Pet Sitters Stealing Clients & Clients Stealing Your Pet Sitters

As the owner of a pet sitting business who wants to grow and scale their business by building a team, there is a concern about the people you hire/your pet sitters going behind your back and stealing your clients. There is also a concern regarding your clients cutting you, the business owner out of the transaction. Both of these are genuine concerns and have both happened to me.

Here is my opinion on these issues:

Issue #1. Pet Sitters Stealing Your Clients

There is a very real possibility that you may make a less than a stellar decision with someone that you hire to join your team and that this less than impressive individual could go behind your back and offer their services directly to your pet sitting clients or dog walking clients. This scenario could very well happen and will most likely happen, but don’t let it stop you from growing your team.

TIP: Have Them Sign a Pet Sitter Non-Compete Agreement

What I suggest you do to prevent something like this from happening is first to have every pet sitter/dog walker sign a non-compete agreement. In this agreement, it should clearly spell out that the sitter is more than welcome to start their own business at any time; they’re just not able to do so with your company’s clients.

You should go over this non-compete with your pet sitter prospects thoroughly and ask them if they fully understand the agreement and if they have any questions. You can then tell them you will take them to court if it is revealed that they have done something so dishonest. This scares them!

Issue #2: Clients Poaching your Pet Sitters

You may also have the unpleasant experience of having your clients trying to poach your sitters. Meaning they go behind your back and try to cut you out of the transaction.

TIP: All Scheduling Must Go Through the Pet Sitting Business Owner’s Office

I would make it part of your company policy to have all scheduling go through the office. Any scheduling that is done and any service that is provided without the knowledge of your company will immediately void the service agreement between you and the client. Your company can not be held liable for any damages that takeplace while the client’s pets and home are under the sitter’s care.

Your pet sitters also need to entirely understand this policy as well because they could find themselves in a situation where they are uninsured and making themselves liable.

Final Thoughts on This Subject

Pet sitting clients that try to poach your pet sitters are what I call “non-deal clients.” (Go here to learn how to create your ideal client profile.) These people are not the type of pet owners that you want on your client roster. Let them go immediately and make room for people who you love working with.

Pet sitter or dog walkers that try and steal your clients are dishonest people. If your clients want to do business with someone that would behave in such a manner, you are better off without either of them. I firmly believe in karma. Let go of the negative energy and let karma work its magic. You stay focused on finding impressive, honest people to join your staff and to providing fantastic service to your roster of ideal clients who you absolutely love working with!

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Holiday Marketing for Pet Sitters

‘Tis the season, pet sitters! Have you thought yet about your holiday marketing and how you can maximize your profits this holiday season or are you just dreading the arrival of the holidays with no plan in place?

My guess is that most of you are in the second group of pet sitters who haven’t planned any holiday offerings, sales or discounts. Let’s change that with some ideas for Holiday Marketing for Pet Sitters!

This is a great time of year to attract new prospective clients, show appreciation to our current customers and ensure a profitable New Year, which will be here before you know it.

This is a great time of year to attract new prospective clients, show appreciation to our current customers and ensure a profitable New Year. Click To Tweet

Below are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Holiday Marketing for Pet Sitters

  • Customize your website with a holiday theme.
    • Holiday logos
    • Holiday banners
    • Holiday videos
    • Holiday plug-ins
    • Holiday countdown timer
  • Create holiday infographics for your pet-loving clients
  • Write holiday blog posts
  • Create a holiday email series
  • Holiday posts on Facebook
  • Holiday Facebook Ads
  • Create a time-limited saving offer
  • Design a holiday-themed Facebook Timeline image
  • Run a holiday contest
  • Run a direct mail promotion
  • Thank your current customers with a gift

Here are Some Examples of our Holiday Logos:

Tip: You can have these created on www.Fiverr.com for just five bucks!

Here is our 2015 Christmas Video

Here are Some Examples of our Holiday Email Templates

Your Homework Assignment:

  1. Create a holiday marketing calendar.
  2. Break down everything you will need to implement the calendar, ex. images, videos, email copy etc.
  3. Put your plan into action and watch the sales roll in.

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!
  •  

YES! Send Me The Complete Checklist of 125 ways to get more PET SITTING CLIENTS!

 

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My #1 Pet Sitting Business Secret

Today I am going to reveal my #1 Pet Sitting Business Secret that increased my bottom line by 103% in 1 year.

In this video I talk about my personal journey and how I ended up where I am today.

A Little Background

When I went to college at The Ohio State University in 1995, I truly had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had received a scholarship for field hockey, so besides playing my sport and having a blast in the process, I had no true direction or career aspirations. Looking back, I regret wasting the amazing opportunity that was given to me to envelop myself in my education. Don’t get me wrong. I had a great time, but I wish I had the where with all to focus on the things that truly mattered, which was my future career. When I enrolled at OSU, I declared Special Education as my major. I had worked at a home called St. Edmond’s Home for Crippled Children all through high school, so I figured this is what I was supposed to do. The curriculum was a breeze. I barely had to study, which left plenty of time for partying and hanging with my friends. I will say that I do have a gift of being able to care for and help special needs children. The tricky part was that I did love it, but I knew deep down that it wasn’t my calling.

After Graduation

After graduation, I accepted a position teaching seven years old children with Down Syndrome. They were the cutest, most wonderful jewels on the planet. I loved each and every one of those kids, but I felt completely drained both physically and emotionally. I can’t even describe to you the exhaustion that I felt at the completion of each work day. It wore on me, and it wore on me fast! The summer before going into my second year of teaching I was expressing my disappointment in my career choice to my mother. She suggested that I start my own business. I initially laughed it off. I mean, what on earth would I do? She asked me what it was that I love to do most? I answered in jest; I wouldn’t mind playing with dogs all day. Well, that one little statement was like a lightning bolt that struck my life, which in turn has never been the same since. During my second year of teaching, I did nothing but plan for the opening of my very own pet sitting business. I gave my notice to the principle about mid-way through the year, giving her plenty of time to fill the position for the following year. Then in June of 2001, on the last day of school, I opened the doors to Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line.

The Start of My Pet Sitting Business

For the next five years, it would be me, myself and I, all alone. I did everything for the pet sitting business. Every single pet sitting visit, dog walk and overnight stay. I answered the phone. I did the accounting. I did the emails. I had created nothing more than another J.O.B for myself, and my boss was my clients. I thought that the entire point of going into business for myself was to have the freedom to do the things that I loved. Ummmm… NOT!!! I never slept in my own bed, because I was always staying at one of my client’s houses. I did the 6 am morning visits, the afternoon dog walks, the dinner visits and the 10 pm evening visits. I was utterly exhausted and very unhappy. On top of the rigorous schedule that I had created for myself, my clients took unbelievable advantage of me. I had no policies or procedures in place and I never wanted to be rude, so I just let them take advantage of me. Uh! Looking back, I want to grab that 24 year old girl, shake her and tell her to toughen up and to get with it! But this is what learning is all about, right? We need to have our struggles to show us what we really want.

My Wake-Up Call

So after five years of running myself straight into the ground, I decided to either get serious about the business and expand or possibly go into pharmaceutical sales. I chose option A…expansion!!!! The problem was I had not a clue on how to achieve this. There was no real solid business education out there that I knew of. In truth, I had NO IDEA on where or how to start. Then, like a miracle, a person came into my life by almost miraculous fate. I attended the NAPPS pet sitting conference that year and a woman named Fabienne Fredrickson of Client Attraction spoke. Well, I just dove into her teachings. I read every email, every newsletter, I purchased every product, I attended every event and I eventually joined her Platinum Mastermind Program. You see, I found a mentor. I found someone to teach me what I didn’t know, which was everything. Through Fabs I also found other great teachers that I started to follow and learn from as well. I kind of became a product junkie. I ready every book, took every course, attended every event and purchased every program that I could get my hands on. I had a thirst for business knowledge. I loved learning, then applying what I learned to Pet Nanny and then seeing how my business just kept growing and growing and growing.

Me with my Coaches, Fabienne and Derek Fredrickson

Let’s Talk Numbers

I hope it’s okay with you, but I am going to share some numbers. I realize that some people can be put-off by this, but I just want to show you the surprising results that I experienced as a result of applying all the great nuggets of wisdom and information from my mentor and all the many programs that I had invested in. This is what happened to my business…

In 2005, I had earned a gross revenue of $47,282.32. In 2006 after applying all that I had learned, I earned a gross revenue of $95,992.50. That is a 103% increase!!!! Since then my business has grown by exponential numbers each and every year, even in the down economy.

Continued Growth

How do I do it? I keep learning. I still purchase programs and attend seminars and apply what I learn to my business. I will never reach a pet sitting business nirvana, where I will say “that’s good enough.” No way!!! I believe the sky is the limit for Pet Nanny. I truly mean that. Those of us that are in the pet sitting industry have chosen an excellent field. Our clients are obsessed with their pets, and we provide them with the solution on how to provide loving care for them when they can’t be at home. We will never, ever have a shortage of clients. This I can promise you.

Currently. Pet Nanny has 1000+ clients, a staff of 40+ pet sitters, a full-time Client Happiness Manager, and a part-time Sitter Manger. The business is generating a high six-figure revenue. I get to spend my time doing what I love. This includes working on my business, playing paddle or tennis every day, entertaining our friends and family, vacationing at our beach house, playing with my kids and attending all of their school events. This is what my definition of success is. FREEDOM! I make enough income where I can enjoy my life. I will be honest; it feels good.

In this video I speak about the power of a mentor at minute 14:03

My #1 Secret Revealed

To sum up, in all of the years that I have been in business I have learned tons of things, but the most important aspect and the #1 secret that I uncovered to finding success within your own pet sitting business is to find a mentor. Find someone that you connect with, and that you respect and want to emulate. This is the shortcut to success. You saw my numbers. I had 103% growth in the year that I started working with my mentor. The numbers don’t lie. That is rock solid evidence of the power of a mentor.

YOUR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Find yourself a mentor.

If you’re interested in working privately with me head on over here to checkout my Ignite Private Coaching Program.

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Key Management for Pet Sitters

Key management used to be a major stressor in my life as a pet sitting business owner.

The Back Story

Before I started using lock boxes in my pet sitting business, I can easily say that key management was one of the most stressful parts of my business. I could not find a system that worked and worse yet, the bigger I got, the worse the key situation became. This was not only completely unprofessional, but it wasn’t safe! My clients were trusting me with the keys to their homes, and I can shamefully say that I was failing miserably at the task.

A System was Introduced

Thankfully a colleague of mine suggested that I switch to lock boxes. She has been using them for years and couldn’t rave more about them. My immediate reaction was, “no way! How could that possibly work? Uh ah. Not for me.”

Sidebar

This is something by the way that we as humans do. We immediately push something new away and categorize it as “un-doable” or “not for us.” If I hadn’t worked on this mindset issue, I would never have been able to take my business to where it is today. Just saying.

My Stupidity

So, I went on for a few more years, and let the key situation keep compounding until I finally decided to, gasp! Should I dare say it?… Wait for it… Try something new! Holy cow! A novel idea. A lightbulb went off. Somebody that was more successful than I was had an efficient system on the exact issue that I was struggling with. What was wrong with me? I mean seriously.

The Moral of the Story

Long story short, I opened my closed mind and decided to go for it, and I am so very happy that I did. I now use lock boxes with my clients, which has not only benefited me as the business owner, but it has benefited the business, my assistants, my clients, and my sitters. Win, win, win, win! Why did I wait so long?!

The System

  • I purchase lock boxes in bulk from www.buylockbox.com
  • My clients are told that for security reasons Pet Nanny doesn’t retain keys. We stress that it is for their benefit that this policy is in place.

They Have Three Options:

    1. Purchase a lock box from us or anywhere of their choosing.

 

    1. Schedule a key pick-up and drop-off ($12 each way.)

       

      • The cost of this service goes to the sitter for their driving expense and time.

 

  1. Give us a garage code or leave a hide-a-key.

     

    • If they opt for the garage code, they must leave a key with a neighbor or leave a hide-a-key.

Your Homework Assignment: What have you been putting off implementing in your own business? Think on it. Write it down and take action!

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Soliciting Feedback From Your Pet Sitting Clients

Successfully gathering and sharing customer feedback from your pet sitting clients is vital to the health of your business and it costs you next to nothing!

Why is it so important?

  1. It is the responsible thing to do as a business owner. You should want to know how your clients are feeling about your service.
  2. Success is tied to businesses who regularly ask for feedback and then make the necessary changes within their business to ensure customer satisfaction.
  3. It creates the know like and trust factor with your customers. Even if they don’t take the survey, they will be thrilled that you are taking the time and are thoughtful enough to follow-up with them.
  4. It increases engagement with your pet sitting clients. Most times the interaction of a pet sitter is with the furry ones. Asking for feedback gives you an opportunity to interact with the human client.
  5. Soliciting customer feedback can alert you to any issues that bother a customer and allows you to resolve them before they escalate into a full-blown complaint.
  6. Sometimes you just need to see things through the client’s eyes. Having another’s perspective is very valuable information for the growth of your business.

Here’s the Customer Feedback System:

    1. After a service has been completed, send your client an email asking them to complete a very short survey. Be sure to make mention that it’s very short, and leave a section where they can write comments.
      1. Try www.surveymonkey.com, surveyplanet.com, www.jotform.com or www.gravityforms.
    2. Ask them if you can use their kind words in the form of a testimonial for your business. They’ve already written it, so, of course, they are going to say yes!
    3. Post the testimonial on your website
      1. Try and use a picture of the pet
      2. And always include the full name and town that your client lives in along with the testimonial.
        1. Studies have shown that people disregard testimonials that don’t include a full name.
    4. Repurpose the testimonials
      1. As social media content and images
      2. On your marketing materials
      3. In your email signature
      4. In your Welcome Packet
      5. On your order forms
      6. On a “What People Are Saying About “INSERT BIZ NAME”
      7. On your blog as the basis for an article
        1. Check out this article for help on that https://buzzfarmers.com/turning-stories-into-sales/creative-blog-ideas-testimonials/
    5. Send a thank you card with a small gift. Think Starbucks gift card or even a free visit or walk.

The Next Step

The next time you receive positive feedback from that same client, you will want to follow the same system, except this time ask them to post their kind words on a Review site. Again, you always want to send a thank you card and offer a token of your appreciation.

Your Homework: Create your customer feedback system. Document it and implement it.

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How To Go From Being An Independent Pet Sitter to Hiring

Going from being an independent pet sitter to hiring your first pet sitter can be a tricky, but with a simple mindset shift and a couple tips I am going to make it much easier for you!

STEP 1: Create an Ideal Sitter Profile

You must be crystal clear on who it is you want to attract to work with your pet sitting business and your clients. You need to write it down so that you can imprint it onto your subconscious.

Get crystal clear on who u want to attract to work with your pet sitting biz and clients. Click To Tweet

If you want to look at mine, you can grab my Team Expansion Tool Kit here.

In short, you want to target people who don’t need your business as their sole source of income. It’s just not going to be enough for people to live on. If you do hire these individuals, you can expect a large amount of turnover.

Ideas for people who have other sources of income:

  • Freelancers
  • Writers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Have another part-time or full-time job that won’t interfere with their pet sitting duties.
  • Teachers make excellent summer pet sitters.
  • Stay at home Moms or Dads
    • Depending on how old their children are. Those with very young children don’t usually work out.

 

STEP 2: Manage Their Expectations by Writing a Detailed Job Description

  • Write a written Detailed Job Description explaining exactly how the position works.
  • In the Job Description make note of who the position IS a good fit for.
  • In the Job Description make note of who the position is NOT a good fit for.
  • Reiterate all of the points of the job description during the face to face interview.
  • Ask them point blank:
    • Do you understand that I can not promise you a certain amount of business?
    • Do you understand that you will be building your book of business by absorbing the new business that is coming into the company and that we do not have a crystal ball that will tell us how quickly that will happen?
    • Do you have the availability and flexibility to be a part of a team like this?

So there you have it. Two simple tips that will help the process of going from an independent pet sitter to hiring that much easier of you!

TIP: If you would like some more step-by-step information on when to hire your first pet sitter and how to do that exactly click on over here. This video and post will help you.

Your Homework Assignment:

  1. Create an Ideal Sitter Profile so you can become crystal clear on the type of pet sitter that you want to attract to your business.
  2. Write a Detailed Job Description that you can email to prospects that explains the position and manages their expectations right from the start.

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Productivity Hack for Pet Sitters

The productivity hack I am going to tell you about today is from a book called

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

…which you can grab on Amazon here. <—–

What’s so great about this productivity hack is that it really gets you focused on one project at a time until that project is completed.

It is very simple, and all you need is a dry erase board, a dry erase pen and sticky notes.

Watch the video to learn about SCRUM.

Your Homework Assignment:

  1. Create your own SCRUM board and start knocking out your projects faster!
  2. Commit to doing, at least, one thing in your business every day, even if it’s the smallest task and watch how quickly you move your pet sitting business forward.

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Move Your Pet Sitting Business Forward

Are you having difficulty moving your business to the next level of success and can’t figure out why? If so, I may have the answer for you.

I recently spoke to a pet sitting business owner who has been in business for 17 years, but has never been able to break the 6-figure mark. She said, “Colleen, I am lost completely on why I can’t get ahead with my business.” I then asked her what she has tried to do differently to move her business forward. She didn’t have an answer. She has been running her business the exact same way for 17 years. 17 years! She still has the same website. She has never hired anyone. She has never implemented any marketing strategies. So I asked her, “why?” Her answer was, “I’m comfortable with the way things are managed and nobody can handle my clients as I can.”

So, as you can see, she answered her own question. She has plateaued in her business because she is stuck in her comfort zone.

You see, magical things start to happen when you get out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is not a good place to be in your business because it means you’re not moving forward. You should feel uncomfortable. You should do the things that scare you.

Magical things start to happen when you get out of your comfort zone. Click To Tweet

If you’re identifying with this, don’t be too hard on yourself. We ALL like to be in our comfort zone, but here is something that a wise person once told me. She said, “Successful entrepreneurs are those people that are willing to do what others are not.” Meaning, get out of your comfort zone and start doing what’s needed to move your business forward.

Your Homework Assignment: Identify your comfort zone. What are you NOT doing to move your business forward? Write them down.

You can do this! I believe in you!

If you’re ready to make your dream of owning a successful and profitable pet sitting business a reality, DOWNLOAD your FREE blueprint now.





 




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