How to Run a Pet Sitting Business – Valuable Advice
Hire slowly and fire quickly. This is the advice that was given to me by my mentor many years ago. It is a line that is always in the back of my mind whenever I coach on how to run a pet sitting business. It is advice that has kept me safe for many years, but recently I went against my better judgement and did the exact opposite.
A Story To Illustrate This Point
Rewind to about a year ago. I unexpectedly lost a longtime sitter with a full midday roster, which translates to VERY important clients that would soon be without a dog walker. I of course went into a total panic mode. I posted my job ad and started interviewing almost immediately, but the pickings were slim. I made the decision to hire someone I knew in my gut was NOT a good fit for Pet Nanny, but I had no choice (I thought.)
So, this pet sitter started with little to no issues, but as time progressed I started to receive some negative feedback. I knew I should let her go, but against my better judgement, I took the advice of someone who felt that it would cause way more of a ruckus to let her go than to keep her on. Again, I went against my gut and kept her on. STUPID!!!
Now, fast forward to about one year after she was hired. Our Client Happiness Manager set-up a shadow walk between this pet sitter and a new pet sitter. The new pet sitter reported back to Pet Nanny Headquarters that this veteran sitter had A LOT to say… A lot of negative things. She said that she takes clients’ reservations all of the time and that Pet Nanny has no idea. She also said that she brings her boyfriend with her whenever she wants and that you don’t actually have to stay for the entire time on visits. All three of these points completely go against Pet Nanny Standards and the Code of Ethics that each sitter signs when they join our team. This is not how to run a pet sitting business.
When this information was relayed to me, it felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach. I thought to myself, how many other pet sitters has she tainted with her selfish and self-serving views? How many clients had she tainted with her inability to keep her thoughts to herself and simply provide the top quality pet care that Pet Nanny promises? Ugh! I didn’t even want to think about it.
Next, my manager and I jumped into fix-it mode. We knew we had to immediately stop this pet sitter from ever visiting another Pet Nanny client’s home. My manager called her and told her to meet her at a local establishment where she requested all of the keys to be returned to her. She then explained to this sitter the standards of Pet Nanny which she was clearly not living up to, as well as the provisions of her agreement with us, which she was clearly violating. The sitter swore up and down that she did none of these things. My manager wished her the best and they went their separate ways. Oh, and I forgot to mention that we removed her from our website and revoked her access to the Pet Nanny database before this meeting took place, just in case this sitter wanted to access her client list and wreak more havoc.
The Moral of The Story
The moral of the story is hire slowly and fire quickly. If you always try to hire proactively (as I talk about here in this blog post,) you won’t ever have to ignore this advice. And…. Always listen to your gut, because it’s always right!
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