4 week period so 250 a week i would be happy as the end goal
     
  10. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    I think giving them lots of notice and keeping them updated will be fine. We all have unforeseen periods when it isn't possible to work eg illness, car troubles, bereavement and most clients should be understanding of more unexpected breaks. If you have a regular weekly client you can discuss what they would like to do when you are away. Perhaps they can do without your services that week or you can recommend another local sitter to cover for you in exchange for mutual cover for them.

    Best wishes for your new business venture :)
     
  11. Dr Pepper

    Dr Pepper Banned

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    Ahh ok. I get what you're doing now, pretty much the same as we do. We're all one to one, no group walks ever. We have a few daily walks the rest is all ad-hoc. You should be, depending on the hours you want to work, achieving around 3x your financial goal within two years as a full time job. Good luck.
     
  12. HayleyA

    HayleyA PetForums Newbie

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    Hi ,

    that's pretty much how i thought i would work it , just wanted to make sure i hadn't missed anything too obvious . I think i'll lay it all out for them and see how i get on and if i need to link up with others I 'll do that further down the line if my way doesn't work . Thanks for your input its been helpful
     
    kittih likes this.
  13. HayleyA

    HayleyA PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your insight its good to get some info from someone already up and running
     
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