Last Updated: May 10, 2024, 10:29 am by TRUiC Team

Should I Start an LLC for My Pet Sitting Business?

Starting a limited liability company (LLC) for your pet sitting business can provide several benefits. 

Most importantly, an LLC structure offers limited liability to its owners, which can protect their personal assets from lawsuits and creditors.

For a pet sitting business, lawsuits can arise from things like employees carelessly letting a client’s dog escape or allowing a muddy pet to walk across and stain a carpet beyond repair.

LLCs are also affordable, highly flexible (from a tax point-of-view), and can make your pet sitting business seem more credible. 

Recommended: Use Northwest to form an LLC for $29 (plus state fees).

pet sitter playing with a dog outside

Do I Need an LLC for a Pet Sitting Business?

LLCs are a simple and inexpensive way to protect your personal assets and save money on taxes.

You should start an LLC when there's any risk involved in your business and/or when your business could benefit from tax options and increased credibility.

LLC Benefits for a Pet Sitting Business

By starting an LLC for your pet sitting business, you can:

  • Protect your savings, car, and house with limited liability protection
  • Have more tax benefits and options
  • Increase your business’s credibility

Limited Liability Protection

LLCs provide limited liability protection. This means your personal assets (e.g., car, house, bank account) are protected in the event your business is sued or if it defaults on a debt.

Pet sitting businesses will benefit from liability protection because of the risk of injury to the pets, personal injuries, property damage, and trademark infringement. 

Example 1: You are hired to watch over a client's pet while they are out of town. On your first day, the dog escapes from its enclosure and causes significant damage to neighboring properties before being captured by animal control. If the client sues you for negligence, limited liability protection can help protect your personal assets from any compensation order.

Example 2: While visiting a client’s house to administer medication, you accidentally spill the medicine on the owner's new carpet. Limited liability protection can help shield your personal assets from any potential compensation order related to the cost of cleaning or replacing the damaged carpet.

Example 3: During a routine walk with a client's dog, you are approached by an aggressive and unfamiliar dog. You use a defensive maneuver to protect yourself, but the client's dog is injured in the process. Limited liability protection can help shield you from any legal repercussions related to the injuries incurred by the client's pet.

An LLC will also protect your personal assets in the event of commercial bankruptcy or loan default.

To maintain your LLC's limited liability protection, you must maintain your LLC's corporate veil.

LLC Tax Benefits and Options for a Pet Sitting Business

LLCs, by default, are taxed as a pass-through entity, just like a sole proprietorship or partnership. This means that the business's net income passes through to the owner's individual tax return. 

The business’s net income is then subject to income taxes (based on the owner's tax bracket) and self-employment taxes.

Sole proprietorships and partnerships are taxed in a similar way to LLCs, but they do not offer limited liability protection or other tax options.

S Corp Option for LLCs

An S corporation (S corp) is an IRS tax status that an LLC can elect. S corp status allows business owners to be treated as employees of the business (for tax purposes).

S corp tax status can reduce self-employment taxes and will allow business owners to contribute pre-tax dollars to 401k or health insurance premiums.

The S corp status requires that the business pay the employee-owner(s) a reasonable salary for the work they perform. 

In addition, the business might need to spend more on accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services. To offset these costs, you'd need to be saving about $2,000 a year on taxes.

We estimate that if a pet sitting business owner can pay themselves a reasonable salary and at least $10,000 in distributions each year, they could benefit from S corp status.

You can start an S corp when you form your LLC. Our How to Start an S Corp guide will lead you through the process.

For questions about tax solutions for yourpet sitting business, we recommend scheduling a free tax consultation.

Credibility and Consumer Trust

Pet sitting businesses rely on consumer trust. Credibility plays a key role in creating and maintaining any business.

Businesses gain consumer trust simply by forming an LLC.

A growing business can also benefit from the credibility of an LLC when applying for small business loansgrants, and credit.

Northwest will start an LLC for you for just $29 (plus state fees).

How to Form an LLC

Forming an LLC is easy. There are two options for forming your LLC:

  • You can hire a professional LLC formation service to set up your LLC for a small fee
  • Or, you can choose your state from the list below to start an LLC yourself

Select Your State

For most new business owners, the best state to form an LLC in is the state where you live and where you plan to conduct your business.

Do LLCs Need Insurance?

All businesses need insurance to protect their business assets — even LLCs. This is because the limited liability protection from an LLC protects your personal assets, not your business assets.

Pet sitting businesses need insurance to protect their customers and their own business in case something goes wrong. Liability insurance is especially important for pet sitters because it covers them for any kind of injury their customers' pets may suffer while under their care.

Common Situations Business Insurance May Cover for a Pet Sitting Business

Example 1: You are meeting a client at her home to discuss taking care of her two dogs. As you walk from her living room to the bathroom, you stumble and knock over her new flat-screen television. Your general liability insurance policy will likely help you pay for replacing the television.

Example 2: A client is bringing his dog to your place of business. He is trying to hold the door open to pull his dog through when it snaps back shut on his hand. The impact breaks several of his fingers, and he sues your business. The general liability insurance policy you have will cover the costs of your legal fees, including paying a settlement if it is necessary.

Example 3: A competing pet sitting business has determined that your marketing materials are unfairly critical of their business and sue you for libel. The general liability insurance policy you carry will pay for your legal defense. It will also pay for settling out of court if it is in your best interest to do so.

Other Types of Coverage Pet Sitting Businesses Need

While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all pet sitters should obtain:

Professional Liability Insurance

No matter how diligent you are about doing your job right and taking great care of your clients’ pets, you are still at risk of a lawsuit. If one of your clients does decide to sue you based on your professional work—like if they determine that you injured one of their pets—then a professional liability insurance policy designed for your business will cover your legal defense costs.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Any automobile you use primarily for business, such as for picking up, delivering, and walking dogs, should be covered by a commercial auto insurance policy. It will ensure that you meet your legal obligations for commercial auto insurance. It will also help pay for vehicle damage and medical treatment in the event of an accident.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If you hire employees to help with your pet sitting business, your state most likely will require you to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp will cover the cost of medical treatment for employees’ work-related injuries as well as help pay for lost wages while they recover from their injuries.

Home-Based Business Insurance

If you run your pet sitting business out of your home, it is a good idea to have home-based business insurance. Your homeowner’s policy may not cover accidents resulting from business activities. You can get home-based business insurance as part of a business owner’s policy or possibly have it added to your homeowner’s policy.

Should I Start an LLC FAQ

Choosing the right business structure depends on your business’s unique circumstances and needs. However, unless your business is very low risk (like a hobby), an LLC is likely the better option.

Visit our LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship guide to learn more.

At a minimum, you’ll need general liability insurance.

Read our Business Insurance for Pet Sitters article for more info.

Starting a pet sitting business requires minimal capital since it can be run from home. Still, you’ll need a decent computer, professional software, general liability insurance, a flexible schedule, and a love for animals. You’ll also need a fully insured and fueled vehicle if you plan to conduct business beyond your neighborhood.

Visit our How to Start a Pet Sitting Business guide to learn more about the costs of starting and maintaining this business.

Ongoing expenses for a pet sitting business include:

  • Business license and insurance
  • Computer, business software, and website maintenance
  • Advertising costs (e.g., business cards, etc.)
  • If there are employees, add federal and state taxes, bonding, and workers’ compensation costs

Learn more about running a pet sitting business.

A pet sitting business makes money by charging clients for various pet care services.

Learn more about starting a pet sitting business.

Pet sitters care for people’s pets when they are away. This can involve a variety of services, including feeding, walking, and playing with pets. A pet sitter can be cheaper than sending pets to a kennel. In addition, it is often less stressful for pets to remain in their own home.

A pet sitting business’s profits depend primarily on how many clients it has. 

Learn more about starting a pet sitting business.

Related Articles

Article Sources

IRS: Limited Liability Company

IRS: S Corporations


SBA: Small Business Guide

SBA: Choose a Business Structure Guide

US Census Bureau: Small Business Statistics

SBA Office of Advocacy: Data on Small Business

FRED: SBA Data for Small Business