Pet Sitters International Suggests Four Must-Have Tools to Take Your Pet-Sitting Business to the Next Level

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A pet sitter needs to develop a solid business sense to complement her natural affinity toward pets. When pet sitters reach this point of growth, it's good to know that there are tools and professional resources available to help push the business yet another step forward. Pet Sitters International suggests four must-have tools to grow your pet-sitting business.

Most pet sitters understand the value and potential benefit of hard work combined with a passion for pets and pet care. That's what usually drives them into the business. In fact, that's what created the profession in the first place.

Getting to that next level of entrepreneurship with a pet-sitting business, however, requires more than just passion and persistence. A pet sitter needs to develop a solid business sense to complement her natural affinity toward pets. When pet sitters reach this point of growth, it's good to know that there are tools and professional resources available to help push the business yet another step forward. Pet Sitters International recommends that a pet sitter working to build his or her business consider the following tools:

Business and Human Resources Operations Advice. A great way to begin that next stage of business growth is to make sure your business is structured properly (e.g., a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation). There are important legal and tax considerations related to the organizational structure of a small business. Your local attorney or certified public accountant can help you through this decision. . If you plan to use independent contractors or add employees to your pet-sitting business, these decisions can impact how your business is structured. Again, seek professional advice from trusted sources. Assistance is available from a variety of legal services.

Finally, make criminal background checks standard procedure for all new hires. Make sure you are working with a reputable company and steer clear of incomplete background checks such as so-called "national searches." The only completely reliable and current information is found at the county level.

Pet-sitting Software. For individual pet sitters, as well as pet-sitting services with staff, utilizing pet-sitting software can increase efficiency and allow more time to focus on customer service. Pet-sitting software programs such as PowerPetSitter.com and Bluewave Professional Pet Sitter combine scheduling, database, payroll and bookkeeping, as well as invoicing features in a format specific to the pet-sitting business. PSI recommends researching software options in order to choose a program that best fits your business needs and technical know-how. In addition, you should consider a software solution that is compatible with other computer programs you may use, such as Microsoft Excel or QuickBooks.

Continuing Education. Professional pet sitters, like others who are leaders within their profession, need to keep current with new trends, products and techniques. Fortunately, people enjoy conveying knowledge to others who share their passion. Some of the pioneers in the pet-sitting business are great resources for that information. Patti Moran, Pet Sitters International president and founder, has authored a number of books as well as a DVD on successfully starting and running a pet-sitting business. Her book Pet Sitting for Profit is considered by many to be the industry's most authoritative resource. These materials are available at the Pet Sitters International online store, http://www.psistoreonline.com/.

Pet sitters can also demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the business by becoming accredited with PSI, which is the world's largest educational organization for pet sitters. Some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the pet-care business have contributed to the development of PSI's accreditation coursework in pet care, health and nutrition, additional services and business and office procedures. Ongoing study will keep a professional pet sitter current and will provide yet another important selling point as a pet-sitting business seeks to add new customers.

A Business Referral Network. A solid business referral network is an indispensable tool that will help grow a pet-sitting business. Working closely with others in pet-related businesses has the potential to yield solid alliances and direct referrals. Veterinarians, pet-store owners and groomers can serve as the core of a pet sitter's referral network and as businesses exchange referrals, the network most certainly will grow. In addition, participation in a local pet-sitting network can provide a support system, a forum for exchanging pet-sitting advice, a source of local referrals and back-up assistance.

The pet-sitting business has enjoyed substantial growth over the past 20 years. In fact, Pet Sitters International now has nearly 8,000 member businesses. Growing a pet-sitting business doesn't have to be a solitary venture. Other like-minded individuals with the same passion have already developed numerous tools specific to the industry that may prove beneficial to the solo pet sitter. Seeking qualified professional, legal and financial advice is crucial to seeing your pet-sitting business flourish.

About Pet Sitters International
Established in 1994, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing nearly 8,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. PSI prides itself on its ability to provide its members with access to affordable bonding and liability insurance and educational resources such as PSI's Accreditation Program, The WORLD of Professional Pet Sitting magazine, The Pet Owner's WORLD magazine and PSI's annual Quest convention.

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