If you are intent on initiating a pet sitting small business, but aren’t sure what a business plan looks like, you’re in the right place! The following is the business plan I used when launching Eric’s Pet Sitting. A business plan is an excellent way to get organized and map out your very own concept of a good work/life balance.
Furthermore, if you are applying for a startup loan or seeking investors to finance your venture, a business plan is a great device to convey just how squared away you really are.
Hopefully, this example will help you get started as you tailor it to match the prospects in your market.
Business Plan – Main Body
My name is Eric Ewald, organizer, owner, and operator of Eric’s Pet Sitting, LLC. I am an environmental engineer with 20 years of experience in petroleum spill cleanup (fuel stations, railyards, oil refineries). In 2010, I was still enjoying ripples from the lugubrious 2008 recession and would spend a few hours each day at the Cary dog park, exercising and socializing my puppy, Nitro. I enjoyed interacting with the dogs, meeting their owners, and networking for job opportunities. Eventually, people offered to pay me to watch their dogs in my spare time. Once cognizant of the significant demand for pet care, I decided professional pet sitting would be my next endeavor.
1.0 Services Provided
Eric’s Pet Sitting (EPS) provides care for pets while their owners are away.
• Walking and/or exercising pets
• Feeding and/or administering topical or oral medications
• Pet taxi service
• Scooping kitty litter and/or cage cleanouts
• House sitting (caring for pets and making the home appear occupied)
EPS cares for many types of pets including dogs, cats, hamsters, and fish.
2.0 Advantages of Eric’s Pet Sitting
There are a number of options available when owners need a pet sitter. People needing in-home care for pets often rely on neighbors, friends, or relatives. This works well for weekends or a single night, but it may become an imposition when an owner is frequently leaving for 3 or more days at a time – especially for the dogs that need ample exercise and extra attention.
People can send their cats to a boarding facility, but the cat will be kept in a cage for the duration of the owner’s absence.
Doggie Day Camps provide socialization and exercise, but at night, dogs are kept in crates with no staff supervising the facility. Veterinary offices offer boarding services, but may only provide dogs with one or two walks per day.
Owners who wish for their dog to be with a nurturing and responsive caretaker, who goes to the dog park 3 times a day, will be thankful they used Eric’s Pet Sitting. EPS also provides reliable in-home care services for cats or other small animals at competitive prices.
Pets are cared for by a trustworthy and conscientious individual who pays attention to detail and is in tune with the animals’ needs. Essentially, your pet will be cared for in a home environment. With EPS, dogs will enjoy the company of other dogs, a home with a backyard, and exercise at their favorite dog parks. Due to low overhead demands, nightly rates at EPS are 25% less than local kennels. EPS day rates are 20% less than the local Doggie Day Camps.
EPS does not have cancellation fees, and EPS has flexible hours as compared with the big-box doggie camps. Operating hours are normally 6am-7pm but extended pickup times through midnight can be honored.
Eric’s Pet Sitting serves pet owners in Cary, North Carolina, and operates within a 4-mile radius of its home office.
The maximum number of canine clients that can be safely serviced by EPS are 6 per day (or 36 per week or 156 per month). In summary, EPS estimates it can operate 6 days a week and sit/walk at least 6 dogs per day to generate approximately $30,000 annually. Operating costs for EPS are estimated to be $1,500 per year. These costs primarily include LLC registration fees, membership fees, marketing and website hosting costs, insurance, and materials (first aid kits, bowls, leashes, collars, etc.). Appendix A provides a detail summary for estimating total revenue.
4.0 Business Development
Eric’s Pet Sitting primarily acquires new business from referrals, and an established presence with the members of the Cary Dog Park. The EPS web page and Facebook page provide additional information for potential clients. EPS business cards, magnets, pens, and t-shirts displaying the company logo and information are all utilized to maintain visibility. Appendix B provides a list of neighborhoods (client referrals), commercial centers (advertising opportunities), and additional marketing considerations.
There are at least 30 established and recommended full-time pet sitters in Wake County who service Raleigh, Cary, Apex, and Holly Springs. See Appendix C for a list of pet sitters in the area, including addresses, uniform resource locators (URLs), or other contact information. Pursuant to national records maintained by the Humane Society, an estimated 16% of homeowners have a pet in their family. NC Rabies records provide that approximately 15,000 pets are registered in Cary alone. This may be expressed as a Pet (dog or cat) to Sitter ratio of about 500 to 1.
EPS is engaging in two-way referral opportunities whenever possible. The goal is for EPS to become part of the pet care network that includes veterinarians, doggie day care centers, kennels, pet supply stores, and pet foster/rescue organizations. Although there is an element of competition in the EPS service area, it is not adversarial in nature.
A dissolution date for Eric’s Pet Sitting has not been determined at this time. However, should conditions warrant dissolution, the following steps shall be undertaken:
a) Contact the NC Secretary of the State and file a Certificate of Dissolution
b) Notify the IRS and NC Tax Board
c) Pay Federal and state taxes and obtain tax clearance
d) Cancel all licenses and permits in the businesses name
e) Close all bank, credit, and service accounts in the businesses name
f) Notify customers, vendors, and associations of the dissolution
g) Keep business records on file for at least seven years
Selling Eric’s Pet Sitting, LLC, is not considered a practical eventuality at this juncture due to the associative nature of this single member and owner-operated service.
Business Plan – Cover Page
Name of Business Entity
Title (You are the Organizer, Owner, AND Operator as a single member LLC)
Your name and address information (include County)
Phone, email, website address
Name and address information for your lawyer.
Name and address information.
A registered agent is your point of contact in the event your business is being served with a legal notice or filing. Examples include: notification that your annual report is due, changes in the laws affecting businesses in your state, or the filing of lawsuits against your business.
Name and address information for your accountant.
For the sake of brevity, I am not providing the referenced appendices with this post. They are self-explanatory and would be too specific to EPS to serve as an adequate example.
Featured photo – Eric and Nitro at the Godbold Dog Park in Cary, NC (2014).