The pet sitting industry has grown from a niche market into an exciting business opportunity. Today, a professional pet sitter can enjoy a full-time career doing what they love, while earning a respectable income.
How much can you earn as a professional pet sitter?
As with any career, especially home-based and small businesses, salaries for pet sitters can vary widely depending on the circumstances. On average, the first year of a full-time pet sitting business can generate $20,000 to $35,000 in income after expenses. And pet sitters usually earn more the longer they’ve been in business—according to a survey from Pet Sitters International, the average income for their 7,000+ members in 2010 was $48,635 after expenses.
There are many factors contributing to the profit levels of a pet sitting business. Geographical location can have a major influence on profitability. For example, pet sitters who live in metropolitan areas may have a greater income potential than those in rural areas, simply because there are more potential clients. Travel time and fuel expenses for rural pet sitters also subtract from overall profits. Often, pet sitting services for rural clients are more expensive, because the time and fuel costs are factored into the rates.
Like any small business environment, pet sitting income can fluctuate. You shouldn’t expect a “regular” paycheck as a pet sitter. You’ll have busy seasons and “dry” seasons, so it’s important to budget your income accordingly. It’s also a good idea to invest in pet sitter liability insurance, so that an unforseen disaster doesn’t wipe out your funds and put you at risk for business bankruptcy. Insurance should be considered an expense against profits, along with transportation costs, supplies, and time spent.
However, even after expenses, pet sitters stand to make a healthy living. Part-time pet sitting can also be a profitable second job, often bringing in up to $20,000 annually. Many part-time sitters focus on less demanding services, such as dog walking, or operate during “prime time” for pet owners seeking services—which is usually from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or from 4 p.m to 6 p.m. for clients who work night shifts.
Pet sitters typically charge between $10 and $20 per hour for their services, depending on the area, the duties involved, and time and travel costs. In most cases, the profits for pet sitting businesses steadily increase over time, as the sitters become more experienced at scheduling their time and land more clients through good business practices. Pet sitting can be a dependable source of primary income, and it’s also one of the most enjoyable jobs around. The sooner you launch your pet sitting business, the faster your profits will grow.