Skip to main content

How to Start Streamlining Your Small Pet Sitting Company

Today’s question comes from Gloria, who’s having challenges with streamlining and deficiency in her very small business. Gloria is a sole proprietor.

What I would love to say to Gloria is that I love that you’re asking questions about this. It doesn’t matter how small your business is. Many of you out there don’t want to grow a team and don’t want to have a large business like mine, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that your business can’t be streamlined for efficiency. And how do you start doing this?

Take the processes out of your head and create a standard operating procedure document.

Most petprepreneurs walk around with their businesses in their head, meaning they are the systems in their business. But when you start taking them out of your head and documenting them into a well-organized checklist, you’re now creating systems and processes in your business, replicable and repeatable processes in your business, creating a streamlined company that becomes more efficient.

How to Start Streamlining my Small Pet Sitting Company

Create a manual or an online business hub.

That is my advice for you today. Start taking the processes you carry around in your head, documenting them, and organizing them somehow. You could create a manual or an online business hub, which is what we do with my Multiply Mastermind students. We organize everything in Google Drive, all by SOPs, where everything is easy to find and delegate if you choose to do so in the future.

So the system runs the business. The person runs the system. You don’t want to be the system in your business. You want to run the systems that you have documented in your business. And that’s going to create a streamlined pet sitting company.


Enter your first name and email address below to receive our The Top 15 Things to Automate in Your Pet Sitting Business Freebie


Privacy Policy: We promise to protect your privacy and we will NEVER share your email address.

Create a Risk Management System in Your Pet Sitting Business

Over the past few months, we’ve had two scary occurrences happen to Pet Nanny Coach community members. The first incident was with one of our coaches, our head coach, Jessica. She had to fill in to do a visit. Her sitter became ill, so she went to walk an Akita. It was a brand new client, and the Akita ended up attacking her.

Thankfully, she knew exactly what to do and was able to get out of the house, but not without injury. She had to get taken away in an ambulance. She had to have surgery. She has nerve damage. She’s had to go through litigation, and it has been a really eye-opening and scary experience for her, but also eye-opening for the rest of us.

I’ve had my business for 22 years, and nothing of the sort has ever happened. Knock on wood, but it really had us thinking about what we have in place to protect ourselves, our team, and our businesses from this.

The second occurrence is that one of my students has a big business in Georgia. One of her sitters slipped in the client’s garage and shattered her kneecap into three parts. Super, super major injury, which has caused all types of problems with the sitter and her worker’s comp insurance, is a total nightmare.

So we decided to come together in the Multiply Mastermind, sit down, and have a round table discussion. We created a list of what we can do and what we can put in place so that we can protect ourselves, our businesses, and our team from anything like this happening to anybody else.

Know your laws

Preparing as a business owner, you need to know the laws in your state regarding dog bites. You need to know your county laws regarding dog bites, you need to know all the city ordinances in the towns that you service, you need to know the different bite levels, you need to know all the other laws in your state regarding pets, and you need to know what workers’ comp will require from you and the employee in the case of an incident like this.

Create a Risk Management System in Your Pet Sitting Business

So I have an online business hub where I have my business completely organized. This is what I teach my students in my mastermind, and one of the things is having a sitter incident report folder. So if anything happens like this, we will document, document, document.

I want the sitter to video anything that happens. I want them to take pictures. I will put all of that into the file along with any doctor’s reports, anything the client had to say when we interviewed them, and such. If you are organized right from the get-go and have all of this information documented, you will be ahead of the game.

You need to be your staff member’s biggest advocate if a situation like this ever arises.

Create a Risk Management System in Your Pet Sitting Business

Dig down with your client and make sure the pet is not aggressive.

When you go out, have meet-and-greets, and have registration meetings, it’s so important that you try to dig down with your client and make sure that this pet or dog is not aggressive.

So ask, “Has your pet ever bitten anybody? Has your pet ever bitten or gotten into a scuffle with another dog or animal? Has your dog or cat ever shown aggression towards anybody or any animal?”

Ask about resource guarding, but in a way, a client will understand. That’s a term we use in the industry, but explaining, “Is there anything that triggers your dog: food, treats, if the toy gets taken away?” Anything that you can drill down to find out if this dog has aggressive behavior.

Another good question, “Is your dog a talker or a growler?” because there is a difference, and here’s the deal. So at Pet Nanny, Pet Sitters of The Main Line, we don’t take any pets with aggression issues. In my opinion, countless animals need our care and will not cause any issues with my sitter, sitters, or my business.

So I want to drill down, ask these questions, and if we even have a whiff that this dog has any aggression, we’re not taking them on as a client. To me, the liability is not worth it. My sitter’s safety is more important to me than the revenue that would be generated from that client.

Put together a risk management training for your sitters.

In your training for your employees, I highly suggest that you put together a risk management training where you will go through all of this, and explain to them about liability, and explain to them what we’re looking for in terms of liability. It’s not just an aggressive animal. It could be a messy garage, which was the case with my other student’s sitter, who fell and smashed her kneecap.

There wasn’t a clear path to get to the house through the garage, and the sitter got hurt. That is an issue, and that is what your sitter needs to be looking out for, not having lights on the outside and not having walkways cleared for you to get into the house. All these things you need to have in your risk management system when onboarding your new employee so that they are trained and well-versed in risk management. So when they meet with your clients, they know what to ask. They know what to look for.

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!


Privacy Policy: We promise to protect your privacy and we will NEVER share your email address.

Client Payment System

Today’s question comes from Esther, who has a client who won’t pay their invoice.

This had to happen to me one time about 15 years ago when I got stiffed for a bill that was over $400. I went to my dad, who I called my business manager then, and I was like, “Daddy, like I’m so angry. What do I do about this?” He explained to me that when people have a need that needs to be met, they’re more than happy to pay for that need to be met. As soon as the need is met, their motivation to pay you drastically decreases.

Start collecting payment upfront.

So he suggested collecting payment upfront, and I thought then that I can’t do that. My clients won’t put up with that. They’re going to all fire me. And all the stories I told myself about what would happen, but I finally did it.

I may had pushback from two customers. This was 15 years ago, and it is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business.

Start collecting payment upfront.

So now, we collect payment four days before the start of service. We keep our clients’ credit cards on file. We charge the card four days ahead of time, and then it’s done. We don’t have to worry about it—no more chasing client payments. And if you have your new client onboarding system well thought out and well organized and explain it to your customers, this is how we do business around here; you will not get pushback.

And some people will say, “Oh, I don’t want to pay upfront.”

“Okay, well then, I’m not the service for you.” It’s as simple as that. There are more than enough clients out there for you, and you don’t have to worry about losing clients because they want to avoid following your procedure.

Client Payment System

Email an invoice. Then send your Venmo QR code or the link to your PayPal.

You might be saying, “Well, Colleen, I don’t have a system where I can keep credit cards on file. I’m a smaller business.” In that case, email them an invoice and send them your Venmo QR code or the link to your PayPal. It doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many ways to collect payment nowadays, but ensure you do it beforehand.

Send a letter via certified mail with all of your invoices attached.

And for those clients that haven’t paid, I suggest sending them a letter via certified mail with all of your invoices attached, letting them know if you have not received payment in X amount of days or by X date, you will be turning them in over to collections and then go ahead and turn them over to collections.

There’s no reason these people should not have to pay their bill to you, but you won’t have to deal with that if you collect payment beforehand. You will thank me, I promise.


YES! Send Me The FREE 7 Tax-Saving Tips For Pet Sitting Businesses!


Privacy Policy: We promise to protect your privacy and we will NEVER share your email address.

Tools That I Love

Today I want to share with you the tools I use daily in my business that I love and recommend.

Active Campaign

One of the high-level strategies I teach to my Multiply Mastermind students is automating the manual tasks in your business. I recommend Active Campaign because it works and is easy to learn. It’s a fraction of the cost of something like InfusionSoft or ConvertKit. All right, love, love, love ActiveCampaign for automation in your business.


So creating images for your business that you can use on social media. I’m always there creating slides or PDFs for my students and members of my community.

I love Canva; they have a million templates to help you start creating your images.


So if you know me, I’m always talking about blogging. If you have a pet-sitting website, I’m always writing emails, content, and blog posts, and I could not live without Grammarly.


So running payroll for my team of 40 plus pet sitters, my managers, my coaches, everybody, my online business manager, and all of the people on my team. I run it all through Gusto. They make it so, so easy. I can’t recommend them enough.


Another high-level online marketing strategy I teach my students is creating landing pages to which you could run paid traffic in your business. Leadpages make it easy, and it’s very inexpensive.

Business Tools That I Love


Something else I teach my multipliers is creating standard operating procedures in your business. And one of the tools that I use to do this is Loom. It allows you to record your screen doing the process and procedure in your business. When you’re done recording, it automatically creates a link that you can share with your team members and include in your SOPs, making crystal clear the result you want from every standard operating procedure in your business.


So years ago, I used another hosting company; my websites were constantly hacked. So I had to switch hosting companies. I found SiteGround. They add all the security I need for my business websites at a fraction of what I was paying this other company where my sites were getting hacked. Love, love, love SiteGround.


So instead of me having to go in every day and schedule manually what posts I want to put out on my social media channels. I can do all of that in the background using SmarterQueue on a preset schedule, and it posts it for me.


We do sitter interviews on Zoom. We have team meetings on Zoom. You can record your meetings, which you can then share with your team members if they can’t make it live to the meeting. Love Zoom. I could not live without them.

Time to Pet

Now for pet-sitting software, you have a bunch of options. I personally love Time to Pet. I love the guys over there. They’ve created amazing software.


If Time To Pet is out of your budget, you could start with a software program called PocketSuite if you are new to the industry. It’s extremely inexpensive. It keeps a calendar on the app; you can collect payments using it.

And then, as your business grows and your budget increases, you could move over to a software program like Time to Pet. Again, those guys over there are amazing. They’re constantly improving the software. If you’re ready, I will include a link to a discount to use that software. So when you’re ready, you know, head on over there.

Time To Pet

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 Top 15 Website Mistakes that Pet Sitters Make!


Work ON Your Pet Business, Not Just IN It

Many moons ago, I came across the book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, who is the one who coined this concept. What it means is that when they start businesses, most people come to the business and start their businesses with the mindset of a technician.

Meaning, I love animals, I love pets, and I’m going to start a business, and I’m going to walk all the dogs, and I’m going to take care of all the cats, I’m going to house-sit. This is a technician mindset. Meaning I created a place for myself to go to work. I didn’t necessarily create a business.

QUOTE - Work ON Your Pet Business, Not Just IN It

So I had to delegate my pet sits, and my dog walks to a team of amazing pet care providers and administrative work to an amazing manager.

So that person takes care of all the scheduling, phone calls, emails, issues with clients, and hiring. All of that I took off my plate so that my only focus was marketing and systematizing, which then multiplied my business so quickly.

It’s really that simple. When you’re working in your business, there are only so many hours that you can trade for dollars. But for you to create that replicable, turnkey business that somebody could come in and turn the key and turn on the revenue streams, that is what the value is, and that is where you’re going to make a substantial income in this industry.

Enter your first name and email address below to receive our Wildly Successful Pet Sitting Business Plan Workbook


Privacy Policy: We promise to protect your privacy and we will NEVER share your email address.

Implement Two Follow-up Systems in Your Pet Sitting Business

One of the greatest opportunities overlooked by pet sitters or service-based business owners is the fortune in the follow-up. My suggestion for you is to create two follow-up systems.

Implement Two Follow-up Systems in Your Pet Sitting Business

For Prospective Customers

One for prospective customers, so people that have expressed interest in working with you, whether they emailed you, called you, filled out a form, reached out on Facebook, they have somehow said, “Ooh, this sounds good. Let me learn more.” Those are your prospective customers.

For Existing Customers

People who have used you in the past have already raised their hand and said, “Yes, I want to work with you.”

If you have a system in place following up with them regularly, giving them advice about pet care, putting in reminders to book service or incentives to book service, you’re just consistently keeping in touch and following up with these people; you are drastically going to increase the rate that your existing customers book from you.

So two systems. One for prospective customers, people that have said, “Yes, I’m interested.” And, of course, the people who have already said yes need to be reminded. You will get many more bookings if you send out these reminders and touchpoints.

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 30 Ways to Get More Pet Sitting Clients!


10 Tools & Strategies for Your Team of Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers

We’re going to go through 10 strategies and tools for pet sitters that I regularly use in my business and I couldn’t live without.

1. Comprehensive onboarding system for your dream team of pet sitters.

The best thing you can do when you are growing your team is to create a well-thought-out and streamlined onboarding system so that your pet sitters have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what they can expect from you. You want to create properly trained pet care professionals that will do an outstanding job. You’re going to do that through your comprehensive onboarding system.

2. Organize your team members’ information and documents in a cloud-based software like Google Drive.

I love Google Drive. We keep payroll documents, background checks, signed handbooks and contracts, incident reports, paid time off submissions, and key tracking organized there. You name it, and we use Google Drive for everything. Couldn’t live without it.

3. Use a payroll company.

For years, I spent way too much time writing checks manually. I regularly wrote twenty-five checks at a sitting. I don’t know how long that took. Now I use a payroll company named Gusto. I love them. Another option would be Paychex.

4. Use a pet sitting software.

I did a video on this last week. You want to invest in pet sitting software. Options include Time To Pet, Precise Pet Care, LeashTime and Pet Sitter Plus. If you’re on a tight budget, try PocketSuite. There are lots of options out there at different price points.

5. Use Zoom for virtual conferencing.

I love Zoom. We do all of our sitter interviews over Zoom. We do training calls, team meetings, and regular check-in calls with our team of pet sitters. It makes it so much easier. No more having to meet people at Starbucks and have them stand you up. That was a huge time suck as well. So use virtual conferencing like Zoom.

10 Tools & Strategies for Your Team of Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers-ver02

6. Use Facebook groups to create a community.

You want to create a community with your team of pet sitters and your internal staff. You don’t see them a lot. They are independent and out working alone, but you can create a community using a Facebook group. You can announce Sitter of the Month. You can have fun contests. We have Favorite Pet Friday, where the pet sitters post their favorite pet of the week. Sitters can find coverage if they need help with finding someone to do their visits. We can discuss issues that have popped up. We can point out things that went well. We highly recommend Facebook groups.

7. Use Slack for internal communication.

I use Slack for my internal communication, meaning my team of managers and virtual assistants working for the company. Many of my students also use it for their team community. So instead of using a Facebook group, they use Slack and love it. It has a mobile app, so all your communication with your staff would go through that app, and everything is trackable and searchable within the app. So check it out.

8. Use Asana for project management.

I love Asana. I also use this with my internal team of managers and virtual assistants, and it’s for our project management. It’s how we keep track of all of our to-dos and who is responsible for what. And then we have due dates on everything.

9. Use JotForm or Google Forms for surveys.

Every three months, I ask my pet sitters to complete a survey. I want to know how they like the job, do they have too many visits, do they not have enough visits. This is how you can anticipate how much longer people will be with your company because the last thing you want is having a sitter quit on you unexpectedly, and then you’re left with their schedule of visits that you have to fill. If you use the JotForm to keep in touch, you can anticipate issues. We also share our client and pet profiles that our clients fill out. They fill out the JotForm. Then we share that with the sitter as well.

10. Use SendOutCard or for greeting cards.

These are greeting card software apps. We use it for a lot of stuff. I send sitters gifts for their year anniversary, if they are Sitter of the Month, etc. We also use it for new clients.


Enter your first name and email address below to receive our The Top 15 Things to Automate in Your Pet Sitting Business Freebie


Privacy Policy: We promise to protect your privacy and we will NEVER share your email address.

Is Pet Sitting Software Worth the Business Expense

Today’s Business Growth Video asks if pet sitting software is a necessary business expense.

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. This is something that I wish I had invested in so much sooner in my business.

The number one reason is that I used to have the night sweats and spheres of me missing a pet sitting visit. When you use a pet sitting software, that worry goes away because everything is tracked online through the software.

Is Pet Sitting Software Worth the Business Expense

All of your clients’ pet care plans are nice and organized inside the software, and you can keep client credit cards on file and then charge them before the service begins. It also streamlines and organizes everything. So no more chasing payments. It is just an absolute must and something like I said, I wish I had done sooner.

I recommend Time To Pet software. 99% of my students use it and love it. I have a coupon code that I will link to below this video. It will help with the starting expense.

Other options are Precise Petcare, Leashtime, PetSitClick, Scout, and Power PetSitter. There are lots of options out there. So check those out as well. If you were on a super tight budget, look into something called PocketSuite, it’s about $9 a month, and it’s a great starter software. It’s not pet sitting specific, but it’s a great starter software for scheduling and accepting client payments. So if you’re on a tight budget, start there, and then you can always upgrade to a more expensive pet sitting software in the future.

Coupon code:

Enter your first name and email below and we’ll send Your 12 Website Essentials Cheat Sheet to your inbox. It’s 100% FREE!


Privacy Policy: We promise to protect your privacy and we will NEVER share your email address.