Help me be a dogwalker and a speech therapist
February 14, 2012 5:46 PM   Subscribe

How does one get "licensed and bonded" for liability insurance with dogwalking/housesitting, and a bonus question about umbrella policies for a personal business

Hello! I work as a speech therapist in the school setting, and I have 10 weeks off in the summer. I get a little restless if I don't have structure and bigger goals to work on, so I am considering a couple of projects on the side. I am looking for tips that I could implement starting this June, in regards paperwork/insurance/licensing and timelines.

A recent askme comment recommended that a potential dogsitter be "licensed and bonded." With regards to dogsitting, how does that happen? Where would I go for a license or policy? How much, in general, would it cost to cover a dogwalker's liability? Is there an agency, or is it through an insurance company?

I advertised for dogsitting in my old neighborhood with flyers, and I had some success...but I was leery of liability if someone accused me of stealing something, for example, or if something happened to their dog on my watch. I would like to advertise as a dogsitter in a nearby fancy neighborhood, but I would want to be licensed and bonded first, both for increasing my professionalism and for my liability/safety.

Aaaaand, I've started seeing a couple speech therapy clients outside of school. I have my ASHA certification and my license to practice speech in Virginia, so I'm set there, legally. But, is it possible for an umbrella policy/ "licensed and bonded" policy to cover BOTH speech therapy and dogsitting, or would I have to separate them? Since this is a part-time summer gig, I don't want to invest much in insurance/licenses.

Thanks for your help! I am in Richmond, VA.
posted by shortyJBot to Work & Money (2 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't know about licensed.

I work as a dog walker/pet sitter, and joined Pet Sitters International. Then I was bonded and bought liability insurance from Business Insurers of the Carolinas, which seems to specialize in it (or at least the write the insurance issues for the Pet Sitters magazine I get).

Pet Sitters blurb on why you might need this.

I haven't had to use mine, but I know another pet sitter who was walking a dog and it jumped on a person walking by, who then fell and broke their hip. Another petsitter was walking a dog when it bit someone. It also seems to cover things like "left water running and flooded kitchen," lost keys, and whatnot.

You can see how much it would cost you here.
posted by katinka-katinka at 6:35 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Call your county or town gov't and ask about an occupational license.
posted by Flood at 5:13 AM on February 15, 2012

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