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 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. 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, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!