Power Pet Sitter is helping people make great strides in life.. and in the news!
One of our Client’s made their local news because of their fabulous Pet sitting business!
On a visit to Chicago about 18 years ago, Coleen Mulvaney saw a striking sight: A man walking in downtown with a herd of dogs.
“I said ‘Boy, you have a lot of dogs.’ He replied, ‘No. I’m a pet sitter.’ My friend told me I could do this as a business since I was already taking care of friends’ pets,” Ms. Mulvaney said.
Thus, Watch a Pet Unlimited was born.
An accidental entrepreneur of sorts, her micro-business grew out of her natural affection for the animals represented by the moniker “Unlimited.”
Through word of mouth, friends and family have sought her service to tend to their pet while they are away from the home. Although the Toledo resident could run the business full-time she and her domestic and business partner Mary Lou Williams keep it personal.
A social worker by trade, the revenue from pet sitting is “fun money.”
“We can take up to four clients per day. That still allows us good quality time with the pets, while working a full-time job,” she said.
When it came to finding a sitter for Kevin and Kriss Thompson’s Papillon Gizmo, allowing the animals to stay at home while their owners went on trip, was the best option.
“It cost about the same as boarding. It may be less. Boarding was about $30 a night and it was $25 a day for Mary Lou to come to our home. She checks on him four times a day, spends time with him, brings him outside and takes him for walks,” Kriss Thompson said.
She said the at-home care was more gentle on Gizmo’s nerves.
“It wasn’t that he wasn’t receiving good care. It’s just the boarding facilities are so large and they are so loud. And he’s a puppy mill survivor and he’s kind an anxious little guy anyway. When we would bring him home from being boarded … it would take him a few days to get back in the routine. He wouldn’t eat much and be extra clingy, which is normal, but he is more anxious and shy than your normal dog,” she said.
It’s more than just tender loving care that area pet sitters offer homeowners and their four-legged family members: dogs, cats, hamsters, horses, gerbils, turtles, pigs, and more.
Pet sitters provide a sense of security while pet parents are away, often checking the mail, making sure trash cans are taken back to the house, or just a general house check.
John Hauman, owner of Ma & Paws Pet & House Sitting service in Toledo, even takes photos of the pets, posting snaps into faux magazine cover designs, just for fun.
“We leave this stuff behind and don’t charge for that. Even my granddaughter [Laci Sadowski, 9] gives me ideas [about little things to do],” he said.
Retired, Mr. Hauman has enlisted his wife “Ma” Bonita, children and grandchildren to help with the family business. It started as a way to help him grieve after his dog Shilo died in 2010. Friends and relatives gave him their pets to look after.
Mr. Hauman has a big black binder filled with pet owners’ detailed instructions for each animal. He said for most clients these are their four-legged children and he is devoted to caring for them.
“We even keep track of their birthdays,” he said.
His devotion went noticed. Ma & Paws was one of the Top Five Finalists for the 2014 Pet Sitter of the Year award given by Pet Sitters International.
Tips for finding a pet sitter:
If you’re considering using a pet sitter, Pet Sitters International suggests the following:
● Ask for proof of insurance and being bonded, and have proper pet license required by state or city.
● Request proof of clear criminal record.
● Ask for a service agreement that details specific services. This legal document protects pet owner and sitter.
● Ask what type of pet training the owner and staff has, such as CPR and first aid.
● Third party associations, like Pet Sitters International, document certified owners.
● In the end, spend time getting to know the sitter and making sure they are the right fit for you and your pet.
Pet Sitters Communications Manager Beth Stultz said its 7,000 members span more than 25 countries.
She said that professional pet sitting is a booming field.
“The American Pet Products association estimates the pet services industry will be a $5.24 billion dollar industry in 2015,” up 8 percent from last year, she said.
Based on a 2014 Pet Sitters International survey, the national average cost is $18.67 for a 32-minute visit.
A growing industry means more options for service.
“Twenty years ago [people] relied on the next door neighbor or the teenager down the street to check in on their pet. But it is not a hobby anymore, it really is a profession, which is good for pet owners because they can get quality care,” she said. “The major benefit for pet parents to hire a pet sitter is the animal stays at their home.
“Their schedules are not interrupted. For health they will not be exposed to other pets and possible diseases as they would be in a kennel. Certainly for some pets a kennel would be more of benefit.”
The personalized care means pet parents need to do some due diligence before letting someone in their home.
One could check if the sitter has proper licenses required by the city or state, which varies by area. A business license would speak to the validity of the business, she said.
She said that pet sitters should also be insured with pet liability insurance and bonded, and to check their criminal record. In the end take your time to find the right fit.
For Toledo resident Sally Esser she liked her pet sitter’s personality.
“I have a good feeling about people when I meet them, and she would not be doing this unless she had a love of animals, and she does,” she said about her pet sitter who is a neighbor.
“If I’m in Florida or New York for a period of time, I can call her to check up on the dogs. That can be a really big deal for some people. I can check on them just as I would with kids,” she said.
Toni Peters, owner of Maumee-based Pet Amigo, is first aid and CPR trained, as well as her staff.
“[The first aid training] allows us to administer medicine, an IV, pretty much anything that the clients can handle,” she said.
An animal lover, her hobby whilst working full-time in the market research industry, blossomed into a full-time small business five years ago.
She covers most of northwest Ohio, and her business is expanding.
“As a professional pet sitter, we are always there and reliable and have back up plans. We have a team,” she said.
Her team also sends snapshots of pets and other means of communication while the family is away from Fido. “You have no idea what that means to them,” she said.
She uses a software called Power Pet Sitter to combine scheduling, pet sitter information and client information. One of the six employees is a dedicated office manager assisting with payroll.
Because she works from home, her overhead costs are minimal.
“Depending on how you want to manage it, overhead is low. If you want to hire an accountant, you obviously have to take care of taxes, there is a monthly fee for a software program … some use Excel Spreadsheet it can be done, but it is time consuming,” she said.
We’re so glad to be able to have helped Coleen achieve her goals!
You can find the original article here.