FREE PET SITTING: Caution! What’s A Value Worth for Your Pet’s Care?

During holiday seasons pet owners are in a scramble to find somebody to care for their pets. The first concern that often comes to mind is cost.  People want a good VALUE for their dollar but do they take into consideration the VALUE they hold of their pets?


I received a call from an older pet owner in November who lived in a very wealthy neighborhood. She was referred by my veterinarian, and normally used one of the technicians at our veterinary clinic to care for her dog overnight but they were unavailable for the holiday season. She asked me how much I charge & I replied $65/night. She literally gasped on the phone & said she’d get back to me. Obviously she is spoiled having the technician care for her dogs for a lower cost. When her daughter convinced her to call back to book it because she had no other choice I was already booked.  She was referred to my affiliate who normally charges $75/night! However, since I referred her, she’d get the care for my rate of $65/night.

So why the price difference?

The technician who normally cares for the owner’s dog does it as a hobby for some extra money on the side. Their main source of income is working at the veterinary clinic. They are NOT bonded & insured or have a business license. They don’t have a legitimate business they operate on a professional level & pay taxes on etc.


I received a call from a lady on a Monday evening that she needed care for her dogs starting Wednesday through Sunday night. Apparently she had asked a friend to do it & they cancelled on her 2 days prior to her departure.  Now she is in a panicked search to find a sitter for her dogs before she leaves.  I was already booked & could not do it on 2 days notice so again she got referred to my affiliate.

The pet owner in an attempt to save money asked a friend or relative to care for her dogs. That person has no obligation or contract with her so it is easy for them to cancel on her or not even show up! A professional pet sitter will have a contract or service agreement that you sign. This bonds both of you into the care for your pets. You get the guarantee they will care for your pet & you promise to pay them for that care.


A couple is planning a trip to Russia to go adopt a baby. The wife works at home and is with their 3 cats most of the time. They are very concerned about their cats being left alone while they travel. They have to go away for 4 days to a seminar as a preliminary to their adoption. A co-worker of the husband volunteers to come care for the cats.  At the walk through she doesn’t want to walk down to the basement on a winding staircase to see the litter box area.  The couple had to coax her down & show her an alternative way to go downstairs.

While they are away several days go by without hearing from the cat sitter.  No text emails or calls. They finally decide to call her & she answers the phone. Tells them she is at the house right now & everything is fine. When they return home & walk in the front door the odor overwhelms them. The litter boxes obviously had not been cleaned in a few days.  When confronted about the litter boxes the person states that she had cleaned them every day & even asks/offers to care for the cats on their next trip.

The pet owners had a friend/co-worker do it to save some money & not knowing of any other option. Obviously the person did not know how to properly care for cats.  They had no idea if the person was actually there & showed up to care for them while they were away.  The person left evidence that the cats were not properly cared for, denied it & then offered to care for the cats again. The pet owners saw a pet sitting sign near their home & realized this would be a better option to look into.

Even if it is a friend, family member or kid next door looking to make some extra money, do you value your pet’s life & care to save a dollar? Do you want to hope they show up? Or hope they care for your pets correctly? People forget, accidents happen & things come up.  Most likely your pet is not going to be their first priority.

To a Professional Pet Sitter – Your Pet IS the priority!


  • Bonded
  • Insured
  • Licensed
  • Has PET CPR, First Aid or some ANIMAL medical care training
  • Uses a service contract, and pet information forms
  • Has a website
  • Has references
  • Has a Secure Key or Lock Box system
  • Has experience & knowledge in working with animals
  • Does a consultation to meet with you & run though your pets care routine
  • Text, calls or emails regular updates with pictures of your pet while you are away
  • Books up in advance – a good pet sitter is in high demand!

Now look at that list, and consider how much more VALUE those items have and hold when it comes to the VALUE of your pet’s life & care while you are away.

The less items on the list mean less you will pay & the less your chances are of your pet receiving good care while you are away.  The horror stories I have heard & seen over the years speak for themselves. The stories above are just a small handful of recent examples within a one-month period I have heard!

When you look at websites such as and there are literally HUNDREDS of people posted on there who want to care for pets. They are college kids, retired, unemployed, men, women, teenagers & they ALL LOVE PETS, HAVE HAD PETS & WOULD LOVE TO CARE FOR YOUR PET! What I have seen as result of theses sites – people are looking for the cheapest pet care possible. I could send them the best resume possible in terms of being a professional pet care provider! Then the minute they hear my rates the emails & contact stop.

Pet sitters seem to be a dime a dozen. It’s a quick, easy way for a person who likes animals to make some extra money in today’s economy.  The quick easy cheap way could put your pet’s life in danger. Is it worth their life to save a few bucks?

As a client of mine repeatedly tells me: “Peace of mind is priceless!”

Shannon’s Pet Sitting

This has been a contribution from Shannon Cole, owner of Shannon’s Pet Sitting, a Better Business Bureau accredited and award winning pet care service in Chicago’s NW Suburbs that specializes in pets w/ behavioral problems, medical needs & senior pets.

With over 15 years experience and being a certified veterinary assistant specialized in internal medicine, Shannon has built a strong reputation as an expert in the pet care industry. Shannon has been a featured guest several times on internet radio shows, and been interviewed about operating a successful pet care business by Angies’s List magazine and author Georganne Fiumara, in the book “How to Start a Home-based Business to Become a Work-At-Home Mom.”

She enjoys working with “Special Needs” pets and mentoring pet sitters that are new to the pet care industry.

Effective Local Marketing for Pet Professionals With Co-Authors of ‘Wildly Profitable Marketing for the Pet Industry’, Pam Foster and C S Wurzberger

With so many free marketing tools out there, it doesn’t take a huge budget to promote your business. But with great marketing, comes great overwhelm!

Far too many pet professionals are getting stuck and don’t know how to go about marketing their business. Or even worse, they split up their time between 900 channels, when they could be working on more important things, like improving their business.

That’s why we sat down with pet industry marketing specialists, Pam Foster and C S Wurzberger. As co-authors of the book Wildly Profitable Marketing for the Pet Industry, Pam and C S are on a mission to help pet businesses of all sizes thrive. We were lucky enough to talk with these two pet industry veterans about how pet professionals can utilize online and offline marketing to grow their business, no matter the economic climate.

If you’d like to hear the full 19 minute interview, become a member of Pet Sitter Directory today!


For More Information On Wildly Profitable Marketing for the Pet Industry:

Profitable People Skills For Pet Professionals With Shawn Schuh, Women In The Pet Industry Network President

We sat down with the President of WIPIN and asked her, what really holds back pet professionals from reaching their goals?

As a certified speaking professional, business coach, and Master’s Certification recipient of Neurolinguistic Programming, Shawna understands how communication skills translate into business growth. In this audio interview, Shawna discusses how pet professionals can stay in love with their businesses while becoming more profitable.

If you’d like to hear the full 28 minute interview, become a member of Pet Sitter Directory today!


For More Information On WIPIN:

Women In The Pet Industry Network

What Makes Pet Sitter Directory Different?

For the past few years we’ve been keeping an eye on the pet sitting industry and have noticed some unique flaws that nobody has filled. After years of monitoring, and a lot of direct pet sitter contact, we’ve created Pet Sitter Directory to overcome these challenges.

Challenge #1 – Getting Found Online
A large portion of pet sitters belong to one association and harbor that relationship like a “Survivor” alliance. For the associations this brand loyalty is great, but for the pet sitters and the pet owners this isn’t great. It creates a fragmented market that doesn’t give pet owners the ability to select from a complete list of qualified professionals and limits exposure to pet sitters.

Solution => Create a national directory that accepts all pet sitters and highlights those that belong to professional associations, hold certifications, etc.

Challenge #2 – Lack of Leads/Traffic
Most online marketing (directory listings, sitter websites, etc) is not optimized for search engines, but search engines are the key to introducing your business to NEW customers. This lack of optimization yields very little (if any) search placement. So most online marketing taking place today is worthless.

Solution => Search engine optimized listings that drive traffic and leads to every city and zip code in the US. Pet Sitter Directory currently submits over 80,000 URLs to search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) every day.

Challenge #3 – Positioning
For years we’ve heard of sitters losing jobs to the cheaper kid down the street. When a professional loses business to a less expensive competitor, there are really only two reasons why.

  1. Market is wrong – Some people will always look for the cheapest price. These people make for bad customers because there’s always a competitor that will undercut price to get business. The solution is to do a better job of defining your target market.
  2. Value – If you’re being compared to the kid down the street, you haven’t explained the value of your services as a professional pet sitter.

SOLUTION => We are creating content that will educate pet owners on why they should do business with professionals instead of the kid down the street. By increasing awareness of the value of a professional pet sitter, the issue of price will diminish and bring higher quality clients to our sitters.

As you can see, by responding to each of these challenges we have created a site that:

  • Educates pet owners on why they need professional pet sitters.
  • Generates more traffic and leads for pet sitters.
  • Allows pet owners the opportunity to see the best pet sitters in one place.

How To Add Your Business Listing To Pet Sitter Directory

“Hello, and welcome to Pet Sitter Directory, where pet owners can find the best sitter for their best friend. This video is intended to walk pet sitters through the listing registration process. So enough with the chatter, let’s get started.

Step 1

Search for your business listing on the Pet Sitter Directory homepage with either your zip code or city and state.

Step 2

You’ll be taken to the results page for your city. The first 5 listings are reserved for enhanced memberships, so most likely you’ll have to expand the listing for your city. You can do this by hitting, “click here to view all pet sitting listings”.

This will show all the pet sitting business listings in our database for that specific area. Scroll down the page or search the page with a “find” command to locate your listing.

From here you’ll do one of two things:

  • If your listing is in our database, click its link.
  • Your listing will most likely be very basic, like this one. So to start customizing it, simply hit the “Click here to claim” button.
  • From there, you’ll be asked to fill out additional information which will be available to pet owners browsing Pet Sitter Directory.

Once you fill out all your information, click the update button at the button of the page, and that’s it.

Sounds easy enough, but you may be asking yourself “What do I do if my business isn’t listed?”

Let’s go to back the expanded city list.

If your listing is not in our database scroll to the very bottom of the page and click where it says “Do you offer pet sitting and/or dog walking services? Add your listing here.”

You’ll be given 3 different business promotion options.

  • To only manually submit your directory listing, select the Community Member button, and your desired membership. The different options and pricing plans will be broken down here.
  • If you’d like to report a local event, or any other pet related news for your area, Community Leader is where you want to be.
  • For more information on how to become a guest blogger for Pet Sitter Directory and get your posts read by pet owners looking for qualified pet sitters in your area, head over to Community Expert area.

Thank you for joining me on this tour of Pet Sitter Directory. If you have any questions or want to learn even more about Pet Sitter Directory please send us an email at”