Do you want to start a house sitting business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a house sitting business with NO money and no experience.
What is a House Sitting Business?
House sitting is basically about providing human presence in an apartment when the occupant of the apartment is away on vacation or for other purposes. Daily activities and chores such as pet sitting, cleaning, lawn mowing, cooking, home maintenance, shopping, laundry, washing dishes, taking out the trash after dinner, gardening, forwarding mail, accepting deliveries and paying bills et al are all carried out by house sitters.
House sitting agency services business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can successfully start small and perhaps with a functional home office without breaking the bank for cash. At the same time, big – time investors can also leverage on the high demand for house sitters by larger corporations to set up their own well – organized house sitting agency services business in strategic locations within a business district in the united states of America.
Irrespective of the kind of business you want to start, it is very important to state that before launching the business, you should carry out due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your house sitting agency services business, it will not take you long before you secure enough corporate clients and start smiling to the bank.
So, if indeed you truly want to start your own house sitting agency services business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well informed and equipped. You can start your house sitting agency services business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising and opening your offices all across the United States of America.
17 Steps to Starting a House Sitting Business
1. Understand the Industry
House sitting agency services is a subset of the cleaning and maid services industry and players in the industry provide several different related services mainly for households (individual clients). Franchises in this large industry mostly fit into one of three areas; cleaning and janitorial services, maid services, and house sitting agency services. In 2010, there were about 50,000 cleaning and maid services businesses operating in the United States.
About 10 percent of the cleaning and maid services revenue is accounted for by house sitting agency services companies, versus about 90 percent by cleaning services companies.
There were 824,394 workers in the cleaning and maid services industry in 2010. The industry is fairly top-heavy – the fifty largest companies account for about thirty percent of the revenue. About 7 percent of cleaning workers were self-employed.
There are both small and large house sitting agency services companies, but smaller companies tend to be restricted to households within a local neighborhood, since large commercial house sitting agency services require many employees and specialized skills.
The economic depression of the last few years hit the cleaning and maid services industry as it hit most American industries, but the health care industry played a large role in managing to keep the cleaning and maid services industry profitable.
The cleaning and maid services industry that house sitting agency services is a part of is one of the fastest growing service industries in the United States. It is predicted that cleaning and maid services will experience a five percent growth rate between 2008 and 2018, and this growth will be largely due to the health care industry, where elderly care needs will only increase over that period. In addition, personal consumption for cleaning, maid services, laundering and repair of clothing is predicted to increase at a compound annual rate of 3 percent from 2015 to 2019.
The house sitting agency services line of business will continue to blossom because households will not relent in ensuring that their home is secured, their pets are well taken care of, their homes are in tip – top shape and errands are effectively carried out when they are away from their homes on vacation or for other purposes. Despite the fact that the industry seems over – saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own house sitting agency services company.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own house sitting agency services company could be that the business is a thriving business that is easy to set up and can be managed with minimal startup capital and very minimal back office staff.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who hire the services of housesitting agencies cut across all households and corporate organizations both big and small that have the capacity to pay for their services, hence the demographic composition of a house sitting agency services business is all encompassing.
The truth is that when it comes to house sitting agency services, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just households within your location, but should include all the corporate organizations and businesses around the city where you have your business presence and who can afford your services.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
There is no niche area in this line of business because house sitting agency business is niche area in the cleaning and maid services industry. It can’t be ruled out that an entrepreneur can successfully carve a niche for himself/herself if they are creative enough.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competitions that exist in the house sitting agency services line of business goes beyond competitions amongst house sitting agency services businesses in your location; you are expected to compete with housekeeping agency services businesses and perhaps security agency business.
It is a known fact that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure your workforce can carry out thorough house sitting agency services, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and beyond, there are several house sitting agency services businesses and other related businesses such as housekeeping and maid services businesses scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own house sitting agency services business in the United States of America, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst them. Besides, there are larger house sitting agency services companies that determine the trend in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by the customers and general public than the others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading housesitting agency services companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Luxury House Sitting
- Prestige Pet-Sitting Agencies, LLC
- Meows and Woofs: Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
- LuvPup Pet Sitting & Dog Training LLC
If you are considering starting a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
House sitting agency services business is not a Green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several house sitting agency services and housekeeping services companies when you drive through town, search through directories and browse through the internet. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to open your house sitting agency services business and also the running cost to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a house sitting agency services company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a space, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are planning on starting a house sitting agency services company, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a house sitting agency services company to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Starting a house sitting agency services company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small – scale businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a house sitting agency services company, you should just try as much as possible to get the right employees, tools and equipment, build business relationship with key stakeholders and then leverage on every marketing tools within your disposal especially the internet to market your services.
Please note that most of the big and successful house sitting agency services companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you chose to start your own house sitting agency services business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established house sitting agency services companies. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, business such as house sitting agency services and any other related businesses usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers because people would naturally cut down on vacation. unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your house sitting agency services business. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
In reality, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or even a sole proprietorship for a house sitting agency services business. Usually, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale house sitting agency services business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital in a small neighborhood and with just one outlet.
But if your intention is to grow the business and have offices and corporate clients all across key cities in the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your house sitting agency services business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your house sitting agency services business with the ability to sell franchise and having offices and corporate clients all across the United States of America, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Generally, when it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own house sitting agency services business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Dallas Brand® House sitting Agency Services, LLC
- Alicia Sean® House sitting Agency Services, LLC
- Shane Jackson© House sitting Agency Services, Inc.
- Team Excel® House sitting Agency Services, Inc.
- Olivia & Olivia™ House sitting Agency Services, Inc.
- Peter Cletus™ House sitting Agency Services, Inc.
- One Point© House sitting Agency Services, Inc.
- Barrow Heights® House sitting Agency Services, LLC
- Rex Network© House sitting Agency Services, Inc.
- Safe Hands© House sitting Agency Services, Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your house sitting agency services business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own house sitting agency services business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health/Medical insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own house sitting agency services business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to operating a house sitting agency services business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate your business in the United States of America. On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your house sitting agency services business profitably, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The importance of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own house sitting agency services business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Health inspection Certificate
- Business Plan
- Contract Document
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a house sitting agency services business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running the business from your home or sharing an office space. Securing a standard office space in a business district is part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital. If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large – scale house sitting agency services business.
No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your housesitting agency services business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Even though when it comes to choosing a location for services such as house sitting agency services business, you can choose to locate the business in any location of your choice especially if you are offering basic house sitting agency services, services that do not require your clients to come to you for services except for meetings.
But over and above, the location you choose to open your house sitting agency services company is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of household with the required purchasing power and of course traveling lifestyle.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your house sitting agency services business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out. These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your house sitting agency services business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for house sitting agency services in the location
- The purchasing power of households in the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of house sitting agency services companies and housekeeping services companies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
In the real sense of it, there are no special technologies or equipment needed to run an average house sitting agency services company. But you will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office and store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard house sitting agency services business with plans to have corporate clients all across major cities in the United States of America, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Supervisors, Sales and Marketing Officer/Sales Girls and Sales Boys, Accounting Clerk, and House Sitters. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members excluding house sitters to run a small – scale but standard house sitting agency services company.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Usually, when a house sitting agency services company gets a contract from a corporate organization or household to send in house sitters to stay in their homes while they are away (either one – off or long – term house sitting contract), they will first conduct cost analysis in order for them to know the appropriate manpower and resources needed to carry out the job.
Once they conclude their cost analysis, they will deploy the most suitable house sitters and tools to execute the job. This is very important because in some households, asides from the fact that they need house sitters to be in their home when they are away to be able to establish human presence in the house and to handle some domestic chores, they would need the house sitter to help in pet sitting, and the house sitter can be chosen based on their experience with various pets as it applies to the household requesting for house sitter.
They will get paid after successfully carrying out their job. Usually their services include general services like pet sitting, cleaning, floor polishing, lawn mowing, cooking, home maintenance, shopping, laundry, washing dishes, taking out trash after dinner, handling mails and paying bills et al.
It is important to state that a housesitting agency services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated housesitting agency services business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a house sitting agency services business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the house sitting agency services line of business.
People and organizations will hire your services (house sitters) if they know that they are going to get value for their money.
As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, thoroughness, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers hire your services (house sitters), they will get excellent service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
Businesses this days are aware of the power of the internet, which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet (videos/YouTube) to market their services. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort will be directed to internet users.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your house sitting agency services business;
- Introduce your house sitting agency services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, estate managers, corporate organizations, small scale businesses, medium scale businesses and other key stake holders throughout the city where your house sitting agency services company is located
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your services
- Engage in road shows in targeted business communities from time to time to promote your house sitting agency services business
- Join local house sitting agency services business associations for industry trends and tips
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry with the aim of marketing your services
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a house sitting agency services business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening offices all across key cities in the United States through franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your house sitting agency services business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your house sitting agency services business
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted business district to create awareness of your house sitting agency services business
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, corporate organizations, small scale businesses, medium scale businesses and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your house sitting agency services company is located informing them about your house sitting agency services company and the services you offer
- List your house sitting agency services company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your house sitting agency services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your house sitting agency services company is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and vans are well branded with your company logo