Features to Launch a Successful Marketplace for Pet Owners and Sitters

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Leaving your dog alone at home is a scary thought to many dog parents. Because taking your four-pawed best friend along everywhere is impractical, finding the right place and care taker is a major concern for dog owners. Whether it’s a long vacation or two days outing, one comes across this need quite frequently.

A pet-sitter marketplace helps you find a place for your dog, cat or any other animal pal so that you can vacation trouble-free. Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Rover and Pawshake connects pet owners with sitters who provide in-home boarding and pet sitting. Considering pet ownership is growing steadily across the world, such a platform can be real money spinner.

FATbit researchers have done in-depth analysis of pet boarding business model and website functionality to help entrepreneurs build similar sites. Before we move ahead, let’s take a look at the business model and learn how such sites work.

Pet Sitter Website Business Model

For pet owners

  • The site serves as an online community connecting pet owners with trusted sitters.
  • Learn about sitter through profile or personal meetup.
  • Book a stay anywhere at sitter’s or owner’s house.
  • Get text and photo updates from sitters

For Dog Sitters

  • Create a profile and set service offering price
  • Choose the pets you want to care for
  • Set a schedule on calendar to make it easy to manage the availability
  • Launch sitting business by advertising
  • Get facilities like 24*7 emergency support & online payments

Build a sitting platform for a particular pet or cover all the pets for wider coverage and appeal.

Revenue Model for Pet Boarding Platform

Your pet sitter hiring platform can money when sitters do, and also make extra through ads and promoted profiles. In this manner, your website will continue to grow and attract new pet sitters and clients. So, the profits will be generated from:

  • Every sitting job completed successfully
  • Pet product advertisements
  • Promoted sitter profiles

Biggest Industry Players

Considering the market of pet sitting is growing at remarkable speed, various P2P ventures have come up to cater the demand. Here are the leading names:

  • Rover
  • DogVacay
  • PawShake

Different regions have their share of pet sitting marketplaces. AnimalAngels in the UK for instance. Now, let’s see how such pet sitting portals work by analyzing their features one by one.

Website Overview

Your pet boarding site must have well-organized design. Try  to portray a clean look across the website to keep everything user-friendly. There is a need for an extensive search tool to find relevant sitters. Let’s take a look at all the features of the website one by one to have better understanding for creating a pet boarding site.

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Homepage Design

As soon as the users land on the homepage, they should get an idea what the website is all about. A nicely design homepage banner must showcase a unique tagline along with a trust factor. This not only builds trust among the users but also helps engage customers.

Add an effective search tool on the homepage banner, which will allow users to search for sitters based on various parameters. The top bar can carry links to Become a Sitter, Sign-in/Signup, and Help section.

Featured Sitters

Studies have shown that it is beneficial to put forth figures that portray your dominance in a given market.  Featured top sitters on the homepage in order to make the human connect instantly. The number of sitters and successfully completed jobs will also motivate the visitor to go ahead and hire a sitter for his pet needs.

Reviews/ Testimonials

Your pet sitter site must have a special section on the homepage for reviews and testimonials from pet owners. This is essential as it will generate trust among pet owners regarding the quality of sitters on your website. The site  must also showcase coverage on media publications. FATbit analysts believe that a review/testimonial section on the homepage will surely add value to your pet boarding clone.

Footer

The overall design of the footer must be kept minimal with links to important content pages as well as city-based pages where your site will operate. There should be links to social profiles like Facebook and Twitter of your pet-sitter platform.

Signup/Signin

Your P2P pet sitting site must carry a UX focused signup functionality so that sitters and owners can easily create accounts and manage accordingly. Provide sign up with social media to further simplify the process. Some portals – like Rover – has made provision for single sign up for both sitters and owners.

The signup form should be kept minimal. Users just need to add name, zipcode, email and password to create an account.

Search

Search will be the primary medium to find sitters on your platform. So, place it at a prominent spot on the homepage. Rather than simple keyword-based search, you can offer various parameters to generate relevant results. These may include:

  • Pincode
  • Dates
  • Location preference for sitting
  • Pet type (if focused on all pets)

Search Filters

Most online peer-to-peer marketplaces rely on search to give relevant results. But your pet boarding site must also offer advanced filters to gain market edge. The search results page should be user-friendly. Dividing the page into different sections can be a good approach with top fold dedicated to the filters, bottom fold showing list of all the sitters in map view.

Design the page in a way that users should be able to see the availability of a particular sitter for the said dates in the search results itself. In addition to that, the presence of reviews can help users choose the best sitter based on their preferences.

Sitter’s profile

Sitter profile pages should be exquisitely designed with all the relevant information like photos & videos, location information, services offered by sitter & rates, sitters availability schedule, brief overview on sitters profile & list of reviews shared by different dog/cat owners. Other options on this page might include:

  • Save sitter’s profile in the favorite list.
  • Share sitter’s profile.
  • Chat with sitters to discuss to discuss sitting requirements & services offered.

If building on a ready solution, pick a script that promises enhanced sitter profiles.

Contact Sitter

Create a unique booking procedure where users need to request for availability of the sitter before hiring him. A contact form can be used to give all the details to the sitter and request for services. If the sitter agrees, then, user should be allowed to go ahead and hire the sitter for particular dates.

Users must add the pet info, location details and additional message while requesting the services. Our analysts find this approach highly efficient as it scores high on user engagement and bridges the gap between the two parties. We recommend similar approach while building a pet sitting clone.

Sitter Recommendations

Incorporate the feature of recommending similar sitters in the nearby locality in case a sitter declines the user request. After a user has requested the services of a sitter, your site must take the user to an additional screen where the user can be asked to contact more sitters to increase his/her chances of finding a perfect match.

Become a Sitter

Make it easy for anyone to become a sitter. A user who requests services of a sitter can also be allowed to become a sitter by just filling out a form. Design a different “Become a sitter” page. Your site must focus on user engagement and entice users by register as a sitter.

Don’t forget to add compelling CTAs on this page. It will greatly impact the conversion rate and make your pet sitting platform succeed like DogVacay and PawShake.

Sitter Form

Offer multiple sitting options to attract more sitters to your platform. Based upon the services given by them, gather following details about their sitting service offerings:

  • About me (heading/ title of sitting service, brief description of service, years of experience)
  • Sitting Service (max distance, price/night, pet type and size, nights available), phone numbers/contact number (only shown to confirmed guest)
  • Private information (permanent address, emergency contact number) etc.
  • After the complete verification of sitters’ profile, their profile should be listed as a registered sitter available for booking.

Form will be quite lengthy but listed information is vital to ensure the quality of service.

Referral Program

In order to increase the user base, you can incorporate a referral program under which users can send a coupon to their friends and family via Email, Facebook or Twitter. Once they book their first stay, the referrer can get an additional profit towards their next booking. This is a unique feature which will help your site gain huge traction as far as user base is concerned. FATbit analysts believe that a similar program can do wonders for your pet boarding portal.

Help

One of the key areas for every peer-to-peer platform is help support. As such type of marketplaces work on different business models, it can get difficult for new visitors to get accustomed to the functionality. This is why we always recommend a Help section that entertains all queries of the users and responds accordingly.

Integrate search functionality in the Help section for quick discovery of answers to queries.

Help Chat

If the user is unable to find the relevant topic, they must have the option to contact the support services of the pet boarding platform. Users can be asked to share their Name, Email, whether they are owner or sitter, the nature of the question, and the query itself. If you can afford real time chat support, there is nothing better than that.

Payments

Integrate a seamless payment gateway for owners and sitters. The payments page should be highly user engaging and must provide all the information effortlessly. Users should be able to easily make payments from conversation box, search listing or the profile page.  You can also add the script feature to get discounts via promo code.

Inbox

No peer-to-peer model is complete without a messaging tool. It is one of the core aspects of the overall architecture. Your site should make it easy for the users as well as sitters to have a conversation and must have an appealing feature to engage with them.

Messages must be sorted into categories like pending requests, upcoming stays, past stays and archived requests. Such cutting edge features are critical if you plan to compete the likes of Rover and DogVacay

Dashboard

This section should be mainly designed for the sitters, who can view their overall earnings as well as requests. Provide a simple tool to the sitters to view all the payments as well as promo codes. This is essential for those users who use this platform as the main source of income. In addition to sitters, pet owners should also be able to view all of their bookmarked sitters in this section.

Adding Videos

Your pet boarding platform should move beyond a peer-to-peer network to offer a range of social tools for engaging audience. Allows users to create intuitive videos of the pets where they can:

  • Upload a picture of the pet
  • Record a message
  • Share on social media

This will make your platform something bigger. Social sharing on the other hand will introduce it to more people.

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End note

There is no denying that pet boarding platforms like Rover, DogVacay and Pawshake have become a global phenomenon when it comes to dog sitting. However, there is still huge potential in this industry for new startups focused around pet care.

For entrepreneurs who want to become part of this industry, FATbit suggests considering all the features mentioned in this post. Our experienced designers & developers would be happy to assist you in starting your own pet sitter hiring site.

Disclaimer: The Blog has been created with consideration and care. We strive to ensure that all information is as complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Despite our continuing efforts, we cannot guarantee that the information made available is complete, correct, accurate or up-to-date. We advise - the readers should not take decisions completely based on the information and views shared by FATbit on its blog, readers should do their own research to further assure themselves before taking any commercial decision. The 3rd party trademarks, logos and screenshots of the websites and mobile applications are property of their respective owners, we are not directly associated with most of them.



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Comments (2)
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FATbit Chef Post author

Thanks for your kind words and appreciation !!
Hope you had a great weekend 🙂
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Cheers!
FATbit Chef