King, NC (PRWEB) July 30, 2008
More than ever, pet owners are turning to professional pet sitters to take care of their pets, according to a recent survey by Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters. The trend is bringing more professionals into the pet service industry, many trading the corporate world for the independence of running their own businesses.
The group polls its now 8,000-plus member businesses every three years on topics such as pet-sitter demographics, pricing, income, length of pet-sitting visits, size of business and services provided to clients. With each survey, PSI is able to identify and track trends among pet owners as well as pet sitters and their businesses.
In the 2008 survey, pet-sitter members report a trend in services that goes much beyond feeding and caring for their customers' animals. The top eight services demanded by clients include basic pet care, dog walking, care of special needs pets, pet transportation service, overnight pet-sitting, house-sitting with no pets, errand services and pooper-scooper services. Some pet-sitting specialists report offering behavior, obedience and grooming services.
"Pet owners tend to treat their pets like a member of the family," says Patti Moran, president of the 14-year old organization. "If they can provide something for their pets that increases their well-being and happiness, they will do it. Our industry has stepped in to provide those services and fulfill those consumer needs. We've seen a steady increase in the number of people entering the pet-sitting profession, and our surveys and membership statistics show that now, more than ever, many are remaining in the profession for five years or longer."
Who are these professional pet-sitters? By far, they work for independently operated (98%), women-owned businesses (84%), and make an estimated 17.4 million visits per year to clients' homes.
What made them choose this line of business? Overwhelmingly, the response was a love of animals (55%), followed by the opportunity to be one's own boss (15%) and the desire to leave the corporate job world (12%).
Who is buying pet sitting and related services? Couples without children lead the list at 40.5 percent followed by couples with children (28.9%) and single females (24.6%). Pet owners are purchasing these services for a variety of reasons, including pet care during vacations, midday walks and visits, pet care needs that arise because of work schedules as well as puppy and geriatric pet care.
"We've always known that there is a tight bond between the buyer and provider of pet care services, and our data is starting to substantiate that assumption," adds Moran. "The consumer demand for these services is able to support top-notch, motivated entrepreneurs who want to combine their love for pets with their strong desire for career independence."
PSI members are offered continuing education on subjects such as pet first aid, disaster planning and spotting potential dangers within a client's home. The industry association also supports and promotes its Official Pet Sitter Locator at http://www.petsit.com. Pet owners can search for pet sitters in their area by ZIP code.
About Pet Sitters International
Established in 1994, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world's largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing more than 8,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. PSI provides 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. For more information, visit http://www.petsit.com, home of the Official Pet Sitter Locator™ or visit the PSIStoreOnline to select from more than 2,000 pet sitter and pet owner products.