Tag: hiring pet sitters

What to Do First: Market or Hire?

Are you confused about which step you should take next in your pet sitting business? Should you market or hire?

First, you need to identify what stage you are in with your business and then you’ll know which course action you should take to move to the next level of success.

Are you a “Build-Up Betty” or a “Build-Up Bill”?

If you are in the building stage of your business, you are most likely in the first few years of your business. You may be pet sitting part-time and want to transition it into a full-time career, or you may be doing it full-time, but need to increase your consistent revenue. Your biggest need right now is getting clients and bringing them in consistently. 

If you are a Build-Up Betty or Build-Up Bill, you need to market your business first!

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. Send out a Warm Letter
  2. Create Referral Partnerships
  3. Write a monthly Ezine
  4. Attend Networking Events
  5. Post to Social Media
  6. Offer Promotions

Are you a “Multiply Mary” or “Multiply Mike”?

If you are in the multiply stage of your business, you have an established business. You have clients, you’re making money, but you do everything yourself and have no time to grow your business substantially, not to mention having any time for yourself. Your biggest need right now is leverage. You need to start building a team and create systems and practices to multiply your income and work less.

If you are a Multiply Mary or Multiply Mike, you need to hire first!

Follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Watch this video blog on When To Hire Your First Pet Sitter.
  2. Write a job ad to attract your ideal pet sitter.
  3. Post your ad on job boards and websites.
  4. Send your ideal prospects a detailed job description.
  5. Interview the candidates that are still interested in the position.
  6. Send an offer email to the qualified candidates.
  7. Run your new hires through a systematic “onboarding process.”

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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.

Howdy, Pet Lover! Do you want to have all the pet sitting clients you need? This resource is 100% FREE and is my gift to you. Enjoy!
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Hiring Pet Sitters For Your Business

The Struggle of Hiring Pet Sitters

Why is hiring pet sitters a problem for some business owners?

One of the most common problems discussed by my students or in my Facebook group is the struggle of hiring pet sitters to grow their business. Sometimes even the thought of hiring a team is too scary and so they decide to stay small, stay working for themselves, being a sole proprietorship.

Then some people take the leap and try to find good people, but they run into issues getting reliable sitters which leads them to give up and go back to running a one-person show.

As we know, there are only so many hours for dollars that you can trade in a single day. So, you’re automatically putting a ceiling over your head with how much revenue you can build in your pet sitting business.

To make a substantial income in this industry, you need to leverage yourself through a team of heart-centered pet care professionals that are going to take stellar care of your client’s pets.

Hiring Pet Sitters

Now, hiring is difficult. It is hard. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that something’s easy when it’s not.

Finding good people is something that we work on daily at Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line. We have a system for hiring and we’ve used it consistently to grow the team and the business.

There are two steps I want you to take if you want to get serious and grow an amazing team of pet care professionals.

1. Create an attraction system

First,  you need to create a system where you are continuously attracting potential sitters so that you can pick the best candidates for your business.

Your time is precious which means you want to make sure you weed out the applicants who will not work before you even have your first initial interview with them.

2. Test potential sitters at the interview stage

Then you need to have a second system for the interview process to see how your new sitter would perform in different situations.

Their work is going to be a direct reflection on your pet sitting business, therefore, you need to be happy with how they work before you hire them for your company.

Also, this needs to be part of your regular daily business practices. You can’t say, “Okay, I really need sitters,” and then just hope and pray that a resume lands in your inbox.

You need to constantly have a system on autopilot where you are getting the message out that you’re hiring and you’re looking for great people. This leads to interviewing on a weekly basis and putting people through your systems on a weekly basis. That is how you build an amazing team. Yes, it is challenging, but don’t let that stop you from growing.

Currently, we have 40 pet sitters at Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line and we still have weekly meetings discussing where we’re going to find people. In this way, we have grown the most amazing team and the most amazing business.

So, if this is what you want to do, don’t let fear hold you back from hiring pet sitters. Create the attraction system, create the hiring system, make it part of your daily business practices, and you will be able to do it.

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The 3 Biggest Pet Sitting Hiring Mistakes

Hiring new pet sitters to take care of the clients you worked so hard to gain can be a scary proposition. Here are 3 Pet Sitting Hiring Mistakes to avoid.

Pet Sitting Hiring Mistake #1

Hiring in a reactive way

What this means is that you start looking to hire a new pet sitter when you absolutely need someone. I know you’re probably thinking, “well, of course that’s the way I hire, dummy!” I get that would be the logical way, but it’s not a good strategy and I’ll tell you why… If you start the search for hiring a new pet sitter when you are in desperate need of someone; for example, your plate is entirely too full, or a sitter quits without notice, or you need to fire someone and you need to fill their slot asap. You then post your ads, start interviewing and hope and pray that you find a good person. This is being reactive to your current situation and you will make poor choices with whom you ask to join your team because you are in dire need to fill the position. This is not a smart, proactive way to fill your sitter roster with qualified individuals.

My suggestion would be to bring on back-up sitters for your current sitters, who would have the ability to move into the primary sitters slots if the need arises. These sitters will also be the people who absorb the new business that is coming in.

Pet Sitting Hiring Mistake #2

Not managing the expectations of your new sitters.

Managing expectations is the single most important concept to understand and implement when you start to expand your team. Good people who have the availability and positive traits to become a pet sitter are certainly hard to come by. This is why I have made interviewing a regular part of my work week. Pet Sitting is just not going to be a good fit for everyone and you need to clearly spell out the job description right from the get go. Don’t bring people on under false expectations. Be clear and concise with exactly how it will work and what you need from them and what they need to do to be successful in the position.

So, for Pet Nanny this means explaining to your sitter prospects that they shouldn’t expect a full roster of visits or walks for the first couple of months after they join the team. It takes time to build their client base, but if they’re available and if we receive rave reviews from their clients, we will continue to send them assignments and build their book of business.

Pet Sitting Hiring Mistake #3

Hiring individuals who are using your business as a pit stop.

As the interviewer, it’s your job to figure out what it is that the sitter prospect wants to get out of the position. Are they looking for some extra cash to pay for a shore house? If the answer is yes, then why would you hire a person who will be heading out of town during the busy summer months?

Was the person recently laid off from their full-time job? Are they looking to fill their time while they search for their new full-time job? If so, then they are using your company as a pit stop until a better opportunity comes along. I may use this person for back-up pet sitting or house sitting assignments, but I would never give them regular midday clients because what happens when they get a new job and they give you 1 weeks’ notice? You’re going to need to hire in a reactive way, which is NEVER a good thing as explained above. You’ll most likely end up hiring someone that, again, is not a good fit and is using your company as a pit stop. Are you seeing the vicious cycle?

Then there’s the person who says that they’re not looking for other employment, but they live alone and have no other means of income. This always sets off sirens in my head. How are they going to afford to pay their bills if this is their full-time gig? Hello?! They’re not! They’re just telling you what you want to hear. I know it sounds enticing… a person with complete open availability to take on as many assignments as needed. JACKPOT! Here’s your wake-up call. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. In 100% of these hires that I’ve done, about 1 to 2 months down the road I receive the email (they never call to tell me,) that they’re not making enough money and they’ve found something more financially stable. At this point I usually smack myself on the head and say, “of course they did, dum dum!” Then it’s time to do damage control with their customers and to hire again in a reactive way. Ugh!

Trust me, I’ve made all the pet sitting hiring mistakes you can possibly make, but most of the troubles have stemmed from the 3 mistakes listed above. This is what causes the massive amount of turnover, which I hear so many of you complain about. You need to think ahead and make smart, strategic, decisions about who you’re going to hire.

pet sitting hiring mistakes

Your Homework Assignment: Create your avatar. Think of the best sitter you’ve ever had and then jot down all the things that made them great. Next, add any other traits that you would love to have in a team member to the list. Booya! You’ve just created your Ideal Sitter Profile. Be sure to review it every time before you start your interviews to remind yourself of who exactly it is you’re looking for, and to avoid the 3 biggest pet sitting hiring mistakes.

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Pet Sitting Hiring Tips

Last week I wrote about the 3 Biggest Pet Sitting Hiring Mistakes. This week I’m going to give you a couple more helpful pet sitting hiring tips.

Pet Sitting Hiring Tip #1. Listen to your gut!

There have been times when I’ve met a pet sitting prospect and they’ve done all the right things. They’ve presented themselves well, answered my questions clearly and with enthusiasm. They also have the availability I’m looking for, but for some reason, which I can’t explain, something is off. It’s that thing we call our “gut feeling.” My advice to you is to listen to your gut. In my experience, it very rarely steers me the wrong way. When you get that feeling it’s usually due to the energy the person may be exuding and your subconscious is picking up on it. That feeling is there to tip you off. Trust yourself and listen to it! It can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

I realize that this is much easier said than done, but it’s a skill you need to practice if you want to substantially grow your pet sitting business. Here is a good article on how to follow your intuition.

Pet Sitting Hiring Tip #2. Create a test or assessment to evaluate new sitters.

When I hire a new pet sitter to join the Pet Nanny Team, I email them a Sitter Welcome Packet. I explain to the new sitter that all of the items in the packet must be completed before we can start giving them assignments. How the sitter completes the packet is a tell-all, if they are actually going to work out. Those individuals who hop quickly to completing the packet in an orderly fashion without many questions or issues usually end up being my best sitters. Why?

  1. They have made getting started with Pet Nanny a priority.
  2. They have displayed their sense of urgency.
  3. They can follow directions.
  4. They can communicate effectively.

Those who sit on the packet for a week or more before starting the tasks, 9 times out of 10 do not work out well. I have now made it our policy that if a new sitter lets more than 7 days pass without submitting the completed takes, the offer to join our team is rescinded. I already know that if it takes them this long to complete a basic task, that they lack any sense of urgency and don’t consider Pet Nanny to be a priority. In the pet sitting industry, you need to have the ability to communicate effectively by returning phone calls, emails and texts promptly. In this case they have failed my test.

If the prospect clearly communicates with you that she is going out of town or has something else going on at that exact moment, I absolutely take that into consideration because they COMMUNICATED clearly with me. It’s all about the ability to communicate effectively!

pet sitting hiring tips

Your Homework Assignment:

  1. Start listening to your gut! Follow these pet sitting hiring tips.
  2. Create a test for your own new hires. Think about how you can evaluate a new hire before actually sending them out into the field.

Hiring is one of the scariest things for us pet sitting business owners to conquer. You may be asking yourself, “Will they do as good of a job as I do? Can I trust them? How do I pay them? Will my clients like them?” I get it! It’s a tough transition.

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Use a Facebook Group to Manage Your Team of Pet Sitters

Use a Facebook Group to Manage Your Team of Pet Sitters

Improve communication across the team with this useful tool

If like me, you have a large number of people on your pet sitting team, sometimes you feel out of touch with them. This is especially true if you have a manager in between you and the rest of the team.

At Pet Nanny of the Main Line we have a large team of 40 sitters, they are out working every day and I have very little communication with them on a day-to-day basis.

But it’s important that we keep a connection with our staff so that everyone is working from the same page and understands the company’s expectations. Even our best sitters sometimes make mistakes and need a gentle reminder of our specific policies for providing exceptional service to our clients.

One way we improved communication across the whole team was to create a private Facebook group just for our pet sitters. If you are looking for tools to manage your team of pet sitters, I recommend this free option.

Use a Facebook Group to Manage Your Team of Pet Sitters

If you are a member of my free Facebook group Pet Nanny Coach Community, you’ll see that I post a tip of the day.

It’s popular with the members and I decided to set up a similar resource for my pets sitters.

It’s a series of gentle little reminders about what to do when working for our clients.

Such as, don’t forget to check the key when you are at a registration meeting. Make sure that your first contact with a client is always via phone, not text messaging.

Check that all the doors are locked when you leave the house. Make sure that you rinse the dog bowls or cat bowls on your final visit. Don’t forget to wipe the counters.

Celebrate the small and big wins together

Another function of the Facebook group is to create a community and try to bring us all together.

When we work remotely rather than in a regular office, this virtual space is where we get to know each other and share common issues, as well as celebrate successes.

We have theme days such as “Favorite Pet Friday and we also have team meetings within the group using Facebook lives and chat.

When we want to praise a sitter who has gone above and beyond for our clients we celebrate them as “Sitter of the Month, and it inspires and encourages everyone.

It’s also a great way to quickly reach a group of pet sitters in one go. At times when we’ve needed an urgent pet visit and putting a message in the group helped identify a sitter who could respond immediately.

So, my tip for you today is Facebook groups is a great tool to manage your team of pet sitters. They’re free, you can set reminders, run meetings and communicate face-to-face using lives and group chat.

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