For a pet sitter the first question a potential client usually asks is "Are you bonded?" The answer always needs to be yes. If you have business insurance you may or may not already be bonded. There is an important difference between the two, but as long as you are covered you can rest easier knowing your pet sitting business is protected.
Check with your insurance provider to see if bonding is included in your business coverage. The difference between being bonded and insured is that bonding covers a pet sitting business over the lack of an employee's completion of a job or theft that occurs on the job. Insurance covers property damages that may occur. Specify to your insurance agent that you need to be bonded as well as insured in your coverage.
Join a pet sitting organization, such as the National Association of Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International. Becoming a member of one of these associations will greatly reduce the cost of insurance and bonding for your pet sitting service. Make sure you sign up for bonding and insurance as a member of the organization.
Get a job with an already established pet sitting company. The company will do a thorough background check on you. The reason they do this is so you can become bonded to do services for the company. All you have to do is pass the background and reference check and the company will take care of the rest. Becoming bonded this way only works as long as you are an employee of the company, not for any independent pet sitting jobs you may do.
Be prepared to offer character and work references for the last ten years in order to become bonded as a pet sitter.
If you have a criminal record, especially a felony, you will find it very hard to become bonded as a pet sitter, as most companies don't want to take the risk.
Blake Guthrie covers travel, entertainment and outdoor recreation for many outlets, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he is a regular contributor. With years of experience as a professional cook, Guthrie also relishes writing about food and beverage topics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from Auburn University.