Dog welcoming pet sitter at door to client’s property

If you love animals, being a pet sitter is a great way to earn money while spending time with animals. However, it is important to set up your pet sitting business properly and make sure you comply with any rules.

What is a pet sitter?

A pet sitter will usually spend time with a pet at the owner’s property. You may be there to feed the pet, walk it, clean it out, take care of it, or just spend time with it. The owner will normally provide instructions about what care is required.

Sometimes a pet sitter may also look after animals that clients bring to them, at their own home. However, this is more akin to pet boarding. Certain regulations will apply in these instances.

Pet sitter stroking cat in client’s kitchen

Do I need qualifications to be a pet sitter?

You don’t need formal qualifications to be a pet sitter. However, if you have experience of looking after animals, this will be reassuring to potential clients.

Clients will also want to know that you do not have a criminal record. This may mean carrying out background checks. Remember: clients will typically be trusting you with their home and valuables, as well as their pet.

Do you need a licence to be a pet sitter?

If you are just providing pet sitting services at the client’s home, then you do not need a licence. However, if you provide pet boarding services or look after the animals at your home, in your capacity as a business, then you will need a licence.

Licensing is a requirement in these circumstances even if it’s only one animal. This doesn’t just cover boarding; it also includes day care at your property.

You can apply for a licence via your local authority. Someone will then inspect your property to check that it is suitable. They will consider:

  • safety and security
  • whether bedding is appropriate
  • the animal regime (e.g. whether will they be left unattended or exercised regularly)
  • who will be looking after them

If you have previous convictions for animal welfare offences, you will not be granted a licence.

Pet sitter with dog in back garden of client’s home

What else do I need to be a pet sitter?

You should always consider having appropriate pet business insurance. This doesn’t just provide peace of mind to you and potential clients, it also protects you if something goes wrong.

If an accident causes damage, injury, or harm to someone, and you are found to be responsible, you could face a claim for thousands of pounds of damages and compensation. The same may be true if you lose a pet, or they are harmed while in your care.

If you haven’t got insurance, you and your business will be required to pay any costs ordered by the court, as well as legal fees. You’ll also need to take time off work to deal with any proceedings.

If you can’t pay, your business and your assets may be at risk.

What kinds of insurance do I need?

You should always consider getting pet sitting insurance from an insurance company that understands how your business works. As part of your policy, it should include:

Your pet sitting insurance should also include cover for:

  • loss of an animal
  • loss of keys
  • loss of your licence
  • loss of money (if your business’ funds are stolen)
  • insurance for your equipment

Depending on the nature of your business, there may be other types of insurance you should consider.

For example, if you employ anyone, you must have employers’ liability insurance. You may also want to have animal illness insurance to cover any sudden vet fees.

Pet sitter holding the keys to a client’s property

Reliable pet sitting insurance providers

Being a responsible pet sitter means being prepared. It also requires you to ensure clients can invest their trust in you. Having pet sitting insurance from a reputable insurer will go a long way to providing peace of mind for all parties.

For almost two decades, Pet Business Insurance has insured a range of pet and animal care businesses, including pet sitters.

Whether you are pet sitting at a client’s home or running a licensed in-home boarding operation, our insurance policies are designed to meet the needs of your business.

We’re also not afraid to go the extra mile for you. For example, our policyholders enjoy access to free online video consultations with a qualified vet, through our Vet On The Net programme.

To discuss your pet sitting insurance requirements, get in touch with Pet Business Insurance today. Call 01284 736 874, or complete our online enquiry form.

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