FAQ for Pet Sitters

FAQ for Pet Sitters

How much does it cost to be a pet sitter?

Being a pet sitter and offering your services on the Pawshake website is free. Only when you get a reservation will you be liable for a 19% contribution to Pawshake. This contribution allows us to effectively and efficiently manage the community as well as to provide you with online payments, marketing and customer support.

How to start working for myself as a pet sitter? This information from HMRC will give you a jumpstart.

Here at Pawshake, we receive a lot of questions from sitters who would like to take their Pawshake activity to the next level. As a pet sitting community, we feel proud to be part of this entrepreneurial spirit. 

To help you become succesful, and with the kind help of HMRC, we have collected some very helpful links. 

Working for yourself - introduction

Are you looking for information on what you need to do to become self employed? 

This overview page on being self employed is an excellent introduction: https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself/overview

Get your new business off to a flying start

HMRC have developed an in depth e-learning course that most sitters find extremely useful. You'll learn how to:

  • get to grips with the taxes for your business
  • let HMRC know you're self-employed
  • keep records and claim expenses
  • plan for your tax returns and payments

You'll learn what you need to know and do to get your tax right first time, every time.

Go to: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/courses/SYOB3/syob_3/html/syob_3_menu.html

Regular live webinars hosted by HRMC

HMRC offers the opportunity to join live webinars (online seminars) where you can ask questions and get answers from the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) host. These webinars provide help and support from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on self-employment. Besides general getting started webinars, there are also webinars about subjects such as business expenses, record keeping, simpler income tax, capital allowances and many more.

For upcoming webinars: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/webinars-emails-and-videos-if-youre-self-employed

You will also find plenty recorded webinars.

HMRC Guides for Customers on Youtube

HMRC have designed multiple playlists with videos that will help you understand tax and comply with the rules. 

For on overview: https://www.youtube.com/user/HMRCgovuk/playlists

Do I need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return? [VIDEO]

An HMRC video answering some frequently asked questions about Self Assessment. 

For more videos about Self Assessment and Help and Deadlines: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8EcnheDt1ziQSjJNRITtCf7XD_ne-_lQ

I have a question about paying my Self Assessment Tax Bill. Can you help me? [VIDEO]

An HMRC video answering some frequently asked questions about paying your Self Assessment tax bill.

For more videos about Self Assessment and Help and Deadlines: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8EcnheDt1ziQSjJNRITtCf7XD_ne-_lQ

Do I need a License to offer my services on Pawshake?

Hello Pawshakers! It has been brought to our attention that not all of you are fully aware that you may need a premises Licence in order to board animals in your home from your local council. Please read the questions and answers below:


  • Q: What is a premises licence?
  • A: A premises licence is required if you board 1 or more pets in your home..


  • Q: So, I don’t need one if I house sit or just offer dog walking?
  • A: No you don’t. A premises licence is only necessary if you board animals in your home.



  • Q: How much does it cost?
  • A: A premises licence varies from county to county and so does the price. On average, expect to pay £100-£150 annually. Please note that the licence lasts up until 31st of december no matter what time of the year you purchased the licence.


  • Q: I’m struggling to understand how to apply for my licence and I’m confused by all of the fees.
  • A: Follow the link provided and then type in your postcode. You will then be taken to a page that lets you download the application form for your area with a price list. If it all looks too confusing still, call the phone number provided for the local council in your area.


  • Q: Do I really have to have a licence? I don’t board that often.
  • A: I’m afraid it is a legal requirement to have a licence whether you run your own business from home or work for another company. The licence is to check your premises is secure to look after someones pet. Note that a licence is only needed when you are getting paid for pet boarding in your home.


  • Q: What sort of things will they be looking out for?
  • A: Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be too alarmed about…. the sort of things they will be checking is that your home and garden is completely secure, you have a fire alarm, you keep a log book of every animal you look after along with their local vets number etc… It’s a health and safety check of your home and also for them to meet you in person. It’s for the welfare of the animal you are looking after. You can access the councils full list of requirements here: https://www.gov.uk/animal-boarding-establishment-licence

Keep your little visitors safe, secure and their owners happy :-)

I'm very motivated. How can I pet sit even more?

After the Pawshake team validates of your profile, you can officially start as a pet sitter. 

You can gain owner confidence and boost your number of bookings by making a complete and inviting profile on the site. Below are some tips to ensure that owners will be pawing to book you:

  • Give a full description of yourself and your surroundings 
  • Upload high-quality photos, especially ones of you handling animals
  • Respond as quickly as possible to enquiries and booking requests 
  • Do a great job and get positive ratings
  • Promote your profile on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and ask family and friends to check out and share your Pawshake profile
  • Do a great job and get paw-sitive ratings

Can I accept money directly from animal owners?

No. All payments must be made through the Pawshake platform. By using the Pawshake platform, you commit to making your initial and future reservations on the Pawshake website. We only make money when you do. Failure to go through Pawshake will result in immediate termination from the site. You will find more information on this topic in our General Conditions. 

How to apply for an animal boarding establishment licence (England, Wales & Scotland)?

An animal boarding establishment is a business that provides accommodation for other people’s dogs or cats. An animal boarding establishment licence needs to be renewed every year. You still need to apply for a licence even if you’re only looking after a small number of animals in your own home.

Contact your council to apply for an animal boarding establishment licence if you want to run a boarding kennel or cattery in England, Wales or Scotland: https://www.gov.uk/animal-boarding-establishment-licence

When does the owner pay for my services?

When an animal owner makes a reservation request they are asked to enter their payment details. The payment is drawn when the sitter confirms the reservation after which the money is put in escrow. This ensures that you will receive full payment when you provide your service. The payment process on Pawshake is fully automated, so you and the owner can focus on the relationship. 

When am I paid as a pet sitter?

Pawshake automatically transfers the balance, at the latest, seven business days after the pet sitting service is completed. Make sure you have entered your payment details in your profile. 

I love to take care of pets. Does this affect my tax status or liability?

We are entrepreneurs ourselves and encourage entrepreneurship. We hope that, with Pawshake, people will be able to make their hobby a job. Every tax situation is different and depends on your personal circumstances. We advise you to discuss your situation with a tax expert to determine the best course of action.

What to do in an emergency?

First of all, contact the owner of the pet that you are responsible for and explain the situation to him or her. If this person can't be reached, consult our Emergency Guide. This guide explains what you can do, the people to contact and provides veterinarian addresses. You can also contact Pawshake.

I don't have a PayPal account. What should I do?

PayPal accounts are free, and you don't need to have a credit card to open one. More than 100 million people have PayPal accounts. Go to www.paypal.com to open an account.

Can I choose the pet that I host?

Of course. Te benefit of being part of the Pawshake community, is that you are totally free to decide which animal you'll take responsibility for. Your calendar also allows you to display and update your availability.

How do I cancel or refuse a reservation?

Cancellations by pet sitters are very inconvenient for animal owners. On a platform like Pawshake, everything is decided by trust.

Therefore, we reserve the right to remove pet sitters who are not reliable. Even so, if, as a pet sitter, you truly cannot satisfy your obligations, you must make it known seven days in advance. For every cancellation, Pawshake reserves the right to verify the account of the pet sitter to see if there are grounds to suspend or remove them.

Our emphasis on reliability creates a community where all animal owners and pet sitters feel totally confident in engaging each other.

Can I offer other services to animals?

Pawshake already offers the possibility to promote complementary services. In the future, owners will be able to reserve these services directly on the site.

I want to pet sit, but I am not in the position to host. What should I do?

No problem. You can always offer to travel to pet owners' homes to care for their animals. In this case, your profile will indicate that you offer pet-sitting services without lodging.

In order to keep the site as simple as possible, we propose that you select standardized services: a home visit per day, or two visit per day, housing in the owner's home, etc.

I hope to host pets as a pet sitter, but don't want to pet sit at owners' homes. What should I do?

Do not select the option "Home Visit" in your profile. That way, animal owners will know their pet is welcome in your home, but you would not travel to their home for pet sitting.

I signed up as a pet sitter, but my advertisement isn't visible on the Pawshake search engine. What should I do?

You should allow for an average of 30 minutes before your profile is visible on the search engine. During this period, you can still review your profile by clicking on the column labelled "Summary," in the upper-left corner of your account.

What are the cancellation policies?

Pawshake pet sitters offer three types of reservations:

  • Flexible Reservation: full refund up to 5 days before the beginning of the reservation, then 50% refund afterward
  • Normal Reservation: full refund up to 10 days before the beginning of the reservation, then 50% refund afterward
  • Strict Reservation: no refunds

How to get a DBS check?

Previously known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is a record of an individual's Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands and Warnings and can also include intelligence held by the police and/or the DBS that relates to that individual and their suitability for a job position.

More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview

What does "Photo and Message updates" mean?

If you're a pet owner, you know it can be difficult to part ways even temporarily with your animal. That's why we encourage pet sitters to regularly send photos to pet owners. Text messages are also very popular. That way, owners can enjoy real peace of mind. All this is possible via the website and the Pawshake app over the course of the animal’s stay.

What happens if the Guest cancels a reservation?

At the time of registration as a Host you have selection a cancellation policy (flexible/normal/strict). If the booking is cancelled by the Guest, the cancellation policy selected by the Host will apply. This could result in a full/partial or no payment depending of the cancellation policy you have selected. 

How does the payment process work?

The payment process on Pawshake is fully automated, so neither the Host nor the Guest needs to worry about the money.

When making a booking request, the Guest enters his or her payment information, after which the amount due for the booking is reserved.

Once the Host has confirmed the booking, the Guest's credit card will be charged.

Once the booking has ended, Pawshake will transfer the amount due for the booking minus Pawshake's contribution (19%) to the Host payment account.

When does the Guest pay for my services?

When a Guest makes a reservation request they are asked to enter their payment details (credit card or Paypal account). The payment is drawn when the Host confirms the reservation. Once the reservation is confirmed, Pawshake keeps the money in escrow until the end of the booking. The Host will be paid at the end of the booking. The payment process on Pawshake is fully automated for both Hosts and Guests, so neither the Host nor the Guest needs to worry about the payments.

Do I need to pay fees to receive my funds?

No, Pawshake pays for all the transfer fees. There are no hidden fees on Pawshake.

How do I cancel my pet sitter account?

If you decide to cancel your Pawshake account, Login > Settings > click on the link the remove your account (bottom right)

Does Pawshake offer insurance?

Yes, pet sitters registered on Pawshake are covered against third party claims. Also, the guest pet is insured during the period of booking!

Pawshake has your backing with a free Insurance covering for all services booked through our site or mobile app! This means that you will benefit from ultimate peace of mind.

  • Care, Custody, Control – veterinary coverage for animals in pet sitters’ care, custody and control: This section provides veterinary coverage for the guest pets in the pet sitter’s care, custody or control. There is a £250 deductible for medical claims covered by the pet owners.
  • Errors and Omissions  – covers accidental injury to guest pet: This section refers to accidental injury to a guest pet in the sitters care. This type of insurance brings comfort to pet owners and sitters as, more often than not, any non-negligent harm arises where an animal in the sitter’s care has been accidentally harmed in the course of service delivery, through no specific fault of the sitter. Claims are subjected to a £250 excess payable by the pet sitter at the time of the claim.
  • Public Liability Insurance – covers pet sitters against third party claims: This section will pay those sums that pet sitters become legally obliged to pay as damages because of bodily injury to a third party person or damage to property of a third party. Claims are subjected to a £250 excess payable by the pet sitter at the time of the claim.


PFor more information, please check www.pawshake.co.uk/insurance

What costs are involved with Pawshake Premium Pet Insurance?

There are no upfront  or ongoing costs for insurance. This is covered in the portion of the fee paid to Pawshake.

Please note - there is a £250 deductible on medical expenses. What does this mean? In the unlikely case of an emergency, the pet sitter pays up to £250, and if the claim is successful, Pawshake pays the remainder. This cost is to be negotiated privately between the sitter and owner following the booking. If the cost of the visit is less than £250, this cost is to be negotiated privately between the sitter and owner.

Please check our insurance details page for more information www.pawshake.co.uk/insurancedetails

How do I claim the funds in my Paypal account?

1. Payments from an unconfirmed address

To claim the payment:

  • Click the link provided in the email from PayPal.
  • If you have a PayPal account, Log In.Otherwise, click Sign Up.

Once you log in or create a PayPal account, the money you've claimed will appear in your account. If it doesn't, log out of PayPal and click the link in the email once more, then log in again.


2. Payments to an email address not linked to your PayPal account

If Pawshake sends you a PayPal payment but sends it to an email address that isn't linked to your PayPal account, you have to claim your payment by adding that email address to your account.

To claim the payment:

  • Click the link provided in the email from PayPal.
  • If you have a PayPal account, click Log In. Otherwise, click Sign Up.
  • If you're creating a new account, use the email address where the payment was sent as your PayPal address.
  • If you're adding an email to an existing account, click the Continue link. Check your email for the confirmation message from PayPal and click the link in that email.
  • On the email confirmation page, enter your PayPal password and click Confirm.
  • Click Go to my account and you'll see the money you've claimed appear in your account. If it doesn't, log out of PayPal and click the link in the email once more, then log in again.