A few people, including myself and my husband, are honestly surprised that my pet sitting business is taking off the way it is. I went from no pet sitting business to making $1000+ a month in less than 2 months. I figured I could list out what I did to start my service business so that we can all remember, lol. I search this site all of the time for the recipes I posted and to refresh my own memory about dates that we did stuff…so here this is for posterity. 🙂
10 Tips to Starting a Successful Service Business Side Hustle
- Choose a service that you enjoy doing. For me, it was pet sitting.
- Think of a good name. It may help to include the general service in the title too. I like alliteration, so I chose “Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting”
- Create a website for your business. Include a bio that clearly states what you will be doing and why you are a good choice to do it. Add the most requested info on that site since it does seem more professional. I wrote out my intentions, experience, and general rates at http://www.dogslifeforme.com/crystals-cozy-care/. Then I bought the domain and forwarded that page to http://www.crystalscozycare.com/. I edit that site any time I come up with more info, update my Happy Campers page, and update my travel/black out dates.
- Choose an image that you will associate with your services. People like pictures. They enjoy being able to see a picture and associate it with a place or person that they know. I chose a picture that my sister sent me of me at their home with their parrot on my head.
- Advertise that you are available – clearly state where you are willing to work and any other details that should be known up front. I posted my services on Craigslist and clearly state the area I will work in, what my services include, my experience profile, and my very general rates.
- When you use Craigslist, remember to post in ALL of the categories that your competitor’s are posting in. For me, I made sure to have at least one post under “Pet Services”, “Community – Pets”, and even “Sales – Animals” because that is where everyone else was listing too. I also chose my prices based on the going rates too – I wasn’t the cheapest or the most expensive.
- Highlight how you are special. For me, I need to highlight that I prefer to pet sit in the owner’s home since that is what I am getting the most interested calls about. Pet parents know that they are happier at home and are willing to pay me more to come to them.
- Update your advertising when things change. When I decided to mainly concentrate on pet sitting at their home, I stopped advertising that I offered pet sitting in my own home. I also have raised my rates since a pet sitting client pointed out that they were too low and simply paid me more. Now I know that staying the night with someone’s pet is worth at least
$60$75-$85 in my area. If I am simply doing one 30-60 minute visit a day, that is worth $20-$25 depending on their location.
- Under promise and over deliver. I let my clients know what I will be doing at a bare minimum and then I do more. With pet sitting, I take care of the pets as we agreed, then I step it up. With the Boxers, I played with them outside way more times than I promised. In my current job, I am playing with Buster even more than I promised, AND I also cleaned the whole kitchen including the stove and microwave. Just a happy surprise for them when they get back. 😀 I also have a “Pet Sitting Summary” for all of my clients where I record everything we did, when they ate, and any additional notes.
- The final tip is to DO IT NOW!!! No one ever made a penny with just an idea. They either had to put the idea in motion or sell it to someone who would. Good luck!!!
Am I missing any obvious tips? What do you think about the ones above?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!