Resources for Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business Owners
When you start or own a pet sitting and dog walking business, using the right tools and resources can make your job much easier.
I often look back and think, “What if I started my pet sitting business knowing everything I know now?” I would have been able to see success much sooner, and I would have made fewer mistakes along the way.
I made this website so you can have access to everything we have learned along the way, all in one place.
Be sure to check out our Free Course for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers along with our Full Certification Course. Download our Free Ebook and check our Blog for many helpful articles. We have a great article about How to Set Prices For Dog Walking and Pet Sitting and a fantastic article about setting boundaries for both you and your staff by using this Schedule For Pet Sitting Agencies. Check out this article for hiring an Office Admin and this article about how to set standard Timeslots for pet sitting and dog walking visits.
We also offer Personalised Coaching for any topic related to professional pet sitting and dog walking. This could include hiring, marketing, onboarding staff, and more!
Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Insurance and Bonding
- Insurance and Bonding
There are four main insurance companies that offer insurance for pet sitters and dog walkers. Here they are in no particular order:
Background Checks For New Hires
- Background Checks
Acutraq is the #1 most used background screening service for pet sitting companies. The customer service at Acutraq is fantastic and they have a quick turnaround.
They offer County Criminal Search, Multi State Criminal Search, 50 State Sex Offender Registry Search, Social Security Trace, Alias Name Search, Motor Vehicle Record Search, and more.
The easiest way to get started with Acutraq is to give them a call. They will be happy to walk you through the process and get you set up with an account, so you can hire with confidence.
Credit Card Processing: Authorize.net and First Data
- Payment Gateway
- Merchant Account
Professional Associations For Pet Sitters and Dog Wlakers
- Professional Pet Sitting Associations
Joining a professional pet sitting and dog walking association can have many benefits.
The conversation on the NAPPS facebook group is more professional than many other groups and it’s a great place to glean information.
I was also a member of PSI for many years. I attended helpful webinars and learned a lot from their association.
Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Scheduling and Invoicing Software
- Scheduling and Invoicing Software
There are many scheduling and invoicing systems made specifically for independent pet sitting and dog walking businesses.
The best advice I have heard about how to pick a system comes from Kristen Morrison, “Just try out a few and pick one that works with the way your brain works”.
Personally I use Precise Petcare and I have been very happy with the software.
Remember, no software is going to have all of the features you want. Sometimes you need to find a creative workaround to get your pet sitting software to preform the task you require. Many times, changing your policy to fit what works within your software is a good option.
A few of the most popular and modern pet sitting softwares are:
Payroll Software: Gusto
- HR Mangement
If you decide to hire employees in your pet sitting or dog walking business, Gusto (or a similar type of service) is very helpful.
While it is possible to take care of all of the HR needs within your business yourself, you may find yourself spending more time researching hew HR laws than you spend caring for pets.
Gusto takes care of all of the tax filings, reports, and most importantly, the actual paycheck or direct deposit your staff earns.
Paychex is another option.
HR Consulting: SimplyHR
- HR Consulting
- Licensed HR Professionals
If you decide to hire employees, there are a lot of legal hoops to jump through. At first, it can be very confusing, but getting advice from a licensed HR Professional can make all the difference.
Simply HR can help you navigate the labor laws to make sure you are following the labor laws.
Business Consulting: Small Business Development Center
- Free Business Consulting
If you live in the United States, you can take advantage of your local Small Business Development Center for free business consulting.
The SBDC can help you navigate how to start your business and offer industry professionals that can help you strategize any part of your business.
The SBDC also offers affordable classes on topics ranging from taxes, to marketing, to hiring, pricing and more.
If you live outside of the United States and know about an organization like this in your country, I would love to hear about it and add it to this list. Please comment below!
Business Phone Systems
- Phone System
Before I invested in a business phone system I was getting burned out by the number of calls we would get.
With a business phone system, you can separate new client calls, existing customer calls, and hiring calls.
Plus you can route these calls to an office admin on your days off.
I use 3CX because it is the cheapest option for a fully featured phone system, but it has zero technical support and can be confusing.
Ring Central is the most stable and has support to help you configure your system.
Line2 is the new kid on the block and could be perfect for those that are just getting started and do not want desk phones. Many pet sitters also use Google Voice.
Website Hosting & Builders
- All in one website builder
- WordPress hosting, theme, and easy to use builder
Even if your main form of marketing is word of mouth, it’s likely your potential clients will check out your website before they contact you.
Your website is vital to the success of your company.
SquareSpace is a great option for those that do not want to deal with as much technology.
WordPress is also easier to use than ever and will offer the most state of the art software.
If you decide to use WordPress I suggest:
- Team communication
Slack is a team chat app that makes communicating with your team easy.
Check out our Best Tech for Professional Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers for a more detailed explanation about how we use slack in our pet sitting agency.
Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business Coaches
- Pet Sitter and Dog Walker Business Coaches
There are many fantastic business coaches that will teach you exactly how to solve some problem in your pet sitting or dog walking company.
Kristen Morrison has set the standard for pet sitting and dog walking agency coaching.
She has many great books published and offers informative webinars about many professional pet sitting and dog walking topics, including marketing, hiring, and preparing your business for sale.
Dom Hodgson is another popular business coach that can help your company grow fast. He offers practical advice about hiring and is a great resources for UK based pet sitters and dog walkers.
Kyle Andrew Lee offers coaching for pet sitting and dog walking business owners. He ran his own company in the FrontRange of Colorado, USA and specializes in helping pet sitting and dog walking businesses build a sustainable business for the long term. He teaches pricing, hiring, marketing, onboarding new clients, and operating your company as a system. He is also the author of PetSitterCourse.com
When you are first getting started, I recommend you reach out to a few coaches in the Professional Pet Sitting and Dog Walking field. Not every solution offered by a business coach will work for your company, but if you gain expertise from a few coaches, you can adapt each method to best compete in your local market and you will save years of trial and error.
Graphic Design Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers
- Graphic design and printing services
Many underestimate how much graphic design goes into running a pet sitting or dog walking agency.
The truth is, you will need graphic design for your social media channels, your website, business cards and any other printed material you decide to use.
Templates for Pet Pros offers many cute graphics for social media that are sure to engage your followers.
Upwork also is a great place to look for graphic designers. In fact, I hire upwork freelancers all the time for topics that are difficult or time consuming to learn, such as setting up Facebook Pixel, Facebook Events, web development and more.
Vistaprint offers low cost printing for business cards and flyers. I always splurge for a little bit higher quality paper and I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of their printing.
Sticker Mule has a wonderful refrigerator magnet printing service that is hard to beat on price. We give a refrigerator magnet to every one of our clients and it’s been great for word of mouth marketing.
Virtual Assistants for your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Agency
- Virtual Assistants
I talk in some of my other blogs about how, if I were to do it all over again, hiring an Office Admin (who also pet sits) would be my first hire.
But, on second thought, my very first hire would likely be a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants are people from all over the globe who can help you with any task that can be done remotely. Virtual assistants are essentially remote workers that you can hire to do some task within your company.
I hire a virtual assistant, from Alpha Assistant, to take care of my invoicing.
Krys checks over our invoices to ensure they are accurate before being sent out. She splits invoices as needed and emails clients when their credit card is out of date.
Krys has been a huge help to our company and I never need to worry about our invoicing. She nails it every time. Of course, we do have good documentation for her to work from. See our pet sitting and dog walking course for documentation you can use for your company.