After my dog sitting session the other week, I've had several more requests to do likewise from friends and neighbours and have been thinking seriously about advertising my services. I've been suffering for the past month or two with a really painful knee and I'm a bit worried that I may curtail some of my gardening work and therefore I need other strings to my bow.
I've drafted out an advert, in which I offer house and pet sitting duties, with the option of taking on other work whilst there. The basic rate is £30 for 24 hours, ( minimum charge) plus £10 per hour for work taken on, such as gardening, cleaning, ironing, light decorating during my stay. Initially I'm just advertising locally and see what comes in, if requests come from further afield then I shall charge petrol costs on top.
I sent it round friends for comment and have had a few suggestions back, to increase the service, such as driving people to the airport/ train station if they are going on holiday, It's all about relieving the worries people have when they are away....am keen to get your thoughts and ideas, what do you worry about when you are away from home? Are there other things that you think I could add?
The charges sound reasonable, I do some dog sitting as a sideline to gardening and charge the same rate £12.50 per hour for the established clients - due to being too busy new clients are £15. However it may be that here in the London commuter zone we are able to charge more.
The only down side to dog sitting is the worry of losing the dog, especially if taking it on a walk, one place has 4 dogs and trying to do gardening whilst keeping a watchful eye on them all is surprisingly stressful.
Whatever you do, do not undercharge for your time, there are lots of people with no time who want help with little jobs like you suggest. I could not do any house sitting as I have too many domestic responsibilities at home but just do hours during the day - for instance last week the client who normally works from home had to go to Bristol so he was out from 6a.m. to 8p.m., but often it is only a couple of hours needed during the day. In order to catch people like that it might be better to separate the house sitting and dog sitting in the advert so people who are only away for a few hours don't think you only do an overnight service.
One other question is can you get insurance for it just in case the worst happens.
Thanks both of you
i was worried about the insurance side of it too, I have public liability insurance and my car is covered for business use, so I'm hoping that covers most issues.
the 4 dogs sounds a nightmare
yes I think it's a good idea to clarify the options and will have think about how to reword my advert a little before I print it.
Sounds good but think it a good idea to seperate out overnight from daily. There must be lots of people like me with dogs who need to occasionally go out for several hours. We are always clock watching as know the dogs can only be left for a maximum 5 hours. I would love to have someone pop by and take them for a walk.
Trying to enjoy life as it is
I've done that on my latest draft Aly, one of my friends commented that I might be missing out on opportunities by not doing so, I've now advertised a rate of £6 per hour for short cover or £30 per 24 hour. ( dog walking costs on top of that)
i really hope it takes off, I put it on gumtree and there are one or two others advertising similar but most of the ads are large networks advertising and I'm hoping the personal touch might be more appealing.
Sort of related to the dog-sitting I came across a business called pet pavilions in central London, they are seeking to expand in to Battersea, I dread to think what they charge for looking after dogs but charging extra to shampoo the mutt sounds like a good way to charge even more. Interesting that just walking one dog is a special one to one client experience.
Not told mike about this one yet, but I got a response to my gumtree advert, not sure I will be telling him either...the cheeky chap wanted to know if I did "extras...you know, girlfriend boyfriend sort of stuff". I told him where to go pretty sharply.
It did make me realise I need to be careful if someone invites me round to discuss a potential booking
Omg Jan, that opens up a whole other spectrum of home-based services........!!
Makes you wonder just what 'euphemisms' are used in adverts for, erm, 'adult' services.......mind you, we did once have the misfortune to have a couple of prostitutes move in next door to where we were living in Northampton, they stuck a card in their front window advertising 'Hair removal for men'. Yeah right......(the police eventually came round and had a word with them and they moved out, thankfully).
Yes Jan, perhaps you need to consider taking someone with you when you first go to meet someone who's answered your ads.
learning to love veg…..except celery :-O
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