The 10 Most Helpful Resources for NAPPS Members
If you are just getting started in the professional dog walking and pet sitting business or if you have been in the field for years, you will get a lot of benefits from becoming a member of NAPPS.
In this article, I’ll share my favorite member’s only resources from NAPPS, and how I used them to start and grow my pet sitting and dog walking business.
Example Business Forms and Service Agreements
NAPPS offers over sixty example business forms to its members. These forms are extremely valuable, especially when you are just starting out. You can find example forms for professional pet sitters and dog walkers from a variety of sources, but NAPPS offers some of the best.
These forms include:
- Example guidelines and policies for cancellations, payments, returned checks, vaccinations, fences, cleanliness, termination of services, frees and reservation process, and emergencies
- Service agreements which include clauses that hold the client responsible for damage to a sitter caused by a pet, financial accountability for emergency vet care, policies on pet care sharing, clause regarding the unpredictability of pets and accidents.
- Vet Release forms which include clauses for authorization emergency vet care and a disclaimer
- Miscellaneous forms such as key retention statements, non-compete agreement.
These forms cover a lot of detail that can only be learned from experience.
How to Create Your Service Agreement with the NAPPS Example Forms
To create your own service agreement, I recommend gleaning the NAPPS Business Form Library to pick out the policies and clauses you want to use in your business, then put them all together into a single service agreement that every new client needs to agree to when they are invited to your online scheduling software. This way your clients agree to every policy in one easy step.
For me, I also used the service agreement and vet release from The Dog Walker’s Startup Guide. The service agreements included with this book are very good, and round out the NAPPS forms.
Be sure to have a lawyer look over your final service agreement and ask them if an electronic signature will be legally binding in your state or region.
Here are links to the documentation that describe how to add a service agreement to your online scheduling software:
Private Facebook Group
One of the main benefits of becoming a NAPPS member is getting access to the private NAPPS Facebook group. NAPPS does a great job of moderating this group and it’s an easy way to get your specific business and policy related questions answered. The members of the private NAPPS Facebook group are authentic, helpful, and knowledgeable professionals that want to see you succeed.
When I need advice, this is where I go. It’s also a great place to search for previously asked questions by typing in a few related keywords into the search box.
Quarterly Issues of NAPPS Magazine
Another one of the most helpful resources from NAPPS is their Professional Pet Sitter Magazine.
The magazine is chock-full of interesting articles and information, providing NAPPS members with:
- Up-to-date pet industry news
- Insight into industry trends
- Strategies for improving your businesses
- The best products and services for business owners and their clients
When you become a NAPPS member, you can access the digital NAPPS magazine, and all previous issues dating back to Spring of 2006.
While nearly all of the NAPPS member benefits are centered around education, one of the most helpful resources is the NAPPS Library, which contains over 360 pet sitting and dog walking related articles. The articles cover a range of topics from:
- Cat health, behavior, and care
- Dog health, behavior, and care
- Business startup and operations
- Legal concerns related to pet sitting
- Employees VS Independent Contractors
- Pet first aid
- Marketing and social media
- Sitter safety and health
- Pet nutrition
Many new pet sitters and dog walkers hold off on starting their company because they have questions about one or more of the topics covered in the NAPPS Library. I was in the same boat when I started my company. It wasn’t until I became a NAPPS member that I felt I had access to the legal information I needed to start my company.
That’s why I recommend becoming a NAPPS member during the planning stages of your company so you can get started with all of the right foot and build your company on a strong foundation. Of course, I also recommend becoming a member of PetSitterCourse.com (my company) to learn a streamlined process for completing the meet & greets and visits, which is also important.
Anytime you can get your company in a professional directory, it’s a good idea. The NAPPS pet sitter locator will give clients a way to find you and it gives you an authoritative link back to your website, which improves your search engine optimization, making it easier for Google to rank you high in search results.
NAPPS Logos on Your Website
When clients are searching for a professional dog walking or pet sitting company, they want to see that you are more than the kid next door. Having a few professional logos on your website will make you stand out from the crowd.
The NAPPS webinar library has a ton of valuable information from industry experts which cover topics such as:
- Online marketing
- Networking and Social Media
- Personal Improvement
- Pet Behavior
- Pet care resources
There are hundreds of hours of webinars available to NAPPS members. This is the place to go if you are looking for a deep dive into any subject related to professional pet sitting and dog walking.
Even if you are just thinking about starting your business, attending a conference is a great way to learn the current state of the industry and to learn a few tips and tricks. The NAPPS conference has featured speakers such as:
- Colleen Sedwick – founder of Pet Nanny Coach
- Jeffery Lauterbach – president of Critter Sitters, a pet sitting company that completes over 60,000 visits per year.
- Mikaela Samuel – founder of Pet Marketing Unleashed a pet industry
Advice from either of these individuals is worth more than the cost of the conference. Plus, at or during the conference, you have the opportunity to network with other pet sitting professionals.
The NAPPS conference is another example of how NAPPS really does the heavy lifting in this industry.
NAPPS is a non-profit organization, so they rely on volunteers to keep everything running. Volunteering with NAPPS will give you the opportunity to network with industry professionals while making a difference in our industry.
The NAPPS certification requires about 600 pages of reading and 500 test questions to be completed. A NAPPS certification shows proficiency in the following fields of study:
- Dog & cat behavior
- Nutrition for dogs and cats
- Common pet medical issues
- Safe handling practices for pets
- Dog & cat body language
- Bird health and safety
- Reptile care
- Fish care
- Bunny best practices
- Disaster planning for pets
- And more
It is recommended that every pet sitting and dog walking owner gets the NAPPS certification because it will set you apart from the competition.