Pet Sitting Hiring Tips

Last week I wrote about the 3 Biggest Pet Sitting Hiring Mistakes. This week I’m going to give you a couple more helpful pet sitting hiring tips.

Pet Sitting Hiring Tip #1. Listen to your gut!

There have been times when I’ve met a pet sitting prospect and they’ve done all the right things. They’ve presented themselves well, answered my questions clearly and with enthusiasm. They also have the availability I’m looking for, but for some reason, which I can’t explain, something is off. It’s that thing we call our “gut feeling.” My advice to you is to listen to your gut. In my experience, it very rarely steers me the wrong way. When you get that feeling it’s usually due to the energy the person may be exuding and your subconscious is picking up on it. That feeling is there to tip you off. Trust yourself and listen to it! It can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

I realize that this is much easier said than done, but it’s a skill you need to practice if you want to substantially grow your pet sitting business. Here is a good article on how to follow your intuition.

Pet Sitting Hiring Tip #2. Create a test or assessment to evaluate new sitters.

When I hire a new pet sitter to join the Pet Nanny Team, I email them a Sitter Welcome Packet. I explain to the new sitter that all of the items in the packet must be completed before we can start giving them assignments. How the sitter completes the packet is a tell-all, if they are actually going to work out. Those individuals who hop quickly to completing the packet in an orderly fashion without many questions or issues usually end up being my best sitters. Why?

  1. They have made getting started with Pet Nanny a priority.
  2. They have displayed their sense of urgency.
  3. They can follow directions.
  4. They can communicate effectively.

Those who sit on the packet for a week or more before starting the tasks, 9 times out of 10 do not work out well. I have now made it our policy that if a new sitter lets more than 7 days pass without submitting the completed takes, the offer to join our team is rescinded. I already know that if it takes them this long to complete a basic task, that they lack any sense of urgency and don’t consider Pet Nanny to be a priority. In the pet sitting industry, you need to have the ability to communicate effectively by returning phone calls, emails and texts promptly. In this case they have failed my test.

If the prospect clearly communicates with you that she is going out of town or has something else going on at that exact moment, I absolutely take that into consideration because they COMMUNICATED clearly with me. It’s all about the ability to communicate effectively!

pet sitting hiring tips

Your Homework Assignment:

  1. Start listening to your gut! Follow these pet sitting hiring tips.
  2. Create a test for your own new hires. Think about how you can evaluate a new hire before actually sending them out into the field.

Hiring is one of the scariest things for us pet sitting business owners to conquer. You may be asking yourself, “Will they do as good of a job as I do? Can I trust them? How do I pay them? Will my clients like them?” I get it! It’s a tough transition.

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Hire Slowly and Fire Quickly

How to Run a Pet Sitting Business – Valuable Advice

Hire slowly and fire quickly. This is the advice that was given to me by my mentor many years ago. It is a line that is always in the back of my mind whenever I coach on how to run a pet sitting business. It is advice that has kept me safe for many years, but recently I went against my better judgement and did the exact opposite.

A Story To Illustrate This Point

Rewind to about a year ago. I unexpectedly lost a longtime sitter with a full midday roster, which translates to VERY important clients that would soon be without a dog walker. I of course went into a total panic mode. I posted my job ad and started interviewing almost immediately, but the pickings were slim. I made the decision to hire someone I knew in my gut was NOT a good fit for Pet Nanny, but I had no choice (I thought.)

So, this pet sitter started with little to no issues, but as time progressed I started to receive some negative feedback. I knew I should let her go, but against my better judgement, I took the advice of someone who felt that it would cause way more of a ruckus to let her go than to keep her on. Again, I went against my gut and kept her on. STUPID!!!

Now, fast forward to about one year after she was hired. Our Client Happiness Manager set-up a shadow walk between this pet sitter and a new pet sitter. The new pet sitter reported back to Pet Nanny Headquarters that this veteran sitter had A LOT to say… A lot of negative things. She said that she takes clients’ reservations all of the time and that Pet Nanny has no idea. She also said that she brings her boyfriend with her whenever she wants and that you don’t actually have to stay for the entire time on visits. All three of these points completely go against Pet Nanny Standards and the Code of Ethics that each sitter signs when they join our team. This is not how to run a pet sitting business.

When this information was relayed to me, it felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach. I thought to myself, how many other pet sitters has she tainted with her selfish and self-serving views? How many clients had she tainted with her inability to keep her thoughts to herself and simply provide the top quality pet care that Pet Nanny promises? Ugh! I didn’t even want to think about it.

how to run a pet sitting business

Next, my manager and I jumped into fix-it mode. We knew we had to immediately stop this pet sitter from ever visiting another Pet Nanny client’s home. My manager called her and told her to meet her at a local establishment where she requested all of the keys to be returned to her. She then explained to this sitter the standards of Pet Nanny which she was clearly not living up to, as well as the provisions of her agreement with us, which she was clearly violating. The sitter swore up and down that she did none of these things. My manager wished her the best and they went their separate ways. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we removed her from our website and revoked her access to the Pet Nanny database before this meeting took place, just in case this sitter wanted to access her client list and wreak more havoc.

The Moral of The Story

The moral of the story is hire slowly and fire quickly. If you always try to hire proactively (as I talk about here in this blog post,) you won’t ever have to ignore this advice. And…. Always listen to your gut, because it’s always right!

Your Homework Assignment: Take an assessment of your staff. Is there anyone that you should cut loose? If so, do it!

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5 Things I Would Have Done Differently In My Pet Sitting Business

Tips I wish I had known when I started my pet sitting business

It’s hard to believe but it’s been 19 years since I first started my pet sitting business! There have been ups and downs, but I’ve learned a lot along the way and today I want to share with you the five things that I would have done differently (if I knew then what I know now.)

Hopefully, you can learn from these tips and do them differently in your pet sitting business, so that you can get where you want to be much faster.

One: Have a clear vision of the results you want to achieve

The first thing I would have done differently is to have a clear vision of the results I wanted to achieve in my business versus just flying by the seat of my pants, which is pretty much what I did.

I had no plan, I had no vision, I had no idea what I wanted to create, I had no idea what I wanted to make each month.

It took me a long time to get to where I am now because clarity equals power, and I didn’t have any clarity. Be clear on what you want to achieve, and you’re going to get there much faster.

Two: Hire help as soon as possible

If your business depends solely on you, you do not have a business, you actually have a job. I know because I did this.

I had a job for many years. I created a large job for myself. As my business was ramping up and I started getting all these customers, and I was booked out all the time, I worked 12 to 15 hour days, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

I had no idea how I could stop being the sole person that was managing the business and doing all the client work. When I finally learned how to do it, and I built a strong team, things started to happen really quickly. I created a balance in my life and my work, which is just so important.

Your business is supposed to add to your life, not to make you miserable, exhausted, and burned out.

pet sitting business

 

Three: Use technology to expand your business

The third thing I would have done differently is I would have leveraged technology so much sooner.

If you are still doing everything manually it is going to be hard to grow your business successfully. There are tools out there now which can save you time, energy and in the end help your business to bring in more money.

There are online scheduling systems, automation tools for your emails and social media marketing which will make running your business so much more efficient and profitable.

Creating processes and systems that happen automatically through the use of technology was a game changer for my pet sitting business.

Four: Understand the lifetime value of your customer base

Your lifetime value of a customer is how much a customer is projected to spend with you during their lifetime with your business. It costs way much more money to acquire a new customer than it does to incentivize your current customers to book from you more often, this, my friends, is a game changer.

I should have been nurturing the relationships by staying in touch with these customers instead of just assuming that when they needed pet sitting or dog walking that they would call me. That’s an assumption you don’t want to make.

People forget who they work with. People want to do business with people. They want to know that by you staying in touch with them that you care about them, that you care about their pets, and they’re going to easily remember to book with you each time they need service.

By staying in touch with them you’re also going to create raving fans. It’s not just enough to have customers in this crowded marketplace. You want your customers to be raving fans who use you all the time and are going to spread the word about you and your business.

Five: Hire a business coach 

I waited way too long before I hired my first business coach. Back then, there really weren’t any pet business-related business coaches, so mine was not in the pet field and yours certainly doesn’t have to be either.

If you find someone who runs a business that you admire, that has the results that you would like in your business, that has the business model that you want to follow, go and hire them. Ask them to help you to get you to where you want to go. It’s a shortcut. You don’t have to try to figure all these things out on your own.

So, these are the five main things I wish I had known back when I started my pet sitting business. I hope they help you to design and run the business you are dreaming of.

 

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Hiring Pet Sitters For Your Business

The Struggle of Hiring Pet Sitters

Why is hiring pet sitters a problem for some business owners?

One of the most common problems discussed by my students or in my Facebook group is the struggle of hiring pet sitters to grow their business. Sometimes even the thought of hiring a team is too scary and so they decide to stay small, stay working for themselves, being a sole proprietorship.

Then some people take the leap and try to find good people, but they run into issues getting reliable sitters which leads them to give up and go back to running a one-person show.

As we know, there are only so many hours for dollars that you can trade in a single day. So, you’re automatically putting a ceiling over your head with how much revenue you can build in your pet sitting business.

To make a substantial income in this industry, you need to leverage yourself through a team of heart-centered pet care professionals that are going to take stellar care of your client’s pets.

Hiring Pet Sitters

Now, hiring is difficult. It is hard. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that something’s easy when it’s not.

Finding good people is something that we work on daily at Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line. We have a system for hiring and we’ve used it consistently to grow the team and the business.

There are two steps I want you to take if you want to get serious and grow an amazing team of pet care professionals.

1. Create an attraction system

First,  you need to create a system where you are continuously attracting potential sitters so that you can pick the best candidates for your business.

Your time is precious which means you want to make sure you weed out the applicants who will not work before you even have your first initial interview with them.

2. Test potential sitters at the interview stage

Then you need to have a second system for the interview process to see how your new sitter would perform in different situations.

Their work is going to be a direct reflection on your pet sitting business, therefore, you need to be happy with how they work before you hire them for your company.

Also, this needs to be part of your regular daily business practices. You can’t say, “Okay, I really need sitters,” and then just hope and pray that a resume lands in your inbox.

You need to constantly have a system on autopilot where you are getting the message out that you’re hiring and you’re looking for great people. This leads to interviewing on a weekly basis and putting people through your systems on a weekly basis. That is how you build an amazing team. Yes, it is challenging, but don’t let that stop you from growing.

Currently, we have 40 pet sitters at Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line and we still have weekly meetings discussing where we’re going to find people. In this way, we have grown the most amazing team and the most amazing business.

So, if this is what you want to do, don’t let fear hold you back from hiring pet sitters. Create the attraction system, create the hiring system, make it part of your daily business practices, and you will be able to do it.

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How to Hire the Right People for Your Pet Sitting Business

Building a team of heart-centered pet care professionals is a crucial ingredient if you’re looking to multiply your pet sitting business, but finding the right people can sometimes be a challenge. Today, I’m going to give you some tips on what you need to have in place to hire the right people for your pet sitting business.

Avoid the Wrong People

You don’t want to hire people that are difficult to manage, or going to take poor care of your furry clients, or miss visits, or not communicate effectively with your human clients, or not follow instructions. But guess what? This happens all the time because you guys aren’t hiring the right people for your pet sitting business and you don’t have the correct systems set up to attract, hire, onboard and manage your team.

Learn From My Mistakes

In my day, I made every hiring mistake that you can think of. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and because of this, I made some very poor choices.

I hired people that were too young. People that were using my business as a pit stop. People that were terrible communicators. People who were dishonest. The list goes on.

I’m not telling this to you to scare you. I’m telling you this because there is a better way and I don’t want you to experience the same pitfalls that I did.

Step 1: Write an Ideal Pet Sitter Profile

You need to start by writing an Ideal Sitter Profile. List all of the attributes that you are looking for in a pet sitter. If you already have a roster of pet sitters, think about your A+ ones. Who do you love on your team, and what makes them great? Write it down. This is a manifestation tool.

Step 2: Map out a Pet Sitter Attraction System

Map out a system where you’re going to attract high-level people to your business continuously. So think about your Attraction System. What are you putting out there to get people to apply to work with your company? Are you fishing where the fish are? How can you get your company’s name and job opportunity in front of the right people?

Step 3: Design a Hiring System

Next, you need to map out the whole process of when a candidate applies for the position and for when you meet and interview your sitter candidate. What kind of questions are you asking them to find out if they are going to be a good fit for this company? Are you setting expectations about what you’re looking for in the people? It’s not just about if they would be a good fit for your company. It’s also about setting expectations… “This is how we do business around here and what is expected of the sitters on our staff. What do you think about that?”

For example, setting the expectation of their availability. Saying something like, “Yes, this is a great job, yes it’s flexible, yes if you’re an IC you create your own schedule. However, we do have an expectation of availability. If you take off every single weekend and every single holiday, this isn’t going to be worth your time, and it’s not going to be worth my time.” So right from the get-go, you’re letting them know what is expected.

Step 4: Create a Detailed Onboarding System

Then, if they go onto the onboarding stage, what’s the process? You need to have a system in place where you’re evaluating them. This is your opportunity to see how they interact and deliver before they’re officially on your team.

So map out your Onboarding System. What are you going to have in place that’s going to allow for you to evaluate them on how they’re going to be as pet sitters when you hire them?

Step 5: Plan Out Your Sitter Management System

You need to have an open door of communication to stay in touch and assess how they’re feeling about the position. How are you going to see if they’re happy? Are they having too many visits or do they have enough visits? How are you going to manage the team as a whole and be their fearless leader? Plan it out!

A Stellar Team of Pet Sitter is Absolutely Possible

As I mentioned, I’ve had some real doozies on my team over the years. But I can tell you that since I’ve learned all of this and created a Sitter Attraction System, a Sitter Hiring System, a Sitter Onboarding System, and a Sitter Management System, I have an AMAZING team of pet sitters who get rave reviews from my clients. Don’t kiss all the frogs that I did. Follow these steps to build your stellar team of heart-centered pet care professionals.

 

Schedule your 10K Month Pet Sitting Blueprint Strategy Session at www.MeetWithColleen.com.

10K Month Pet Sitting Blueprint