Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Pet Sitting Business in the United Kingdom
Pet sitting is among the relatively new professions; however, it can be a significant successful business venture with the rise of pet ownership. Starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom means you contact pet owners in offering services. Pet owners see pet sitters as more reliable compared to helpful friends or neighbors. It gives them some peace of mind that their pets are in safe hands.
Here’s a guide on starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom.
The majority of people spend much on the welfare of their pets as they view them as their family members. The increase of adoption of pets among consumers is necessitating the need for increased pet sitting services. According to statistics, 26% of households in the UK own a dog, with over 9 million dog population. With the increasing numbers of owners shifting away from customary kennels and opting for a true home from home, pet sitting businesses are now taking over. Therefore, starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom is an opportunity to take advantage of this vibrant and lucrative industry.
Pet sitting is the act of caring for a pet in its own home while the owner is away. Again, dog walking is a form of pet sitting as it involves coming to the pet’s home to offer exercise and companionship. Some pet sitters may offer other additional services such as limited in-home boarding and may not be regarded as pet sitting. The reason why pet owners may seek the services of a pet sitter may be:
- Pets seem happier and encounter less stress at home in their familiar environment.
- There is no interruption of diet and exercise routines
- You eliminate travel trauma for both owner and pet
- One removes the pet’s exposure to illness
As a pet sitter comes in handy when the owner is out on vacation, travels for business, works long hours, or is not able to do so due to illness.
Some of the services that the pet sitter does may include:
- Feeding the pet and changing their water bowls
- Offering exercise and playtime
- Cleaning up any other pet messes
- Administering pet medications, if required
Business Registration Process
If you’re thinking of starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom, you have some experience handling pets. Again, before you roll out your business, you’ll need to have the proper paperwork in place for your clients; a service contract is a necessity.
These are some of what you should consider before starting your pet business.
1. Decide on the Type of Pets
Most of the pet sitting business focuses on dogs and cats, and much revenue comes from them. You have to make your mind whether you’ll sit out of your home, at the client’s home, or both. You must understand the following:
- Understand that you will have irregular hours that involve nights and weekends
- You must be a pet lover and care about animals if you want to succeed in this business.
2. Develop a Business Plan
Most successful businesses have a well-thought-out business plan to act as a road map to their business. To do that, you must first perform the market analysis, which will help you find out how many people in your area might use a pet sitting service. As a business person, you must outline your operational, financial, and marketing strategies in your business plan. How are you going to move from point A to point B? It’s a document that has to be solid and straightforward.
3. Choosing Your Business Name
Every legal business operating has a business name that defines its nature. When choosing a name, ensure that you have a simple, unique name that resonates with your business. Having a business name is the beginning of the company incorporation process.
4. Registering Your Business
When starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom, your client will take you seriously if your business is registered. If you plan for company registration in the UK, then you’ll have to register with Companies House. You can register as a sole trader, limited partnership, and as a company. For each of the legal structures, you must meet all the legal requirements to complete the process.
5. Develop a Website
Whenever you plan to market your business to a larger audience, having a website will make you reach that target. Today, brands are embracing online presence and building their company to meet their clients’ expectations. Having a website is not enough; you must elaborate on what kind of services you offer. You can go further and provide your contacts so that people can reach out to you.
6. Promote Your Pet Business
Starting as a new pet sitter may be challenging because you are new in the market. Now for you to be known out there, you must promote your business. You can begin with the area within your locality by word of mouth. Share your business cards or flyers with your potential clients within the target areas. Again, you can attend local events or shows for dogs and owners and share what you offer as a service.
7. Setting Your Price
When running any form of business, you must have a price policy within your sales structure. Before doing that, you must know what prices your competitors are charging on similar or different services you’re offering. Keep your prices competitive. That can generate you some decent profit margin.
8. Securing a Pet Sitting Insurance
The UK provides you, a business person, with an opportunity to secure insurance for your business. Within this insurance, we have:
- Key Cover: This covers the loss of a client’s keys during the period you’re undertaking your services. It’s associated with replacing locks, the cost of re-setting intruder alarms, and call-out costs.
- Care, custody, and control
- Non-negligent cover
- Equipment cover
In case you experience any challenge, you can always contact a UK corporate service provider such as 3E Accounting.
Licenses, Permits, and Regulations
If you’re planning on starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom, you may not need a license. However, if you’re holding your client’s keys and entering their home, you will need a Criminal Record Check.
Animal Handling and Interactions
The law governing animals stipulates that any person (s) responsible for the care of the animals must be competent in the appropriate handling to protect them from suffering, pain, injury, or disease. In case you’re into home boarding, those responsible must have the competence to handle dogs appropriately and be in a position to identify dogs that are anxious or fearful about contact. Again, they must possess the ability to recognize and act upon undesirable behaviors.
The Scope Criteria That Are Subject to Licensing
- Suppose your business will arrange for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs. For instance, if your business connects pet owners with people willing to look after their animals for no fee.
- Businesses that offer accommodation for dogs in a home environment inside a domestic home are not in their usual home.
Monitoring of Behavior and Training of Animals
Whenever you plan on starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom, you must be aware of the guidance relating to the company. This goes even in how you monitor the behavior and training of the pets. The guidance should be:
- A program with the owner on dog enrichment inside and outside, including grooming, socialization, and play.
- You must ensure that all dogs receive the appropriate toys and feeding enrichment unless suggested otherwise with the veterinarian.
- A daily check of items to ensure they remain safe.
Remember, species whose welfare relies partly on exercise must provide exercise that benefits the animals’ physical and mental health, unless otherwise in the vet’s opinion.
Some of the guidance may include:
- Dogs that are incapable of exercising must have an alternative form of mental stimulation.
- Chances to exercise must involve a minimum of at least one walk per day.
- When it comes to outdoor areas, they must not be used by more than one dog at any given time unless they are from the same household or a written consent obtained from owners.
- In case an artificial turf is in use, the maintenance should be top-notch to avoid ingestion hazards.
- Again, dogs shouldn’t be left unsupervised to access ponds, pools, wells, and any area within the garden that might pose a threat.
For further clarification or assistance on starting a pet sitting business in the United Kingdom, you can contact 3E Accounting.