In Any Economy, Pet Sitters Thrive

Professional Pet Sitter

Why you should consider starting your own pet sitting business.

The U.S. economy may not be in the best shape, but Americans still love their pets. More than $45 billion a year is spent on pet care, from supplies and veterinary services to grooming and boarding. Pet sitting and dog walking comprise a significant amount of boarding revenue across the country—in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has cited pet sitting as among one of the fastest growing home-based businesses.

A career as a professional pet sitter can be rewarding and profitable. Pet sitters care for other people’s pets while they are at work, on vacation, or in some cases for sick, disabled, or elderly pet owners who are unable to provide care themselves.

Pet sitting businesses are typically structured in one of two ways. The pet sitter may visit each client’s home to feed, water, walk, and engage their pets as needed, often on a daily basis. Alternately, the business may be structured as a pet day care in the sitter’s home, where pet owners drop off their pets and then head to work or other obligations.

Pet sitting industry continues to grow

There are more than 46 million dog owners in the U.S., and 39 million cat owners—and that doesn’t include owners of other pets like birds, fish, and reptiles. Many U.S. households are dual-income, meaning that no one is home during the day to care for animals. Pet sitting services offer pet owners an affordable, reliable way to make sure their animals are provided for while they’re away. Most pet owners are more than willing to pay for the health, happiness, and welfare of their pets, particularly for services they can’t provide themselves.

In metropolitan areas, the demand for pet sitters is even higher, as many pet sitters often double as dog walkers. The pet sitting industry has expanded rapidly over the past decade; today, there are even professional organizations that certify and support pet sitters, such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

Pet sitting can be a lucrative business. A full-time employee can earn $35,000 or more per year, particularly in areas with a high demand for their services. The business of pet sitting involves relatively low start-up costs, whether the sitter provides in-home or on-call pet care. And best of all, since pet sitters are typically animal lovers, it’s a fulfilling, feel-good job.