Creating Boundaries and Expectations With Your Pet Sitting Customers

I speak with many pet sitting business owners on a weekly basis and something that most all of them have in common is their lack of creating boundaries and expectations when setting up a pet sitting business.

Case In Point

I spoke to a very smart and ambitious owner last week who told me that her dream is to build a million dollar pet sitting business. She then told me that she emails and/or texts all of her customers every Sunday night to see if they’re going to need service for the upcoming week.

I explained to her that setting up a pet sitting business means she must set her business up now for where she wants to take it. Meaning, if she had a million dollar business would she be able to personally text and or email every single customer to see if they need service? No, of course not! She could maybe automate it, but most definitely would not have the time to do it herself.

Creating That Expectation With Her Customers

She is also creating an expectation for her customers. Let’s just say the business grows to a point where she can no longer continue sending out the personal reminders. Her customers are going to be like, “Hey! Where’s my reminder text?” because that is now the expectation that she has created.

My Experience With This

I have personal experience with this exact issue. I once had this very high-maintenance client. My Client Happiness Manager found it easiest to reach out to him on Friday afternoons to see what he needed for the following week, so she didn’t have to deal with a Saturday or Sunday phone call from him. Well, one week she forgot to reach out. The client called on Monday morning frantic about his dogs and was very upset that he did not receive his reminder email. I mean, really?! As annoyed as I was about his attitude, it was our own fault for creating that expectation. I then stepped in and kindly explained to him our actual procedures for scheduling. He responded that if he didn’t receive the reminder from our office that he would take his business elsewhere. I said, “good riddance!” No, I didn’t actually say that. I wanted to, but I took the high road. I expressed my disappointment, but wished him and his pups the best of luck. They can now be someone else’s headache. I know that sounds harsh, but I’m telling you, if you start “unleashing” these types of negative, heartsick clients, you will make room for more of your ideal clients.

Unleashing negative, heartsick clients, you will make room for more of your ideal clients. Click To Tweet

I just went off on a bit of a tangent there. Back to boundaries and expectations…

How to Create Boundaries and Expectations

If you want your clients to communicate with you via email, don’t text them or accept reservations via text. Kindly explain to your customers that text messages sometimes fall through cracks and that you would prefer they use your online scheduler or email.

If you don’t want to be on call 24-hours per day, don’t answer the phone or emails in the evening. On your voicemail message include your office hours and when callers can expect to hear back from you. For your email, create an auto-responder, which includes the same info. Turn on the auto-responder at the end of the day and set a reminder to turn it off in the morning.

setting up a pet sitting business

The Downside of Doing “Extras”

I tell our sitters to please be careful with the extras they provide, because what will happen when the next sitter goes to their home? The client is going to expect the extras for which their new sitter isn’t obliged to provide because it’s not part of her job description.

Summary

You must create clear boundaries and expectations with your customers, so that you can leverage your time, your business and your sanity. This will allow you to manage many more customers and provide them all with a level of service that is top-notch and replicable.

Your Homework Assignment:

  • What expectations are you creating with your customers? How can you manage your customer’s expectations better?
  • What boundaries would you like to set?
  • Next, send out an email or snail mail letter explaining when and why your procedures are changing.
  • After your letter goes out, enforce your boundaries!

TIP: Remember…

“Those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” Click To Tweet
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11 Ways To Generate Trust With Your Pet Sitting Customers and Prospects

The best piece of advice I can give you for owning a pet sitting business is to create a reputation for yourself and for your business as being “trustworthy.” In this industry, our customers are in essence, giving the keys to their homes to complete strangers. They’re basically saying, “Come on in (while I’m not here) and take care of my precious pals and worldly treasures.” If you think of it from this perspective, you can see how hiring a pet sitting service is a very scary thing for our customers. It is your job to show your pet sitting customers and customer prospects that you and your business can be trusted implicitly. So, how do you create trust with your pet sitting customers and prospects? Here are 11 ways…

#1. Owning a pet sitting business requires a professional website

  • You literally have 3 seconds to make an impression on your website visitors. If you have a poorly designed and unprofessional looking site, it’s going to be a serious detriment to your credibility and will most likely result in lost opportunities.

#2. Include your business phone number at the top of every page on your website

  • Phone numbers that are front and center invoke trust.
  • Answer the phone when it rings! People will feel immediately comfortable if they know they can get a live person on the phone when they call.

#3. Post your credentials on your website by including the logos to associations for which you are affiliated

#4. Crush them with social proof!

  • Showcase the positive experiences of others who have used your pet sitting service. The more the better! If you only have a few, don’t let that stop you. You have to start somewhere.
  • Dedicate an entire page for your positive reviews. Here is an article on how to use social proof when owning a pet sitting business.

#5. Make it personal

  • People trust people. Showcase who you are on your About Us page. Tell your story on this page and be sure to include a picture or a video, so people can connect with you.

owning a pet sitting business

#6. Have a Meet Our Team Page

  • Your prospects will feel more at ease if they can visually see who will be coming into their homes. I suggest using video, but at the very least, include a picture and write-up of each team member.

#7. Have a blog on your website

  • Fresh and relevant content, for which your prospects will find valuable, is not only good for search engine optimization, but it also shows that your business is alive and kicking, which breeds trust.

#8. Include a Privacy Policy

  • Be clear about what you will and will not do with any personal data you collect. Make it easy to read.
  • You can have one generated for you by Ibuenda.

#9. Clearly communicate what your customers can expect from your services

Be crystal clear on exactly what your customers can expect from using your service. Click To Tweet

This is the knowledge-bomb!

  • Don’t ever promise anything that you can’t deliver on. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver.
  • Lay out your Polices and Procedures and be sure they understand all of them.
  • Let them know exactly when they will hear from their sitter to schedule their registration meeting.
  • Let them know exactly how they will hear from their sitter when they are gone.
  • Let them know how you will communicate with them.
  • Let them know exactly what will happen at each and every visit or house sitting stay.
  • Let them know how you will follow-up with them.
  • Let them know how they can schedule and how long they can expect for a service order to be processed.
  • MANAGE THEIR EXPECTATIONS! If you deliver on what you promised, they will trust you and they in turn will spread the word.

#10. Offer a Guarantee

  • Offering a guarantee will alleviate your customer’s sense of risk.
  • Pet Nanny offers a 100% money-back guarantee. I know that we offer superior service, so I’m not worried about people cashing in on this offer, and if a sitter does mess-up, I want to give my customer’s their money back. Why should they pay for a service they didn’t receive?
  • You may from time to time come across an unscrupulous individual, who is purposely trying to take advantage. When you do come head to head with this person, give them the refund and chalk it up as the cost of doing business (I’ll tell you a good story about this at a later time.)

#11. Keep in touch on a regular and consistent basis

  • Creating a “Stay-In-Touch Marketing Plan” will help to keep you top-of-mind with your customers and customer prospects, but it also essential for owning a pet sitting business. When your customers can rely on the fact that they will hear from you on a consistent basis, they also know they can rely on you to take care of their most prized possessions.

 Your Homework Assignment:

  1. Go to your website as if you were a first time visitor and ask yourself, “would I trust me based on this website?” If the answer is no, it’s time to revamp your site.
  2. Start to implement some or all of these 11 ways to generate trust with your pet sitting customers.

Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!

Enter Your Info Below to Download The Complete Checklist For Starting a Pet Sitting Business!

 

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How I Get Results For Your Pet Sitting Business

Hundreds of pet sitting business owners have used these techniques

Today, I’m going to give you an insight into my methods for teaching and how I get my students results.

I’ve been in business since 2001 and not only have I created a successful pet sitting business, I have taken the methods I used to grow my own business and taught hundreds of others how to do the same.

I do this using two separate frameworks, one for people who are completely new to the pet sitting industry and ready to start their own business, and a second system for those pet sitters who are ready to expand and grow their business.

Simple step-by-step frameworks to get you results

Both systems use an easy-to-follow, step-by-step framework which guides my students through learning and then implementation towards direct results in their pet sitting businesses.

If you are ready to start your own pet sitting business or have already started but struggling to get results then the Launch and Grow system is for you.

In the Launch and Grow course we start with the basics such as how to correctly name your pet sitting business, how to analyze your competitors and how to legally set up your business.

From there we move onto the profit plan where we discuss how to position your business to make money, how to attract clients through marketing, how to stand out of the crowd, and what to do on a regular basis so that you always have clients coming in.

We cover the cornerstone of your business, your website. You will learn how to set it up so that it both attracts and then converts clients and turns them into loyal customers.

We also talk about how to get clients quickly. So for those who are brand new or those who are really struggling and need clients, I give you my foolproof method on how to get clients quickly.

And then after we implement all of this, the next step is building a team. And that’s what we dive really deep into in my Multiply Mastermind program.

This is everything you need to do to multiply your business to six figures and beyond. I have an entire framework on how to take your business to that next level and multiply it quickly.

Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!

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The Myth That Stops Your Pet Sitting Business From Growing

Nothing bothers me more than pet sitters on their high horse spouting their negativity and completely false belief systems.

For me, one of the worst lies out there is the myth that if you are an animal lover, you shouldn’t care about creating a successful business and making money.

Like many of you, I started my pet sitting business because I love animals and that hasn’t changed as my business has grown.

You can be an animal lover and a successful business owner

However, it’s common to hear some people in the pet sitting business communities criticize anyone who is focusing on expanding from being a solo sitter into a successful and profitable business.

Not only is it a myth that you can’t both love and care about animals and focus on making money in your business at the same time, but it’s not the least bit rational.

 

 

There are only so many pets you can take care of if you are working as a solo pet sitter but just think of all the pets that you’ll be able to provide wonderful care for if you build a business and a team of heart-centered, pet care professionals.

Think about all the animals and pet owners in your community who you will be able to serve and help if you expand your pet sitting business.

Think about how the more money you make, the more you will have to give back to your favorite charitable causes.

With a successful business and a reliable team behind you, you’re going to have more time in your life to give back to your community, your clients, and the animals you love.

So let’s debunk that myth, once and for all, you CAN be an animal lover and build a successful and profitable pet sitting business.

Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!

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The Huge Opportunity in the Pet Sitting Industry

An opportunity that is available to all of us in the pet sitting industry

There is a huge opportunity in the pet sitting industry, but most people are STRUGGLING to get their pet sitting businesses off the ground.

Why is my business bursting at the seams, while others are barely making ends meet?

Because I finally recognized the huge opportunity that was staring me straight in the face.

There is a market for your services

So, according to a study done in 2018 by The American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68% of U.S. households or 85 million families own a pet.

And most of these families that own pets consider their pets to be family members, and would happily pay top dollar to make sure that their furry friends are well-cared for.

There are millions, upon millions of pets that need your care, and you have the ability to create a professional and extraordinary service that will provide top-notch pet care to your pet-owning clients.

Back in 2001 when I started my business, I didn’t know any of this, I didn’t do any market research, I had no vision, I had no clarity. I didn’t know what opportunity was staring me right in the face.

So, that’s what I’m here to tell you today. There is a market for your services.

If this is what you want, a lucrative pet-sitting career, the opportunity is available to you. You’re only as small as you want to be because the clients are out there that need your services.

Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!

Enter Your Info Below to Download The Complete Checklist For Starting a Pet Sitting Business!

 

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How to Start a Dog Walking Business: 10 Easy Steps to Get Your Business Launched and Ready to Go!

Like launching any type of business, learning how to start a dog walking business takes a lot of planning, organization and commitment. Here are the basics for you!

So lets’ get started! How to Start a Dog Walking Business: 10 Easy Steps to Get Your Business Launched and Ready to Go!

#1. Get Clear on Your Vision

  • Do you want to start a pet sitting service? This would mean providing multiple visits per day for customers who need pet service while they are traveling or unable to be home with their pet.
  • Do you want to start a dog walking business? This would mean providing mid-day dog walks for customers who work long hours.
  • Do you want to open a dog walking business and a pet sitting business?
  • Do you want to provide house sitting services?
  • Do you want to offer pet boarding or open a dog day care?
  • Which other dog services or cat services will you provide?
  • Will you offer pet transportation?
  • Will you offer pet grooming such as nail trimming or dog baths?
  • Do you want to sell pet grooming products or pet grooming supplies?
  • Do you want to be a small dog walking business or a large dog walking business?
  • Do you want to do the actual pet sitting and dog walking or do you want to outsource those duties and focus on managing the business?
  • Do you want to hire employees or use independent contractors?This is a topic for another article, but let me VERY clear, you must put a lot of thought into this decision and set your business up correctly.
  • Will you invest in professional pet sitting software or will you use a manual system (something which I highly advise against.)
  • Will you join the associations? Pet Sitters International and/or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters?
  • Will you protect yourself with pet sitter insurance?
  • Will you be a sole proprietorship, an LLC or a Corporation? Pet Nanny started as a sole proprietorship, but we later became an LLC. This is a decision that you would want to discuss with your attorney and accountant.

There are so many things to consider when deciding on how to start your own dog walking business. It’s important to be clear on the type of business you want and to set yourself up for success from the very start!

#2. Take Action!

This seems so simple, but you would be surprised how many people I have spoken with over the years who have had fabulous ideas for starting their own businesses and then did absolutely nothing. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. My business coach calls it “a full contact sport.” You must have self-discipline, the ability to take action and the persistence to see an idea through to the end. Without action, you will not see results or achieve your goals. So if you decide that you want to start a dog walking business, then sit down and map it out! Remember as Martin Luther King said…

#3. Choose a Smart Name for Your Dog Walking Business

Tips:

Choose a name that actually conveys what you do.

Don’t involve a committee when making the final decision. Too may cooks in the kitchen will result in nothing but a vanilla type name. Only include key players and make sure that those people represent a variety of types.

Choose a name that is memorable and easy to spell.

#4. Write a Tagline:

A tagline is a short, memorable phrase that associated with your service. Try to keep it short and memorable and have it reflect your personality and promise to your customers.

Note: Don’t let my tagline confuse you, “Pet Sitters of The Main Line.” I had to choose this one because when I started my business, I made the stupid mistake of not doing #3 above. After I had realized that there were about 1 million other “Pet Nanny’s” out there, I decided to add “Pet Sitters of The Main Line” to differentiate myself from all of the others. The Main Line is my service area so this way my prospects would know where I covered.

#5. Have a Professional Logo Designed

  • If starting a dog walking business is calling to you, you need to appear professional. Have a professional logo designed that will stand the test of time.
  • You can find designers at fabulous rates on www.upwork.com, www.outsourcely.com, www.guru.com and www.fiverr.com. See below for some $5 logos that I’ve had designed. Pretty good, right?

how to start a dog walking business

#6. Have Professional Business Cards Printed

  • You will need business cards for your customers as well as to give to referral partners and to promote your business.
  • www.vistaprint.com is a great site where you can design and have your business cards printed.
  • Remember to use a professional logo and include a call to action or an incentive on the back of your card

#7. Have a Professional Website Designed in WordPress

  • I really can’t stress this one enough. Your clients are going to find you online. That’s a fact! You need a client attractive website that draws in your ideal clients and then converts them into paying customers.
  • No, a Facebook page alone is not going to cut it!
  • WordPress is great for search engine optimization, and it also gives you the ability to make updates to your site without having to rely on someone else.
  • Again, you can find designers who will design a professional site for you on www.upwork.com or www.guru.com.
  • In my opinion, a website is the best marketing dollars that you can spend on your business.

#8. Join PSI & NAPPS

Pet Sitters International (PSI) and The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) are the two big pet sitting associations. They both provide great member benefits, but most important is that you will be listed on their Pet Sitter Finders. Many client prospects will first go to their sites and then type in their zip code to find pet sitters in their area. While you are building your website ranking, this is going to be a great way to have clients find you.

#9. Register Your Business on Google Places, Yelp, and Bing

Have you met Siri? Siri is a voice recognition app.  She’ll write your emails, check the weather and update your calendar. She’ll also locate businesses and services for your potential customers. Siri will forever change the way traditional web searches happen. When someone asks Siri to “find a local pet sitter,” the answer will be based on your current location, not on whether you are at the top of Google. You need to optimize your listings on Google Places, Yelp, and Yahoo.

#10. Get Pet Sitter Insurance!!!

Do yourself a favor and get yourself a liability insurance policy. The rates are extremely reasonable and it is absolutely worth the peace of mind that you will receive. You never know what could happen, and it’s best to be prepared. If you join PSI or NAPPS, they offer member discounts. Woohoo! I use Business Insurers of The Carolinas, and I have used them from the start, but there are many different companies to choose from. You can also try Pet Sitter Associates, LLC.

 

Advice from the Experts:

Bella Vasta, Mike Linville, and Joshua Carey are pet industry experts and were kind enough to share their words of wisdom to those getting ready to launch their own pet sitting business. These experts are smart cookies, my friends, so listen and learn from them! They know what they’re talking about.

Bella Vasta Founder &
Owner of Jump Consulting says,

“My best advice would be KNOW YOUR NUMBERS!  I cap locked that for a reason. Without it, your ship will sink. Running a business has a lot of factors. None of which are floatable unless you’re generating enough revenue to fund your business & personal goals. Often times new pet sitters look around to see what others are charging and then try to DYI all their operations. This will never be a sustainable plan. It is important to dig deep to discover your own goals and then create your business pricing strategy to support that.”

 

 

My best advice for new biz owners is to KNOW YOUR #'s! #JumpConsulting Click To Tweet

Mike Linville | Founder &
Owner of Black Dog Marketing says,

“Be proactive in your business growth. Don’t sit around and wait for referrals, get out the there and ACTIVELY market your business. Create lead generation funnels and don’t be afraid to pay for traffic. If you do, this you will beat 99% of your competition that doesn’t have the courage to do so.”

 

 

 

My best advice for new biz owners is to be proactive and actively market your biz. #BlackDogMarketing Click To Tweet

Joshua Cary | Founder &
Owner of PetSittingOlogy says,

“”Your best calling card today is not made of paper. It’s made of digital assets. Make sure to set aside time or resources from the start to create an effective website that perfectly represents you and your business.”

 

 

 

 

My best advice for new biz owners is to create an effective website that perfectly represents you and your business. #PetSittingOlogy Click To Tweet

YOUR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Get started! These are the 10 basic steps to get you moving on starting a dog walking business. I’ll teach you the rest later. Now go! I believe in you.

Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!

Enter Your Info Below to Download The Complete Checklist For Starting a Pet Sitting Business!

 

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To Discount or Not to Discount Your Pet Sitting Services

I think it’s an excellent idea to have a killer introductory offer for your pet sitting services to attract new clients to your business and for you to run promotions to your client list. This is not the discounting I’m referring to. In this post when I refer to “discounting,” I’m speaking of discounting for the hagglers and bargain shoppers.

Selling Yourself Short

When people haggle with you and you decide to lower your price, you inadvertently dilute your service’s value, and worst yet, the type of people that haggle with you are not the people you even want on your client roster. Hagglers are the people who will not give you referrals because they want to monopolize your schedule and keep you their convenient little secret. They are the kind of clients who will eat up your time and patience with a long list of requests that in the long run will become unreasonable. And, these are the people who will bog you down and eat up your valuable time for little value in the long run and burn out your stock of happy thoughts.

The Solution to Hagglers

Since hagglers are not the kind of people you would want on your client list, here is my suggestion; When speaking with them about the pricing of your pet sitting services, emphasize the value of your service and politely tell them that your prices are set with no room for negotiation. Next, tell them they are more than welcome to call you in the future if the are in need of top-notch professional pet care. Finally, send them on their merry way with a friendly, “best of luck!”

Bargain Shoppers

Bargain shoppers are a different breed from hagglers. They are the people who will call you and every other pet sitting business in a 15-mile radius trying to find the cheapest deal. Is this really the type of client that you want? Your answer should be a resounding “no!!!!!!!” You are not a pack of batteries or a flashlight. You are a service that offers unbelievable value, and you should be compensated accordingly.

The Solution to Bargain Shoppers

Don’t waste your time waiting for a callback or giving them an offer they can’t resist. These people are, again, not your kind peeps. These people are short term clientele and will not help in the growth of your business.

Final Thoughts on Discounting Your Pet Sitting Services

Your client list should include people who understand the value you offer, who happily pay you for your outstanding pet sitting services, who leave you and your staff generous tips and kind words of thanks, and who will refer other people to your wonderful pet sitting business.

Your Homework Assignment:

Write a “No Haggler Script,” so you know exactly what you’ll say (or type in an email) the next time you are confronted with the question of discounting your pet sitting services.

Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!

Enter Your Info Below to Download The Complete Checklist For Starting a Pet Sitting Business!

 

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Must Know Tips for Pet Sitters

After almost 15 years in the pet sitting industry, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the 10 must know tips for pet sitters.

10 Must Know Tips for Pet Sitters

#1. Love What You Do

The quickest path to cash is clients, so when you’re first starting out it’s going to be YOU doing all of the pet sitting, dog walking and house sitting. This means your mornings, afternoons, evenings and nights are going to be booked. This hectic schedule can wear on even the most devoted pet lover, so be sure that you truly love this profession before you jump in.

Love for pets is not enough to grow a successful pet sitting business. A lot more goes into it. I didn’t understand this when I started Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line in 2001. I didn’t understand business, marketing or management. This lack of knowledge and understanding caused me to run around ragged, making a very moderate income for many years.

TIP: Love the pets, but love the business too. Invest in a basic business course so that you can start with a solid foundation.

#2. Build a Positive Mindset

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” -Napoleon Hill

Mindset is everything in business. You have to believe that you can do it and have unwavering faith that success will happen to you.

Early on in my career, I got very down on myself and started to second guess many of my decisions, which resulted in a downward spiral and almost ended my career in the pet sitting industry. I lost faith in myself, which is the worst possible thing that could happen. It wasn’t until my mentor introduced me to the power of mindset that I witnessed an enormous shift in my business and my life.

TIP: Commit to your vision of your company and your life and act with unwavering faith.

RESOURCE: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

#3. Become a Guru of Problem Solving

One thing I learned about myself when I started my pet sitting business is that I am an amazing problem solver. It’s most definitely one of my gifts and thank goodness for that because I’ve had some doozies of problems to deal with over the years.

Problems happen all of the time in this industry. When a problem arises, you need to be able to logically analyze the problem and then QUICKLY take action to solve it. Those who are profoundly affected by problems and are unable to act swiftly should think twice before becoming a pet sitter.

TIP: The best advice for becoming a great problem solver is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and your staff. If you were in their situation, how would you like for it to be handled? How would you like to be treated? And always go above and beyond to make an unhappy customer happy again.

#4. Quickly Learn From Your Mistakes

Mistakes in business are inevitable. The key is to learn from them and not to make them again.

How may times did I know in my gut that a pet sitter on my staff was not a good fit for my business, but I ignored the feeling for fear of upsetting a client about a switch in sitters? Countless times and it ALWAYS came back to bite me. The lesson here is, I wasn’t learning!

Perhaps you made a hiring mistake. Take action and remove that person as soon as possible, because the damage they can do in the long run far outweighs the benefit of keeping them on staff.

TIP: This advice applies to all mistakes. Quickly learn from your mistakes so you can grow as a business owner and as an overall person.

RESOURCE: Here is my earlier post on How to Turn Mistakes Into Success.

#5. Create a Splendid Customer Experience

We are in the pet sitting industry, but we are also in the customer service industry. We need to WOW our customers so that they use us time and time again and refer us all over town.

When I first started, I had a 1-page website. My prospects were lucky if they heard back from me within 24 hours. I didn’t have an onboarding experience or process. I had generic forms I bought from PSI. I would do the pet sitting and never solicit feedback. Eeeeeeek! I really don’t like thinking about those days.

“Companies focus on acquisition more than customer retention, even though it can cost 7x more to acquire new customers.” – Get Satisfaction, Social Studies Company

The goal of your onboarding experience is to make your new customers experience truly exceptional so that they become raving fans of your business.

TIP: Design a customer experience starting with your website, moving to the first phone call, to their onboarding experience, to the actual service and then with your follow-up. How can you really WOW your customers?

RESOURCE: Here is the video blog and article on Stay in Touch Marketing. This strategy will create loyal and repeat buyers.

#6. Analyze Your Competition and then BE DIFFERENT!

Analyzing your competition is important. Know what they offer and how much they’re charging. What events are they hosting? How is their website? Do they have an introductory offer? These are all excellent things to know, but the magic will start to happen when you do M.O.R.E.! When I first started out, I did what I thought you were supposed to do which was to do exactly what everyone else was doing. I offered the exact same services and the same exact price point. Honestly, I didn’t put much thought into my business at all. It wasn’t until five years into my pet sitting journey that I learned about “standing out from the crowd.” Being different made all the difference in the world. TIP: Create a list of Unique Selling Propositions and showcase them in all of your marketing. Make it crystal clear to your prospects about what makes your pet sitting business the only logical choice in your market. RESOURCE: Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

#7. Make Technology Your Friend

In the day and age we live in, you need to embrace technology or fall to the business wayside. Technology can transform your business. People are online. It’s a fact. That is how they find EVERYTHING from hairdressers to plumbers to pet sitters! You need a website! It is an absolute MUST! There are also so many fantastic tools out there that can help you grow and manage your business. There’s even a ton of pet sitter specific software programs. Pick one and use it. You can’t afford not to. In the end, it is going to save you time and money. When I was a newer business, I thought to myself, “I can’t afford one of those programs,” so I get it when I hear that excuse, but let me be clear… There is a cost to doing business. A website and pet sitting software are needed expenses of the company. Here is a short list of other ways you can use technology in your pet sitting business:

  • Technology can save and protect sensitive information and data.
  • Technology will make your business visible and help you compete.
  • Technology can create automated marketing processes, so you’re bringing in new clients while you sleep.
  • Technology allows for you to work remotely.
  • Technology allows for you to provide real-time customer service.
  • Technology enables you to collaborate with team members using video.
  • Technology makes possible for you to stay connected with prospects, mobile consumers, and customers.
  • Technology can speed up and streamline your payroll and taxes.Technology will increase your productivity.

TIP: In the end, technology makes it easier for customers to do business with you. Don’t let fear of the unknown or fear of losing “real-touch” with your customers, stop you from using technology because it will actually allow for you to expand on your relationships with them.

#8. Hire a Small Business Accountant

As small business owners, we’re always looking for ways to cut costs, but I would think again before deciding to do your books on your own. Hire a small business accountant and be completely present with what is going on financially with your pet sitting business. I turned a blind eye to the money portion of my company for entirely too long, and I paid the price. I wasn’t prepared at tax time. I was audited. I had no clue how much profit I was making. I had no idea how I should be managing or saving my money. As soon as I hired an accountant and bookkeeper/payroll company, my business changed drastically for the better.

TIP: Here is an article on 21 Ways an Accountant Can Help a Small Business Owner. I suggest you read it and seriously consider hiring a reputable accountant.

RESOURCE: Profit First: A Simple System to Transform Any Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz.(Link now not available).

#9. Build a Team to Skyrocket Your Growth

Hiring is scary. I get it. I was petrified to make my first hire, but it was something I had to do if I wanted to grow my pet sitting business. Hiring is another piece of the pet sitting success puzzle that I waited entirely too long to implement in my business. There are only so many pet sitting visits one person can make in a single day. As a single person operation, you have put a ceiling on what is possible for your income. When you expand your team, you can service many more clients, and you can then focus on marketing and systematizing your business, all of which will equal BIG growth in your business.

TIP: Embrace the fear and do it!

RESOURCE: Here is an informative video and article on when you should hire your first pet sitter. 

#10. Find a Mentor

If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a thousand times… You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Seek out guidance from others who have the results in their business that you wish to have with your own business. A mentor can be a professional business coach or someone who may not do it professionally but has had great success with their business. I waited way too long to invest in a coach. My mentors have changed not only my business for the better but my entire life.

The people who changed my life…

Fabienne and Derek Fredrickson of Client Attraction

TIP: When you start your search for a mentor, look for someone that you connect with and who speaks your language. I’ve had incredible experiences with my mentors, but I once made a very poor decision and hired an absolute JERK! I won’t bore you with the details of that story. The point of me telling you is that I knew in my gut that the guy was a slimy, know-it-all, but I allowed him to manipulate me. Listen to yourself! It will never steer you the wrong way.

Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!

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