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Thinking of starting a cat sitting service - looking for advice and opinions, please.

(10 Posts)
SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 06-Jun-16 15:08:00

I'm currently employed in a part time temp role which is due to come to an end in six weeks, so I've been looking into what to do next. I've always loved cats and have my own who hates going to the cattery, so I'm thinking of launching a cat sitting service which would be an alternative to a cattery when people go on holiday or when they're working away etc. My intention is I'd visit the cats in their own homes once or twice a day to feed them, clean the litter tray, brush them and give them a fuss. I'd also open/close curtains, move the post and water indoor plants if the owner also wanted those things doing.

I know some people holiday year-round but I'm assuming that a lot of this work might be seasonal and there would be more demand between May-Sept, especially during the school holidays. I'm going to look into insurance and plan to get a DBS check done - is there anything else I'd need before advertising for paying clients?

Also, do/would you use a cat sitter and if so, how much would you expect to pay? What would you look for in a cat sitter (apart from someone who adores cats!)?

I'm going to cross-post on The Litter Tray but also wanted to post here for all the start-up expertise. Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
Paulat2112 Wed 08-Jun-16 15:13:00

I do this and charge £6 per 30 minute visit and generally do 2 visits per house per day. I actually do it through tailster and they take a cut which pays insurance.

Linok Tue 14-Jun-16 09:51:11

I use cat sitting service, actually been using it for the last 7 years.

Prepare a standard contract which both parties would sign, mention that you are insured for accidents.

Be professional and discreet but affectionate towards the cats, don't mix up dates or forget to attend! That was the reason I left my first cat sitter.

Our catsitter comes for around 30 minutes once a day and charges £11 per visit, I am happy to pay that. They offer plants watering, curtain opening, bins out on the day of collection.

Be prepared to work in homes with cameras installed. We normally use our sitter 2-3 times a year, and outside of school holidays. Think about Christmas period as many people go away and need catsiiter.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 17-Jun-16 12:25:43

Just coming back to this - thanks both. A standard contract is a great idea, thanks Linok. I'm really organised so would never forget dates and I can cope with cameras in homes. All they'd see is me snuggling their cats anyway!

Do you get a lot of work via Tailster, Paula? £6 for 30 mins seems very cheap - surely less than min wage once you take into account the Tailster 15% fee, your petrol costs/travelling time and tax?

OP’s posts: |
DraenorQueen Fri 17-Jun-16 12:29:24

I've just had to look for a cat sitter for 5 days while I was abroad for a work trip. There was literally NOBODY. In the end I had to persuade a dog walking company to do it for the obscene sum of £16 / 20 min visit.
She was lovely and did a good job and sent me daily picture messages but God it was expensive...

mouldycheesefan Fri 17-Jun-16 12:32:20

£6 per 30 mins is £12 per hour gross.
Minus 15% is £1.80
So £10.20 left.
That is well above minimum wage, which is calculated gross and doesn't include travel time or petrol for any job including cat sitting.
I know someone who does cat sitting, you need a lot of customers to make a living from it and have to be prepared to work all Xmas and holidays.

SteelyPip Fri 17-Jun-16 12:35:35

I use a cat-sitter who charges £9 per visit. She used to work as a vet's nurse which reassured me that if the kitts needed meds or had a small injury, that she would be able to cope.

Would you be able to gain some similar experience as a volunteer, or complete some training maybe to add to your marketability.

LyndaNotLinda Fri 17-Jun-16 12:38:25

My cat sitter also charges £6/visit (but I think she might charge more for multiple cat households). We live in quite a small town and I know she groups her visits geographically so she can park and walk between them.

My cat doesn't have a litter tray so she just feeds her and hangs out with her a bit.

She has a facebook page and is on lots of local animal groups so I think gets a lot of recommendations/referrals that way.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 17-Jun-16 21:42:26

Mouldy I know what you mean with regard to each full hour worked being £12ph gross but it's only really £12 per hour if the next client is within a few mins walking distance because otherwise you're driving from one client to the next for the second part of the hour, if that makes sense. In other words, the driving time between clients is 'dead' time that's non-chargeable, meaning that only 30 mins is chargeable even though you may be out 'working' for an hour in total. I haven't explained that very well but I think I know what I mean grin.

I've already considered working over Xmas etc, so that's not an issue. Just looking into Tailster now, wonder if that could be a good starting point.

OP’s posts: |
mouldycheesefan Mon 20-Jun-16 14:01:32

Yes totally agree, it's hard to make it pay. Min wage is a red herring though as you will be self employed. It's hard to make it pay though and involves working weekends and holidays when other people are away I.e antisocial hours.

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