Now You Know: The rewarding career of a pet sitter/dog walker
"I heard about it and I thought that would be just fun to do," said Susan Gibbons, Owner of Saras Legacy Pet Sitters.
Pets can be the most loyal of friends. But for these two women they are also loyal customers.
"We'll stop every once in a while and she'll sniff the air and she sniffs the ground," said Gibbons.
Susan Gibbons and Sherry McAdams are bonded and insured pet sitters and dog walkers in the Traverse City area.
Gibbons owns Saras Legacy Pet Sitters and McAdams owns Tails-A-Wag'n.
Gibbons has been in this career for four years and McAdams has been a pet sitter for seven and a half years.
But don't be quick to think they are in competition.
They are both part of Pet Sitters Network North.
This is a group for pet sitters that help each other find clients. Both of them serve 100 or more clients each in the area.
"I add roughly six to eight new clients a year," said McAdams.
Gibbons said she works every day of the week.
Come rain, snow, or shine, the weather doesn't keep them from caring for their furry clients.
"Even that day last March when it was crazy, I was out there that day dealing with people who didn't have electricity," said Gibbons. "All I had was garage door key codes to get in."
McAdams says she doesn't mind the winter weather too much.
"I actually love at night if it's a full moon and it's snowing and it's so quiet and we're just out for a walk," said McAdams. "It's so quiet and it's just beautiful, it really is."
Caring for pets professionally does have its benefits.
"They become my family and I feel responsible for them as I do for my own family," said Gibbons.
McAdams said she loves that her job is so stress free and fun.
"They just give you unconditional love, I mean they're just wonderful!" said McAdams.
But it does keep them busy.
"I think last year I had four days off where I didn't have to leave the house at all," said McAdams.
Susan said in her first six months of business she only made $700. In her second year she made about $12,000.
Since then she said it has nearly doubled each year.
"I was hoping that it would pay as much, so that I could continue to bring in what I was making," said Gibbons. "I was very surprised when it started paying more monthly."
Susan said of the dog walkers and pet sitters she knows in the area, the average income is $50,000 per year.
Sherry said the most she has ever made is $48,000 per year and that was by choice. She chose to scale back on the number of clients she had and referred them to other pet sitters.
"I'm very comfortable where I'm at," McAdams said. "I'm actually at the highest income I've ever been at."
The holidays just get very crazy, I mean we are on the go from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m., and sometimes we're doing overnights too so it seems like it's around the clock," said Gibbons.
Gibbons said she has been wanting to pursue this career for awhile now.
"I said I want to do this and I just started doing it and it's just been great!" said Gibbons.
McAdams said she has always loved what she does.
"I mean you can be having a horrible day and they're just happy to see you and they just love you and it's just very rewarding, very rewarding!" said McAdams.
For more information about Sherry McAdams' pet services go to www.tails-a-wagn.com.
For more information about Susan Gibbons' pet services go to www.saraslegacypetsitters.com.