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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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pet sitting business

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