The 3 Biggest Pet Sitting Hiring Mistakes

Pet Sitting Hiring Mistake #1

Hiring in a reactive way

What this means is that you start looking to hire a new pet sitter when you absolutely need someone. I know you’re probably thinking, “well, of course that’s the way I hire, dummy!” I get that would be the logical way, but it’s not a good strategy and I’ll tell you why… If you start the search for hiring a new pet sitter when you are in desperate need of someone; for example, your plate is entirely too full, or a sitter quits without notice, or you need to fire someone and you need to fill their slot asap. You then post your ads, start interviewing and hope and pray that you find a good person. This is being reactive to your current situation and you will make poor choices with whom you ask to join your team because you are in dire need to fill the position. This is not a smart, proactive way to fill your sitter roster with qualified individuals. 

My suggestion would be to bring on back-up sitters for your current sitters, who would have the ability to move into the primary sitters slots if the need arises. These sitters will also be the people who absorb the new business that is coming in. 

Pet Sitting Hiring Mistake #2

Not managing the expectations of your new sitters.

Managing expectations is the single most important concept to understand and implement when you start to expand your team. Good people who have the availability and positive traits to become a pet sitter are certainly hard to come by. This is why I have made interviewing a regular part of my work week. Pet Sitting is just not going to be a good fit for everyone and you need to clearly spell out the job description right from the get go. Don’t bring people on under false expectations. Be clear and concise with exactly how it will work and what you need from them and what they need to do to be successful in the position. 

 So, for Pet Nanny this means explaining to your sitter prospects that they shouldn’t expect a full roster of visits or walks for the first couple of months after they join the team. It takes time to build their client base, but if they’re available and if we receive rave reviews from their clients, we will continue to send them assignments and build their book of business. 

Pet Sitting Hiring Mistake #3

Hiring individuals who are using your business as a pit stop.

As the interviewer, it’s your job to figure out what it is that the sitter prospect wants to get out of the position. Are they looking for some extra cash to pay for a shore house? If the answer is yes, then why would you hire a person who will be heading out of town during the busy summer months? 

Was the person recently laid off from their full-time jobAre they looking to fill their time while they search for their new full-time job? If so, then they are using your company as a pit stop until a better opportunity comes along. I may use this person for back-up pet sitting or house sitting assignments, but I would never give them regular midday clients because what happens when they get a new job and they give you 1 weeks’ notice? You’re going to need to hire in a reactive way, which is NEVER a good thing as explained above. You’ll most likely end up hiring someone that, again, is not a good fit and is using your company as a pit stop. Are you seeing the vicious cycle?

Then there’s the person who says that they’re not looking for other employment, but they live alone and have no other means of income. This always sets off sirens in my head. How are they going to afford to pay their bills if this is their full-time gig? Hello?! They’re not! They’re just telling you what you want to hear. I know it sounds enticing… a person with complete open availability to take on as many assignments as needed. JACKPOT! Here’s your wake-up call. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. In 100% of these hires that I’ve done, about 1 to 2 months down the road I receive the email (they never call to tell me,) that they’re not making enough money and they’ve found something more financially stable. At this point I usually smack myself on the head and say, “of course they did, dum dum!” Then it’s time to do damage control with their customers and to hire again in a reactive way. Ugh! 

Trust me, I’ve made all the mistakes you can possibly make when it comes to hiring, but most of the troubles have stemmed from the 3 mistakes listed above. This is what causes the massive amount of turnover, which I hear so many of you complain about. You need to think ahead and make smart, strategic, decisions about who you’re going to hire.

Your Homework Assignment: Create your avatar. Think of the best sitter you’ve ever had and then jot down all the things that made them great. Next, add any other traits that you would love to have in a team member to the list. Booya! You’ve just created your Ideal Sitter Profile. Be sure to review it every time before you start your interviews to remind yourself of who exactly it is you’re looking for. 

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