If you love to make friends of the feline variety, you can turn cat sitting into a great business opportunity.

People’s pets are precious to them, so you’ll have to make sure you can convince them to trust you. Luckily, if you’re well prepared, that shouldn’t be difficult to achieve.

This guide discusses how to start a cat sitting business with the following types of information:

  • Cat care
  • Competition
  • Insurance
  • Rates and services
  • Marketing
  • Costs

Cat care

It might seem straightforward, but before you start, you’ll want to make sure you can manage the needs of the cats.

Attention

Every animal has a personality, some require more attention than others. You get some cats that are independent and do their own thing, but others want you to pet them all day.

People often see cats as more straightforward to take care of than dogs, but each varies so you won’t know what to expect.

Food and water

One reason cats can get vocal is hunger. Owners may have them on regular schedules to be fed, meaning you can’t just feed the cats when they’re hungry (so don’t take their meow for it). 

It’s helpful to have that conversation with customers and note that information.

If you can find out when to feed them, you can maintain any routines they already have. Another essential thing to consider for cats is hydration. 

According to Cats Protection, here are some tips to get them to drink water:

  • Refill the bowl with fresh water daily.
  • Put bowls around the house.
  • If they don’t like one, try a new bowl.
  • Don’t put bowls next to litter trays.

Doing their business

In addition to attention, food and water, you’ll have to make sure the cats go outside regularly or use a litter tray.

If you don’t routinely allow them to (do what they need to do), then customers may find surprises when they get home. That wouldn’t reflect well on your service.

Competition

If you can be aware of competition, you can think about how to improve the services you offer or how to market your business.

Cat in a Flat

The cat sitter service Cat in a Flat is likely to be a significant competitor.

They offer a few features with their services, which include:

  • Daily visits or overnight stays.
  • Sitters send daily updates and photos while customers are away.
  • Cat in a Flat guarantee — coverage for any vet fees if a cat is injured in their care and key replacement if a sitter loses one.

Cat in a Flat doesn’t offer a fixed service rate; each of their sitters decides their own. That could be an area where your business has an advantage, with transparent prices.

Longcroft Cat Hotels

Aside from cat sitters, there is also competition from cat hotels. These are hotels that cats stay in over a period while owners are away.

The Longcroft Cat Hotels offer luxury experiences for cats, including their suites and spa treatments. 

Their franchise has hotels across the UK, but they likely target wealthy customers. Daily rates depend on the size of the suites, but the massage treatments and luxury cat food are extra.

You could offer a cheaper alternative (for more down-to-earth cats) for your business, perhaps.

Insurance

One thing to consider when you look at how to start a cat sitting business is the insurance that you’ll need.

Pet Sitting Insurance is a combination of:

  • Public liability cover — in case there’s any damage to the customer’s property in your care.
  • Care, custody and control cover — for cat injury, if they’re lost or dies.
  • Lost key cover — if you lose the keys to a customer home.

Many insurance providers offer this cover. Here are a few:

Rates and services

To start a cat sitting business, decide what rates to charge and what services you’ll offer. 

Rates

You might decide to charge a lower rate in the day and a higher one at nights or weekends. Low day rates mean customers have an incentive to use your service while they are at work.

Alternatively, they are most likely to need your services in evenings and weekends so could be willing to pay those increased rates. 

You’ll have to consider whether you decide to offer a low rate accessible to everyone or are willing to travel to the affluent area to charge a high one.

To find the local rates in your area, search for cat sitters near you on Google and ask each for a quote. Most will be happy to disclose their rates, so you can make note of their’s to decide your own.

Services

When it comes to your services, you can also look at whether you can stay overnight in people’s houses and do other things like watering plants, for example.

Marketing

Now you’ve got your business ready to go, it’s time to find customers. The best way to do that will be to market what you do.

Audience

If you’ve decided on the areas that you’d like to offer your services, think about the lifestyles of those cat owners. Are they likely to attend certain community events or use different social media platforms?

For example, if you decide to target cat owners in their twenties to thirties, maybe you could use TikTok and Instagram. You’ll be able to make cat videos that show your services and reach your customers where they’re likely to be.

Branding

Another helpful way to market your service is to create a brand. Your branding is the business’ identity that you present to the public, and it’s what they see when they engage with you.

Branding includes:

  • Name — something cat-related maybe to show what you do.
  • Logo — your name in a unique way or a related icon.
  • Colours — use a handful of colours throughout your marketing (make it easy for people to gain familiarity with the business.

Costs

While you build your cat sitting business, you’ll also have to think about how you can manage your costs.

Think about:

  • Travel — (e.g. fuel costs)
  • Insurance — (e.g. Pet Sitting Insurance)
  • Marketing — (e.g. TikTok paid ads)

Avoid financial hairballs with Countingup

Every business needs a method for managing their finances.  Countingup is the current business account with built-in accounting software to make financial management easy through your phone. 

You’ll benefit from features like cash flow insights that update you on the money going in or out of your business. This way, you can focus on your new furry friends.

Get started for free.