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 ThankU.io 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.

 

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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: timetopet.com/r/petnannycoach

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The Top 15 Things to Automate in Your Pet Sitting Business

Today, we’re talking about the top 15 things you should automate in your pet sitting business. When I talk about automation, I mean that you take the manual processes out of your business by leveraging technology.

Technology is designed to save you time and make you money. So, I teach how to use this to free up your time to focus on revenue-generating activities. Here are the top 15 things that you can start with.

1. Customer Scheduling.

There are a million out there, but you’re automating your customer scheduling and reminder processes using software like Time to Pet, Power Pet Sitter, Precise Petcare, Leashtime, Bluewave. If you’re new, you can also check out software called PocketSuite. I think it’s less than ten bucks a month, but worth it, absolutely worth it.

2. Backing up your files.

Do you ever think, “Hmm, I want to back up my files today.” No, it is not a top priority, but coming from someone that lost all their files once, this is an absolute must. You can use a cloud-based backup like Dropbox, where you can establish a daily or weekly time for a background backup to happen.

3. New-customer onboarding.

You can use an email autoresponder, something like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign, to run your clients through a new-customer onboarding sequence. They complete their new client forms, sign their contracts, and get introduced to their new pet sitter. You start it, and then it just runs through the whole process. I give this to my students who are in my Multiply Mastermind program.

The Top 15 Things to Automate in Your Pet Sitting Business

4. Customer follow-ups and surveys.

Again, using your autoresponder or your pet-sitting software, you schedule these follow-ups and survey requests with your customers. So important. You want to make sure that your customers are happy with your pet sitting business, but also, when they are happy, that’s a testimonial that you can showcase for your business.

5. Lead capture and follow-up.

Somebody comes to your website, and they see your lead magnet. “Ooh, this is a great high-value coupon. I’m going to give my first name and email address to get this.” Then, boom, the campaign automatically starts to your email autoresponder.

They get a series of emails to convert them into a paying customer by the end of the sequence. You are not having to manually go in, “Oh, someone filled out a form. I better send them all these emails, one, by one, by one.” No, it just happened in the background.

6. Billing and failed payments.

Use your scheduling software to keep your client’s credit card information on file and process the payment before your client’s service begins. So, instead of you providing service… so the need is already met… printing out an invoice, leaving it on the counter, hoping and praying that they mail it in.

Or they leave it on the counter, then you put it in your pocket, and you lose it, or your sitter, one of your sitters has it and doesn’t mail it to you. The list goes on about how many things can go wrong when you do this manually. If you get this all set up through your pet sitting business software, they pay ahead of time, and it’s super-easy. Then also, if their card is declined or needs to be updated, the system automatically sends them an email. You do not have to do it.

7. Referral and testimonial request.

Using an autoresponder again, like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign, you can run referral-request promotions and ask for testimonials and reviews.

8. Receipts.

We are in business. You need to have a receipt for anything that we spend on our business. Audited, need the receipts. You can use an app like Shoeboxed to scan, organize, and store your business receipts.

9. Website traffic tracking.

Google Analytics allows you to set up a simple report to have emailed to you once a week to look at it quickly to see what your traffic was, how many visitors were there, where they are located, and so on. So you don’t have to think, “Oh, I need to go into Google Analytics.” Because everybody wants to do that. These reports are automatically emailed to you.

10. Social media posts and promotions.

You can use software like SmarterQueue, Hootsuite, or MeetEdgar, which allows social media posts to be written in batches, and then dispersed throughout the week or month using a scheduler. So, you load the content up ahead of time. You decide when you want it sent out to your social media channels, and you don’t have to think about it.

11. Greeting card mailing.

Integrate your email autoresponder with a company like Rocket Notes, or send out cards to automate new-customer welcome greeting cards or thank-you cards. So, at Pet Nanny, when somebody signs up as a new client, and I run them through that new-customer onboarding campaign, it sends a notification to Rocket Notes, which then mails them a greeting card that they get in the mail. It’s pretty cool.

12. Collecting job applications.

Add an online form like Google Forms or Jotforms to your website to collect sitter applications and automatically follow up with them. Someone says, “Oh, I would like to work with Pet Nanny.” They fill out the application. They then get dropped into an autoresponder email sequence, where they are getting the appropriate emails and an invitation to schedule an interview. You do not manually have to do it.

13. Sitter hiring.

Run your sitters through an automated assessment campaign to evaluate how they communicate and follow directions. One of the best things I’ve ever set up in my business, also something that I give to my Multiply Mastermind students.

You want to create these assessment tasks for sitter prospects to run through so that you can be assured that they’re going to be a good person before you hire them. It can be automated, and you don’t have to do it step by step—such an integral part of my business.

14. Sitter onboarding.

Run your sitters through an automated onboarding campaign, which takes them through all the steps they need to complete before they are sent out in the field to work with your customers. Something else I give to my Multiply Mastermind students, I provide the link, and it goes right into their active campaign.

They customize it for themselves. They are onboarding these sitters so that they do not have to do it step by step with every sitter, and it becomes redundant and boring. You can automate so many steps of that process.

15. Contract signing.

Use software like DocuSign or SignNow to have your clients and sitters sign their contracts. Versus a “Hi, client, high new client. Here’s the service agreement.” Having to sign it, come home, put it in a file or picture it, scan it, take a picture of it, and upload it to your Dropbox or Google Drive. You can automate that whole process using one of these contract-signing software.

 

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How I get Pet Sitters Extraordinary Results in Their Businesses

I want to talk about how it is that I get pet sitters extraordinary results in their businesses.

I’m particular with who I work with.

I teach pet sitting business owners how to launch, grow, and multiply their businesses. I’m not teaching anybody in the pet industry. I’m teaching specifically pet sitters. I’m not teaching plumbers. I’m not teaching housekeepers.

I am a pet sitter. That is what my career is in. I’ve created amazing results with my own business. That is why I want to help other people in the same career as I am.

Business Strategy. I work from 2 proven frameworks.

I work from two proven frameworks, my Launch & Grow framework, which gets my students to 3K months. Then, we go over to my Multiply framework, which is getting my students to 10K months.

Each of the frameworks has step-by-step instructions on how they will get results. Once those frameworks are implemented, the result is 3K, and then the result is 10K or more, which compounds over time. It’s a proven step-by-step system.

I’m not just randomly hopping on calls with people saying, “Okay, try this, try that.” No. There is a specific set of instructions. There is a specific curriculum.

I provide all the tools and templates to make the process easy.

All of the emails, automation, sales, and hiring funnels, all of the manuals and systems, everything is white label so that pet sitters can take my logo off, put their logo on, and put it into action. There’s no reason for them to recreate anything.

Yes, I want them to spin my materials, but I make it nice and easy and say, “Hey, this is what I use in my business, and it works, and you can use it too.”

How I get Pet Sitters Extraordinary Results in Their Businesses


Support that includes mindset coaching.

Lastly is the support. I love my students as if they are part of my own family, and I will love them and support them in any way possible. I also like to work on their mindset, which is an added thing. I’ve learned over the years of coaching, that a lot of times, the limitations that people come up against are all in their minds.

As I said, I will love and support you if you ever become my student. Still, I’m never going to argue for your limitations because I know what is possible for you on the other side of comfort, stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new things, and implementing. I know what you can achieve. So I work a lot around mindset, digging deep into the stories that we all tell ourselves that keep us stuck.

First, I only work with pet sitters. Second, I teach from proven frameworks. Third, I give all of the tools and templates to my students to make them easy to implement. And lastly, I support them through coaching support and helping with their mindset blocks. So those are the four ways I help my students get results—specifically, a pet sitting business coach.

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Dog Walking Business Tips – How to Create a Monthly Newsletter

Today, I want to talk to you about your dog walking business newsletters. When anybody goes to your website and signs up for your irresistible free offer should be included in your newsletter bucket. This is a vehicle and a way for you to stay in touch with your current customer list and all of the people on your customer prospect list.

Then, you need to pick an email autoresponder—something like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign, which my students use. Choose one, and then create a template that you will use each month. You’re going to want to include a personal message on your list.

Next, choose one of your blog articles. Something that your customer avatar will find valuable, and then you can promote your dog walking business referral partnerships and strategic alliances. It’s a way for you to support the businesses that you refer.

Dog Walking Business Tips - How to Create a Monthly Newsletter

 

I had a student in my Multiply Mastermind program who had an amazing idea this week to contact her local humane society and offer to do a highlight of one of their pets every month in their newsletter, and the humane society was thrilled. Not only is she cultivating that relationship with the strategic alliance, but she’s doing something wonderful for the pets as well.

Lastly, you always want to include a call to action for your customers to schedule service or for those who haven’t used your dog walking business yet to sign up for service.

I hope you found this helpful. Get a newsletter started. Send one every single month. Pick a set day of the month that you will send it out, whether it’s the third Thursday the first Tuesday. It doesn’t matter, but be consistent and get that out. You can delegate it to somebody, too.

If this is something that you were like, “Yes, I want to do this, but I don’t have the time,” there are people out there that will do your monthly newsletter for you. You can go to Upwork.com or Fiverr.com and find somebody there.

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Create a Meet Your Pet Sitter Automation

One of the first things that I teach my students in my Launch and Grow program is the importance of creating the know, like, and trust factor with your pet sitter prospects and your customers.

People like doing business with people. In the in-home, pet sitting industry, you are going into clients’ homes, or your team of pet sitters are going into clients’ homes. These people need to fully trust you and your team before they’re going to raise their hand and say, “Yes, let’s do this.”

I have each pet sitter record a video introducing themselves.

One of the easiest ways I’ve done this when I grew my team is I have my pet sitters record a video of themselves, introducing themselves. They share why they join the Pet Nanny Team and explain what their pet care values are.

When I assign the pet sitter to a client, they receive an email with the video and a full writeup before their registration meeting. So that will immediately create the know, like, and trust factor with their assigned sitter and break the ice before the sitter even rings the doorbell for the meeting.

Create a Meet Your Pet Sitter Automation

 

Sign up for an automation tool.

You want to sign up for an automation tool like Active Campaign or MailChimp or Infusionsoft/Keap which I use. There are lots of different options out there for creating automations. We go deep into that in my multiply mastermind program. I give six of my most used automations, three of my best marketing, three of my best hiring automations in the program.

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Create a Weekly Scorecard for Your Pet Sitting Business

In my Multiply Mastermind Program, we have a monthly book club. We read a fabulous one this past summer, and it was called Traction by Gino Wickman. I love this book so much because he dials down how to get a business where you are not the person that’s doing the client work. How do you do that in your pet sitting business?

Create Systems and Processes

The system runs the business, and the person runs the system. If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a million times. This is how you create a turnkey system for your business without you actually being the one doing the client work.

Create a Weekly Scorecard for Your Pet Sitting Business

In this book, one of the strategies that he suggested to create is a weekly scorecard for your business. This puts your data into a quick and easy snapshot that you can look at every week.

 Create a Weekly Scorecard for Your Pet Sitting Business


Every Monday, my manager fills out the scorecard from the week prior. She sends me an email. I can open the email first thing Monday morning and see exactly what happened the week before. It immediately put this into action with my pet sitting business.

I will go through and tell you what we are tracking in the pet sitting business at Pet Nanny. I absolutely love this tool.

First, we’re doing weekly revenue, then payroll, then how many client prospect phone calls we had. How many new clients have we enrolled. How many surveys were submitted. How many business review requests were made. How many testimonials have we received.

How many customer problems we had. How many refund requests did we have, or how many refunds were given.

Then we move on to the sitters. I want to know the total number of sitter applications, and then I dial down that number even deeper into how many applications are in the service area. We could receive many applications, but if they’re not in my actual service area, they’re useless.

Then I want to know how many interviews were scheduled. How many were completed. Then I want to know the total number of pet sitters currently on our roster and how many are still needed.

Then I dial that number down even deeper to the specific service areas where we need sitters. How many sitters do we need in Malvern? How many do we need in Wayne? How many do we need in Berwyn? So on and so forth.

That way, we’re clear on what we need to be working towards.

Use the Scorecard Yourself if You Don’t Have a Manager

This is something super simple that you should start right away for your business. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a manager yet. You can be filling this out. Then when you do hire your first manager, this will be something you will delegate to them.

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How to Start a Dog Walking Business

Today, our topic is how to start a dog walking business or a pet sitting business.

1. You need to take action.

If you have been thinking about this for a long time but can’t seem to move forward with your idea, you need to take the first step. Here’s what I want you to do. Count with me, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go. Take action.

Action is going to build momentum. Just get started. When your mind goes, “Oh no, no, no, I’m not ready, I’m not ready,” do the 5-4-3-2-1 rule and start.

2. Let’s get clear on your business vision and the results you want to create.

What exactly are you going to offer to your customers? Is it a dog walking business? Is it a pet sitting business? Is it a cat-sitting business? Are you going to do power walks? Are you going to do a pet taxi? Are you going to do a concierge service?

3. Create an Excel sheet to calculate your startup costs.

I highly suggest using a Google Sheet or an Excel sheet. The good news is that the startup costs for a dog walking business or a pet sitting business are very low. If you guys are like, “I want to do this,” but you’re worried about money, this is what you should be doing. You should be getting into this industry because you can get into this market at a very low cost.

4. Choose a smart name for your dog walking business.

Think about what people are going to be typing into Google. Are they going to be typing in ‘Cloud 9 Pet Sitting Services? No, they’re probably going to be typing in ‘dog walker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,’ or they’re going to be typing in ‘pet sitters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.’

So what are you doing, and where are you doing it? If you can choose a name that has these keywords, you’re going to be way ahead of your competition.

5. Get legal.

First, you want to choose your business entity. If you’re starting, it’s most likely going to be a sole proprietor; that’s how I started. Then as I got larger, I moved over to a limited liability corporation to protect my assets. You need to choose.

What’s your entity going to be? Then you want to register your fictitious name or do business with the government, and then get a business license if necessary.

6. Write a tagline.

It’s a short, memorable phrase that’s associated with your service. I did not choose a smart business name when I started my business. I chose a very generic name that a million businesses have.

It was not smart, but what I did was, with my tagline, I differentiated myself. So Pet Nanny, Pet Sitters of the Main Line. There we go again with those keywords. What am I doing? Pet sitting. And where am I doing it? On the Main Line.

7. Have a professional logo design.

If you want to be a professional service, get a logo design. You can go to upwork.com, guru.com, fiverr.com, or 99designs.com, and you can have a logo design very inexpensively. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. When I had my logo designed, it was $700 back in 2001. Now you can get it done for nothing.

8. Have professional business cards and marketing materials designed and printed.

In my Launch & Grow Your Dream Pet Sitting Business, we go very deep into marketing strategies for you to get clients, and guess what? If you’re going to be a professional business, you must have a logo and marketing materials.

You need those marketing materials to be able to promote your business. Again, Upwork, Guru, Fiverr, or 99designs. Very simple, very inexpensive. Even VistaPrint has a graphic design service now, which is like $5. That’s how inexpensive it can be.

9. Price your services.

How much should you be charging? Do competitive research on other local pet sitting businesses and kennels, create an Excel spreadsheet, and get clear.

My suggestion:

How to Start a Dog Walking Business

 

10. You want to have a client-attractive website designed.

People need to find you on the web. People are on their phones; people are on their computers. They are searching for you on Google, and you need to have a professional website. In my Launch & Grow program, we go into depth about every piece you need to have to convert your website visitors into paying customers. This is important and inexpensive.

You need to have a hosting plan for a website, so godaddy.com, Bluehost, WP Engine, or SiteGround. I love SiteGround because you get all the security with your website at a quarter of your WP Engine cost.

11. Join trade associations.

So Pet Sitters International or my preferred association is the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, NAPPS, which is all about education and how you can grow your pet sitting business. It’s well worth the money you will pay for these memberships. It gives you credibility, and you’re on their pet sitter search network. People go to their website and type in their zip code, and you’re going to be listed in their directory.

12. Register your business online.

In my Launch & Grow program, again, I give about 78 different websites you’ll want to register your business on. You want to register with Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, petsitting.com and petsitusa.com.

13. Insurance.

Try Business Insurers of the Carolinas or who I use: Pet Sitters Associates.

14. Prepare your paperwork.

Below this video you can find my Complete Checklist for Starting a Pet Sitting Business, where I give you the actual documents that you can email to your clients before you go and meet with them. This includes a welcome letter, and it has all their client and pet information, the vet release form and the key release form.

I also give you a digital process where you can do all of this online and get rid of the paper, which I highly suggest. So check out that link below.

15. Set up a business bank account.

Too many pet sitters I talk to are co-mingling their funds. They are getting checks from their clients, and they’re depositing them right into their personal bank accounts. No, no, no, no, no. You want a separate business bank account.

I would like more bank accounts, but that’s more of an advanced strategy. Start with just the business account. Go to your bank and say you’re starting a business. Bring them that fictitious name statement, doing business as, and you can open a business bank account.

16. Set up your social media accounts.

Set up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok accounts. These are free channels that you can use to promote your business and get clients. Go and claim your listings or create them.

17. Shop for your supplies and go to step two in the checklist.

18. Get it all out.

You want to promote your business then. I have an amazing long video and PDF that you can download. 30 Ways a Professional Pet Sitter Can Get More Clients.

But to name a few, you want to send out a press release to your local media, post your flyers or postcards on local bulletin boards, drop your cards off at local pet stores and vets, give your business card to anyone you do business with, hairdressers, landscapers, dry cleaners, dentists, et cetera, announce your business on your neighborhood Facebook page, and the list goes on.

Download Links (as mentioned in video)

The Complete Checklist for Starting a Pet Sitting Business

30 Ways a Professional Pet Sitter Can Get More Clients

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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