Professional Pet Sitters Benefit from Increased Demand

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Pet Sitters International releases State of the Industry Survey data.

According to Pet Sitters International (PSI), results from its 2011 State of the Industry Survey indicate that there is a growing demand for the services of professional pet sitters. The association’s survey found that member pet-sitting businesses performed more than 18.5 million pet-sitting visits last year, up from 17.4 million pet-sitting visits in 2007. And in 2010 PSI members generated over $325 million in pet-sitting fees.

The association surveys its more than 7,000 member businesses every three years on topics including pet-sitter demographics, service prices, income, business size and types of services provided. The survey results are used to develop an accurate PSI member profile and to examine industry trends. Twenty-seven percent of PSI’s members responded to the 2011 survey.

Increases were also reported in the average number of years in business, number of full-time employees hired and use of employee background checks.

Service types and fees
The survey revealed that a typical pet-care visit lasts 32 minutes and clients are charged an average price of $17.75 per visit. Pet owners who rely on professional pet sitters report that they are willing to pay for the convenience and peace of mind they receive when using a professional. Joni Zagst, a Kingwood, Texas pet owner, has used the services of Scott Black, owner of Personal Touch Pet Sitting, for two years.

“I use a professional pet sitter to care for my three dogs when I travel because my pets are cared for in their own environment,” Zagst said. “I like the idea of my pets not being stressed out and in an unfamiliar setting when I’m away.”

Zagst is just one of the more than 740,000 pet owners who use the services of a PSI member business. The survey data indicates that the most common services offered by professional pet sitters include:

  •      Basic pet care (96.6%)
  •      Dog walking (93.4%)
  •      Care of special needs pets (88.4%)
  •      Pet transportation (63.5%) and
  •      Overnight care (58.9 %)

Owner/business profile
Survey results indicate that the typical pet-sitting business owner is female, between the ages of 41 to 60 (63.1%), married (58.9%) and owns her home (79.8%). The survey also revealed that the average professional pet sitter earned an annual salary of $48,635 in 2010. Additionally, 90 percent of business-owning members have completed at least some college; and 16 percent pursued or completed graduate-level degrees.

Most businesses carry both liability and bonding insurance (84.5%) and provide care for both dogs and cats (96%). Other top companion animals served include birds (63%), fish (61.6%) and caged pets (59.8%).

Established in 1994, PSI is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters.

“This is the most comprehensive data for pet-sitting business owners anywhere in the industry,” said Patti Moran, president of the 17-year old organization. “This is a thriving service industry. Those who are succeeding in it have business savvy, maintain their educational credentials and work hard to deliver exceptional service at a competitive price.”

PSI’s State of the Industry Survey also collected data on technology, brand preferences and client demographics.

To learn more about the survey or to learn more about professional pet sitting as a career, visit http://www.petsit.com.

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 7,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. PSI provides members with access to affordable bonding and liability insurance as well as educational resources that include a comprehensive Certification Program, Pet Sitter’s WORLD magazine, The Scoop e-news and PSI’s annual Quest convention. For more information, visit http://www.petsit.com, home of the Official Pet Sitter Locator™ or sign up to receive The Scoop on Pet Care. Visit the PSIStoreOnline, the largest specialty retailer of products for pet sitters and pet-sitting business owners.

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Courtney Klein
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