Starting Your Own Pet Care Business: Moving Beyond On-Demand Apps

Michael Grenier
Michael Grenier April 10, 2024

For many pet care professionals, their introduction into the wonderful world of pet sitting or dog walking is by using one of the many on-demand pet care apps available. We've heard countless stories of pet care pros who started pet sitting on the weekends or picking up a dog walk or two during their lunch break.

These on-demand apps serve an essential place in our world. They make it easy for people passionate about pet care to work part-time and pick up a few jobs when available. Many of these people have fallen in love with this industry and decided to turn this part-time passion into their full-time career.

When transitioning from a part-time pet sitter or dog walker into a full-time pet care professional, it's important to understand all the steps you need to take to make this career move successful. We've got all the essential information you need to start your own pet care business and move from the on-demand apps to your independent pet care company.


Why Move Away From On-Demand Apps?

A pet care pro may be interested in moving away from the on-demand apps for many reasons. But first, let's look at a few big reasons to stay.

Easy Access to Pet Parents

When working on an on-demand app, you are not responsible for finding pet parents to use your services. This is the responsibility of the app-based pet care business and is excellent for someone who is part-time and looking to work when they want (or need to) and don't want to worry about finding their own clients.

Part-Time Work

As we mentioned above, these apps are great for part-time work. If you already have a full-time job or only want to provide pet care services on the side, using an on-demand app may be perfect for you. These apps allow you to take on jobs only when you want to. It's a great way to get your fix of cute puppies and adorable kittens when you have a free weekend or a few afternoons off. Owning your own pet care business can be very demanding.

Structure and Support

Many of the on-demand apps provide great resources to pet sitters and dog walkers. You may even have access to insurance and emergency services. When you own your own business, you are required to obtain these things on your own.

That said, there are also many reasons to start your own business. Let's take a look at a few of them:

More Control

When you own your own pet care business, you are the one calling all the shots. Want to offer wedding pet attendant services? Want to provide dog hiking services? Want to buy an old school bus and use it for doggie daycare transportation? You can! Making these decisions is entirely up to you when you are your business's CEO, Founder, and Owner.

Furthermore, managing your own business beyond on-demand apps grants you the autonomy to design and uphold personalized policies and procedures. No longer will you be subject to the constraints of predetermined cancellation policies enforced by these platforms, nor will you be reliant on customer service representatives to determine your compensation for canceled services. With full control over your policies, you can tailor them to suit individual clients and services according to your discretion.

Building Deeper Relationships

For many pet care professionals, the most satisfying part of their job is the relationships they build with the pets they provide services for, the pet parents they serve, and the team members they work with. Owning your own business allows you to own these relationships in a more profound way than you can when you are working through an app.

Professional Growth

There is something extraordinary about starting and owning your own business. You are taking your life and your success into your own hands. While being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, it can be one of the most fulfilling things you do. That's not to say it isn't hard because it can also be one of the hardest things you do. But the feeling you get when you hit that significant milestone or make a huge difference in a customer or employee's life is unlike anything else you can experience.

Creating Your Own Brand

Letting your personality shine through when you operate on an app can be challenging. Starting your own company puts you in control of how you want the world to view you. Do you have a real passion for a specific type of pet? Owning your own business lets you focus your brand and business on what means the most to you and brings you joy. For example, if you absolutely love cats, you can craft your entire business model around just serving those adorable kitties. Just love walking dogs and spending time outdoors? A dog walking company might be for you. Starting your own business can mean just working with those canines while their pet parents at at work during weekdays or only visiting with cats while their owners are away. Do you have a passion for giving back? Starting your own business means you have the ability to work with a specific group of pet parents such as retirement homes, or even donating a portion of each walk back to a local rescue in your area. You get to decide what type of business is rewarding for you and the clientele you want to work with.


Increased Earnings Potential

While the on-demand apps are an excellent tool for a part-time pet sitter, they can be expensive for someone looking to make pet care their career. The fees for some on-demand apps may range from 15% to 40%. For example – an on-demand app that charges a 30% fee would take $9 from a service that costs a pet parent $30.

The apps bring pet sitters and dog walkers these clients so it makes sense to have them take a percentage of the revenue. However, if you are ready to start your own business, this can be a significant expense right off of the top.

How to Start Your Independent Pet Care Business

Time To Pet has some great content on the steps to start your very own pet care business. For the most thorough guide available for free, check out our How to Start a Dog Walking Business post. This guide reviews the critical questions you need to answer, the costs to get started, how to pick your business name, lessons on creating your business policies, and much more. We recommend bookmarking this article or downloading our free Ebook if you don't have time to read it right now.


One item that is crucial to highlight here is marketing. As a business owner, you need to think about marketing your business every single day. Without loyal customers, it is very hard to run a successful business. One of the easiest ways a new pet care business finds new pet parent clients is through Local Pet Care. This is a free tool that Time To Pet created to help connect pet parents looking for exceptional pet care providers with local, qualified, experienced, and independent pet care professionals.

Time To Pet customers get a free premium listing on Local Pet Care, which provides them with even more exposure to pet parents. Take advantage of Local Pet Care as one of the first steps after launching your new company.

Important Information to Keep in Mind

Starting your new pet care business is an exciting endeavor, but there are some really important items to remember.

Understand the On-Demand Apps Terms of Service

This is a big one. The on-demand apps have invested a lot into their platforms, and it's vital that you fully understand their terms of service when deciding to start your own business. One of the most important items here is to avoid taking clients that found you on the on-demand app and bringing them to your independent business. For most apps, this is a clear violation of their terms and conditions and is never a good idea. You should start your new business with new customers that have found you independently.


Get Insurance

Pet Sitting Insurance is vital for any pet care business. Check out our Definitive Guide to Pet Sitting Insurance for more information on the best providers and where to start.

Review Certifications

While getting certified is not required, it can be beneficial for a new professional pet sitter or dog walker. We've got a great blog on Understanding Pet Sitting Certifications.

Review Marketing Ideas & Create a Plan

One of the biggest challenges for someone switching from an on-demand app to owning their own business is getting new customers. One of the best sources is through word of mouth. Be sure to share the news of your new business with anyone who will listen! You can also check out our Academy for more information for new business owners.

Set Competitive Rates

As a new business owner, you may have never considered your rates too much. Now is the time to do so. Time To Pet has a ton of free rate calculators that you can use to see what pet care businesses charge in your area.

We've also got a great blog that details everything to consider when setting your rates (like your expenses, holidays, extra pets, etc).

Business Management Software

As a former user of an on-demand app, you've probably grown accustomed to great software tools to help you manage your clients and visits. Luckily, there is a great tool to help pet care businesses manage their schedule also – Time To Pet!


Time To Pet is a software platform designed specifically for pet sitting and dog walking businesses. It offers a range of features that can help you streamline your operations, including:

Client Management

Keep all your client information, including pet details and schedules, organized and easily accessible.


Manage your appointments and avoid double-booking with an intuitive calendar system both on your computer and on your smartphone.

Mobile Apps

Speaking of your smartphone, Time To Pet has dedicated mobile apps for you and your clients! Your clients can communicate with you, update their information, request new services, and make payments. You can view all of the important client and pet details, start events, track GPS, send post visit reports, and more!

Invoicing and Payments

Send invoices and receive payments directly through the platform, simplifying financial management.

Communication Tools

Stay in touch with clients through messaging features, including pictures, videos, and visit report cards. You can send mass emails to your clients, too!


Track your business performance with detailed reports to help you make informed decisions.


Tailor the software to fit your specific business needs, from branding to service offerings and much more.

By leveraging software, you can spend less time on the administration of your new company and more time focused on providing excellent care to your furry clients.

See how Time To Pet helps thousands of pet care businesses generate millions in revenue each month. Start your free trial today!


Transitioning from an on-demand app to your own independent pet care business is a big step, but it can offer numerous rewards. You'll enjoy more control, the potential for increased earnings, and the satisfaction of growing something that's truly yours. Remember to plan carefully, stay informed, and use tools like Time To Pet to help manage your business effectively. With dedication and hard work, your dream of running your own successful pet care business can become a reality.

Time To Pet is modern pet sitting software trusted by over 3,000 of the world’s most successful pet sitting and dog walking companies. We help pet care professionals start, grow and manage their businesses.

See how Time To Pet can help you better manage your business!
Sign Up For A Demo
Ready to get started? Try Time To Pet on a 14-day free trial!
Start Free Trial