According to our National Student Money Survey, 67% of you have got a part-time job to survive at uni. The problem is that some student jobs just don’t fit with uni schedules, and employers aren’t always flexible.
Pet sitting allows you to set your own hours and your own pay, meaning you could end up earning £40 or more each day. Oh, and don’t forget the added bonus of being around animals!
Interested? We thought so. Find out all about pet sitting in this guide!
What’s on this page?
- What is pet sitting?
- The pros and cons of pet sitting
- How much money can you make from pet sitting?
- How to get work as a pet sitter
What is pet sitting?
Pet sitting is a lot like babysitting – except you are looking after someone’s pet, and not their child. Makes sense.
Some pet owners prefer to have someone look after their furry bundle of cuteness instead of using a cattery or kennel. This could be for a number of reasons sometimes – perhaps paying someone to sit is cheaper, or their pet gets stressed being away from home.
Depending on the job, you could find yourself looking after the animal at either the owner’s house or your own place.
If you’ve only got a few hours spare and can’t commit to several days of care, there are other options. You could become a dog walker, start a doggy day care centre at your house or just keep pets company during the day whilst their owner is working.
In a nutshell, you need to feed them, play with them and keep them safe – just like your own animal.
Five pros and cons of pet sitting
- You get to look after animals and get paid for it!
- If you want to work with animals in the future, pet sitting will look brilliant on your CV – especially if you can get references from happy customers
- Pets may need to be fed at a certain time, so you need to get there on time – a great way to encourage time management and organisation
- You can work whenever you want, and choose your hourly pay
- The biggest pro of them all: animals are cute and cuddly!
- Work may be sparse – it depends on where you are, and if anyone else is offering a similar service
- You may be expected to give pets medication, if required
- Owners may be fussy. Understandable, yes, but does Fido really need to be fed boiled chicken, hand-cut into 1-inch pieces, and for you to make whale noises just to get him to sleep?
- You may need a car to pick up and drop off animals if you are pet sitting in your own home
- If you use a website, expect them to take a fee for advertising.
How much can I make from pet sitting?
If you’re wondering how much demand there is for pet sitting where you live, have a look at what other people are charging. Here are some benchmark figures to give you a rough idea:
|Type of work
|Looking after pets while the owner is away or at work
|£8 per hour
|£10 per hour
(with extra charges for more than one dog)
|Looking after a dog at your house for a few hours
|Looking after the animal overnight at the owner’s house
Remember that these are just ballpark figures, and depending on where you live and what the pets are, you could get more or less than this.
If you go the extra mile, you can potentially charge more and even get yourself some regular business!
You could offer to water the garden or pick up their post, and make a genuine effort to make animals feel at ease in your presence. This could mean giving them treats, or sending the owner regular texts or pictures to keep their mind at ease.
How to get work as a pet sitter
Start off by asking family and friends if they know anyone who needs a pet sitter. Alternatively, you could post on local Facebook pages or Gumtree. Or, if you’re feeling super old school, you could even put up some posters or flyers in the local area.
If you’re after something a little more structured, there are a few websites out there that will introduce you to owners. What’s more, if you work through these companies, there’s a good chance you’ll be covered by their insurance (always check the specifics though, just in case!).
Unlike most other pet sitting websites, Care.com caters for pretty much any type of animal.
Of course, as cats and dogs are the most popular pets, they’ll also be the subject of a good proportion of the listed jobs. But don’t worry if you’re after some variety, as all animals are welcome here!
Cat in a Flat
Cat in a Flat is solely for cat sitting, and you can offer to cat sit for a few hours or overnight.
You (and the cat) will be fully insured by the website, and you’ll be expected to send the owner a picture of their kitty every day.
As the name suggests, Dog Buddy is for dog owners.
As a dog sitter, you can offer dog walking, home visits and doggy day care.
Don’t want to commit to caring for just one type of animal? Head over to Pawshake, where you could find yourself looking after anything from dogs to mice!
Services you can offer include dog walking, doggy day care and overnight stays.
If you’re not bothered about money but want to do a bit of travelling, Trusted Housesitters matches up global trekkers to homeowners all over the world who need a pet sitter in exchange for free accommodation.
You need to pay an up-front fee of £89 a year to advertise, but depending on where you’re travelling to, you could be making that back in as little as one or two night’s worth of free accommodation!
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and sit some pets!
If you’d rather have a more reliable source of income, why not look into getting one of the best paid student jobs?