Professionals Find Success Replacing ‘Corporate’ with Cats and Canines

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Pet Sitters International’s Professional Pet Sitters Week, March 6-12, recognizes pet-care providers

Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, encourages recognition of professional pet-care providers during Professional Pet Sitters Week (PPSW), March 6-12.

Introduced by PSI in 1995, PPSW is an effort to educate pet owners about the advantages of professional in-home pet care and encourage pet-loving entrepreneurs to explore professional pet sitting as career.

An increasing number of professionals are entering the professional pet-care field from other lines of business. Susan Alfieri, owner of Susan’s Shore Paws in New Jersey, replaced ‘corporate’ with cats and canines and loves the result.

“I spent 15 years in the wine industry in sales and management and when the company closed last January, I found myself interviewing for entry-level positions that paid less than half of my previous salary,” Alfieri said. “That’s when it dawned on me that it was time to pursue my passion for pets and open my own business. I was determined to begin my business correctly, so I joined PSI, obtained insurance and bonding and became a PSI Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS).”

Like Alfieri, many professional pet sitters pursue pet sitting as a second career. According to PSI’s latest State of the Industry Survey, nearly 30 percent of its members noted that the desire to leave the corporate world and become their own bosses the main factors for entering the professional pet-sitting industry.

“In the last few years, the economic downturn has resulted in many long-time professionals searching for new jobs or supplemental income,” said Patti Moran, PSI president. “Despite economic challenges, the need for pet care and spending on pets is at an all-time high. In turn, pet-loving entrepreneurs from all walks of life are finding success in pet-sitting careers.”

According to the 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 62 percent of U.S. households own a pet; and an estimated $47.7 billion was spent on pets in the United States last year.

“Now almost a year into my business, I have more than 50 clients, a part-time employee and my business is still growing,” said Alfieri. “I love going to work every day and I think it shows to my clients. I couldn’t be happier!”

PSI members serve more than 1.5 million pet owners and perform approximately 17.4 million pet-sitting engagements annually. The pet-sitting industry shows continued growth as professional pet-care services increase in popularity over alternatives such as boarding or using a neighborhood kid to care for pets.

A commitment to professionalism and continuing education differentiates professional pet sitters from other options, including family members and neighbors. Ninety-seven percent of PSI members carry pet-sitter liability insurance and 84 percent carry both insurance and bonding. In addition, PSI members can pursue PSI certification and take advantage of various continuing pet-care educational opportunities to ensure clients’ pets receive the best possible care.

To locate a PSI member pet sitter in your area, sign up for PSI’s free monthly e-mail newsletter for pet owners, The Scoop on Pet Care, or for more information about pet sitting as a profession, visit PSI’s Web site at http://www.petsit or call (336) 983-9222, ext. 1.

About Pet Sitters International

Established in 1994, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing nearly 7,500 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 including a comprehensive Certification Program, The Pet Sitter’s WORLD magazine and PSI’s annual Quest for Excellence convention. For more information, visit http://www.petsit.com, home of the Official Pet Sitter Locator™, or visit the PSIStoreOnline, the largest specialty retailer of products for pet sitters and pet-sitter business owners.

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Beth Stultz
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