TITLE - How to Manage Your Pet Sitter's Lack of Response Time

How to Manage Your Pet Sitter’s Lack of Response Time

I’m doing a follow-up to a video I did a few weeks ago, wherein I gave a tip to include due dates when requesting things from your team of pet sitters or customers.

I received a follow-up question from a community member.

“Colleen, I loved that video. I implemented it immediately. However, I still heard crickets from my staff of pet sitters. What would be your next step? Or what consequences would you institute if this happened to you?”

I would call a meeting with the said sitter and say, “I sent you this email on this date. I gave you this due date. Number one, I never received an acknowledgment. Number two, you did not turn in the video by said date. Why is that?”

Then you listen to their response.

QUOTE - How to Manage Your Pet Sitter's Lack of Response Time


You don’t want to be that person, just the talking head. Take time and listen to what they have to say.

Then I’d say, “Okay. A requirement for this position is I need this video to create a trust factor for our customer prospects. I also need you to respond to me when I request something from you. I’m going to ask you, is this still a position you are interested in doing?”

If they say, “Yes, absolutely,” say,

“Okay, wonderful. But moving forward, I’m setting this boundary, which is the personal responsibility that I’m requesting from you. This is how we do business around here. You ignoring my emails is no longer going to fly.”

If they say, “No, this isn’t actually for me,” you are better off.

Think of it this way. Let’s say your customer left a last-minute note. They’re running out the door, and they said, “Oh shoot, there are two new plants by the slider. I need to have the sitter water them.”

Do you want a sitter to be like, “I don’t know if I’m going to do that today. I don’t feel like it.”?

No, of course not. That is pretty much what that sitter did to your professional email, requesting a video from them and giving them a duty. They blatantly ignored you.

Now, it may have fallen through the cracks. There may be a reason. With this specific situation, people are often nervous in front of the camera, and instead of telling you that, they may have just tried to ignore it.

This isn’t a total deal-breaker. It would be best if you instituted what you’re going to allow and set the stage for what you expect from your team of pet sitters.

If they explain, “I’m just really nervous about being in the camera,” give them helpful tips and tricks.

If they say, “No, this position isn’t for me,” you’re better off. That is how I would personally handle it. It doesn’t have to be a contentious conversation.

It could be a friendly conversation. “You’re amazing. I love how my customers love you, and the pets love you. But here’s the deal. I am the owner of this company, and I need to know when I send you a request for something that you, one, acknowledge and, two, get back to me in a timely fashion. If that’s not going to work, then this business relationship isn’t going to work.

I hope that makes sense and you find that helpful.

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TITLE - Quick Tip on How to Increase Response Time From Your Pet Sitters

Quick Tip on How to Increase Response Time From Your Pet Sitters

I had a weekly private coaching call with one of my students when she let me know that she had sent an email to her pet sitters requesting a video from them. She will use the videos on her website and marketing materials to create the know, like, and trust factor with her prospective customers.

The sitters didn’t respond or acknowledge the email.

QUOTE - Quick Tip on How to Increase Response Time From Your Pet Sitters


So I suggested the following.

(1) Rewrite the copy of the email.

Start with:

Dear First Name,

Last week, I had requested a video. This is why I am requesting it.

(2) Then, explain the importance of the request and include instructions on how to do it

For example:

Don’t stress out about it. It’s easy, peasy. Grab your iPhone, introduce yourself, let them know what your pet care values are, and that you’re super excited to meet them and their furry pals.

(3) Always include a due date

Anytime you are requesting anything from your staff or requesting a testimonial from your clients, always include a due date. People respond to due dates. Otherwise, it just sits in their inbox as something to do when they get to it.

I hope this helps.

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Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters

Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters

People have strong feelings about using pet sitting independent contractors as employees. I have much information on this subject that I want to share about this as long as nobody emails me or posts crazy things.

I successfully built a high six-figure business, using independent contractors for 17 years. I switched to employees in 2018 because I kept getting audited. They kept coming for me, and I kept winning the audits.

The last time they came for me, they said just one year after I’d already won the previous audit that no record of that audit and that they were going to do it again. It was an exhausting situation, and I didn’t feel like fighting it anymore. I just wanted the monkey off my back. Thus, I let this win, and I switched to employees.

And it’s been great.

There hasn’t been a big difference. I do team meetings, they do marketing for me, and they can have car magnets (not that I use car magnets. If I wanted to, I could have them do that). Employees get the perk of getting benefits now, which they appreciate.

Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters


Understanding the direction and control aspect of using pet sitting independent contractors and ensuring you create the correct framework will help you when you get audited.

Your clients direct and control your pet sitting independent contractors.

Your clients ask them to be there at a specific time and have outlined the pet care plan for the independent contractor to fulfill. You are simply the connector between the IC and your client.

This setup is how I won all the audits that I went through. I went through the 20 point checklist as well, had everything set up correctly, etc. You can ask employees to use car magnets, wear clothes with your logo, etc.

If people are using IC’s, I believe it’s their choice and great if you’re using employees.

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The key to freedom in your pet sitting business

The Key to Freedom in Your Pet Sitting Business

Systems in your business are the key to your success. Imagine your business running like a fine-tuned machine. You have time to spend with family, take a vacation, play a sport or hobby.

You are the bottleneck in your business, and you are stopping yourself from being able to grow to a higher level. It’s taking up all your time. Your business is supposed to add and expand your life.

Systematizing everything takes yourself out as the bottleneck of your business.

You should have a system for new client calls, what happens when they sign up, an onboarding process, hiring system, marketing system, what to do when the website goes down, and the protocol when a sitter locks himself out of the house, etc. When everything is organized, then that is when you will gain your freedom back.

The key to freedom in your pet sitting business


Use Google Drive to organize your online business hub.

This will make it simple to delegate to your team, have things done, and complete it to your standard. There will be no questions about how you want something done in your business.

Use screen recordings when explaining things.

You have your computer showing step by step by step, how you want something done. Plus, you have an outline format.

The system runs the business, and the person runs the system. You should not be the system in your place, and that’s what most pet sitters are doing.

I hope this helps.

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TITLE - What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge

What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge

One of the downsides of building a team of pet sitters is when one of your sitters provides service for one of your clients behind your back. I can’t tell you it is not going to happen. It’s more of when it will happen. Here are ways to handle it.

First, evaluate how you feel about the pet sitter.

If this sitter is a good hire, who you enjoy working with, provides fabulous service to your clients, and you don’t want to lose them, I suggest having an in-person meeting.

If they’re an independent contractor, make sure you have their independent contractor agreement. If they’re an employee, make sure you have their signed employee handbook.

Then have a sit-down and go over their job description, expectations from them, and how they breached the contract, what lengths you can go if you decide to pursue this, whatever is mentioned in the contract. Mention you love working with them, and you didn’t want to do this, and that you must come to an understanding.

If this person is not someone you trust and don’t want to work again, have a meeting via Zoom or in-person and let them know what is in the contract, what they breached, and what you’re going to do because of it. At this point, you can decide whether you want to take legal action or not.

QUOTE - What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge_ver03


Don’t go to the client.

You might want to let the client know, in a nice way, “Listen, this is how my business works. It is against our company policy for clients to subcontract pet sitters.”

Thus, you need to decide if this client an ideal client? Is this somebody that you want to continue working with? It’s all about the decisions that you need to make about the people they are.

I wouldn’t like to work with this client again. If this is a client that you usually wanted, maybe you were out of town, maybe there was a reason and extenuating circumstance. They contacted the sitter outside of the company, outside of you, perhaps then you’ll have a different decision. Take note of it on their client record inside your pet-sitting software, and be aware.

Communicate expectations with the sitter.

Tell the sitter what is expected of them, what they signed, and what lengths you can legally go to if you decided. Remind the client kindly about your policies and leave it at that.

Have a system.

What are you going to do when you find out that someone on your team breaches their contract? Have it all mapped out to know exactly what to do, and you don’t have to guess. You’re just following the company protocol.

All right, guys, I hope this helps.

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10 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Team

10 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Team

Finding that sweet spot in communicating with your team is essential to your pet sitting business growth. Building a team of sitters that trust you and that you can trust working with your managerial team is a top goal.

Here are ten tips on how to do this effectively.

#1 Conduct monthly video conferences.

My managers run these meetings for me via Zoom. We discuss what is going on in the business, what worked well, what slipped through the cracks, and what we can improve on. We also take the opportunity to answer any questions and get any feedback.

For those who can not make the meeting, the video is emailed to them and posted in our team Facebook group.

You can use a Facebook group to communicate regularly. You can post tips and tricks, things to remember, policies and procedures, report the need for a last-minute sitter, etc. This Facebook group is proven invaluable for bringing everyone together in one location, and you can quickly get a message out.

#2 Send regular monthly newsletters.

For those sitters that can not make the meeting, you can not trust all of them to watch the video. A newsletter is a great way to get any messages across.

A newsletter can be a letter letting them now, “Hey, this is what’s going on. This is what’s new with you.”

Enumerate all the things you would discuss in the video conference.

#3 Use Slack for internal communications.

Slack is an excellent tool to communicate effectively with your management team. Slack is searchable, so if you’re looking for something you want to discuss, you can use its search bar to find what you are looking for.

#4 Have regular check-in meetings and surveys where you encourage feedback.

Whatever time period you decide, you’re going to want to send out a survey. Ask your sitters, “How is it going? Do you have too many clients? Would you like some more clients? What would you like to be different about the position? How much longer can you see working for the company?”

You’re trying to get ahead of the game. You want to make sure you are keeping in touch with them. The last thing you want is a sitter who’s unhappy, quitting, leaving you with clients who don’t have coverage.

These regular check-in meetings and surveys help you deal with that. Don’t forget to encourage feedback, letting them that you are open to hearing what they have to say and that you’re willing to make changes.

Communicate your boundaries too.

“Hey, I only want to work mid-days, Mondays, and Fridays.”

That’s where you will discuss the job description, and say, “You were hired from Monday through Friday, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. So, unfortunately, that is outside of the position that was offered.”

It goes both ways. But being able to communicate about it, especially now, when we have Zoom and don’t have to meet, it’s invaluable.

#5 Celebrate their great work and express your appreciation.

If somebody goes above and beyond for you, show them your appreciation. Send them a card in the mail, or gift cards, or an email.

QUOTE - 10 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Team


#6 Build comfort in talking about what is not working.

There was a time in my business when I was fearful of expressing things that I was unhappy about. I still struggle with that a little bit, but I’ve gotten much better.

You can’t be fearful of expressing things that you want in your business. You are the owner of the business. I’m here to remind you and remind myself that you have every right to express when you are unhappy about something.

#7 Create boundaries with methods and timing of communication.

Having people consistently go to you to fix their problems and communicate with you at all hours of the day is unacceptable.

Nobody should text you at midnight saying, “I am locked out of a house.”

What are you going to do at midnight if they are locked out of a house? They need to be trained and trusted to be able to handle a situation. They should know what your protocol is, to begin with, before they even go out into the field.

So it would be best if you created those boundaries with them, letting them know the best way to communicate with you, how you want to be communicated with, and between what hours.

#8 Respond to every team member’s email within 24 hours.

Letting emails sit in your inbox never has worked out well. Trying to communicate as quickly as possible is a great tip.

#9 Acknowledge special moments in their lives.

When people who for you and are having special moments in their lives, you want to celebrate with them and let them know that you care.

You can use sendoutcards.com, an easy way to send a greeting card and any gifts or gift cards.

#10 Make internal documents and knowledge easily accessible.

Once you have everything broken down into individual SOPs, you can easily share it with your team.

“Colleen, I don’t know how to send an email in Infusionsoft.”

“Okay, this is how you do it.” And you click the link, and you copy and send the link to your team via Slack, maybe.

And then they’re able to go ahead and follow the SOP. You can also include video links in those SOPs, and you are off to the races.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. You can also go to my YouTube channel where I’ve got tons of videos over there to help you build your pet sitting business. Or you can join our free Facebook group at petnannycoachcommunity.com. Don’t forget to say hi.

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5 Tips To Deal With Grief While Running Your Pet Sitting Business

5 Tips To Deal With Grief While Running Your Pet Sitting Business

Last May, my dad unexpectedly fell ill and ended up passing away in the hospital. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was in the hospital for 19 days, and I was unable to see him during this process. It was a very tragic experience.

Thus, the reason I haven’t done a video for some time. I’ve taken some time for myself away from my pet sitting business.

But now, I’m back. I still get emotional, and I wanted to do a video for you guys about how to deal with grief while running a business. Regardless of the amount of pain that I was in, a business still had to be taken care of.

I’m sharing with you what I did to help me get through this and still have my business running while I took a little bit of time for myself.

#1 I communicated with my team.

My team knew what was going on. I’ve talked about the importance of having a team to support me in my pet sitting business. From the moment my dad became sick, I kept my team abreast with open communication. You don’t have to burden your team with too many details, but having that line of communication open so they understand what you’re going through and can step up.

#2 I leaned on my support network of family and friends.

I leaned on the people I needed in my life. I probably could have used a little more support if it wasn’t for the COVID. I would have loved some more support in terms of people coming over.

During the funeral, we were only allowed to have ten people. It meant the world to me when I found all my friends standing there when I walked out of the funeral.

#3 I spoke with a counselor regularly via Zoom.

Due to COVID, you can’t see anybody face to face. I was able to speak with her, and she’s helping me through my grief. One of my beloved students gave me a book to read, and my counselor reads it with me. We’re working through it together so she can help me with it.

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#4 I changed my scenery.

This is not possible for everybody and I get it. But in Philadelphia, riots were going on, and it was too much for my brain and heart to handle. So I went to our family beach house to calm and soothe my soul. If possible, I highly suggest this. I think that’s one of the best things that I did to renew my mind and help me through this difficult time.

#5 I delegated as much as I could to my team.

Some people bury themselves in their work to get through their grief. I’m unable to do this. My mind was just not in it, so I gave as much to my team as possible, and they were helpful.

Thus, the importance of building a team and structure around you. You never know when things like this will happen. Having people, you can lean on and delegate to will make a world of difference. I would have never been able to get through this without them.

Lean on the people around you.
Build that support system.
Build that team.

I don’t wish this on anybody. But this is life, and things do happen. Anyone that’s experiencing any grief or tragedy, this is how I got through it.

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What I Learned from the Last Decade

What I’ve Learned This Past Decade

I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the big lessons I’ve learned over the past decade in my pet sitting business.

Truthfully, this list could have been much longer, but these were the things that stood out the most to me.

1. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Know when it’s time to pivot.

2. Get help in your pet sitting business before you think you need it.

3. Build a team ASAP to free up your time for revenue-generating activities. In short, stop working IN your business if you want to multiply.

4. Always listen to your gut. If you have a bad feeling about a PIA client or prospect or a sitter on your staff, listen to what your body is telling you. It’s your intuition trying to speak to you. Every time I have ignored that feeling, I have lived to regret it.

5. Success, at its foundation, is generally a sequence of steps followed in order.

6. You’ll never really ever, “feel ready.” Do it anyway.

7. You’ll sometimes need to go through majorly rocky STUFF to get to your loftiest goal – these things happen FOR you. They are lessons to prepare you for bigger and better things.

8. The energy and mindset work is real and has played a massive role in my success.

9. Beware of the people in your life who are energy sucks. Create clear boundaries to protect your energy and well-being.

10. Money is energy. Respect it. Treat it like you’re in a relationship with it. Don’t ignore it.

11. The world you see around you is a reflection of the thoughts you think every day and the belief systems you carry through life. Change your thoughts, change your life.

pet sitting business

 

This practice is difficult and needs to be consistently practiced.

It’s also totally worth it.

Now, what about YOU?


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