Pet Sitters’ Holiday Survival Guide (2013 Edition)

Pet Sitters’ Holiday Survival Guide (2013 Edition): How to stay sane and profitable during the hectic holiday pet sitting schedule.

english bulldogs dressed up as santa and rudolph

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:

Avoiding Burnout: How to Take Time Off From Pet-Sitting

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When you first start your pet sitting business, you’re strictly thinking about building it, and that means taking almost every job that comes along.

Your client’s will get used to your dependability, and will often give you last-minute bookings, knowing you’ll accommodate them.

This is good for your business, and for building solid customer relationships, but at some point, every pet-sitter reaches burn out.

Working 7 days a week, 365 days a years doesn’t sound too appealing to anyone, but that can be your fate if you don’t draw the lines so you can have personal time to keep a balance.

As pet-sitters we are always on call for everyone else’s vacations, holidays and weekend getaways. This can breed resentment if we don’t allow for some fun for ourselves. Here’s some tips on how to do just that: Continue reading

Screening New Pet-Sitting Clients; The Meet And Greet

Obedient Dog Raising Paw

So you’re ready to go with your pet-sitting business. You’ve printed up cards, visited local vets, and hopefully have found a good networking group in your area.

Now comes the hard part; waiting for that phone call or email from a prospective client.

You’re excited to make some money and hopefully get a repeat client.

But don’t be too hasty. While you want the money, you need to make sure you get the right client for your services.

Here are several tips on how to do just that for the two-part process; Continue reading

Setting Your Pet-Sitting Rates

So you’re a new pet-sitter, anxious to take on work and build your client base!

But how much should you charge? Charge too much and you’re guaranteeing failure, but charge too little and you won’t make enough income to justify staying in business.

So let’s discuss the factors that decide how much you can and should charge so that your client’s get a fair deal while you make a profit. Continue reading

Pet Sitter Holiday Survival Guide

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How to keep yourself safe and sane during your holiday workload.

It’s known to everyone that the holidays are the most stressful time of year. Extra time with family, pressure to get gifts, it all causes stress. But try adding a full work schedule on top of it!

This is price paid for being a pet sitter. But if you don’t work holidays, you’re shooting your business in the foot. Holidays are THE best months for pet sitting, often netting several thousand of dollars.

If you’re new to the business, keep all these factoids I’ve listed in mind Continue reading