Posts

is dog boarding in my home legal?

Is Dog Boarding In My Home Legal?

We have so many ways in this new instant economy to make money that businesses like dog boarding are sprouting up everywhere. To be honest and straightforward the answer to these questions isn’t a yes or a no.

The job of watching a pet while their parents are at work or out of town seems to be a job that anyone can do it. I have heard it all. Eight-year-old neighbor kids walking dogs, the person in between jobs, making some quick money to pay their electric bill by letting dogs come stay with her, and even some full blown businesses that have a bunch of hosts homes everywhere where the company sends the dogs to stay overnight.

prices on website

 

There Are Big Responsibilities When Considering Dog Boarding

In home dog boarding comes with some huge responsibilities both before they start their business and after. Although focusing on the cute and adorable dream of caring for the pets…sometimes it is neglected.  One of the biggest responsibilities is finding out if they are even allowed to have a dog boarding business in their own home. It is almost implied that if you can sign up for one of these easy to use websites like rover.com, care.com, dogvacay.com, etc that you very well can make money boarding dogs in your home.

But is it legal?

Think No One Will Find Out?

Sometimes I hear, “Aw, no one cares about me Bella. I am just making a little side money. What’s wrong with that?”

Ah! But people DO know. They find out through seeing different dogs and people come to and from your home. They find out by your website advertising and your facebook page that is posting pictures.

Your neighbors can hear the dogs, they can see the dogs, and sometimes… they can SMELL the dogs.

People know.

And what is worse, is some of the people who board dogs in their home might be building a business that isn’t sustainable.

All it takes is for one person to call the zoning board to have them come knocking on your door. They did this to Kristie Glazer in Philadelphia. A neighbor reported her and they literally knocked on her door ready to nail plyboard on her window frames and board up her home.

Can you believe that?!?!  You can hear the full story here

She had to stop that business and ultimately, made a huge dent in her families livelihood.

Facebook group

 

You Want To Do The Right Thing, Don’t You?

If you are going to go into business for yourself, don’t you want to know that you are doing the right thing? Don’t you want to go to bed at night knowing that you have proper training, insurance, structures, approvals, contingency plans?

If you don’t, something like what happened at Green Acres could happen and you could have 20+ dead dogs on your hands and criminal charges against you. Or what about these horrible cases that made the news:

  • Dog attacked at in home boarding
  • Dog Attacked and killed at in home dog boarding,no zoning.
  • Dog died sparked zoning investigation.zoning investigation.   The article states: “What we’re now discovering is all these boarding operations opening under the guise of pet-sitting,” said Animal Care and Control Director Dianne Sauve”

Yeah, this stuff is REAL.

You want to confidently tell your clients that your insurance covers you 100% for anything that happens.

You want to know how to properly introduce new dogs to your pack to avoid anyone getting bit in the face or have one of them injure another four legged client at your home. You want to know what happens if one gets out of an enclosure and damages your home or themselves while you are at the grocery store.

This is a very serious business.

Let’s Start With The First Check Mark You Need In Order To Be Up And Running:

Before you can even THINK of inviting dogs and cats into your home in exchange for money, you must look to see if it is even legal OR what you need to do to BE legal.

pet sitting employee manual

DO THIS: Contact City hall and ask if a special zoning license is needed to have a dog kennel in your residential house.

To show you what I mean, I took 30 minutes and googled for you. Here is what I came up with for some locations.

Los Angeles: You need a permit

San Diego –  7 or more pets

Ft Wayne Tx
Residential Kennel Permit $300
Commercial Kennel/Cattery Permit – (Requires Zoning Approval)
* 6-15 dogs/cats $150
* 16-25 dogs/cats $200
* 26 or more $250
* Omnibus Permit $200

Seattle/King County
4 + dogs or cats
Need permit

Minnesota Cities –Very long, you should read through it.

South Bend Indiana – Read Section 5-60

Maricopa County – $328 for a permit.

Utah – no more than 3 dogs in one home.

Louisville, KY – any boarding facility needs permit.

Fairfax County, VA – Depends on square footage

A great resource for looking up your local laws and ordinances is www.municode.com.

In the end, don’t you want to know that you are operating a legal business? Don’t you want to know that you have the proper insurance? That you won’t be fined? For some, it is a risk they are willing to take, but how moral is it to be operating (knowingly) and illegal business?

 

rover dogvacay insurance

No One Said It Is Easy.

In some places, you will do your best attempt and call City Hall but the person on the phone might not know. Or they might not have any laws. Some that do require laws and permits hardly ever have inspections so then all you see are the bad cases in the news when things go wrong.

As a professional pet care provider, let’s do all that we can to bring the integrity of our industry up by doing everything we need to do to operate legal businesses.

If you would like to help the integrity of this article and you locate the statute in your town or county, feel free to add it to the comments section and I will add it to the list above!

 

Facebook group

What’s The Deal Between Rover.com and Professional Pet Sitters Anyways?

So if you go to the professional pet sitters, sometimes they don’t have the most glowing things to say about the Rover.com folks and if you take a gander into the rover.com groups… sometimes they don’t have too many nice things to say about the Professional Pet Sitters.

Can’t we just all get along?

Why the divide?

Both groups have two things in common, they have a business that loves on pets and they both make money off doing something they love.

So what is it about these two groups that have them disliking each other like cats and dogs?

 

love-pets-charge-the-right-price-and-make-a-business-out-of-doing-what-you-love

Our Economy is Shifting.

Since the invention and popularity of Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, and Handlr, our economy is shifting. We are entering a whole new era of anyone can make some side money and consumers can literally have things on demand, at their fingertips.

Britt Alwerud from Founder of Handlr and app that makes it easy for pet sitting clients to book and chat with their sitter says,”On-demand service apps not only give customers what they want right away, it also gives them peace of mind. With trust-based service businesses, people want to see ratings, see exactly whose coming to their house and be able to track their food order, dog or driver.”

So why is this a good thing?

Well, it is obviously great for those looking to make a little extra side cash. Those who want to save for their wedding, add to their retirement, or just have a little more spending money.

It is also great for the professional pet sitting companies that want to take on the world, make themselves different, and stand apart.

I am never quite sure why professional pet sitters get their feathers ruffled when they see the likes of the rover.com pet sitters starting up in their area. If you ask me, if their potential clients are comparing the two of them, the professional pet sitters haven’t done enough through their marketing and branding to make themselves stand apart.

 

rover.com

All Professional Pet Sitters Used to be Rover.com Sitters.

No, really!   At one point, we were all hobby sitters. Doing it all on our own.

I will use my own story as an example. Before I had a 14 year long business that was nationally and locally award-winning, I was in college. Trying to get out of my parents house, by sleeping at someone else’s house for $25 a night. At that point, I would have paid HER to stay at her house. It was a great gig and serviced my personal needs at the time. I enjoyed it so much, I attracted more and more clients by placing classified advertisements in community newsletters. If rover.com were around back then, you bet your bottom dollar I would have been all over it!

It’s just at that time, there wasn’t an app for that! *smile*

Think about it – most of these rover.com pet sitters are doing it for their love for animals. Sure there is a bad story every now and again, but there are also some bad stories about professional pet sitters that I can recall as well!

I think both sides should just bark less and wag more. It is more fun that way anyways, right?

rover.com pet sitters

To The Rover.com Pet Sitters

I encourage you to seek out the answers to your questions. Know that you can get seriously hurt on the job and know what a “redirect bite” is. Do everything to make your business legit by getting your own bonding, insurance, and registering with your state. In fact, if you really want to work more in the industry, if you do that, you are the glowing definition of an independent contractor and you can not only list yourself on rover.com and the likes of others, but find out which professional pet sitting companies in your area hire ICs and apply!

whats-the-deal-between-rover-and-professional-pet-sitters

To The Professional Pet Sitters

Make some room! Move over and allow the rover.com to come into the world. It is only going to give you the chance to develop your brand and shine brighter becasue there are more options for consumers in the marketplace now. The more “competition” or “options” for consumers, the stronger of an opportunity you have to set yourself a part. Branding, websites, policies, procedures, customer experience and customer service… it is all your time to shine now that you have all the professional pillars to make you strong. You have dedicated your livelihood to your business, now make it shine!

My fellow colleague agrees.  Cara Armour  Product Manager at ProPetHero says this:

“As pet ownership increases year after year, so does the demand for care for them when we can’t be there. While a professional pet sitter may look down upon a rover.com sitter, step back and think, maybe that rover sitter is looking up to that professional?

As a professional pet sitter I can’t make the industry better if I don’t set an example. Set aside your animosity and help make the industry better for the pets, there’s room for both types of businesses.”

We all need to start getting along and fostering relationships. We all have to start somewhere.

NOTE: For sake of this article, when you see rover.com I also mean dogvacay.com, care.com, wag.com, and all the other instant, at your service, pet care apps. 🙂

 

Start A Pet Sitting Business