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Working with Animals Banner

Pet Sitting Jobs

If you love pets and enjoy the freedom of a flexible schedule, pet sitting jobs can be a great way to make money.

But becoming a professional pet sitter takes more than just liking to hang out with cats and or dogs all day. There are also business skills required in order to be successful.

Most pet sitters care for people's pets either in their own or the pet's owner's homes. Stays can range from half an hour to overnight. Most pet sitters will feed, clean up after, walk and or play with, and occasionally take pets to the veterinarian (when necessary).

Because pet sitter clients are usually on vacation, at work, or otherwise indisposed, there is a huge trust factor in this job. Often, you will be inside people's homes when they are not there, which is where being licensed and bonded will go a long way toward assuring your clients that you, in fact, mean business.

Liability insurance is also recommended and typically covers injury or damage to a customer's pet or home. Some pet sitters also purchase insurance that protects them against bodily injury, caused either by the pet they are caring for or another animal they encounter, or general injury.

Beyond that, most pet sitters are relatively physically fit, possess excellent time management skills (to make it from appointment to appointment throughout the day on time), and are creative enough to entertain bored animals.

While there is no formal education required to become a pet sitter, there are some ways you can make yourself more marketable, such as becoming trained in animal CPR, obtaining a business license, and registering yourself with the Better Business Bureau where you are located.

There is also a professional organization for pet sitters, Pet Sitters International (PSI), which was founded in March 1994 by Patti J. Moran, author of Pet Sitting for Profit.

Among the many benefits of PSI membership is the Pet Sitter Locator feature on their website, which is a pet-sitter search tool.

To become a PSI-Accredited pet sitter, there is an in-depth program offered that includes emphasis on pet care, health and nutrition, additional services and business and office procedures. There is also a continuing education component to keep accredited pet sitters abreast of any developments n the field of pet care.

Anything and everything related to pet sitters is covered in the curriculum, including caring for birds, barnyard pets, ferrets, horses, livestock, rabbits and reptiles, as well as the obvious (cats and dogs). Other topics include animal diseases; first aid and health; canine, feline and exotic pet behavior; parasites; medical terminology; sanitation; senior pet care; and nutrition. The courses also cover basic grooming, dog walking, overnight sits and pet loss/grief counseling.

On the business side, coursework delves into client consultations, customer service, disaster planning, legal issues, insurance and bonding, marketing, office procedures and safety.

The nature of pet sitting jobs allows you to make your own hours and set your own pay. In order to remain competitive, it's best to find out what others in your area charge, but most pet sitters can expect to make at least $10 per visit, and depending on how long the visit takes and what is involved, upwards of $25 per visit. Depending on how many hours a day you care to work and how many clients you have as well as how large your territory is, you stand to make a decent living as a pet sitter.