Tag: owning a pet sitting business

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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A Cheap and Effective Old School Marketing Strategy

Today, our pet business growth video is an old-school marketing strategy. When I’m coaching my students, I’ve noticed that everybody is super duper excited about learning all of the hot online marketing strategies I have to offer. Don’t get me wrong; I love online marketing. But I need to remind them that the old school, grassroots marketing strategies still work.

We go around in our community and pass out flyers once a month. For example, here is a flyer from Pet Nanny Pet Sitters of the Main Line. This flyer has a QR code right here, so anyone that sees it with their camera can take a shot at the QR code, which takes them to a high-value coupon, which then has a call to action to sign up for pet nanny service.

This works. So here’s a marketing template: I give this to my students in my Multiply Mastermind program, and then they can go ahead and make it their own. They can change images, colors, logos, and such to make it easy.

pet business marketing strategy

 

This is an effective pet business marketing strategy. We also use it for hiring. So here we go, we talk about Pet Nanny is hiring, are you passionate about pups, crazy for cats, fearless about frogs or iguanas, rabbits, chinchillas, or other exotic pets, so on and so forth. The QR code then takes them to the application page on our website.

Do not forget about the old-school marketing strategies because these work. Go around your community, find out where they have bulletin boards where you can post these, and do it. It’s so inexpensive. You can create this on Canva, have it printed right from Canva, and take action on this strategy within a week. So that’s your homework. Take action.

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4 Strategies to Increase the Average Transaction Value

Today, our business growth video is four strategies to increase the average transaction value. You may be wondering what that means. The goal is simple, to get customers to spend more with your pet sitting business on every transaction.

The simplest way to do this is to raise your rates.

You can also offer them products and services that will truly serve them and give them fantastic value when they’re using your service. So strategy number one is the obvious one, you can raise your rates.

Create add-on services.

Think about what your customers need while they’re at work or traveling apart from the pet sitting. Think about different things they can add to their pet sitting invoice. Think supply pick up or a pet taxi service, or a pooper scooper service or a vacuuming service, or if you’re a dog trainer, offering those services in addition to the pet sitting, same with grooming.

Pet Sitting Business - 4 Strategies to Increase the Average Transaction Value


Sell products that would benefit their pets.

If you love a line of pet products like holistic pet care products, you can add this revenue stream to your business. Or maybe there are tools that you love, like a gentle harness that you couldn’t live without or poop bags. You can then sell those products to your customers, which would increase the transaction value.

Offer packages and discounted packages.

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s going to be less money,” but no, not actually. If you package your services and give your clients discounts when they buy in bulk like that, they will be incentivized to book more.

They may only book three visits a day, but if you have a four visit package where all the visits are discounted, they will go with the four visit package, which results in more money and a higher transaction value for your business.

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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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5 Tips for Attracting New Customers to Your Pet Sitting Business

One of the ways that you can make more money in your pet sitting business is by attracting brand new customers consistently. Here are five ways to do that.

Increase your direct mail marketing.

I feel like so many people forget about snail mail in this day and age. They’re only focused on online strategies, but I tell you that people read snail mail. Create a direct mail marketing campaign to attract new customers to promote your pet sitting business.

Build an online presence to attract website visitors.

You want to make sure that when people are online, which they are every day, they can find you. First of all, make sure that you have a professional website.

Second, you have your Google My Business listing updated and optimized. Maybe starting a blog. Different ways that you are attracting new customers to your website, which is your conversion mechanism, which is going to convert them into paying customers. Make sure that you have your website listed on as many backend websites with all of the traffic leading back to your site.

5 Tips for Attracting New Customers to Your Pet Sitting Business


Create a social presence.

Social media, guess what, people use it because it works. You want to make sure that you are creating valuable content for your ideal clients on your social media channels. But again, direct them back to your website to convert them into paying customers. You’re not using social media for your business, just for its fun. The end goal is to convert your social media followers into paying customers.

Offer a referral incentive for customers who refer their friends.

Educate your current customers about your referral program, saying, “Hey, we love and appreciate referrals. This is the best way to do it. And we are going to incentivize it by giving you credits off of your next booking.”

Develop strategic alliance relationships.

Creating these relationships with other business owners that target the same market as you do but provide a different service. I’m not talking about pet sitters. I’m talking about pet groomers, pet photographers, pet stores, and vets. And the idea is that you’re sharing each other’s customer lists and referring business back and forth to each other.

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Set Your Dog Walking Business Apart From Your Competition

In the Launch & Grow Program, I talk about the importance of purple cowing your dog walking business. What I mean by that is making yourself stand so far apart from your competition that you’re the only logical choice in your market.

Think of an amazing offer that’s different from others.

Now, purple cow, I did not come up with that statement that Seth Godin coined. He has a concise book; if you’re interested in reading it, you can check that out. But think about what would be amazing that you could offer that’s just different from “Hi, I’m going to come to your house and walk your dog for 30 minutes.” Think about what you could package. Think about what you could include. Think about things you could do to make your customers go; “wow, this business is awesome, and they are who I want to hire.”

Survey your audience.

After putting all of your unique ideas down on paper, you can survey your audience. You can use a tool like SurveyMonkey, or a free one is Google Forms. Shoot that out to your current customers and say, what would it include if I could wave a magic wand to do the perfect business for you? Or what would it look like?

Set Your Dog Walking Business Apart From Your Competition


List Unique Selling Propositions.

The best ideas come from the customers that you already service. Then I want you to organize everything that makes you special, everything that makes you unique, into a list. We call these your unique selling propositions, and it’s just a list of what makes your business special.

I put a lot of time and effort into my list, create your own, organize them into a list, and include that on your marketing materials. If you visit my website at pet-nanny.net and see what sets us apart, you can check out my USPs. Do not copy them, please.

People want to know why they should hire you. In my programs, I teach my students to create a premium service that attracts premium clients who will pay the premium pricing, which is a crucial step.

So, how do you purple cow your dog walking business? Survey your audience, ask for ideas, organize your unique selling propositions into a checklist and put those on your website and marketing materials.

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Work ON Your Dog Walking Business, Just Not IN it

If you’ve been following me, you’ve probably heard me say a gazillion times, “Stop working in your business and start working on your business.” This was the major shift that completely changed the trajectory of my career and my life with my dog walking business, and where I learned this was the E-Myth Revisited.

It was the first business book I read that had a major impact on my life. It’s just like bells went off in my head, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, “I am doing this business thing all wrong.”

So what the E-Myth says is that entrepreneurs are people that understand that going into business is something that you do. You’re building a business that runs without you having to do the work to create the revenue and the income.

The problem is that most small business owners are technicians. They’re like myself and most of the students that I work with. We go into the pet industry because we love and adore animals and want to provide amazing pet care. But then we decide that we want to grow the business, and we don’t know how to do that because we are technicians. We’re not entrepreneurs innately, as the word would define.

So that is the big shift. You have to start thinking differently about your business. If you had a hundred different locations, you would not be able to service a hundred different locations, be the manager, be the pet sitter.

Work ON Your Dog Walking Business, Just Not IN it

 

You would have to think about your dog walking business differently in terms of creating systems and processes that are easily replicable between all locations and that it is running without you being the person that is doing all of the marketing. You’re not the person that’s doing all of the admin. You’re not the person that’s doing the pet sitting. You’re not the person doing the database, the hiring, and all of the stuff that goes into it.

Start thinking of ways to remove yourself as the bottleneck.

You have to start thinking about yourself from a place of removing yourself as that bottleneck in your dog walking business so that you can create these processes so that you’re able to grow your team and you’re able to service more customers and, therefore, make more money.

You have to get out of the technician mindset and move yourself to that entrepreneurial mindset of working on your business and not in your business. This creates freedom in your life, which makes money in your business. It’s such an important shift if you want to grow a lucrative dog walking business.

 

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