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I’m Officially Back to Two Full Time Jobs

Remember how pet sitting was going to be my side hustle to accompany being a self-employed full-time blogger?  Yeah, well, I think a job loses “side hustle” status when it starts requiring 30+ hours a week consistently.  I have two full time jobs again.

Side Hustle To Full Time Job

From February 2014 to now, there have been super busy pet sitting weeks (30+ hours), but it still felt like a hobby job.  Starting in early March 2015, I’m going to be at pet sitting jobs as much as I’ll be online for at least a month straight.  I’m excited and exhausted just thinking about it, LOL.

What happened is that I finally have enough “regulars” that I have a solid schedule.  Mondays-Thursdays for a mid-morning puppy pee break.  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for an all-Australian Shepherd walk.  Sunday poop scooping.  Fairly regular twice-a-day visits for several days a week for a traveling work couple.  And now I will be doing 3 visits a day, every day for a month straight while a Pomeranian pup momma has to go out of the country for work.  That month-long job will be rinse-and-repeat every other month for the rest of the year.

That doesn’t even include the one-offs and long weekends from other customers, most of which are repeat clients too.

Sole Meme

Hehehe

Satisfied

I don’t know exactly how my writing sounds on this subject.  I’m not complaining, but I’m not bragging either.  I’m satisfied.

I honestly did not intend for pet sitting to become another “real” job.  I just have a very hard time turning down money, and I do enjoy other people’s pets.  I seem to be able to have a life with my friends and family despite my online work and pet sitting hours.  It helps that my husband is stepping up even more on both businesses too.

Overall, I will be putting about 40 hours a week into pet sitting PLUS at least one overnight stay (like a slumber party at the Pomeranians’ home) for March, May, July, September, and November.  I also am living at someone else’s home for a weekend in March, a week in August, and a couple of other weeks that are being picked soon.

With my hubby covering occasional pet sitting visits for me, this isn’t taking away my ability to volunteer with SMART Animal Rescue or with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  In fact, I may be getting a second “Little” with Big Brothers Big Sisters soon.  They are happy with how the match between me and my “Little Bro'” has gone so far.  I also seem to be fitting in about 2-3 nights during the week with friends and usually 1 weekend day or evening.

I feel solid.  Like I have a working routine even if the specifics change regularly.  I am also less worried about money now than I’ve ever been since I feel like I do indeed have control over my own income diversity.  Pet sitting has been bringing in an average of $1000 a month.  Now it’ll be around $1500-$1750 on average thanks to the $2500 months.  I just have to take better care of myself because getting sick would throw both of my self-employment jobs into problems if I’m out for more than a couple of days…knock on all the wood…

How is your time looking?  Do you feel satisfied with your life right now?  If so, what specifically is working for you?  If not, why?

General Stuff Not Covered by My Pet Sitting Insurance

I wrote about what my pet sitting insurance covers in a post last week.  SherryH asked a great question:

Oh, that’s interesting! And very reassuring for their clients, to know what kinds of things are covered. I think it would make a fascinating followup article for them to list some of the claims they didn’t cover…

What Isn’t Covered

So, I literally hit “reply” to my pet insurance’s newsletter and asked them if they had a list of claims that were denied.  I said I was just curious and interested.  I was super surprised to receive a reply in less than 24 hours!

Good Afternoon!

Tammy at Pet Sitters Associates, LLC forwarded your email over to me as I underwrite and manage the insurance program for the PSA members.  Unfortunately I don’t have a list of claims that have been denied.  Some of the claims that are denied are due to the member not having purchased the correct coverage… for example, a client dog is injured in the member’s home, but she didn’t purchase the optoinal pet daycare coverage.  Other claims are denied due to specific things involved in that claim… for example, a client dog bites someone on the sidewalk, but during the claims investigation we find out that the dog had a history of biting and the owner didn’t tell the pet sitter so then the liability would really fall on the pet owner (although that might depend on which state the claim occurred).

If you are interested in learning  more about the association and insurance program, there is a lot of great information on the PSA website, www.petsitllc.com.  The “Pet Business Insurance Options” page in particular has some great information, including some frequently asked questions in the LEARN box at the bottom of that page.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.  (Insert all of the contact info ever, lol).  Good luck with your pet care business!!

That all sounds understandable and justifiable to me.  I’ll be honest, I am even happier with my $305 expense per year now!  This year may be a little more since I’m getting my husband covered too, but I think it’s only $80 more.  Totally worth it.

These two cuties are regular dog walking clients, and I'm happy that they are completely covered when they're with me.

These two cuties are regular dog walking clients, and I’m happy that they are completely covered when they’re with me.

Things That Pet Sitting Insurance Covers…

You may have seen my posts about being a professional pet sitter.  One of the main expenses of being in that line of work is a very affordable insurance that is between $300-$400 a year that covers all sorts of stuff while I’m handling other people’s pets in and away from their homes.  I haven’t had to use it yet, but I like what they seem to cover!

My Pet Sitting Insurance Policy

Here’s what the summary of my policy looks like for $305:

My Pet Sitting Insurance Policy

 

Things Covered in 2014

This whole post was thought up when I read my pet sitting insurance company’s newsletter that listed things that they covered last year.  Check out these situations and amounts!

• Client’s dog ate rat poison at member’s residence and required vet care – $703 paid
• Client’s cat ate a foreign object and required a visit to the vet – $2704 paid
• Member left gate open; client’s dog ran away and was found with injuries - $2,307 paid
• Member gave the wrong dose of insulin to a client’s cat; taken to vet - $743 paid
• Member was walking client’s dog, it got spooked, ran off and was hit by car - $2,957 paid
• Client’s dog ate human medicine and required vet care - $800 paid
• Client’s dog slipped its leash while on a walk; fractured tibia – $1,000 paid
• Two client dogs playing in fenced-in yard; one dog injured ACL – $1,000 paid
• At off-leash dog park, client’s dog was bitten by another dog – $472 paid
• Member walking two client dogs who got into a fight; both dogs injured - $4,500 paid
• Client’s dog bit an off-leash dog while on a walk – $4,401 paid
• Client’s dog broke its leash and attacked another dog and its owner – $16,500 paid
• Client’s dog bit an individual while in the member’s care – $10,376 paid
• Client’s sliding door was damaged by member – $5,964 paid
• Water damage to a client’s home due to the toilet overflowing – $4,628 paid
• Member lost the keys to a client’s home and the home had to be re-keyed – $274 paid

My Thoughts

I’m happily surprised by some of these!  I didn’t know I would be covered in a bunch of these situations.  For example, if a dog ate rat poison when I wasn’t around (and assuming I didn’t leave it out or something stupid), I didn’t think I was covered since the dog got into something the owner left somewhere the dog could get it.  I was also happy that they covered damage to a sliding door since I seem to be more klutzy lately…

I do agree with the pet sitting insurance company though – some of these events could have been avoided, but the rest of them are exactly why we have insurance.  :-)  And I love that my insurance company wrote exactly that:

The above are actual claims that have been reported to our insurance company and the resulting payments made on behalf of the PSA members.  Some of the payment totals above include loss expenses to the insurance company.  Many claims can be prevented with a little planning and common sense whereas others are truly accidents and cannot be avoided, which is why everyone needs insurance.

Overall, I am happy with their monthly newsletters and their operating procedures.  I’ll definitely be renewing my policy when it expires in April.  This is not an affiliate link in any way, but if you ever enter the field of pet sitting, I would suggest getting an insurance policy at petsitllc.com.

 

Reselling DVD’s Now…

Remember my post about Nextdoor.com?  It’s an online forum for just your neighbors.  I found it a while ago, and I love it.  It’s been great to find close garage sales, get notified of loose animals, and to connect with my neighbors for charity drives and stuff like that.

Reselling DVD’s

Yesterday one of my neighbors posted that she was trying to clean out her home.  She had 120 DVD’s listed for $60.  At 50 cents per DVD, I couldn’t pass them up, right?  She didn’t want to list them out individually obviously, hence the low price tag, so I drove the 5 minutes to check out the two boxes.  I figured we may want some of them for our own collection and I could sell the rest.

They ended up being pretty awesome DVD’s overall!  My roommates and we have already gone through and pulled out the ones we want to see at least once before we sell them.  My hubby just watched 12 Monkeys last night.  :-)  I’ve started listing the rest for $5 each or 3 movies for $10.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

First Half of the DVD's

Here’s half of the DVD collection that I’m selling right now. :-)

Reselling in General

I’ve been playing the resell game since I was a teenager.  I listed out a lot of my side hustles before.  One of my earlier ones was reselling jewelry to pawn shops that I bought on Bidz.com before people trusted online bid sites.  I also resold Magic: The Gathering card packs throughout college and on and off afterwards.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been listing things around our house on Craigslist that we’ve been meaning to get rid of for a while.  Now, it’s DVD’s.  I can see how there are people that make a solid living on this if they take the time to do it full time and with more expensive items.  I might need to start researching a few things to know what is resalable or not.

Have you ever gotten caught up in reselling things regularly?  What did you focus on?

The Actual DVD’s

P.S.  If anyone in the USA or Canada wants one or more of these DVD’s, email me at budgetingfunstuff *at* gmail.com and we can work out a payment method and I’ll send it to you for $3 per movie plus you’d cover shipping.  I’d be using the Media Mail option at USPS.  The whole collection would be $200 and I would cover shipping for you.  :-)

12 Monkeys
The 13th Warrior
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
About a Boy
American Beauty
Angel Eyes
Austin Powers
Austin Powers, Goldmember
Austin Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me
Ballistic Ecks v Sever
Bounce
The Bourne Supremacy
Changing Lanes
Chasing Amy
Chocolat
Clash of the Titans
Coach Carter
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Darkman
Darkman II
Dracula 2000
The Five Heartbeats
Fountain
Frequency
Ghost Rider
Gladiator
The Green Mile
Hulk
I, Robot
In Good Company
John Q
King Kong
Kiss of the Dragon
The Lake House
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Legend of the Red Dragon
Life or Something Like It
Maid in Manhattan
Master and Commander The Far Side of the World
Minority Report
Mission Impossible 2
Mission Impossible 3
The Mothman Prophecies
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
National Treasure
Ocean’s Eleven
Ocean’s Twelve
The Patriot
The Perfect Storm
Pirates of the Carribean, The Curse of the Black Pearl
Planet of the Apes
Princess Diaries 2
Reign of Fire
Reservoire Dogs
Runaway Bride
Serendipity
Shadow of the Vampire
Signs
Sleepy Hollow
Spider-Man 2
Sweet Home Alabama
Terminator 3, Rise of the Machines
Troy
True Romance
Unbreakable
Unfaithful
Van Helsing
The Wedding Planner
Windtalkers
Windwalker
Second Half of the DVD's

These are the rest of the DVD;s. :-)

Pet Sitting – Not Just About My Return on Investment

I’ve been pet sitting even more lately than is my new norm. In fact, I haven’t slept in my own bed since last Thursday night. I won’t be until this Thursday night. Honestly, that part is probably the largest downside to my new business. But the upsides are worth it usually.

Pet Sitting Pros

I love pets – dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and even the exotics. I enjoy how simple it is to feed, water, play, and pet. My best days are when a skittish pet opens up to me or when an outgoing pet simply cuddles with me instead of running around bonkers. I am proud that I can help them enjoy the time that their humans are away as opposed to simply enduring it. That is fulfilling.

Sassy

Sassy is one of the five dogs that I am living with right now.

Pet Sitting Cons

Staying overnight in other people’s homes, cleaning up potty accidents, and getting scratched up by playful puppies are generally the negatives to the job. I also know that even though I charge more now than when I started, I only make “good” money because of the amount of jobs that I bring in, not because of the hourly wage.

I charge $15-$25 for basic visits depending on the location and the pets involved. I spend about 60-90 minutes on each visit if you include the driving time along with the visits themselves. That means that I am making about $10-$25 an hour depending on the job. BUT that doesn’t take into account the overnight jobs.

For overnight pet sitting, I charge $70-$80 per night. Of the 24 hours that amount covers, at least 8 hours is generally spent interacting with the pets one-on-one in some way. So best case, I am making $10 an hour but throwing in sleep time for free. Not so good.

Pet Sitting ROI

But I don’t just pet sit for the money. If that was the case, I would stop. I do it because I get out of the house and help animals and humans at the same time. It’s a win-win-win service for everyone involved. It also brings around similar feelings to charity work. I do enjoy helping.

I don’t make much more than minimum wage for the hours I put into taking care of pets. But there is something to be valued about creating a profitable business, getting to hang out with animals for hours every day, and learning that my entrepreneurial spirit isn’t nearly as limited as I thought it was 10-15 years ago. I’m a self-employed lady that attempts to impress the crud out of those that employ my services, regardless of the niche. That makes me content.

Thinking Outside of the Box for Small Businesses

I’m a full-time blogger and blog ad manager, but I’m also a full-time professional pet sitter now.  I’m great at marketing myself for my online life, but I am slowly learning to market myself for the pet sitting.

Business Cards

I did have business cards made for Crystal’s Cozy Care nearly as soon as I started.  But I keep forgetting to put them out in restaurants and other facilities that wouldn’t mind.  I also have been meaning to go door-to-door in my neighborhood and deliver them like the lawn guys and maid services do all of the time.  Yesterday, I solved this issue!

A couple of maid service ladies handed me their business card while I was walking back from picking up my mail, and then they headed off to continue going door-to-door.  I had a light bulb moment.  I asked them to wait, ran inside and grabbed my business cards, and then asked them in my broken Spanish if I could pay them to deliver all of my cards throughout my neighborhood and the one next to it.  It took about 5 minutes to work out the details, hand over my cards and $80, and then they headed off.

A-HA!

I knew there was a chance that they would just throw away my cards.  I took a calculated risk.  Later that night though, I received an email from someone several streets over who had my card in the their door!  Woot!  I love it when my ideas pan out!!!

Thinking Outside of the Box

I know that hiring someone else to do the labor that you aren’t doing isn’t really thinking outside of the box.  But I felt like a freaking genius as those ladies hustled away!  My neighborhood has 300+ homes and I have just not found the time to walk the entire thing.  I also procrastinated at finding hired help to do it for me since that takes effort too.  This was just good luck and good thinking at the same time.  And those ladies probably think they stole the $80 since they were walking the same path either way.  WIN-WIN!

Have you ever had an A-HA moment that you’d like to share?  Please do!

Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting Update

I mention my pet sitting side hustle frequently, but haven’t written a thorough update post lately about Crystal’s Cozy Care.  I saw this question left in my newsletter post this month from Leilani (thank you for subscribing and commenting!) and thought it would make a good lead in, LOL:

I also have a pet care hobby business and so far have to limit the jobs I accept because of my day job. I’m hoping to grow this hustle. Right now, I only accept cash and checks, but would eventually like to accept credit cards. So, my question: What type of payments do you accept for your pet sitting gigs?

Payment Methods

I started at the very end of February 2013 by accepting just cash and checks.  But then I was asked about other methods in April 2014 so I started accepting Paypal.  Finally, about 3 months after I started, I came across a photographer client who highly suggest the Square payment system.  It’s fees are less than Paypal, so I use that now exclusively for credit card payments (although only one client uses it regularly).  I still have two ongoing clients that prefer Paypal.  The vast majority, more than 95%, still leave me cash and checks.

Payment Methods that I Accept

Business Growth

I still advertise my services mainly through Craigslist, word of mouth, and Nextdoor.com.  Craigslist has led to the most jobs.  I also apply to gigs on Care.com and Sittercity.com, but that has only amounted to a few positions.

Crystal's Cozy Care Pet Sitting

In super happy news, most of my monthly income now comes from repeat customers.  A couple of neighbors and families near me use me for every weekend trip or major vacation that they take.  Two mommies have such odd work hours that I pet sit for their pups for at least a few days if not more of every month since they met me.

Snake Drama

One proud papa of a 10 1/2 lavender reticulated python has hired me for one visit a week pretty consistently since the end of May 2014.  Her name is Sephoria and here she is under a black light:

Sephoria the Snake - Lavender Reticulated Python

Sephoria is gorgeous and has grown to be nearly 11 feet long in less than 18 months.

The drama behind Sephoria is that for about 3 weeks, I was replaced with a “snake specialist” only because her owner wasn’t comfortable with her size and me mixing when she was hungry (every 4-8 weeks depending).  Well, that specialist ended up being truly dumb and unethical…he stole Sephoria.  Within 5 days, her owner had posted a want ad for Sephoria on Craigslist that explained the whole situation and asked for help.  The stupid guy’s cousin saw the post, the guy freaked out, and he returned her.  Yay!

Needless to say, I have my job back since I can be completely trusted not to steal her.  Her owner has now requested to be allowed to go home from his trucking job at least once every 2-3 weeks so I won’t even need to feed her myself (her giant frozen rabbits take more than a day to thaw properly and the feeding process is too complex for my schedule).

For my non-snake loving readers, here are some of the cute mammals (mostly dogs and cats) that have become regulars:

Eisley

Fred and Ginger May 2014

Jackie and Daisy

Khaleesi

Khari and Kori

Nunchuck

Pendek

Ricai

Zim

Income

Unless I start taking on more employees, other than my close friend and roommate, Mandy, then I think I am pretty much around the most business that I can take on right now. School is back in session, so there will be a slow down. I’m totally okay with that since I was working 30 hours a week just for pet sitting in August 2014. Here have been my total income numbers so far (not taking into account my driving deductions and stuff like that):

  • March 2014 – $1100
  • April 2014 – $400
  • May 2014 – $580
  • June 2014 – $1640
  • July 2014 – $785
  • August 2014 – $1680

I have put more than 5000 miles on my new car.  I am slowly making sure to stay within a 15 mile radius from my house so that those driving numbers should decrease each month from now on while my income stays above $500.  The more popular I become, the pickier I can choose to be on the locations of the jobs that I accept.

Pricing

Along those lines, I have increased my pricing as I’ve developed my reputation as well.  I used to be $15 a visit or $50 for overnight care.  Now I’m $20-$30 per visit depending on location and $70-$90 for overnight care.  Yet, my business is growing.  I also still charge a little less for my returning clients since I grandfather in their rates unless I was being simply unrealistic (like $60 a night for more than 5 pets that are all high maintenance or $50 a night for locations about an hour away…I’ve changed those and informed those families of my actual rates with a slight discount just for them).

Overall, I’m enjoying myself and am honestly trying to keep myself to 30 hours or less per week of total time towards pet sitting.  That only became difficult during the craziest parts of the summer so far.  I expect the holidays will be packed too.

Did I miss anything that you wanted to know about?  Please let me know!