Small Business Saturday®, created in 2010 by American Express, is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (and the day after Black Friday) to encourage consumers to support their local small businesses. While this event likely makes you think of local boutiques, neighborhood restaurants or independently-owned jewelry or home décor shops, there’s another business you shouldn’t overlook when you focus on shopping local—your local professional pet-sitting business.
While the growing need for pet-care services has prompted many tech companies and venture capitalists to enter the industry in recent years and launch large pet-sitter directories, don’t let the click and select convenience of the online sites and apps overshadow the benefits of selecting and supporting a local professional pet-sitting business established in your community.
While some apps and sites offer on-demand pet sits and dog walks, there are many advantages to taking the time to seek out—and book—the services of a local professional pet-sitting business:
- You are able to avoid the middle man. When you use your local professional pet-sitting business, you are able to contact the pet-sitting business owner directly and book your services through him or her. You also handle payment directly through the business (versus a third-party site) so this gives you more flexibility in payment options, depending upon the pet sitter’s policies.
- Your pet-care provider will have insurance customized to his or her specific business needs. While some online pet-sitter directories may provide insurance for pet-sitting visits booked through the site, using a local professional pet-sitting business—that maintains its own pet-sitter insurance—allows you to confirm that the pet sitter has insurance specific to his or her business and the services offered. It’s important to note that the insurance coverage offered by some of the pet-sitter directory sites and apps require a large deductible to be paid by the pet owner should an issue occur. When using your local professional pet sitter, you are able to ask for proof of insurance and confirm that the business has an insurance policy that is customized for pet sitting. This ensures that your pet (and home) are covered should an accident occur during the pet-sitting assignment.
- You put more money into your local economy. While apps and online pet-sitter booking sites may offer a convenient online payment option, most sites and apps keep a portion of the payment, with pet sitters able to keep only around 80 percent of what the client pays. Working directly with a local professional pet-sitting business allows you to fully contribute to your local economy, with your entire payment for pet-sitting fees going to a local business owner—who in turn, is likely supporting other local businesses. It’s a win-win!
Take the time to “shop local” for your pet-care needs.
With more pet-care options than ever before, it’s more important than ever that pet owners devote time for their search to find the perfect professional pet sitter for their pets. The peace of mind that comes from using a professional pet-sitting business that is insured, bonded and can offer proof of a clear criminal history is priceless. Plus, seeking out the services of a local professional pet-sitting business ensures you are utilizing the services of a local professional that is rooted in your community, involved in local pet-related efforts and is contributing to your local economy.
-from Pet Sitters International