Can my Independent Contractors Wear Clothes with my Business Name and Logo

Can my Independent Contractors Wear Clothes with my Business Name and Logo?

Today, I’m answering a question from the Pet Nanny Coach community Facebook group member, who asked if her independent contractors are allowed to wear clothes with her pet sitting business name and logo on them.

Can my Independent Contractors Wear Clothes with my Business Name and Logo


The answer is absolutely not.

The reason why is because they are not classified as employees. If they were employees, then yes, you could have them wear whatever you want them to in terms of having and showcasing your pet sitting business name. You could have them use card magnets.

But if they’re independent contractors, they are independent of your company. In the eyes of the government, they are their own business and, therefore, should not in any way be affiliated with your company. They are not eligible to wear clothing with your pet sitting business name and logos on it.

I want you to be very careful with this. I do not believe that the benefit of having your sitters wear this type of clothing outweighs the risk. Trust me on this.

I’ve been through two audits. This was a very stressful subject in my life for many years. I won those audits, thankfully, but I know myself when it comes to independent contractors. So please take my advice. Don’t go down this road. The risk to your pet sitting business operations being interrupted is not worth the reward that you may get from your independent contractors wearing clothing with your business name and logo on it.


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The 1st Step You Need to Take When You're Ready to Hire

The 1st Step You Need to Take When You’re Ready to Hire

Before you build out any part of your hiring system for your pet sitting business, you need to get crystal clear on the type of person you want to attract to your business and the type of person you want to have as a pet sitter.

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and ask yourself this question, “Who do I want to work with?” Then close your eyes and visualize this person.

How old are they? Where do they live? What is their skill level? What’s their practical experience level? What is their education level? Do you want a person that’s going to do this full-time with you, or are you looking for a person who will do this part-time and has another supplemental income?

The 1st Step You Need to Take When You're Ready to Hire

 

What are their communication skills? What tools are they going to need? If you don’t live in an urban area, they’re probably going to need a car, a smartphone, and a computer. Will this person submit a background check? Will they submit professional references?

How do they present themselves to you? When you first meet them and they come to the door, how do they present themselves physically? What are their personality traits?

Get clear on the type of person you want, warm, friendly, detail-oriented, organized. So crystal clear in your brain and down onto papers that you know exactly who you’re looking for.

Now, you might say to yourself, “Colleen, I’ve never hired before. I don’t know who I’m looking for.” Well, if you are a pet sitter, I want you to think about all of the things that make you a wonderful pet sitter.

Why do your clients love working with you? If you are brand new and have no idea, even that, you can ask yourself, “Who would I want to come into my home to care for my pets?”

Who would you like to be your pet sitter? If you have hired before, think about your A players. What made them special? What made you love to work with them? Write it down. At Pet Nanny Coach, we call this building out your ideal pet sitter profile, and it is absolutely the first step you can implement to build your dream team. Don’t skip this part, and it’s way too important.

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What to do When You Get Burned by a Pet Sitter on Your Team

What to do When You Get Burned by a Pet Sitter on Your Team

I spoke with a pet sitter last week, and she was just distraught about the previous three hires she had made to her pet sitting business. This is what I see happen so many times with pet sitting business owners trying the hiring process. They make the wrong choices, and then they say, “Oh, nope, this isn’t for me. I’m going to stay small, and the business does not multiply.”

So I said to this sitter, “You are learning something, this is a new process, but you need to get better at it.”

Let’s look back and identify the red flags.

Starting with the application, look at what they submitted. Look at the spelling, look at the grammar. Sometimes when I go back, and I’m like, oh, that was not a good hire.

If a pet sitter is going to apply to your company and they cannot take the time to capitalize or use correct punctuation, they’re not going to be a good fit.

Look back and see how they followed the process that you have laid out.

What steps did you have in place for them through the hiring process, and how did they follow it? Did they follow it correctly? Did they have to ask lots of questions? Did they do it incorrectly? Did you have to ask them repeatedly to submit their background check or to submit their references, et cetera? Did they follow the steps?

How do they communicate with you? Go back and read their emails and or text messages to you. It goes back to that application. Are they writing well thought out detailed emails or text messages? Or are they kind of a mess and all over the place? Are they just trying to throw the buck back at you, saying, here you fix this, so on and so forth? Communication is huge.

How do they present themselves at the interview? Sometimes I see people people that show up for a pet sitter interview, and they look an absolute mess. If somebody’s coming to interview for a job position, the least they can do is pull their hair back and put on clean clothes. Suppose they can’t present themselves cleanly and professionally to you at an interview. In that case, they’re not going to present themselves well to your human clients when they go to do registration meetings. Were they on time for the interview? What kind of questions did they ask you during the interview and onboarding process? If the answer’s none, that is a red flag.

QUOTE - What to do When You Get Burned by a Pet Sitter on Your Team


Reflect on how you could have missed the red flag.

Did you ignore the red flags? A lot of times, you ignore them. You think this person seems like they’re going to be a really good fit. I’m going to pretend like that email they just sent me wasn’t unprofessional. Or all right, I can get past how they looked, or they were 15 minutes late to the interview.

What could you put in place so that you don’t miss the red flags?

At Pet Nanny Coach, I teach my Multiply Framework, and we have three steps to the hiring process. We have the Attraction System. So we’re attracting the right people. We have the Assessment System; we have all types of hoops to jump through to see if they can make it to the other side. So look at that process. What do you have in place to see how they’re going to be as a pet sitter before you hire them? And finally, what does your Onboarding System look like?

Look at your onboarding process.

One I see a lot is the availability. They tell me they’re available here, and then they get started, and then all of a sudden, their availability changes. Is there any way to improve and have prepared this person more so that they could have done a better job for you?

We must go over this ten times before somebody starts working with my company and have them sign an availability sheet. This is what you are signing off on. Then we also go over the long-term relationship that we’re looking for. We’re not looking to work with pet sitters who will use my company as a pit stop. And if you join my team, you are committing to a long-term relationship of working together.

We’re going over it again and again. During the interview process, during the assessment phase, during the onboarding process. It’s setting those expectations right upfront so that they know what to expect.

Be kind to yourselves during this process.

You are going to get better at it, I promise, but it will take a little bit of a learning curve. I’m telling you if you put my processes into place, creating that attraction system, that assessment system, and that onboarding system that all work in conjunction with each other, you are going to create such an amazing team of people that you love working with that are going to take such fantastic care of your clients, both furry and human.

Still, you got to put the work in on the front end. And when you do that, it’s going to take so much of the stress level out of this.

When you get burned, I want you to take the time to go back and look. What were the red flags? How did I miss the flags? What could I put in place the next time I hire to avoid the red flags? Look at the onboarding process. How can you prepare these people so that you know that they are going to do such a great job working for your company at the end of that onboarding process? Take the time and look. I’m telling you 9.9 times out of 10, there were red flags, and we got to figure out how to get better at not missing those.

 

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Create Systems from Your Mistakes

Create Systems from Your Mistakes

One of my dear students had a horrible thing happen to her this week. She was house-sitting for a current client that had an aggressive dog. She knew the dog was aggressive, but she had been house-sitting for the dog for two-plus years.

The dog loved her. She got a little too comfortable. She was playing with the dog and hugging the dog, and rolling around with the dog. Out of nowhere, this dog bit her horribly. I saw the picture, I about died. I immediately called her to make sure she was okay, and we had a discussion.

She was like, “This was my fault. I let down my guard. I knew this dog had aggressive tendencies. However, I just got too comfortable.”

Use the incident as a learning lesson.

My suggestion was to, one, really help yourself emotionally, obviously, to get over the pain of the incident. But then to use it as a learning lesson for herself and her team and create a system through mistakes and accidents. So what do I mean by this? When something terrible happens in your business, it’s awful. It feels like a punch in the gut, but you need to get into the practice of creating a system from what you learned from the incident.

Create a system from what you learned. Have a meeting with your team and present the protocol.

In this case, I would have a meeting with my team. I would explain in detail what happened. I would show them the picture of my injury, and I would say, “Okay, here is the protocol. Here is a reminder that this is how we deal with dogs that we have that are aggressive.”

Now, in my case with my business, I would no longer service the dog. Okay? To me, it’s too much of a liability with my pet sitters to have them in a home with a dog that could hurt them. That might be something that you might change.

You might have a new policy in place where you’re going to say, “Okay, no aggressive dogs whatsoever are going to be on our client roster.”

In this case, I know this pet sitter well, and this business owner, and I know she’s probably not going to give up this dog, so she will likely have the policy where she’s going to be the one that’s going to take care of it. But then she’s going to know our boundaries, and she’s going to be reminded, “Okay, this is what you do when you go into a client’s home with a dog that has aggressive tendencies.”

Turn the things that happen in your business into systems.

Create Systems from Your Mistakes


It’s taking any simple thing that happens in your business and turning it into a system, turning it into a policy, turning it into a procedure to make your business better, to make your team better. Having regular team meetings to discuss the mistakes or the accidents and the new streamlined system in place is imperative for you to grow your business. I do this in my life in general, not even in my business.

When something happens, what’s the system?

How can I make this reasonable moving forward, too, so it doesn’t happen again? That is my advice for you today, guys. Create a system policy or procedure out of a mistake or an accident, and your business is going to be better off.

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4 Tips for Hiring Pet Sitters During the Pandemic

4 Tips for Hiring Pet Sitters During the Pandemic

I have four tips for hiring pet sitters to represent your business during/after this pandemic.

I’ve received a flood of questions from you guys saying, “Colleen, oh my gosh, I have more clients than I know what to do with,” as probably you’re experiencing. You’re seeing that people want to go away. They want to vacation, and they need their pet sitter.

The problem is with companies like myself that employ a staff of sitters, many people are being paid not to work by the government. So people don’t want to come back to work. They’re going to make more money on unemployment than they are than coming to work.

So it’s been challenging. And part of this problem too is that part of the process for them to stay on unemployment is that they have to apply for X amount of jobs. So I’m sure you’re receiving a ton of applications through Indeed or Craigslist because that’s part of the process of being able to keep their unemployment. So you think you have all these excellent prospects, and then none of them pan out.

So I decided to get creative and think about ways outside of the box for hiring pet sitters for my business.

1. I reached out to all of my friends, family, and current pet sitters and asked them to post for me inside their Nextdoor apps.

We have a large service area. So as you know, if you have the Nextdoor app, you can only utilize the app if you live in that area. So, my friends and my family all offered to go in there and post for hiring pet sitters for me. Awesome.

2. Reach out to past pet sitters and inquire if they want to come back.

I reached out to all of the past sitters that I loved working with and said, “Hey guys, we are hiring pet sitters. Do you have any interest in coming back?” We got a few interested parties from that one email.

Reach out to the current customer base and inform them you’re hiring.

All the clients that have come to work for me have always panned out to be the best pet sitters on my staff.

4 Tips for Hiring Pet Sitters During the Pandemic

 

So I reached out to the current customer base saying, “Hey guys, we’re hiring. This is why we’re so awesome. This is why you would love to join our team.” And we got some interested parties that way.

Go to local Facebook groups to post for pet sitters.

This is one of the easiest ways to find people. I found a girl in my neighborhood that’s going to do house sitting during August.

Go to Facebook, type in your service area, look under groups and all the different groups that have your service area name in them. Join them and ask the admins if you can post for pet sitters.

Some will say no, and that’s okay, but there will be some that will say yes. And then make that a regular part of your recruiting plan—a great, great way to find sitters.

I also want to let you know this is coming to an end. All of this unemployment stuff will be coming to an end shortly. I know in Pennsylvania, it’s going to happen in September. I can’t wait. So just so you know, it’s coming to an end, but in the meantime, try to get creative, try to think outside the box, try these four strategies. And I wish you the best of luck.

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The Business Vacation Test

Take the Vacation Test Challenge

Can you take the vacation test in your business?

When you first start your pet sitting business it can be overwhelming.  It takes a huge amount of your time and energy. You probably can’t imagine taking a vacation and leaving the business to run successfully without you.

But I’m here to tell you that it is possible to create a successful and profitable business and still spend quality time with your family and friends and do the things you love. If you can’t step away from your business and have it continue to run without your everyday presence then you have a job, not a business.

Now you might not be there yet in your pet sitting business, but I have a three-step plan which can help you create the balance between the day-to-day work you love and the need for quality time for yourself.

Step One: Build a team

The first step is to build a team of pet care professionals to take care of the client work. One of the students from my Multiply Mastermind program hadn’t taken a vacation in 10 years, so one of her business goals was to create a small team to be able to spend more time with her grandchildren and take a vacation. Within just four months, she hired a small group of sitters to take care of all the client work and she was able to go away and have an amazing, beautiful vacation with her family. See her beautiful vacation photo below.

 

Step Two: Hire a manager

Even with a team of sitters in place, you will still not be totally unplugged on your vacation if you have to check in each day and handle all the admin and scheduling work. The next step is to hire a manager you can trust to run the business in your absence. Having a manager means you will have someone to answer the phones, do all the scheduling, take care of any new client inquiries, and deal with any issues that happen with your clients or your team.

Step Three: Create systems and processes

The third step is creating systems and processes so that your manager and your team of pet sitters know exactly what is expected of them, what their job role entails, and every single last task is documented from start to finish. This will allow you to relax while you are away, confident in the knowledge that your pet sitting business is being run exactly the way it would be if you were there.

Build a team, hire a manager, and document your systems and processes so that the system runs the business and the person runs the system.

Take the Vacation Test. One, are you able to get away? And two, are you able to get away completely unplugged?

 

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How to Hire the Right People for Your Pet Sitting Business

How to Hire the Right People for Your Pet Sitting Business

I work with many petpreneurs looking to scale and multiply their pet sitting business to six figures and beyond. One of the steps in the multiply formula is to hire a team of heart-centered pet care professionals to take stellar care of your pet sitting clients.

Hire a team of heart-centered, pet care professionals.

Now there is something really important about that step, and it’s the heart-centered pet care professionals that are going to take stellar care of your pet sitting clients. You do not want to hire people who will go out and take poor care of the clients obviously or miss visits, but guess what? This happens all the time because you are not hiring the right people, and you don’t have the right systems in place so that you’re attracting and onboarding the right people to your pet sitting business.

Years and years ago, before I had all of this thought out, I had some real losers on my team. I could bore you for hours with some stories. I seriously should write a book about some of the things that have happened on my watch by people I employed.

I’m not saying that I’m absolved of all sin when it comes to this, but I do want you guys to learn from my mistakes. It would be best if you started with mapping out a system where you’re going first to attract the right people to your business.

Map out a system to attract the right people to your business.

Think about your attraction system. What are you putting out there to get people to apply to work with you? Do you even have an ideal sitter profile where you have written down all of the attributes you are looking for in a pet sitter?

If you already have a roster of sitters, think about your A+ ones. Who do you love, and what makes them great? Write it down; this is a manifestation tool.

How to Hire The Right People for Your Pet Sitting Business


Then in all of your marketing, your Facebook ads, your online ads, or anything you’re using to get the word out about the opportunity to work with your company, this is the language you want to use to attract the right people to your company business.

Prepare questions & expectations to know if they are a good fit for your company.

Then is the hiring system. The whole process of when you meet and interview them. What kind of questions are you asking them to find out if they will be a good fit for this company? And are you setting expectations about what you’re looking for in the people?

It’s not just about, “Are they going to be a great fit for the company?” It’s also about, “This is how we do business around here. Are you okay with this?”

For example, you are setting the expectation of availability. Yes, this is a great job, yes it’s flexible hours. Yes, if you’re an IC, you create your schedule. However, we do expect availability. If you take off every single weekend and every single holiday, this isn’t going to be worth your time or mine.

If you tell me that you’re available 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to do mid-day walks and then two weeks after starting, you tell me you’re not available or only available for an hour of that time, you’ve now just wasted my time. I could have passed up an excellent candidate.

So right from the start, this is what is expected. This is the position that you’re applying for; this is the expectation of availability. Plus other expectations of what you’re looking for.

Then if they go onto the onboarding stage, what’s the process? You need to have a system in place where you’re evaluating them. Does it take them two days to return an email? That isn’t going to change after you hire them. They’re going to show you right from the get-go how they communicate. Trust me, it’s not going to get any better.

So map out a system. What are you going to have set up in place that will allow you to evaluate how they’re going to be as pet sitters when you hire them?

Have a system in place to evaluate them.

Finally, when they are hired, how are you going to manage them? How are you going to see if they’re happy? Do they have too many visits, or do they not have enough visits? What is your stay in touch system that warns you if they have one foot out the door?

Nothing is worse than a sitter calling and saying, “I’m giving you no notice, and I’m leaving tomorrow.”

Keep in touch with your sitters. Make sure you have a communication system in place, so you know and are evaluating, “Is this person happy? Are they happy with the position?” Because if they’re not, you want to make sure that you have your eyes out and look for another great person to replace them.

I’ve had some real doozies in my pet sitting business over the last 18 years, but I can tell you now, since I have learned all of this and I have created an attraction system, a hiring system, an onboarding system, and a management system, I have a fantastic team of pet sitters. I’m not even kidding.

Yes, here and there, some less than stellar people have slipped through the cracks. I have about 40 pet sitters on staff, so that will happen from time to time. But I would say, for the most part, I have an amazing, stellar team of pet sitters.


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How Marketing and Hiring Work Together

How Marketing  and Hiring Work Together

My mission in 2021 is to help as many business owners get their pet sitting clients back after COVID and multiply them to consistent five-figure months. I will be coming here to share some tips, tricks, strategies, mindset stuff because 2020 was a rough year. I want to give back, which is how I’m going to go ahead and do it.

Yesterday, we had an excellent question in the group from Jen Smith. Jen said asked, “Age-old question, do you hire or contract first, or get the new pet sitting clients first? Due to COVID-19, I’m personally working extra jobs by necessity, my kids and bills don’t pay for themselves… what do you do?”

Evaluate where you are in the business.

If right now you were at the Build-up Bill or Build-up Betty stage, the Launch and Grow stage, your focus needs to be on marketing and getting clients.

If you’ve lost a ton of pet sitting clients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you want to get the marketing back up and focus on filling your client book, and then you want to switch the focus over to the hiring.

Now, when you’re at the Multiply stage, which is there are no more hours to trade for dollars, you are the bottleneck in your business, you’re the one that’s doing everything, you want always to be focused now on hiring and marketing at the same time. They work hand-in-hand.

If you don’t have pet sitting clients and marketing systems in place, don’t focus on hiring all the time.

You need to get to a certain point. You need to get all of these marketing systems and sales systems in place to have the work to give over to your sitters.

You need to have your sales, systems, and support in place.

Refer back to the video at the top of this blog post. You will find there my Multiply Formula. That’s my framework. I teach my students how to multiply their businesses to $10,000 or more a month in revenue.

When you do that, you will have more money, impact, and freedom in your life, but you need to have the three main components all working together. You need to have your sales, systems, and your support. Support is not only a team of pet sitters, but also your admin support and tech support.

How Marketing and Hiring Work Together

 

Have your marketing plan on autopilot.

With your sales systems, you need to have your marketing plan on autopilot, so every week, you have it mapped out, your marketing plan on your marketing calendar, and how you will attract new clients to your business. You always want a pipeline of new clients signing up for your service. You want it systematized, and you want it scheduled, and you want it planned out.

Then you want to wow your customers when they come to your business, really knock their socks off to show them that you are the most outstanding company that they’re going to write great testimonials for and refer you all over town.

Nurture the pet sitting clients already in your client list.

Let them know how much you love and appreciate them and incentivizing them to book service more frequently, and increasing their transaction amount for each invoice by offering different, amazing add-ons and such.

When you have your sales system going, and it’s on autopilot, you go on your networking meetings, meet with your strategic alliances, have your email campaigns going, and have your direct mail campaigns going, etc. You have all of the plans and mapped out; there’s always going to be business coming, there’s always going to be bookings.

Have your recruiting, assessment and onboarding systems in place.

Then you’re also going to have to have the sitters that will be able to handle all of the business. You need to have your recruiting systems in place and attract high-level talent to your business.

You want to have your assessment systems in place. A way to assess these people coming into the pipeline that you’re recruiting, how they will be as sitters once they get started, and then a fantastic onboarding system, which also the assessment kind of goes into the onboarding.

It doesn’t stop after the assessment, but having these unique onboarding systems in place so that by the time they are finished, your sitters are going to go out into the field and do a fantastic job.

You need to define and document your systems and build business hubs to delegate easily.

The idea is the system runs the business, and the person runs the system. You should not be the system in your business.

That’s the problem with most entrepreneurs and pet sitters. They are the system. Their business is in their head. If anything were to happen to them, the business and systems would disappear. You need all three of these pieces working in conjunction for you to be able to consistently create five-figure months, $10,000 or more a month.

Getting back to Jen’s question, you need to build up the client list. When you get to that point where there are no more hours to trade for dollars, we need to focus on the Multiply Framework, which is where your sales system and your support systems will work hand in hand. You have to do the sales part to hire the sitters. You don’t want to bring on many sitters and then not have the work for them.

Manage new pet sitter expectations.

Let them know this is not an overnight thing. This is a slow process. We’re going to bring you on. We’re going to see how you do. We’re going to do this very slowly. We’re going to get feedback from customers, but we will build your book of business within eight to 12 weeks. That is the expectation.

Then also makes you put skin in the game. If you bring these people onto your roster, you need to do your job as the marketer and CEO, as the person that’s meant to get clients for this business to fill your sitters’ schedules.

I used to have all these same concerns. I was like, “Oh, when do I hire? I don’t want to have people sitting on the list.”

When you do all of this, you do not have to worry about it. It all works beautifully together. Market your business consistently, hire consistently, build out your systems, which is my answer to Jen’s question.

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