Did you know that 24% of the UK population own a cat? That’s 10.7 million pet cats in the UK that may be in need of a sitter, whether it be for the short or long term.
If you’re a cat lover, looking after cats may seem like a dream job. But starting a small business can be tricky. Still, if you’re thinking about how to start a cat sitting business, there are plenty of clients out there for you.
This guide will cover how to start a cat sitting business, including:
- What you’ll need to start a cat sitting business
- How to get your cat sitting business started
- How to market your cat sitting business
- How to organise your cat sitting business
What you’ll need to start a cat sitting business
If you’re wondering how to start a cat sitting business, it’s important to know what you’ll need to get started.
You’ll need to know about cats
To succeed in your cat sitting business, you’ll need to love cats. Since this business will require close contact with cats, you should enjoy spending time with them. This love will help you care for the cats. It will also add to your appeal and help clients trust you with their pets.
Apart from loving cats, you’ll also need to know how to care for them. Pet care skills are essential to the pet sitting business. It’s helpful if you have pet cats or your own, and experience caring for them. It’s useful to know what to feed them as well as how to play with them and clean up after them.
You can also look into becoming a Certified Professional Pet Sitter. This will help you appear qualified and professional to clients.
Knowledge about the health of cats would also be helpful for this business. Consider researching cat health so that you can be aware of risks and warning signs. This will come in handy if you need to administer medication to cats. It will also help you spot irregular behaviours and signs of illness.
Animal first aid skills will help you know when a cat may need medical attention. If you notice something wrong with a cat, you can take them directly to a veterinarian.
Know the Industry
To succeed in pet sitting, you’ll also need to know the industry. You should know who needs pet sitters and where they might look. If you have experience in the industry, such as working at a pet hotel or kennel, you could use this when setting up your cat sitting business.
Communication and people skills
People skills are also important for starting a cat sitting business. You’ll need to be trustworthy and friendly so customers feel comfortable leaving their pets with you.
You should also be reliable and consistent with communication. This means regularly responding to emails and answering client calls promptly. It also means putting together schedules and notes as well as taking pictures and updating clients of their cats’ wellbeing.
Knowing how to start a cat sitting business also means knowing how to market yourself. Marketing skills will help you reach the right audience and find clients. These skills are essential in growing your business.
How to get your cat sitting business started
When considering how to start a cat sitting business, you should also think about how to set up the business to get started.
Register and name your business
You’ll first need to register your business as either a sole trader or a limited company. It’s a bit easier to register as a sole trader, but you’ll be personally liable for your business. A limited company appears more professional as it is a separate entity from you, also giving you limited liability.
You may also want to think of a company name. You can choose to use your own name, but a unique company name makes it easier to expand in the future. Consider a name that is easy to remember and relevant to cat sitting. To see if your name is already claimed, you can check the Companies House.
Understand your taxes
Once you register your business, it’s important to know how your taxes will work. As a self-employed person, you’ll also need to inform the HMRC that you’ll manage your taxes yourself. Also, each year, if you make over £1,000 from your business income, you’ll need to submit a Self Assessment tax return.
If you choose to register as a limited company, you’ll also need to register for Corporation Tax. Depending on how much you’re expecting to earn, you may need to register for VAT.
Research the market
To succeed in your cat sitting business, you’ll want to research the market. Start by considering your target market, which will likely be the cat owners in your area. You may want to know how many people in your area have cats as well as how often they may need cat sitters.
Try to understand the perspective of the pet owners and how you can make their lives easier.
You’ll also want to research other pet sitting businesses in your area. Once you understand your market and the client opportunities in your area, you can reach that audience when you market your company.
Find a space to set up
Your cat sitting business may primarily take place at pet owners homes. But if you plan to sit cats in your home, you’ll need to provide a safe and comfortable environment for them.
Make sure you don’t have any plants that are poisonous to pets. You’ll also want to remove or put away breakable objects or anything dangerous to animals.
If you have cats of your own, you may want to separate them from cat guests. Consider keeping separate rooms for cats who like to socialise and those who like to be alone.
Overall, you’ll want to create a pleasant and comfortable environment for your cat guests.
You may need:
- A litter box
- Feeding and water bowls
- Cat food
- Cat treats
- Cat toys
- Cat beds
- Climbing posts
- Cat carriers
When running your own business, insurance is important to decrease your risk.
Though cat sitters aren’t required to have insurance, it’s a good idea to have pet sitters insurance in case anything goes wrong on the job.
How to organise your business
If you’re wondering how to succeed in starting a cat sitting business, you’ll need to know how to organise that business.
Create a business plan and budget
To properly set up your business and keep it on track, you’ll want to create a business plan. This will help you plan short term and long term goals for your business, which you can follow to measure your success.
You will also want to consider your business startup costs and determine a budget for your daily operations.
Determine a price list
Once you start finding clients for your business, you’ll need to start charging them for your services. You’ll need to determine the expenses of cat sitting and the profit margins. This will help you figure out how much to charge your clients for your services, as well as additional services you may want to offer.
When considering your services, think about how many cats you’re able to care for at once. If you travel to different locations to care for cats, consider how many you can visit in a day. If you watch cats in your home, determine how many you can keep at once.
Once you determine how much you’ll charge clients, you’ll need to know how to make an invoice and how to avoid and fix common invoice mistakes.
Use business management tools
Consider using tools like G Suite or Microsoft Teams to streamline contacts, calendars, and important documents.
To run your cat sitting business smoothly, you’ll want to keep on top of your schedule and client bookings. You may also want to keep records and important information on each cat. These tools will also help you communicate with clients effectively and offer updates.
Start a business current account
To organise the finances of your cat sitting business, you may want to open a business current account. This will help you separate your business finances from your personal ones. It will also help you keep track of cash flow for your business.
The Countingup business account and app let you easily organise your business account. It automatically categorises business expenses and reminds you to take a picture of your receipts. This eliminates the burden of keeping track of paper receipts and updating spreadsheets manually.
How to market your cat sitting business
Knowing how to start a cat sitting business means knowing how to market that business. You’ll need to consider what your business offers clients that other options don’t, then create a marketing plan.
Build your brand
To start marketing your business, you’ll want to develop a brand. This brand will focus on your target audience and remain relevant to your business. Your brand should also remain consistent across all of your marketing channels and materials.
When considering your brand, first think of how to relate it to cat sitting. Maybe you want to design a business logo that incorporates a cat illustration or paws. You’ll also want to pick a colour scheme for your brand. Consider colours that are playful and draw in pet owners.
An effective brand will make your business appear more professional and make it clear to potential clients what your business has to offer.
Design a website
You market yourself by designing a website for your business. Some great platforms for website design are Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix.
Use your website to outline your business and show potential clients what you offer. It can have a page that explains your services and price list. Your website can also make it easy for clients to contact you.
Market yourself on social media
Another great way to market your cat sitting business is through social media. Consider social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. On these platforms, you can interact with pet owners and pet caring communities to reach your audience.
You can also post content regularly to each platform. Try posting about your business services and pictures of cats. Make sure you interact with your followers by responding to comments and direct messages regularly.
Be sure to link your website to your social media pages so potential clients can find your business.
Advertise in your area
Knowing how to start a cat sitting business also means knowing how to find clients for that business. You can start finding clients by creating listings on pet sitting and freelance sites. Some great options include Care.com, Trusted House Sitters, and Rover.
Then, focus your marketing on places relevant to pet owners, such as veterinarians or pet stores in your area. You can try to partner with these organisations to offer your services. You can also reach pet owners near you if you leave fliers on community boards and advertise in local newspapers.
Also, engage with your network of family and friends to spread the word of your business. If you have friends with cats, you can offer your services to begin to grow your business. You can then ask your satisfied clients to refer you to others in the future.
Save time managing your finances with Countingup
Once you start to grow your cat sitting business and gain clients, you’ll need to manage your finances. Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier.
Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are.
You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward!
Find out more here.