The demand for house sitters has witnessed massive growth as the number of homeowners who have pets increased. Most often, offering house sitting services can also mean that you offer pet sitting services. Even with the prevalence of home security systems, homeowners may want additional peace of mind knowing that someone is on the premises to keep an eye on their home and possessions.
This is without doubt a very viable business that can earn you substantial money even while you keep working at a full-time job.
Although a good number of homeowners hire house sitters to feed and care for their pets, reset alarms, water plants, and collect mail and the newspaper, they may also want their home to look occupied to ward off any potential break-ins. Owing to that, some clients may not require that you stay on the premises, instead, you will be expected to visit the house once or twice a day.
Steps on How to Start a House Sitting Business
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
Carrying out extensive market research remains one of the first steps necessary to start a successful business. Take your time to research other house-sitting businesses in your area to understand the services they offer, their price points, and customer reviews. Have in mind that what you are looking for is a market gap to fill. For example, maybe the local market is missing an overnight house-sitting business.
You can choose to focus on a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of the industry or even offering extra services that will set your business apart in the market. Regardless of the sort of services you intend to offer, carrying out detailed market research is of utmost priority.
a. Who is the Target Market?
A good number of your target audience in this business will be homeowners who are on vacation or who left their homes for an extended period. Most of them will merely want to have movement and energy happening in their home; especially since any property that is left unattended will become a magnet for thieves.
b. Is House Sitting Business a Profitable Business?
Yes. The growth potential in this business is encouraging. However, while this market can be very competitive, have it in mind that people leave town at every time of the year, so there’s always a good demand for good house sitters. Note that individuals and businesses that have proven themselves with excellent reviews will surely continue attracting clients and also making good money.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
While there are no pronounced niches in this business, there are many ways to offer house-sitting services, and this will most often depend on your market needs and financial capabilities. Aside from starting an owner-operator house sitting business, you can choose to start and run a referral service business that matches people who need house sitting services with those who want to house sit.
Also, note that you can employ house sitters on an on-call basis and assign them to jobs as they become available. You can also decide to inculcate additional complementary services like pet sitting, dog walking, babysitting referrals, and a nanny service.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- Trusted House Sitters
- Aussie House Sitters
- Kiwi House Sitters
- House Sitters America
- Mind My House
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for House Sitting Business?
Yes. In the United States, you may be expected to be licensed through your state, county, or local government before you can offer house sitting services. In some places, the tax department may request that you collect tax on your house-sitting services. Owing to that, you must research your state to know if there is a licensing process for house sitters.
Ask questions and also meet with industry experts in your area to find out whether the state has any type of license, permit, or other requirements for professional house sitters. Have it in mind that you may be expected to obtain a business license or pay a business registration fee to work as a house sitter in your area.
f. Is There a Franchise for House Sitting Business?
- Hawkeye’s Home Sitters: $5,000-$10,000
- Eye On Your Home: $27,550-$37,550
- Veterans Home Security: $87,000-$298,000
- com: $20,000 – $60,000
g. What Do You Need to Start a House Sitting Business?
- Extensive Research
- Business Plan
- House Sitting Site
- Necessary Permits And Licenses
- Marketing Plans
Choose a Memorable Business Name
When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.
Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a house sitting business are;
Creative House Sitting Business Name ideas
- Reliable Watchers
- House Warriors
- Guardian Angels
- House Protections
- Apartment Lords
- Sitting Venus
- Valiant Sitters
- Sitting Knight
- House Principal
- Safe Keeping
- Home Allied
- Care Prospect
- Pose Clique
- City Watchers
- Grateful Paws
- Sitting Jewel
- Guardians of the Realm
- House Security
- Home Pampering service
- House Heroes
Register your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for House Sitting Business?
You have to understand that business structures come in different varieties, and each tends to have its own pros and cons. Have it in mind that the legal structure you choose for your house-sitting business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements.
Most house-sitting businesses start as Sole Proprietorships which makes no legal distinction between company and owner. Every income in this structure goes to the owner, who is also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. However, to be on the safer side, house-sitting business owners are advised to choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a House Sitting Business?
Although there aren’t licenses specifically required to start and run a house-sitting business, note there may be general licensing requirements for starting a business at the federal, state, and local levels. Nonetheless, here are basic licenses and permits that a house sitting business may need:
- General Business License or Permit
- Entity Formation
- Business Name Registration
- Sales Tax Permit or Business Number
- Federal Employer Identification Number
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a House Sitting Business?
Note that you do not need any type of certification to start and run a house-sitting business. While a first aid certification or a pet care certification might be beneficial, it is not mandatory.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a House Sitting Business?
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Insurance Policy
- Operating Agreement
- Client Terms and Conditions
- Employment Agreement and Staff Handbook
- Contractor’s Agreement
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
In the United States, you don’t need to apply for a patent to run a house-sitting business because you might not have any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Do your Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a House Sitting Business?
Truth be told, there are little or no costs involved with starting this business. While you may choose to take an animal training course to distinguish yourself amongst your competitors, have in mind that there’s no equipment to buy to get started. However, you will surely require insurance to cover yourself should anything go wrong.
Nevertheless, your start-up cost will run from about $1,700 to $4,000. The costs include a website, scheduling software, and insurance. You can also take courses and become a certified pet sitter through the NAPPS if you choose for an additional $250 to $400.
b. What are the Costs Involved?
- Setting up a business name and corporation: $150 – $200
- Business licenses and permits: $100 – $300
- Insurance: $100-$300
- Business cards and brochures: $200 – $300
- Website setup: $1,000 – $3,000
- Scheduling and management software: $200 – $300
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a House Sitting Business?
- Business Size
- The Cost for Insurance Policy Covers
- The Extra Services Offerings
- The Cost of Hiring and Paying a Website Developer
- Cost of Recruiting and Training Your House Sitters
- The Cost of Launching Your Business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility?
No. This business doesn’t necessarily need a physical office, and almost all your business can be conducted online. Therefore, your website is one of the most important aspects of your business. Have it in mind that without an efficient and attractive website, most people will consider you shady.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses for Running a House Sitting Business?
- Website costs
- Subscription service fees
- Pet supplies (e.g., treats, extra leashes, etc.)
- Gas/car maintenance fees
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Company Manager: $52,273 /year
- Marketing Manager: $46,884 / year
- Sitters Coordinator: $41,635 /year
- Administrative Assistant $27,849 /year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a House Sitting Business?
- Business loans
- A business line of credit
- Friends and family
- Angel investors
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
It is generally believed that crime is deterred by the presence of a house sitter. This is backed by the fact that insurance companies are known to offer reduced rates for householders who use the services of housesitters. Located in Juneau, Alaska as at its launch, Guardian Angels will make available house sitters, pet sitters, security guards, and security audits to homeowners who will at any time require our services.
b. Products and Service
At Guardian Angels, we will provide the following services to our clients:
- House sitting
- Pet sitting
- Security guards
- Extensive security audits
c. Mission Statement
Our mission at Guardian Angel is to cater to the needs of our homeowners’ as much as possible, and also work every day to uphold the statement ‘the customer is always right, especially since when it comes to homes and pets, owners know best.
Our vision at Guardian Angel is to instill in homeowners confidence in our ability to care for their homes and pets. We will work hard to control a significant market share and increase profit as we grow and expand.
d. Goals and Objectives
- To grow sales up to $30,000 per month by the end of the first year.
- To break even in the second year, and be profitable by the third year.
- To grow sales by 20% per year in the second and third years while also becoming profitable.
e. Organizational Structure
- Company Manager
- Marketing Manager
- Sitter Coordinator
- Administrative Assistant
a. SWOT Analysis
- Provides appropriate insurance, courses, criminal record check, website, etc.
- A fresh face on the market
- Offer high-quality service
- Have experience with different animals
- Lack of exposure
- New to market place
- No reputation or presence
- Lack of initial cash flow
- Vehicle expenses, insurance, etc.
- Strong customer in the target market
- Greater earnings due to demographics of the target market
- Potential to grow business
- Cover wider area
- Hire additional staff
- Provide more services
- Few businesses in the area are full-time and can offer additional services such as pet training, grooming, longer home visit periods, etc.
- Increased cost of living
- Lack of demand due to household budget cuts
- Loss of income if stuck, injured, or during holidays
b. How Do House Sitting Businesses Make Money?
Businesses in this line make money by charging a flat fee for the services they provide. Most often, they charge per day, with the amount varying based on the time and effort the house sitter will have to invest in the business.
c. Payment Options
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via check
- Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Create leaflets and letterboxes to be dropped in suburbs where the business intends to house sit
- Make posters and put them up on supermarket notice boards, cafes, yoga studios, and community centers.
- Drop business cards at local pet shops, homeware stores, and real estate agents.
- Get active on Facebook groups and forums
- Request friends and family members to keep an ear out or to share the services on their travel adventures.
- Speak to local councils about adding the house sitter services to their community resource documents.
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Service?
Rates for house sitting tend to vary based on geographical location and the level of service the business intends to provide. A typical arrangement can go as much as $20 per day, but with add-ons for additional pets, house cleaning, small home repairs, and other services, daily rates can grow to $50 or more. If you only need to stop by once a day to feed a cat and clean its litter box, then you’ll likely charge less than the standard rate.
b. How Much Profit Do House Sitting Business Owners Make a Year?
Although house-sitting services usually boom around the holidays, have in mind that you can work every day of the year. You would only need 5 clients at $30 a day to make about $150 a day. In your first year or two, working 5 days a week, you can genuinely make $39,000 in annual revenue.
As you grow your business reputation, sales could climb to 10 clients a day. With annual revenue of $78,000, you will probably make a substantial profit of $70,200.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- Business location
- Class of clients
- Number of sitters
- Additional services offered
- Business management
- Network and connection
- Advertising and marketing strategies
d. What is the Profit Margin of a House Sitting Business Product/Service?
According to industry reports, your only ongoing costs should be for fuel and marketing, therefore your profit margin will be around 90%.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Here are sales forecasts to expect from a well-managed house sitting business;
- First Fiscal Year (FY1): $98,000
- Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $176,000
- Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $314,000
Set Up your Office
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for House Sitting Business
Truth be told, you can start your house-sitting business from the comfort of your home to keep costs low, but as you expand you might want to look into renting a facility. When selecting a commercial space, it is recommended that you follow these rules:
- Well-positioned location accessible via public transport
- Ventilated and spacious, with adequate natural light
- A flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
- Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
b. What State and City are Best to Open a House Sitting Business?
- Miami, Florida
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Tampa, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Fairbanks, Alaska.
- Grand Forks, North Dakota.
- Williston, North Dakota.
- Fargo, North Dakota.
- Duluth, Minnesota.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate?
Know that there is no equipment to buy to get started. However, you may need computers/laptops, an internet facility, a telephone, a fax machine, and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves); all depending on the size of your business and the services you offer.
To efficiently start and run a house-sitting business, you don’t need a team, though you can certainly consider hiring good employees as your client base expands. Note that by building up your brand, you can also genuinely expand to other parts of your state/region.
Launch the Business Proper
Although the cost of starting this business can be quite low, have in mind that reputation is everything. Your reputation remains your calling card in this line of business, and it can help if you’re not a stranger to town. Also, consider joining the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
While you might compete with other house sitters, you can also collaborate and help each other. Consider working with house sitters who provide the services your company doesn’t. When you land a new client with needs you can’t meet, you simply refer to them. In turn, they also refer clients to you too.
a. What Makes a House Sitting Business Successful?
Once you start getting your first sets of regular clients, ensure to keep the momentum going and earn yourself a long-lasting reputation by going the extra mile. Coupled with offering top-notch services, consider doing little extra services here and there that you know they will notice and appreciate.
Things like leaving the fridge stocked with fresh milk, a carton of eggs, and a pack of bacon. This will mean a lot when they get back home hungry and tired. Consider also having all of the windows cleaned or taking their little pet for grooming. Your customers will be very happy and will continue to use your services.
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a House Sitting Business?
This will vary depending on the services you offer and the needs of your clients. Expect your daily activities to include;
- Feeding/walking pets
- Taking in the mail
- Sweeping/shoveling the walkway
- General home upkeep (e.g., dusting, etc.)
- Watering plants
- Maintaining plumbing/pipes
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a House Sitting Business?
Truth be told, caring for someone’s home and pets can be quite a responsibility. Aside from being tasked with keeping the property safe and in shape, you will be expected to handle emergencies. This might involve broken or clogged pipes, fires, break-ins, and theft.
It would also be nice if you are pet-friendly and can adequately care for a vast range of different pets. You will also need good organizational skills, especially if you intend to handle more than one client at a time.