More Pet Owners Hiring Sitters

Summer can be a miserable season for pet parents and their furry children, unless they find a suitable pet sitter. More consumers appear to be choosing this option according to the 2014  State of the Industry Survey released by Pet Sitters International (PSI). The number of consumers hiring pet sitters is growing as is the amount of money they are spending on these services.

The PSI survey solicited opinions from its 7,000 member base and about 33% of these businesses responded. Based on this feedback, the organization estimates that consumers spend about $330 million annually on pet sitters. About 720,000 households hire pet sitters.  On average, each client pays a pet sitting service about $458 a year.

Most consumers hire pet sitters to watch over cats and dogs. However, pet parents are also willing to pay sitters to take care of birds, fish, and caged animals like hamsters.  Some pet sitters also extend their services to assist special-needs pets.  About 96.5% of these services take care of dogs while 94.7% take care of cats. Pet sitting for some pets may be just about feeding. Other services include walking and giving medicine.

In a one-year period, pet sitters average 106 clients, carry out over 2,000 pet-sitting assignments, and earn nearly $50,000.

The typical pet parents are married and between the ages of 36 and 50. These couples are more likely to have children in the house (44%) than not (32%). Potential pet-sitting clients  will be relieved to know that most pet sitters, 95%, carry liability insurance.

Other industry research, from IBISWorld, indicates that specialty pet products and services are likely to grow about 3.4% this year.  The rate of pet ownership will like rise by 2.2% annually over the next several years. As consumers adopt more pets, experts believe they will also be willing to spend on specialty services like sitters instead of taking them to kennels. The individual attention given to a pet by a sitter may help to ease the conscience of the owner who has left them behind.

Pet owners over-index in their intent to visit a veterinarian in the next year so sitters may want to explore promoting their services in vet offices. In addition, nearly half of pet owners say  they have taken action as a result of a TV ad they've seen in the past 30 days. Pet sitters should investigate using that media format as a way to connect with potential clients.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.