Tag: how to run a pet sitting business

Amazing Customer Experiences

Amazing Pet Sitting Customer Experiences

Please think about your pet sitting customer journey from start to finish. And I want you to think about it from the moment that the customer makes contact with you. It could be the moment they land on your website, or this could be when they call the office.

Create the know, like, trust factor through video on your homepage.

First, let’s talk about the website. Are you creating the know, like, and trust factor through video on your homepage so that if a prospect hits your website and they say, “Oh, let me click play. Oh, wow. This is great.” And you talk about your services; you talk about the value you provide, talk about the benefits, talk about how you are the solution to their problems.

That right away is going to give you a step up above the pet sitting competition. Is your messaging clear? Do your contact forms work? Is your number clickable? Everybody’s on mobile these days. They need to go boop and touch the phone number and have the phone call.

I know that seems so simple, but how many times have you been to a website, and you’re like, “I can’t call the person.” Very simple. Make sure the phone number is clickable.

Load your pet sitting website with social proof from happy customers.

Social proof is free, and it, again, creates that know, like, and trust factor, and it’s going to portray to your prospect that you are the person they want to do business with.

Make sure every website link is going to the right place.

If I sign up for your free offer on your website, is the email being sent? I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve worked with that have that opt-in offer on their website, but then nothing happens on the back end. That’s not a good first impression, especially when they leave you in the trust with their animals and their homes.

Make sure someone answers the phone.

That is a big one, and I have a manager, my client happiness manager, and she is supposed to answer the phone, and if she doesn’t answer the phone, she’s to call back within five minutes. That’s the deal.

If you’re not answering the phone, if you’re the admin and you’re out walking dogs, how long is it taking you to get back to your customer prospects? This is part of the journey. Every five minutes that you let lapse before calling a new customer prospect back, your chances of signing them on as a client drops significantly, so keep that in mind.

Be friendly on the phone.

I had a student once, and we were doing a coaching call, and she just sounded miserable. And people would call her office, and she wasn’t signing clients. I said, “Is this the tone of voice that you’re using when you’re speaking with your clients?” She said, “Yeah. What’s wrong with my tone of voice?”

I’m like, “Well, it’s not very welcoming or friendly.” I was scared to death. It was just a cold feeling. Remember, they are trusting us with their homes and their pets. They want to feel that you are warm, and friendly, and approachable and that they can trust you.

Listen and take good notes.

We all know that everybody loves to talk about their pets. It would be best if you sat back, listen to your customers, write down notes so that you have a clear understanding of precisely what they’re looking for. And say it back to them. Let them know that, “Yes, I am listening to you. I hear what you are saying.” That’s going to go a long way.

Have an easy system or process for customers to get started.

They say, “Okay. This is great. How do I get started?” Is it easy? Always want to make it easy for them to buy from you.

Set clear expectations of what is to happen next.

“Okay, we have you all signed up. This is what’s going to happen next. Your assigned pet care professional will be reaching out to you within” enter the time period.

“You’re also going to be receiving an email that’s going to tell you all about them. X, Y, and Z. You’re also going to receive a welcome packet in your inbox. There are two sets in that welcome packet. Number one. Please fill out the forms. Number two. Update your billing information.” So on and so forth.

They know exactly what their responsibility is and what they can expect on your side.

Reach out to your customers before they depart.

If you are reaching out, how is that? Is it an automated process through an email autoresponder? Are you picking up the phone or calling them?

Regardless, you do want to make that touchpoint. This is going to give them peace of mind, “Okay, this company is on it.” 

Do you have prepared information on how they can prepare for their pet sitting, dog walker, or house sitter? With a simple checklist PDF that they can go, “Oh, this is great information.” They can put it on the counter and make sure they have everything ready.

You’re taking the pressure off of them because you’re giving them exactly what they need to do to prepare for their sitter.

Keep in touch with your customers while they’re away.

If so, how? Do they request how? Did you ask how they want to be kept in touch with? Do they want text messages? Do they want videos? Do they want emails? Do they want phone calls?

You need to set that expectation that you need to ask them first and then follow through with how they want to be communicated with. We had a client once who the sitter was texting every visit with cute pictures, and he was like, “Stop texting me. I am on the beach trying to relax. I do not need to be texted.”

Right there, I went to their onboarding form, and I said, “How do you like to be kept in touch with?” I give them the options. I don’t want to bother my customers who don’t want to be bothered, but if they do want to be bothered, I want to be sending those messages. Make sense?

When a client returns, make sure they were happy with the service.

When they return, what is left for them at the final visit? What are they walking into? Do you reach out or send a survey to make sure they were pleased?

Every time a client ends service with me, they are receiving a survey because I want to make sure they were happy with their pet sitter. And if anything was out of the ordinary or anything went wrong, I want to know so that I can make it better.

What are you doing to Wow them?

Are you sending them a card? Is the sitter leaving a handwritten thank you note for allowing him or her to take care of their pets? Are they leaving a little bag of homemade biscuits? There are a million different things that you can do to really wow your customers.

Stay in touch when they are not actively using your service.

Are you keeping in touch with them? Are you providing value to them with interesting or helpful content? Are you checking in with their furry pals? Are you making quick phone calls, or sending short text messages, or sending a send-out card, “Hey, it’s Colleen from Pet Nanny. I haven’t heard from you guys in a while. I just wanted to see how doctor Watson’s doing. We miss him so much. Let us know if you need anything; we’re always here to help. With warm wags, Colleen.” Something like that. You can do that so easily through sendoutcards.com.

Are you reminding them about upcoming holidays when they may need service?

This is the whole journey. From the time they hit the website, they call the office, how they sign up, is it easy to buy from you? Before they depart, while they’re away, when they return, and while they’re not actively using your service.

 

I tell you, if you do improve it, this is where you are going to set yourself apart from the rest. I see in so many pet sitting groups there are so many pet sitters, “How am I going to make a living doing this?” This is how.

You’re going to attract amazing customers; you’re going to provide genuinely stellar service; they are going to use you over and over again. They’re going to refer you all over town, and this is when business becomes easy.

Howdy, Pet Lover! Are you struggling with attracting new clients to your pet sitting business? Would you like to have a consistent pipeline of new clients coming to your business? Well, wait no longer, my friend. Grab my FREE report, 125 Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients. This resource is 100% FREE and is my gift to you. Enjoy!
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How we Handle Bookkeeping & Payroll in my Pet Sitting Business

How We Handle Bookkeeping & Payroll in my Pet Sitting Business

I started using my bookkeeper probably about ten years ago for my pet sitting business. I remember just thinking like, “Oh my gosh, this is such a huge investment.” but I read the book Profit First, which completely changed how I view money, and finances, and systems.

I ended up finding a bookkeeper who specialized in Profit First, and she was located in Pennsylvania. So it just seemed like a perfect combination. We’ve been working together ever since.

Have your pet sitting business set up in Quickbooks Online.

You don’t have to use QBO. You can use software like Xero or Wave apps; there’s a ton. We use QuickBooks Online, and we have all of my Profit First bank accounts connected to it.

They go in there every week, and they categorize all of my expenses to make sure that everything is organized.

At the end of the year, make sure everything is balanced. Then send to your CPA to do the taxes.

People ask me often, “Colleen, is this something that you think I should invest in?” If we do not have the budget for it, as of now, it’s absolutely something that you can do on your own.

But when you do end up getting an influx of cash that you will justify that expense, I highly recommend it. It just makes everything so lovely, neat, and organized.

Move your payroll over to a software system called Gusto.

My manager, Sue, runs the payroll every two weeks. All the visits from the first of the month to the 15th are run on the 16th. All the visits from the 16th to the end of the month are run on the first. It’s simple to use.

I use Employees, and it calculates all of the taxes and whatnot, and then sends all of the employees their paperwork at the end of the year, 1099s are for independent contractors. If you use independent contractors, it will do that for you.

Back in the day, I used to sit every two weeks, and I would write the checks to 20 some pet sitters, and it took forever. It was a giant waste of time. So I had put these fantastic software systems into place.

So with QuickBooks Online and Gusto, and using my team, my bookkeeper, and my manager, it’s not part of my duties anymore.

How we Handle Bookkeeping & Payroll in my Pet Sitting Business

 

Again, freeing up my time to focus on money-generating activities, marketing, and getting new clients. So that’s how we do things here at Pet Nanny and Pet Nanny Coach.

I use a Profit First bookkeeper who keeps my QuickBooks Online completely neat, organized, and categorized weekly.

My CPA does my taxes, and my manager, Sue, the Pet Nanny manager, runs the payroll every two weeks. So hopefully, you guys found that helpful.

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7 Tax-Saving Tips for Pet Sitters

7 Tax-Saving Tips for Pet Sitters

  Grab your FREE 7 Tax-Saving Tips For Pet Sitting Businesses PDF here!

 

Tax time is upon us. I want to talk about seven tax saving tips for your pet sitting business.

1. Keep your tax and financial documents for at least seven years.

If you’re ever audited you’ll need those records. Any claims made at tax time require supporting documentation. Keeping good records is an excellent idea for any pet sitting business owner because it encourages organization, always a good thing.

It’s challenging to reconstruct records at a later date. To give you a real quick story about how this is very important, I have been audited twice. They tried to audit me one year after the second audit that I had won. I’m supposed to have five years safe harbor.

My accountant went back and said, “Hey, you guys audited Colleen last year.” They said, “We have no record of that. We have no documentation of that. You need to prove that we did.” Thankfully, we had all of our records. I was able to send it to them so that they couldn’t continue with the audit.

So, a simple system I use is Dropbox, and I have a Financials folder. I have a folder for each year where I store all of my financial documents. There you go, a straightforward system that you can implement today in your business.

2. Understand your loans.

The IRS doesn’t classify most business loans as income. The interest paid on loans is generally a deductible expense. It’s essential to have records regarding the use of any loans, which may be for equipment, or to finance some other activity.

In the year 2020, with all those PPP loans, you must understand how that implicates your taxes and how it’s forgiven if you took out a PPP loan.

3. Know the different types of audits.

First, there’s an office audit, which generally is a simple audit where you’ll be requested to report to your local IRS office to resolve some slight discrepancy.

Then, there’s a correspondence audit where they’ll, it’s hard to say, where they’ll ask you to mail in some documentation.

Then, there’s a field audit, which I went through. These tend to be comprehensive audits conducted at your place of business—very, very stressful. I would never want any of you to have to go through what I went through. I ended up winning, by the way, which was good.

Then, lastly is the criminal investigation audit, which, hopefully, will never happen to anybody watching this video. If you get notified that a criminal investigation audit is happening to you, immediately consult your lawyer because you’re suspected of tax evasion.

4. Pay your quarterly tax bill.

When you have an employer, your taxes are regularly taken out of your paycheck. If you’re self-employed, you’re required to estimate your tax each quarter and pay it. Failure to pay this can result in a significant tax penalty.

You might also end up with an enormous tax bill than you can handle in a single payment.

7 Tax-Saving Tips for Pet Sitters

 

I did not pay my quarterly taxes for years, and I would stress about it, and I would toss and turn, “Oh my gosh, am I going to have enough money to pay the taxman?” One year I did get caught with a $15,000 bill that I was not prepared for. So, I never again missed a quarterly payment after that experience.

5. Prepare early.

The vast number of tax filers wait until the last minute. If you’re expecting a refund, this can be the worst time to file. The IRS is overwhelmed with all the tax returns that pour in. So, preparing your tax return early leaves you time to find any missing documents and answer any questions, all right? It just gives you peace of mind to get it done with, get the monkey off your back.

6. Get help.

Depending on your business finances’ complexity, hiring an expert to prepare your pet sitting business tax return is an excellent idea.

In theory, the money you spend ought to result in a smaller tax burden. It can be helpful if any legal issues arise. The price you’re going to pay for using an accountant and a CPA lets you know what you can be deducted. You don’t know what you don’t know. That’s going to be money in your pocket that you’re not paying to the government. I’s going to pay for itself to use an accountant or a CPA. That’s number one.

Number two, when I was audited, my accountant was so awesome. He dealt with the whole thing. He knew exactly how to structure the audit. He knew exactly what language to use. He knew exactly how to organize everything, where I easily won that audit.

Without him, I don’t even know what would have happened. That audit was for using independent contractors appropriately. That’s a whole other story. Thankfully I had him because he was an MVP in that experience.

7. Avoid using taxes collected from employee payroll, or that you put aside to pay business expenses.

Don’t do that. That happens when you have all of your money in one account.

My tip for you today is to create a bank account outside of your regular bank. I want you to title it The Government’s Money. It’s not your money.

Every week, you’re going to take a percentage of your revenue; you’re going to transfer it out of your bank into the government money account. By the time you’re ready to pay your quarterly tax bill, the money is there set aside, and you’re not tempted to touch it because it’s outside of your regular bank, out of sight, out of mind, okay?

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How to Manage Fear in Your Business

How to Manage Fear In Your Pet Sitting Business

My mission in 2021 is to help as many pet sitting business owners get their businesses back after COVID. I will be popping in here every week to do these little mini-lessons. Lorraine, a member of our community, asked me to focus on fears.

Historically, fear has helped us as humans stay alive. As we’ve evolved, what it’s done is pretty much stop most people from taking action in their lives. Back in the day when we were cavemen, fear helped us to stay alive. If you’re like walking down the highway and a car is coming, and you feel fear, that’s a good fear.

Suppose you’re fearful of judgment, failing, embarrassment, and success; all these other fears we have are not serving us at all.

Remember, fear is just an unpleasant emotion.

Back in the day, I had an intense fear of judgment and failure, which kept me stuck for a very, very, very long time. I’m here to tell you today is that fear is just an unpleasant emotion. It’s in our minds. It’s make-believe. You’re making yourself believe something. Most people are afraid of feeling unpleasant emotions, so they’ll avoid doing anything that brings those up. That’s what keeps us stuck.

Start moving through fear with your courage.

I do not like speaking live in front of people, but I’m doing it anyway. I was fearful of embarrassing myself, of saying something stupid. What I do is I stop when I start feeling that emotion; I close my eyes I take a deep breath. I feel the fear. And I remind myself that it is all just in my mind, and I’m going to act despite it anyway.

How to Manage Fear in Your Business

 

This is a mantra that I say to myself many times that helps calm me. I deal with a lot of anxiety. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety for absolutely no reason.

That is my mini-lesson for you today. Understanding that fear is in your mind. Stopping yourself when you are feeling fearful. Reminding yourself that this is in your mind, you’re making yourself believe something that isn’t true.

It’s not necessary. You’re causing suffering in your own life. I cause suffering in my own life. When in reality, that was just false belief systems that I was creating in my mind.

When you start doing this, and you start moving through fear, that’s when you start gaining confidence through your courage, and it’s just going to get easier.

Do meditation.

Another thing that you can do to start helping with this is meditation. I know meditation was challenging for me. When I first started meditating, I would last a minute. Now I’m up to about 25 minutes.

Meditating and EFT tapping are good ones. You go to YouTube and look up EFT tapping for fear. Listening to binaural beats at night when you’re going to bed. Hypnosis. There are a million things that you can do to start working through your fear.

Mind work is the most important one. It is understanding that you are the thinker of your thoughts. The thoughts that you’re thinking are what is creating the fear in your body. Without your mind, the fear wouldn’t exist.

Journaling helps, writing this stuff down. So helpful. I tell my students to create a morning practice for themselves when they get up and do something positive. Whether if you’re spiritual. If it’s reading scripture. If it’s reading something or listening to something positive, journaling, meditation, exercise, all good things for helping deal with these fears.

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1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy

1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy

Most people forget about their email signature. Number one, email is free. Every time you send an email to either a client or a client prospect in a marketing funnel, you can optimize your email signature with a call to action.

If you’re emailing your customer, you could finish with your name.

“If you were happy with your pet sitting service, please click here to leave a Google review,” or “please click here to leave a Yelp review,” or “please click here to schedule your next service.”

If you’re sending it to a prospect, you can have something like “Click here to follow us on Facebook,” or “follow us on Twitter,” or “follow us on Instagram,” or LinkedIn, or whatever other social media that you’re on.

1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy 2

 

You can send them to a piece of content to warm them up. You can have a call to action to send your customers to a landing page where they’re giving you their name and email address for a coupon, which will then drop them in a follow-up sequence to incentivize them to schedule service with you.

You can have a link for whatever call to action you want. It’s free. And one of the most overlooked marketing strategies there is. Go check out your email signature in your email client and your email autoresponder and have some fun with this.

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My No-Jerk Policy

My “No-Jerk Policy”

Rewind to 20 years ago, when I was building my pet sitting business, I accepted any client that would come down the pike. It didn’t matter how disgusting their houses were; it didn’t matter how rude they were; it didn’t matter if I had to chase down payment. I would work for pretty much anybody, anytime, because I just wanted to build my client list and make money.

What happened over time, I’d built this client list with many wonderful people, but with a lot of non-ideal heartsick clients is what I call them, and people that I would not wish on anybody.

My “No-Jerk” policy came around due to one specific client. This client lived in this big, beautiful house, they had these three big, giant beautiful dogs, and I had adopted their Great Dane from them because they had internal fighting amongst their dogs.

They were never necessarily rude, but they were very cold, but they were very generous too. This client would leave me nice tips, which made me have these mixed feelings about them. I didn’t feel like the best feelings, but nothing ever overtly necessarily happened with them.

Then the nanny started taking walks with me with the dogs, and she would tell me these insane stories about how mean these people were to her.

Then I have a sitter that’s spending the night there. The sitter got locked out of the house. This woman (client) called me and was cursing and screaming at me in a way that you would not even believe. And I was like, “I’ll drive over; I have a spare key and let her in. Chill.”

So I hung up, I went over, I got the sitter in, I came back, and thought, “You know what? I’m not letting this happen person talk to me like this. I don’t need this. I’ve had enough of these types of people.”

I remember going to my dad and saying, “Dad, what would you do in this situation?” He thought about it, and he was like, “You know, you don’t owe them any explanation. Write them a letter, put the key in the envelope, drop it off in their mailbox, and be done with them.”

Looking back, that would not be what I would suggest to any pet sitting business owner. But again, I was newer in business. I was a young girl.

So that’s what I did, and then I got this scathing email from this lady. They’re just awful, awful people. I clicked delete, never responded, and from there, my “No-Jerk” policy came into play, which has now changed my life, changed my business because I do not put up with any of this anymore.

From that moment moving forward, if any clients were rude to me, my managers, or my sitters, they were tagged as a “jerk” inside of Infusionsoft, my email marketing software, and we were no longer doing business with them.

Build a system to gracefully unleash these “jerk” clients.

Since then, I have built the most wonderful client base.

My No-Jerk Policy


Here and there, a few will drop in, and then the no-jerk policy comes into play.

Remember, many pet sitting clients will love and respect you and your business.

Many clients have pets that will love your service, will respect you, will tip you, will tip your sitters, and you can have fantastic relationships with them. You do not need toxic, awful people in your life, and you certainly don’t deserve to be spoken rudely.

Go with your gut.

In my Pet Nanny Coach business, I had one that slipped through the cracks last year. She had been a student many years ago, and she was a nightmare. She came back to me, begging to go back and work with me. Against my better judgment, I let her through, and it was even worse the second time.

When people show you their true colors, believe your gut and focus on the extraordinary people who don’t give you any problems. Sometimes we forget about those people. These people aren’t hounding or are rude to you. Those are the people that deserve your attention and your extra love and support if you will.

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My Secret Sauce to Building a Lucrative Pet Sitting Career

My Secret Sauce to Building a Lucrative Pet Sitting Career

I realized that I had been making videos for members of the pet sitting industry for many years. Some of you may not know who I am if you’re new to the industry. So I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know a little bit about me and how I was able to make millions was in the pet sitting industry, and how I became to be a coach to help others create lucrative pet sitting careers.

Flashback to 2001. I was a special education teacher teaching Down syndrome children, and I was completely unhappy in my career. As much as I loved the children, I did not feel like I was supposed to be doing this. I felt like I was trapped in the classroom all day. I wanted to be out in the fresh air, and I didn’t know what to do. I graduated from Ohio State with a special ed degree. So I had just assumed that this is what my path is supposed to be, to be a teacher.

After a heartfelt conversation with my parents where they asked me, “Colleen if you could do anything, what would it be?” And I said, “Well, I wouldn’t mind playing with dogs all day.” I said it as a joke, but it ended up being the sentence that changed my life. I decided at that moment that I was going to create a business based on my love of animals. That was how Pet Nanny started.

The problem was I knew nothing about business. Back then, I think there was like one book on the market. I read the book, and I followed the instructions, but that’s pretty much all I knew about business.

I didn’t know about business, marketing, team building, systemizing your business, and managing my finances. I spent a lot of years spinning my wheels. I did not get very far with the company. I ended up creating another job for myself, where I was working a lot.

I had clients, but non-ideal pet-sitting clients who didn’t respect me. They took advantage of me, called me all hours of the day and night. I had no free time. I’d never spent the night in my bed because I was always at my client’s houses, and it got exhausting.

To me, it was like I was maybe making a little more than I was when I was teaching, but I had no free time whatsoever. I completely lost my freedom. So at that point, I was trying to decide, do I want to do this? Or do I want to start something else? Maybe pharmaceutical sales, go back to teaching. I didn’t know.

Then again, I made the decision. I’m going to give this a go. I’m going to try to create a business that can run without me being an integral part of running it.

Create a business that can run without you being the integral part of having it run.

So I hired a business coach. I attended events, read books, and did everything. I implemented, and I got results.

How I've Made Millions in the Pet Sitting Industry 2


Currently, I have three managers that manage the company and a staff of 40 pet sitters that go out to take care of my client’s home. On average, we make around $75,000 a month in revenue, and I only have to work one hour a week in the business.

I started knowing absolutely nothing to get where I am today. It took me a lot of years to get to where I am today.

That’s how you will market your business, how you’re going to get new customers, how you’re going to wow your customers, and how you’re going to nurture your current customer list.

Have support. Find amazing pet sitters.

This is how you’re going to assess to make sure they’re going to be a good fit to work with your company, and it’s how you’re going to onboard them.

So by the time they’re ready to get started with your customers, they’re going to do a fantastic job.

What systems do you need in your business for it to run like a well-oiled machine? How to document them and build out your online business hub so that your business can run without you. That is how you know you have a true business.

Have the freedom to continue growing the business and doing things you love.

Guys, money is a good thing. Think about all of the things you can do and all of the charities you can commit your time to if you have extra money.

And freedom. You’re not stuck working like I was seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can have the freedom to continue growing the business on the backend. You can have the freedom to take part in hobbies that you love. Horseback riding, tennis, and paddle tennis. You like to travel. You want to work from different areas. You can do that when you build this type of business.

How many pet owners and pet lovers in your community can you impact with your amazing service?

So by you building this awesome pet sitting business, you’re going to be able to service so many more pet lovers and their furry pals and provide them with stellar pet care. And become a standout in the pet sitting industry.

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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The Importance of Having a Powerhouse Team

The Importance of Having a Powerhouse Team

We are now in 2021. I was very excited to close the books on 2020 because it was the worst year of my life as it was for so many. I was excited for 2021 to hit the ground running and start with a bang and throw myself back into my pet sitting business because business building makes me happy.

When out of nowhere, I received a positive diagnosis for COVID, completely unexpected. A family friend accidentally gave it to my entire family. We’re all fine. I had a horrific headache and exhaustion for two weeks—nothing where I had to be hospitalized or anything.

The reason I’m telling you this is that something unexpected happened to me. And I was once again reminded about the importance of having a powerhouse team to help with your business.

The system runs the business, the person runs the system.

My business could entirely run without me because I had everything from soup to nuts systematized, and then I have a team of amazing people who implement the system. So, therefore, I am not the bottleneck.

So I’m not even just talking about having a pet sitter team as the business owner. It would be best if you had somebody helping you on the administrative side because you might have people who can go out and do the walks but if you were sick like I was, I was pretty much narcoleptic fallen asleep every hour, I needed somebody to be able to manage things on the backend.

For my coaching business and my pet-sitting business, the managers were able to take care of everything. I was able to sleep and heal, and everything ran seamlessly.

Start thinking about the systems in your business.

Every single thing that you do needs to be documented with point by point outlined instructions so that you can easily delegate it to a team member and they can implement the system. I will repeat it.

The Importance of Having a Powerhouse Team

 

When you have a business that can run without you, you truly have a business.

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