Animal lovers are turning their passion into extra income over the holiday season.
Following COVID-19, sideline businesses have become increasingly popular. As working flexibly becomes the norm, this may provide an opportunity to take on extra work.
After speaking to a friend who made money from cat sitting, Auckland-based Jennifer saw an opportunity to supplement her income. As an existing dog owner working three days per week, she and her partner wanted to save for a holiday. In December, she signed up with Pawshake, a website that matches pet owners with pet sitters.
"Everyone was going away on holiday - it was the perfect time to sign up and get some income," Jennifer said.
Charging $40 per night for overnight dog boarding in her home and booking up to three extra dogs at a time, Jennifer estimates she's made around $1500.
"[From] just before Christmas to the end of February, we should make $1500...it's not too much extra work - we're already walking and feeding our dogs, the [extra dogs] just join in the family.
"It's money we're going to treat ourselves with," Jennifer added.
In return for the extra money, pet sitters sacrifice a bit of freedom. If it's too hot, they may not be able to go to the beach - and unlike everyone else, they can't go away. Bookings are likely to slow down as the holiday season ends, but they can also attract loyal customers.
"We're finding now we're getting repeats...people are going away for a weekend or another week and they're coming back to us," Jennifer said.
Pawshake marketing manager Jessica Tanner said people become pet sitters because they love animals and want to spend time with them. They're required to have experience caring for pets and are asked to provide pictures of their home set-up before offering home boarding.
"The sitter application process is quite involved and isn't a guarantee of acceptance on the site...we only accept about 25 percent of applicants," Tanner said.
Pet-sitters can set their own rates. For each booking made on the website, Pawshake takes a 19 percent cut.
"For example, a $25 dog walk will have a 19 percent deduction of $4.75, which will go towards operational costs of running the website, product development, veterinary coverage for each booking and more," Tanner said.
"It's very much up to the individual sitter and how busy things are in their area, but over the summer you can earn around $1000 to $2000 a month."