Pet Sitters’ Holiday Survival Guide (2013 Edition): How to stay sane and profitable during the hectic holiday pet sitting schedule.
Hard to believe it, but the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays almost upon us!
For a pet sitter, the holidays are a mixed blessing; on one hand, you’re making some of your biggest profits of the year, but on the other hand, this is also a stressful time of year.
How does one balance business and family time during the holiday season? It’s easier said than done, and this time of year can often cause burnout with pet sitters.
And for newbie sitters, you’re likely wondering; “how much work can I take on?” It can be overwhelming to figure out.
But take a deep breath, and relax! Because I’ve come up with 12 tips to make your pet sitting holiday schedule less stressful and more manageable, with a revised 2013 edition of Holiday pet sitting tips (click here for last year’s version).
1. Plan your routes carefully so you’re maximizing mileage & drive time.
2. To give yourself a break in the day, and try doing all your “anytime” visits right after your morning rounds. That way, you can have a few hours to unwind & celebrate with the family before heading out to do your evening rounds.
3. If you have others that work for you, have them send a nightly text or email to confirm that the schedule was covered correctly.
4. A week before, recheck all the appointments on your calendar to avoid any confusion.
5. Make sure your car is well maintained. Rushing to the next stop becomes pointless if you get pulled over or get into an accident. Keep an eye on other drivers, especially if working on New Year’s Eve.
6. Are last minute clients worth it? Go with your gut. If you think you’ll be regretting not doing it, then take it, but avoid any 1 or 2 night visits unless it’s really close to you. If it seems like it will be a hassle, then it probably will be!
7. Make client-specific checklists (including explicit instructions for feeding, medication, etc.) for each visit every day to manage your day better and assure you don’t miss anything!
8. How much work is realistic to take on? I think this depends on experience. Keep in mind drive time, if you have a hiding cat, or other instance that can extend your day. I’ve heard of folks taking on as many as 18 visits per day. If you really want the extra money, go for it, but realize you will be completely exhausted, raise the margin for error in your work, & risk burn out. And, it might be tempting to shorten visits to fit everything in, and that is never good. Your clients paid for your time!
9. I think 10-12 visits is easy to manage and you can still get a break in the day & recharge. If you’re a new pet sitter, try between 8 & 10 and see how well you can manage. You can always do more next year. I don’t do more than 15 per day.
10. Emergency Planning: pay attention to weather reports. Ask clients if they have a neighbor who checks on the animals in case of extreme weather that may prevent you from traveling.
11. It’s easy to get overwhelmed & wish that you could be spending the day celebrating with family and friends. Try celebrating a week or so before or after the holidays. That way you can fully enjoy time together and not be exhausted & stressed from work.
12. Get as much sleep as possible! Avoid caffeine before bedtime.
I hope these tips help to make your holiday season a profitable one with as minimal stress and strain as possible.
Do you have any tips you think are helpful for pet sitters to know about during the holiday season? Let me know in the comments: