The 5 House Marketing Strategy

The 5 House Rule Marketing Strategy

The 5 House Rule or the Forced Referral Marketing Strategy

The name of this strategy is called the five house rule or the forced referral marketing strategy. The idea is if you get pet sitting clients in a neighborhood. Let’s say the client’s names are Paul and Claire.

The 5 House Rule Marketing Strategy


You’re going to say how nice Paul and Claire are and how much you love taking care of their pets. It is customary for the business owner to offer a discount to all of the neighbors as a token of courtesy for your wonderful clients.

The idea is they’re going to then talk to Paul and Claire because they probably know Paul and Claire, since their neighbors, ask them about you, Paul and Claire are going to give you a review, and then you should be getting at least one out of the five sign up as pet sitting clients.

From there, you have five more houses to market to, so on and so forth. Instead of saying, “Hey, Paul and Claire, do you think you could spread the word about my business and give me a referral, tell your neighbors”, they might, they might not.

When you do this, you’re forcing the referral. You’re writing the sales letter, and then the neighbor will then ask your client about you and then give you pet sitting clients referrals that way.

Send a sales and discount letter to the neighbors left and right, and 3 across the street.

Offer them an awesome discount or some incentive to sign up for service. Usually, one out of the five will sign up, and then you’re going to have five more houses, so on and so forth.

It’s personalized.

It’s not just like a mass mailing. “Hey, check out my pet sitting business.” There are some great campaigns and strategies for that too. But this one is a personalized neighborhood, five-house rule marketing strategy.

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1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy

1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy

Most people forget about their email signature. Number one, email is free. Every time you send an email to either a client or a client prospect in a marketing funnel, you can optimize your email signature with a call to action.

If you’re emailing your customer, you could finish with your name.

“If you were happy with your pet sitting service, please click here to leave a Google review,” or “please click here to leave a Yelp review,” or “please click here to schedule your next service.”

If you’re sending it to a prospect, you can have something like “Click here to follow us on Facebook,” or “follow us on Twitter,” or “follow us on Instagram,” or LinkedIn, or whatever other social media that you’re on.

1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy 2

 

You can send them to a piece of content to warm them up. You can have a call to action to send your customers to a landing page where they’re giving you their name and email address for a coupon, which will then drop them in a follow-up sequence to incentivize them to schedule service with you.

You can have a link for whatever call to action you want. It’s free. And one of the most overlooked marketing strategies there is. Go check out your email signature in your email client and your email autoresponder and have some fun with this.

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My No-Jerk Policy

My “No-Jerk Policy”

Rewind to 20 years ago, when I was building my pet sitting business, I accepted any client that would come down the pike. It didn’t matter how disgusting their houses were; it didn’t matter how rude they were; it didn’t matter if I had to chase down payment. I would work for pretty much anybody, anytime, because I just wanted to build my client list and make money.

What happened over time, I’d built this client list with many wonderful people, but with a lot of non-ideal heartsick clients is what I call them, and people that I would not wish on anybody.

My “No-Jerk” policy came around due to one specific client. This client lived in this big, beautiful house, they had these three big, giant beautiful dogs, and I had adopted their Great Dane from them because they had internal fighting amongst their dogs.

They were never necessarily rude, but they were very cold, but they were very generous too. This client would leave me nice tips, which made me have these mixed feelings about them. I didn’t feel like the best feelings, but nothing ever overtly necessarily happened with them.

Then the nanny started taking walks with me with the dogs, and she would tell me these insane stories about how mean these people were to her.

Then I have a sitter that’s spending the night there. The sitter got locked out of the house. This woman (client) called me and was cursing and screaming at me in a way that you would not even believe. And I was like, “I’ll drive over; I have a spare key and let her in. Chill.”

So I hung up, I went over, I got the sitter in, I came back, and thought, “You know what? I’m not letting this happen person talk to me like this. I don’t need this. I’ve had enough of these types of people.”

I remember going to my dad and saying, “Dad, what would you do in this situation?” He thought about it, and he was like, “You know, you don’t owe them any explanation. Write them a letter, put the key in the envelope, drop it off in their mailbox, and be done with them.”

Looking back, that would not be what I would suggest to any pet sitting business owner. But again, I was newer in business. I was a young girl.

So that’s what I did, and then I got this scathing email from this lady. They’re just awful, awful people. I clicked delete, never responded, and from there, my “No-Jerk” policy came into play, which has now changed my life, changed my business because I do not put up with any of this anymore.

From that moment moving forward, if any clients were rude to me, my managers, or my sitters, they were tagged as a “jerk” inside of Infusionsoft, my email marketing software, and we were no longer doing business with them.

Build a system to gracefully unleash these “jerk” clients.

Since then, I have built the most wonderful client base.

My No-Jerk Policy


Here and there, a few will drop in, and then the no-jerk policy comes into play.

Remember, many pet sitting clients will love and respect you and your business.

Many clients have pets that will love your service, will respect you, will tip you, will tip your sitters, and you can have fantastic relationships with them. You do not need toxic, awful people in your life, and you certainly don’t deserve to be spoken rudely.

Go with your gut.

In my Pet Nanny Coach business, I had one that slipped through the cracks last year. She had been a student many years ago, and she was a nightmare. She came back to me, begging to go back and work with me. Against my better judgment, I let her through, and it was even worse the second time.

When people show you their true colors, believe your gut and focus on the extraordinary people who don’t give you any problems. Sometimes we forget about those people. These people aren’t hounding or are rude to you. Those are the people that deserve your attention and your extra love and support if you will.

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Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters

Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters

People have strong feelings about using pet sitting independent contractors as employees. I have much information on this subject that I want to share about this as long as nobody emails me or posts crazy things.

I successfully built a high six-figure business, using independent contractors for 17 years. I switched to employees in 2018 because I kept getting audited. They kept coming for me, and I kept winning the audits.

The last time they came for me, they said just one year after I’d already won the previous audit that no record of that audit and that they were going to do it again. It was an exhausting situation, and I didn’t feel like fighting it anymore. I just wanted the monkey off my back. Thus, I let this win, and I switched to employees.

And it’s been great.

There hasn’t been a big difference. I do team meetings, they do marketing for me, and they can have car magnets (not that I use car magnets. If I wanted to, I could have them do that). Employees get the perk of getting benefits now, which they appreciate.

Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters


Understanding the direction and control aspect of using pet sitting independent contractors and ensuring you create the correct framework will help you when you get audited.

Your clients direct and control your pet sitting independent contractors.

Your clients ask them to be there at a specific time and have outlined the pet care plan for the independent contractor to fulfill. You are simply the connector between the IC and your client.

This setup is how I won all the audits that I went through. I went through the 20 point checklist as well, had everything set up correctly, etc. You can ask employees to use car magnets, wear clothes with your logo, etc.

If people are using IC’s, I believe it’s their choice and great if you’re using employees.

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TITLE - What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge

What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge

One of the downsides of building a team of pet sitters is when one of your sitters provides service for one of your clients behind your back. I can’t tell you it is not going to happen. It’s more of when it will happen. Here are ways to handle it.

First, evaluate how you feel about the pet sitter.

If this sitter is a good hire, who you enjoy working with, provides fabulous service to your clients, and you don’t want to lose them, I suggest having an in-person meeting.

If they’re an independent contractor, make sure you have their independent contractor agreement. If they’re an employee, make sure you have their signed employee handbook.

Then have a sit-down and go over their job description, expectations from them, and how they breached the contract, what lengths you can go if you decide to pursue this, whatever is mentioned in the contract. Mention you love working with them, and you didn’t want to do this, and that you must come to an understanding.

If this person is not someone you trust and don’t want to work again, have a meeting via Zoom or in-person and let them know what is in the contract, what they breached, and what you’re going to do because of it. At this point, you can decide whether you want to take legal action or not.

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Don’t go to the client.

You might want to let the client know, in a nice way, “Listen, this is how my business works. It is against our company policy for clients to subcontract pet sitters.”

Thus, you need to decide if this client an ideal client? Is this somebody that you want to continue working with? It’s all about the decisions that you need to make about the people they are.

I wouldn’t like to work with this client again. If this is a client that you usually wanted, maybe you were out of town, maybe there was a reason and extenuating circumstance. They contacted the sitter outside of the company, outside of you, perhaps then you’ll have a different decision. Take note of it on their client record inside your pet-sitting software, and be aware.

Communicate expectations with the sitter.

Tell the sitter what is expected of them, what they signed, and what lengths you can legally go to if you decided. Remind the client kindly about your policies and leave it at that.

Have a system.

What are you going to do when you find out that someone on your team breaches their contract? Have it all mapped out to know exactly what to do, and you don’t have to guess. You’re just following the company protocol.

All right, guys, I hope this helps.

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TITLE - Create a Key System for Your Pet Sitting Business that Works for you

Create a Key System for Your Pet Sitting Business that Works for you

I posted in the Pet Nanny Coach community group a tip of the day: Have your clients stay in control of their keys. This topic gained a lot of passionate responses on both sides. Some people were ‘absolutely no way.’ Others say, ‘Yes, I’ve done this in my pet sitting business, and it works amazingly well.’ While others ask, ‘What do you mean?’

I tried every single key system known to man to keep my client’s keys organized. I’m an extremely organized person, but I didn’t feel safe, and it felt stressful being responsible for 2,000 plus keys every day. It gets worse when sitters are out with the keys, and some even misplacing them. That’s when I decided to create a system for myself and for my business that worked for me.

My clients have three options:

Option 1: Use a lockbox. The kind that realtors use.

Option 2: Use a hide-a-key with a garage code.

Option 3: Schedule a key pickup and drop off service.

Most of the clients opt for number one or number two. Some prefer key pick up and drop off.

QUOTE - Create a Key System for Your Pet Sitting Business that Works for you


The idea behind is the keys are always returned to the client, and they are not housed in my home office.

Whatever tips I offer for you for your business, do what feels right. Do what feels good. Your business, your rules. You can take my advice, or you can leave it. I’m just here to help and give you some tips on what I do, and what’s worked for me.

 

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9 Steps to Professionally Handle Negative Feedback or Reviews About Your Pet Sitting Business

9 Steps to Professionally Handle Negative Feedback or Reviews About Your Pet Sitting Business

Our brain is wired to protect and keep us safe. When confronted with any type of criticism or negative feedback, we go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Our mental barriers go up, and we feel it in our bodies. We feel anxious, angry, and we feel threatened. These are all normal.

Below are nine tips on how you can professionally handle negative feedback due to your pet sitting business’s online reviews.

#1 Take a breath. Don’t immediately react.

Take a breath and don’t react. My manager, Michael, gave me a rule to not respond to an email that made me angry for 24 hours. Once the 24-hours lapse, I have a different outlook on how I am going to respond.

#2 Reread the review or email at least three times.

You probably don’t want to but take the time to read it through, make sure you understand it, and let it sink in.

#3 Think of the feedback as a learning tool.

Remember, your most unhappy customers are your most significant source of learning.

Ask yourself, “What did this customer expect? Why did they expect it? Where was the misunderstanding? Why did it occur? What changes can I make to ensure that this never happens again?”

Try to put yourself into your customer’s shoes and viewpoint. It is going to help you immensely.

#4 Compose a professional and polite online response.

Also, include thanks and appreciation in your response for bringing the matter to your attention.

I had a negative Yelp review years ago from a guy who was actually in the wrong. I rose above the situation and wrote an extremely professional response. So many customers called the office and said, “Oh, I saw your response on Yelp. You seem like a wonderful person and I want to work with you.”

#5 Respond offline with a phone call to ask questions and discuss the issues.

Call your customer to have a heart to heart talk and discuss the issues. Once you have resolved the problems, you can post again online and comment on how you agreed to the outcome with your customer.

#6 Request that fake or misleading reviews be removed.

If you believe a review is from a past employee, who is angry with you for some reason, you can request to Facebook, Google, Yelp, or any other review site that it be removed.

I once discharged a woman who was in my Pet Nanny Coach Community Facebook page. She created a fake profile and posted an outrageous review on my page. I contacted Facebook, and they immediately took the review down.

#7 Go the extra mile by sending a care package to the pets.

You may also want to offer a 100% refund. If my company or sitter is in the wrong, I will always give a 100% refund. We also follow up with a care package to the pets.

In my opinion, even if we believe that we were in the right, I still think that having the last touchpoint with the customer be positive.

There will be customers that are just pains in the you know what, and you don’t want to send them anything. That’s understandable. I have not sent the care package as well in other situations.

But in some cases, you might find that it’s warranted and may make you feel better about the situation. It might land better with the customer that’s unhappy so that they’re not spreading negative feedback to other people about your business — something to think about.

You can use a company like sendoutcards.com, where you can easily send a greeting card attached to a care package. Etsy.com is another good way too.

#8 Encourage your happy customers to write reviews.

Create a system out of this. We send out a survey after every single pet sitting service, asking for feedback.

If the feedback’s positive, you can ask then politely, “Hey, would you mind sharing this on Yelp? Or would you mind sharing this on Google? I want to spread the word about my company, and I want to attract amazing customers like you.”

We also have a system where my manager regularly sends a personalized email to two customers once a week. It’s a great way to build up your reviews.

#9 Separate criticism from judgment.

Try not to take it personally. It can be tough since we are animal people. We have a lot of love in us, so when people come at us, we feel hurt, and it’s easy to take it personally.

Do your best to try to remedy the situation. If you are not wrong, know it’s about them, not about you, and just try to separate that. It’ll just be easier on your mind and your soul.

 

Howdy, Pet Lover! Are you struggling with attracting new clients to your pet sitting business? Would you like to have a consistent pipeline of new clients coming to your business? Well, wait no longer, my friend. Grab my FREE report, 125 Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients. This resource is 100% FREE and is my gift to you. Enjoy!
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5 Tips To Deal With Grief While Running Your Pet Sitting Business

5 Tips To Deal With Grief While Running Your Pet Sitting Business

Last May, my dad unexpectedly fell ill and ended up passing away in the hospital. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was in the hospital for 19 days, and I was unable to see him during this process. It was a very tragic experience.

Thus, the reason I haven’t done a video for some time. I’ve taken some time for myself away from my pet sitting business.

But now, I’m back. I still get emotional, and I wanted to do a video for you guys about how to deal with grief while running a business. Regardless of the amount of pain that I was in, a business still had to be taken care of.

I’m sharing with you what I did to help me get through this and still have my business running while I took a little bit of time for myself.

#1 I communicated with my team.

My team knew what was going on. I’ve talked about the importance of having a team to support me in my pet sitting business. From the moment my dad became sick, I kept my team abreast with open communication. You don’t have to burden your team with too many details, but having that line of communication open so they understand what you’re going through and can step up.

#2 I leaned on my support network of family and friends.

I leaned on the people I needed in my life. I probably could have used a little more support if it wasn’t for the COVID. I would have loved some more support in terms of people coming over.

During the funeral, we were only allowed to have ten people. It meant the world to me when I found all my friends standing there when I walked out of the funeral.

#3 I spoke with a counselor regularly via Zoom.

Due to COVID, you can’t see anybody face to face. I was able to speak with her, and she’s helping me through my grief. One of my beloved students gave me a book to read, and my counselor reads it with me. We’re working through it together so she can help me with it.

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#4 I changed my scenery.

This is not possible for everybody and I get it. But in Philadelphia, riots were going on, and it was too much for my brain and heart to handle. So I went to our family beach house to calm and soothe my soul. If possible, I highly suggest this. I think that’s one of the best things that I did to renew my mind and help me through this difficult time.

#5 I delegated as much as I could to my team.

Some people bury themselves in their work to get through their grief. I’m unable to do this. My mind was just not in it, so I gave as much to my team as possible, and they were helpful.

Thus, the importance of building a team and structure around you. You never know when things like this will happen. Having people, you can lean on and delegate to will make a world of difference. I would have never been able to get through this without them.

Lean on the people around you.
Build that support system.
Build that team.

I don’t wish this on anybody. But this is life, and things do happen. Anyone that’s experiencing any grief or tragedy, this is how I got through it.

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