pet sitting office manager

How To Get A Business Phone To A Pet Sitting Office Manager

To all of my pet sitting business owners with staff – this one’s for you! Are you considering hiring an office manager? Or maybe you’re just going away on vacation for a week or two and need a temporary office manager to fill in? Either way, you’ll need to consider how to get your business phone to your pet sitting office manager. This can be tricky and complicated.

So, today I’m going to break down some of the best ways you can get your business phone to your office manager without the hassle!

How To Get A Business Phone To Your Pet Sitting Office Manager

pet sitting office manager

 

Temporary Solutions

If you are looking for a temporary solution, you don’t have to make a permanent move. It might be as simple as forwarding the business line to their cell phone. Or you can even physically give them the business phone. Keep in mind these solutions are only short term. They can also sometimes be a way to do a “trial run” to make sure your potential office manager is right for the job.

If you do this, don’t forget to make sure that their voicemail is personalized for the business! You want it to say something like “Thanks for calling Bella’s Pet Sitting.” You don’t want your clients to know that their call is being directed somewhere else. Keep in mind this is only a short term solution.

Permanent Solutions

If you need a permanent solution, I do not suggest handing a phone back and forth. Even physically delivering a phone to your pet sitting office manager can be messy. There’s too much room for error here. You need to set up a permanent system.

There are a number of companies such as Grasshopper, Phone.com, and RingCentral, that do a “phone tree system.” With this you can redirect a line to many different people depending on where you want it to go.

Since our offices are virtual, this is probably the best way to direct client calls. You really want it to be a cloud based system so you can text if you need to text (even though I don’t recommend it!). You also need to have a record of all communication between all lines. Plus, they have useful features such as transcribing voicemails, the ability to use your computer/tablet, and more.

What About Google Voice?

Ah, Google Voice. Super popular among pet sitters for sure, and I even used it regularly in my own business! What I’ve learned is that it’s really nice for sole proprietors if you’re trying to separate business and personal.

But when your business and operations grows bigger and bigger you will eventually outgrow Google Voice. It’s a good stepping stone but I don’t recommend it long term. It’s a great program for being free, but if you’re serious about bringing on a long-term office manager you will need a more sophisticated software.

Phone systems are really smart these days. Clients calling won’t know they’re in a phone system. They won’t hear things like “Press one for this and press two for that” – unless you want it that way!

Overall, you want your phone system to be able to adapt to YOU and your business. So, do a bit of research and choose the company or solution that will best fit your needs. You’ll be glad you did!

If you’re still unsure about taking the plunge by giving your employees a business phone, be sure to check out this blog I wrote here addressing your concerns.

free coaching session

 

march pet sitting blog ideas

4 Pet Sitting Blog Ideas for March

Blogging can be difficult. So is finding the TIME to blog. As a pet sitting business owner you wear so many different hats, and “resident blogger” is one of them. So this month, as my gift to you, I’m compiling a list of 4 march pet sitting blog ideas that you can use. Hopefully these will give you some inspiration and some time back, as you won’t have to ponder what to write about.

 

4 Unique March Pet Sitting Blog Ideas

march pet sitting blog ideas

#1 – St Patrick’s Day is coming up!

As a pet sitting business owner, it’s really important to focus and capitalize on the holidays. This is where a good portion of where your revenue comes from. Posting fun ideas for outings that pet lovers can go on with their animals shows you truly care about their pets.

Maybe the client could take their dog to a dog park, a dog-friendly bar with an outdoor patio, on a hike, to the lake with friends, or even on a picnic. The possibilities are endless. For extra bonus points, include specific places in your hometown (i.e. McDowell Mountain Ranch Park) that would be great destinations for pets and their owners.

#2 – Change in Season is Here – Spring!

Another thing to focus on as a pet sitting business owner, is seasons. With the changing of seasons comes “maintenance” that pet owners will have to do for their pet such as grooming, maybe a new diet, new walking routine, etc. Again, capitalize on this by BLOGGING about it. This is a perfect subject for March pet sitting blog ideas because making yourself useful for your clients will only make them like you more.

Dog owners can get ready for Spring by getting their dog groomed, adjusting their exercise routine, taking them to local destinations that they weren’t able to in the winter, getting allergy medication for their dog if needed, etc.

You could also write about Spring Time games to play, can your dog eat grass, and lots others! Just let your imagination go!

#3 – With the Change Of Seasons Comes Allergies.

Maybe you knew dogs can have allergies, but many do not. It’s an interesting question to investigate, which will make them likely to click on it. This is a worthwhile addition to march pet sitting blog ideas, because March marks the start of allergy season!

After you establish that yes, your dog can have allergies, discuss it further. How would they know if their dog had allergies? What are the symptoms? What are the treatments? Do they need to see a veterinarian for it? Ask and answer pertinent questions that the average dog owner might wonder.

#4 – Look At The Topics Of The Month:

March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Every month there is a different pet awareness topic, which you can read about on this website here. GREAT blogging content!

For Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month, you can talk about what exactly IS a poison to pets? How exactly can owners prevent pet poisoning? What should an owner do if they suspect their pet is poisoned? What are the symptoms of pet poisoning? Again, think of important questions and then answer them for your readers.

Be sure to list the phone numbers for the Pet Poison Helpline and ASPCA Pet Poison Control.

Content Will Help Your Website!

I hope these ideas are helpful to you and are able to give you some ideas and inspiration about blogs for March. If you are a pet sitting business that DOESN’T have a blog – it’s never too late to start. If you’re still not convinced, check out these blogs I wrote on Why Should I Blog For My Pet Sitting Business and Why You Should Care About Your Holiday Cover Profiles And Blogging.

Lastly, if you choose to write about any of these topics – be sure to post a link to your blog in the comments section so I can read it. I want to see where your creative minds take these ideas! 🙂

For more content on blogging, be sure to take a look at:

Learn How Two Coaching Sessions Tripled This Pet Business’s Leads By Blogging!

Episode 2: Blogging To 1700 Hits In One Day And Delegating Your Business 

Here Are 5 Important Things To Do After You Publish A Blog Plus 3 Bonuses

Blogging With Bella

BMWB 2nd Semester

seo practices

SEO Practices That Just Aren’t Happening Anymore

SEO, or search engine optimization, is its own animal. Not only is it ever changing, but it’s complex and difficult to master. Good SEO practices are important because they’re how you can make your website rank on the first page of Google. For those of you who’ve been with me for awhile, you know that I always say that if you’re not on the first page of Google – you’re essentially dead.

So, if I’ve been successful in convincing you that SEO is important, let’s get right into it. Today we’re going to talk about the SEO practices that are NOT happening anymore, courtesy of Moz. Together, let’s learn how to master the art of SEO to promote our businesses and get ourselves out there.

SEO Practices That Just Aren’t Happening Anymore

seo practices

#1 – Linkbait And Clickbait

Have you ever Googled something, only to click on seemingly-helpful link and it has NOTHING to do with what you searched for? Annoying, right? As far as SEO practices go, this is an old-school tactic used to draw clicks, even if the content was completely irrelevant to the search.

There’s many, many reason why this is a bad business practice. It makes you unreliable. Untrustworthy. People will remember you – but in a BAD way. The next time you come up on Google they are going to steer clear of you at all costs. Whatever click you may have drawn initially, you can be sure that you will never gain a second, third, fourth etc. from that person.

You want to be honest. Your titles need to match the content you discuss. Doing otherwise is only doing a disservice to yourself and to your business.

 

#2 – Keyword Stuffing

If you use the Yoast plug-in for your blog (like we do!), then you know that one of the SEO practices Yoast looks for is keyword density. This means that you have to include your keyword a certain number of times throughout your blog post. Sounds easy, but the trick is blending the keyword in seamlessly to your writing, as to make it not obvious that you’re using the same term repeatedly.

Check out this example by Moz:

keyword stuffing

For those of you who don’t know, “T” stands for Title and “MD” stands for Meta Description, which is the little preview of the article you see below the title on Google.

Notice how in the first example the title and description looks sketchy and spammy because it’s just a bunch of keywords. It’s not a sentence, it has no flow, and it is something that most people would likely never click on.

Now look at example number two. The title and description are coherent and give the viewer a little taste or preview about what they’re about to click on. That’s what you want to aim for – a well-worded preview of what you’re about to click on. That is what people skim when going through Google.

 

#3 – Sketchy Website Domains

First thing’s first – what the heck is a website domain? A domain is what gives website their “.com” or “.net” portion of their URL. Again, think of the last time you were doing online shopping. Did you ever come across a website with a domain other than “.com?”

Something like a “.shop” or “.me” or “.buy”? This is another one of those SEO practices that is archaic, but is still used by those unaware of the problems with it. The problem with these domains are that, again, they seem sketchy or spammy. People are not going to be as likely to click as they would with a “.com”

The other part of this is that even if you have the “.com” part, your actual website name has to sound legitimate. For example, think about “petsitting.com” vs. “bellaspetsitting.com” The first one doesn’t seem real and it’s unmemorable. You want to include your brand in your website name, and not just have it be a string of nouns.

You want people to remember you, but in a good way – for being a legitimate, useful company that can solve their problems.

 

Looking For More?

SEO is tough. Trust me I know. But if you’re a pet sitting company with a blog (or even if you’re not), you really do need SEO to make sure you show up on the first page of Google. Doing some research and gaining a basic knowledge of SEO will immensely help your business in the long run. Be sure to check out Moz for more on the subject of SEO.

BMWB 2nd Semester

 

 

pet sitting website problems

5 Major Pet Sitting Website Problems I See In The First Fold

Having a top notch pet sitting website is so incredibly crucial to your business. More specifically, the first fold of your website has got to be clean, organized, and attention-grabbing. So, let’s talk about the top pet sitting website problems that I see and how you can ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes. You want to make sure that your website is solving your viewers problems and not giving them more.

5 Major Pet Sitting Website Problems I See In The First Fold

pet sitting website problems

#1 – No Logo

Your logo is so important! Why? People need to know through a visual who they’re visiting. Plus, most people will remember a visual over a name. If they’ve seen you before in the community they might recognize your visual (your logo).

Typical logos these days are in the top left corner and can either be a square or a rectangle. Your logo should be able to be manipulated into both shapes. For more on this, be sure to check out this blog I wrote on how to create a great pet sitting logo.

Now for the problems…

A lot of the times I’ll see logos that are either A) chopped off or B) you can’t see it. These pet sitting website problems are rookie mistakes – don’t let yourself lose business over something so easy, yet crucial.

Here’s a great logo example. Notice how the logo is a square, in the top left corner, and is easy to read and see.

next level pet care

Next Level Pet Care – Yenni Desroches

 

#2 – No Emotion

What do I mean by this? I mean that the website doesn’t bring me to “feel” anything. The website will feel cold and maybe even corporate. It doesn’t make me go “Awwww!” As I am smiling.

It’s important to connect with people because they’re feeling a lot of stress and worry leaving their “baby,” who they love, with a stranger. They want to feel like you understand them and they want to feel the love and intimacy. Pet sitting websites needs to be cute, cuddly, fluffy, and happy. But still professional. This balance can be tough.

The best way to test this is to show people your website and have them tell you what they feel in the first 3-5 seconds of looking at it. If you’re not getting the response you’re looking for, think about changing your colors, design, fonts, or content. Maybe look at other websites for inspiration (but DON’T copy them!).

Check out this great example of a warm and fuzzy website. She uses video to really show the emotions that the pet sitters and pets experience when the pet parent hires the company.

 

Wet Noses Pet Sitting

Liana Sanders – Wet Noses Pet Sitting

 

#3 – No Contact Information.

 

Check out this website. See how she has her phone number, email, Facebook, Twitter, and “Make A Reservation Now”? Everything a potential client could ever want, right there at the top. And they are all clickable.

One of the more common pet sitting website problems I see is no contact information. Crazy, right?!

If I’m driving down the freeway or at a stoplight and I’m looking for a solution to my problem, it needs to be right there IN MY FACE. If I can’t click to call – you’ve lost me! I need to have your phone number or email as one of the first things I see.  I need to be able to click right on it. Do NOT make me look for it.

 

karla's pet care

Karla’s Pet Care – Karla Cano

 

#4 – Tough Navigation.

Once again, with every click, your chances of losing your viewer increase. Don’t make your viewer think about anything. Don’t make them hunt. Give them exactly what they’re clicking/looking for.

You really do not want to have 10 different tabs across the top which each of them having a drop down of 10 more things. That’s way too complicated. You need to put the most major things in the navigation bar:

  • What services you provide
  • Who are you
  • How to book
  • How to contact you

These four things are really the only things that matter. Everything else can be in the footer navigation.

Side note: Websites now have a top navigation bar and a bottom navigation bar. The bottom navigation bar has things the top one doesn’t.

You’re competing against all the noise in the world, so you need to show people exactly what you want them to do.

Check out this example. She’s got the 4 crucial tabs “About Us”, “Services”, “Contact” and then a click-to-schedule link. It’s clean, simple, and readable.

 

Buckhead Pet Pals

Buckhead Pet Pals – Shannon Centola

5. Lack Of Call To Action.

Again, you need to tell people what you want them to do. What’s the next step?

Do you want them to call you, take a test, fill out a form, or email you? Ask for the sale or ask for the next thing you want them to do. If you don’t ask, don’t be surprised if you don’t get what you want. You need to ask for what you need. As far as pet sitting website problems go, this is one that is easy to implement.

An example of a good call to action would be:

Do you work long hours? Or are you going away? 

Check out these examples of good call-to-actions. Notice how she has “View our full service area” and “Have questions? We’re here to help!” If you look on her navigation bar see how it has “Request A Free Consultation” highlighted in yellow? These are all call-to-actions that give the potential client options to get involved and engaged.

king's and queen's pet sitting

Kings & Queens Pet Sitting LLC – Scherree Smith

 

Most Important Thing To Remember:

The important thing to remember is that a pet sitting website is not about you, the company. Keep in mind that nobody cares about you until they like you – which is what the “About Us” page is for. People will only care about you solving their problem – which is why you have to quickly and clearly explain how you plan to do just that.

If you’re panicking after reading this and are thinking “OMG I need to change everything!,” be sure to read what I wrote about what you need to know before you redo your pet sitting website.

BMWB 2nd Semester

How To Enforce The Rules After Training Your Pet Sitting Employees

When an employee breaks the rules of your pet sitting company, most business owners go to Facebook for advice on what to do. They are frustrated because they feel their pet sitting employees should have known better and they simply don’t like conflict. They don’t want to be the “bad guy” and they aren’t sure how to stand up for themselves or business while being an effective leader. After you get them to understand and agree you can build off of the training you already established with them. Here is what I mean:

 

Let’s Call Upon Our Parental Days On Ways To Enforce The Rules:

Let’s draw on lessons from effective parenting techniques that can be applied to effective employee management too.
Simply put, it’s treating them the exact way they want to be treated. Imagine that!
Happy employees who are eager to work for and maintain their relationship with you.

Now that you have a system that was understood and agreed upon by your employee,  the way you implement it from here on out will be the thing that makes or breaks your stress levels, employee’s stress levels, and ultimately, your entire business.
When employees make mistakes and you implement your system in a peaceful and fair manner, you avoid making the rough times rougher.

When employees make mistakes and you implement your system in a peaceful and fair manner, you avoid making the rough times rougher. When you act kind during a time you must be firm, you increase the chances that your employees will view your actions as fair and, accordingly, be motivated to change for the better and properly learn from the mistake. Let’s discuss how your company can have a non-reactive and boundary-holding  way of an approach.

 

Do Not React & Hold Your Boundaries

To best illustrate the meaning of being non-reactive and boundary-strong, I’ll dip into my old profession where I was a psychotherapist, helping parents…parent. Below, in the section titled “The Sitch” I will parallel a very similar, yet in areas different, situation that happens with parents and their children as well as employers to staff. It will be used to illustrate the types of ways that work for both parenting and business owning when it comes to upholding boundaries while preserving the relationship and increasing worker (/teenager!) motivation.

Here is a hypothetical example of 16 year Lexi who comes home after curfew, Here, you’ll see examples of holding your boundaries strong and being calm about it too. You’ll see an example that puts the relationship first and power struggles last.

 

The Sitch

Weeks before at a family meeting, Mom and Dad asked 16-year-old Lexi to assist in creating a fair consequence to coming home even one minute late for curfew, as tardiness had become an issue. The “one minute part” was specifically emphasized and agreed upon by Lexi. She even made the consequence herself – giving her skin in the game. Her idea would be that at a minute late, she’d be grounded the next two weekend nights.

Then, Friday night, she indeed came home late. Just 3 minutes. Mom and Dad say, “Hi Lexi, welcome home. We love you.” She then goes to bed.

In the morning at breakfast, Lexi thought she was off the hook! Until Mom nudges Dad in the ribs, to which he says, “Hey Lexi, just so that you know, you came back 3 minutes late last night and due to the rule you created, you’ll be grounded tonight and Friday night of next weekend. But don’t forget, we love you!”

Then they made silly faces with their tongue out, and opened their hands for a hug. Are Mom and Dad being weird? Definitely. Does their attempt to appease Lexi make her happy? No way! Lexi avoided the hug at all costs, made a face of disgust, then screamed, “Why!? You’re SO unreasonable?”

Her parents said nothing, but gave a warm and forgiving look that says, “Yeesh, our hands are tied. You literally…made the rule yourself.”  She stormed off into her room and slammed the door behind her. She calmed down relatively quick and was relatively pleasant later at their family dinner.

Stay Calm By Not Reacting and Enforcing Your Boundaries.

In the above example, Mom and Dad were non-reactive; they were calm, warm, loving and most of all –  patient. If you stay patient and warm, you’ll create a landscape that supports a higher desire to right wrongs in the future.

Think about how much worse it would have been if they let her off easy. Her parents wouldn’t exactly be helping her learn that “life has consequences.” Additionally, they’ll be going down that slippery slope with Lexi in the form of an increased future insubordination.

It’s so much easier to make exceptions, be the “cool parent” and act like a best friend instead of a mom or dad. However, when you hold strong your boundaries, you teach valuable lessons, set good examples, and more times than not you’ll see your boundaries being respected and held by your kids – because you upheld them like a “warm, yet reasonably demanding” parent.

Don’t take the bait:

Even when Mom and Dad were as nice as possible while sticking to the rules Lexi created, she might still freak out, curse at you and/or attempt to make you the villain. Kids make you the villain when they successfully bait you into an argument, like when Lexi said, “Why!? You’re SO unreasonable?”
They bait you into being negative towards them so they can write the situation off as “you’re an angry parent” instead of dealing with the mistake and properly learning from it. When you uphold a boundary in the calmest way possible, you leave yourself the highest chance of them learning the lesson while preserving the relationship.

After the consequence is given out, you send an angry Lexi back to her room who calms down muuuch faster than if you had engaged in a hurtful back and forth. With the absence of added anger she’s much more likely to conclude that she is being justly punished, thus allowing character and behavior building to take place.

If her parents gave in to anger and resentment, an adversarial relationship wouldn’t produce better cooperation. Instead, it would “produce sullen, passive rebellion.” (Wolf, 2011). Bottom line is, if you engage in a power struggle, they’ll revolt. If you calmly uphold your fair and agreed upon rules, you’re giving them the best chance to be able to eventually calm down, comply, and change.

How To Use This Approach in Your Pet Sitting Business

Like Mom and Dad with Lexi, this is a great way to handle your employees when they break your rules. Make sure the system is agreed upon, then follow through in a way that limit the words coming from you, and eliminates arguing and eventual frustration. If they want to bring up fair questions or voice their concerns, hear them out empathetically. Otherwise, allow the system to be “the bad guy” and try and separate it emotionally. It’s the best you can do – damage control – after you are forced to give a consequence.

When your employees make mistakes, if they fully understand and agree to your rules, they have to be spoken to, warned, written up, suspended, or fired. Have a fair system for that, that is agreed to by your employees.

However, giving anything more than a verbal warning is awkward and no fun at all. We feel like an oppressor. Well, we all know that it’s worse to not give an agreed upon consequence, as that’s the first step to creating a mistake-making culture in your business.

The point being –  giving consequences sucks, but we have to do it. So when you do give a consequence make sure that anger, sadness, personal resentment, etc. are left at home, 100%. It’s bad enough they have to be “punished” so do as much damage control possible with your employee’s stress levels in mind.

If you’re keeping them on board, it’s in your best interest to keep them happy too. No matter how bad of a mistake they made, it’s never worth it to ruin a relationship and hurt other’s feelings too. Warn, write, suspend, or fire – those are your only tools when it comes to big mistakes from employees. Use them wisely and do so empathetically.
above and beyond

Lastly, Focus On What They Did Well!

Don’t be that business owner who never gives bonuses, has office parties, or praises their employees but only focuses on the consequences and rules. Positive reinforcement will shape behavior much better than consequences no matter how nice you are.
Think about how bad it feels to go through a day where you are finding out an employee did something unspeakable and then you have to give them a consequence. Then think about the opposite – they got you a client because they saved a dog by giving them mouth to mouth.

Whaaaat. Party time! Allow yourself to be seen as the ultimate gift and praise giver instead of the undertaker. Let your employees know you’re here to reward them for good behavior primality and aren’t out to get them.

Find Out What Your Pet Sitting Employees Love:

During training, find out their favorite candy, drink, restaurant and surprise them for something special they did or just consistent good work over a period. The other day I gave an employee these special wool socks he was talking about. He was so appreciative and it was funny too. It’s safe to say that we added some positive credit into our relationship bank that day.

 

*****

Wolf, A. E. (2011). I’d Listen to My Parents if They’d Just Shut Up. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

 

David Steinberg is the owner of David’s Pet Services (DPS) – a Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Co. based out of West Hartford, CT. In his last profession, he was a certified psychotherapist where he worked 1-on-1 with children and young adults and provided psychoeducation to adults on parenting.

David feels the transition from therapist to dog trainer and business owner was seamless – with lesson learned including conflict resolution, positive reinforcement, and relationship building, he now feels equipped to ensure obedient doggy-clients, satisfied human-clients, happy employees, and a healthy business.

If you love adorable pictures of puppies, check out his Instagram. Also, here’s his websitefacebook, and twitter!

 Employee Quick Start

2 Of The Most Important Requirements To Establish With New Pet Sitting Employees

How exciting! You just hired a new pet sitting employee for your company and now comes the training period. But how exactly do you teach someone and ensure that they not only understand but will agree to all the policies and procedures you have created for your business? How do you make sure they respect the boundaries that they are working in and your position as their boss?

Every day you’ll fight an uphill battle if the rules and boundaries of your pet sitting company aren’t properly set up. That means having a training program that teaches your staff members the employee handbook and training manual.

If you don’t have these things, prepare for your foot to hurt a lot – and often –  as you’re basically shooting at it as soon as you pop out of bed.

Just having rules isn’t enough, though.

They need to be clear, constantly updated and taught in a way that ensures employees
A) understand and
B) agree

 

 

Requirement #1 When Employees Understand:

For new pet sitting employees to understand rules, you’ll need a few different things during training such as:

  • Funny videos, pictures, and good personal stories stressing the importance of certain policies.
  • Handbook and policies are written in language that is simple, easy to read, and to the point.
  • An effective shadowing process to tie up loose ends at the culmination of training.
  • A process of about 1-2 weeks. It should be drawn out over a few days (and up to a few weeks) and may include shadowing in the field too.
  • Ultimately, the best way to make sure they’ve satisfied your company’s “understanding” requirement is that you could administer an employee-exam covering important policies and things employees frequently mess with.


Requirement #2 When New Pet Sitting Employees Agree:

When it comes to agreeing, we aren’t just talking about signing on the dotted line. When your employees don’t just know the policy, but truly agree with it, you’ll have an easier time offering them constructive criticism and giving out consequences.  It’s your job to make sure they agree. You’ll want to go out of your way for this one.

 

Include Your New Pet Sitting Employee To Get Them To Agree

During training, let them engage with you about policy and keep open the possibility of you tweaking or changing the rules based on their advice. Verbalize to them that you’d truly do something like that.

Create multiple opportunities like this to give them skin in the game. Hear their concerns and make them feel as comfortable as humanly possible to offer such wisdom back. Stay strong when you must.  

Be ready to defend and explain the reasons why certain policies mean so much to you. If you write policy with a strong moral and safety background, you’ll have little to debate.

new pet sitting employees

Create and Discuss Hypothetical Scenarios To Get Your New Pet Sitting Employees To Agree:

You should make sure that you go out of your way to ensure they agree with all the policies. Help your new pet sitting employees come up with issues they might experience.

Come up with separate hypothetical examples of employees where mistakes were met with constructive criticism,  

A) getting a strike

B) being suspended

C) getting fired

Show them how, in each example, you didn’t get upset, but simply gave the consequence. Ask them if this type of system they can be happy operating under. Get them, beyond all doubt, to say “I 100% agree to how this company runs.” Then, you can finally have them sign on the dotted line of your company’s employment agreement (that was looked at by your employment lawyer!).

 

The Business (You) Will Come Out The Good Guy:

When you get your new pet sitting employees to understand and agree, you preserve the relationship; the system does the consequence giving, not you.  Giving consequences are already awkward enough.

Giving consequences in a, non-confrontational manner, with as little words and interaction from your part, is how it’s done right. Do, however, tell them to please voice their concerns if they have any – and hear them with unconditional empathy and a refusal to argue.

Don’t offer any more than you must on your end though – let the system do the talking.  When you do it this way, you simultaneously preserve your relationship and boundaries. Then, the only thing you’ll have to focus on is giving the rewards – something that is much more powerful and wayyy more fun anyhow.

 

*****
David Steinberg is the owner of David’s Pet Services (DPS) – a Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Co. based out of West Hartford, CT. In his last profession, he was a certified psychotherapist where he worked 1-on-1 with children and young adults and provided psychoeducation to adults on parenting.

David feels the transition from therapist to dog trainer and business owner was seamless – with lesson learned including conflict resolution, positive reinforcement, and relationship building, he now feels equipped to ensure obedient doggy-clients, satisfied human-clients, happy employees, and a healthy business.

If you love adorable pictures of puppies, check out his Instagram Also, here’s his website, facebook page, twitter!

 

 

pet sitting companies fail

Reasons Why Most Pet Sitting Companies FAIL In Their Community

In the pet sitting industry, building community is extremely important. It’s up to YOU as a business owner to connect with your community and build meaningful relationships. Doing so will make your business relevant and well known. Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of pet sitting companies and am well versed in the most commonly made mistakes. So today I’m going to share what I’ve learned about why most pet sitting companies FAIL in their community.

 

Reasons Why Most Pet Sitting Companies FAIL In Their Community

 

They DON’T Do Events

Events are no-doubt extremely important – whether your participating or organizing in a small dog walking club of 5 people or a massive Pet-A-Palooza that attracts thousands of people. The purpose of events isn’t to get clients,  but it’s to build relationships. Not only with potential clients, but more importantly – strategic networking alliances.

Pet sitting companies fail when they don’t do events because they’re missing a key component of putting themselves OUT THERE. And it’s not enough just to do an event – it has to be done well. I have a number of resources on how to do this here:

9 Must Have Elements To Create A Howling Event In Your Community!
What You Need To Have A Successful Pet Sitting Booth At An Event
How To Have The Worst Pet Sitting Booth At A Local Event

 

They DON’T Do Raffles

When I talk about raffles I’m NOT talking about holding a raffle to gain potential client information. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – consumers are way too smart for this kind of gimmick. The raffles I’m describing are ones held by other organizations.

For example, reach out to various organizations or even a local school’s PTO and say you’re willing to put up the money to have a raffle. How annoying is it to be apart of a committee trying to raise money to hold a silent auction? Be that person that just goes out and DOES it!

Everyone will respect you for it, and you’ll get to not only promote your business for being a sponsor but you’ll build a great business partnership.

 

They Isolate Themselves

Being a pet sitter or a pet business owner can be very lonesome and isolating. More often then not, you’re not headed off to an office every day to interact with others. So, it’s important that you work extra hard to put yourself out there and connect with others. Not just for your own health, but to help your business!

The bottom line is that you need to be out there promoting. Not necessarily your own business, but other’s people’s businesses and products. By sharing events online taking people out to lunch/coffee, and getting to know them – you are building community.

You want to know them enough that you naturally promote them. So, make it a goal to reach out and have coffee with one new business owner a month. Ask them questions:

  • Where did they start?
  • How do they advertise?
  • What’s their secret weapon?
  • Who’s their best contact?
  • What kind of contact are they looking for?

See where you can meet their common ground.

Pet businesses fail when they isolate themselves and don’t build up a strong foundation with a strong team. You can’t do it alone – so don’t be afraid to use other businesses to your advantage! It will be mutually beneficial and may even help you form some new friendships.

 

pet sitter networking

build pet sitting community

4 Ways To Quickly And Easily Build Your Pet Sitting Community Online

Being a pet sitting business owner can undoubtedly be lonely and isolating. But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be? In fact, it shouldn’t be! It’s important that you are continually working to build your pet sitting community as often as possible. Not only will it allow you to make some great business partnerships, but it’s a way for you to put yourself out there and show the world who you are!

Today we’re going to talk about some key ways that you can build your pet sitting community online that are fun and easy.

4 Ways To Quickly And Easily Build Your Pet Sitting Community Online

build pet sitting community

 

Mom’s Blogs

Have you heard of these yet? I hope so – they have a HUGE following of your target audience, which presents a great opportunity for your business. The first step is to find statistics on what are the largest mom’s blogs in your area. Then, reach out to them and ask for a quote about how they connect with the community and how that impacts their online presence.

You could also ask them to be a guest blogger. For example: “Back To School Time! Bus Stop Etiquette When You Have The Dog”. Don’t be afraid to pitch them. They are always looking for content and their reach is massive. Plus, you can extend your reach further by cross-posting when they post your blog on social media.

Try to be consistent in pitching them and share their stuff when applicable. Develop a relationship with some of these blogs and you’ll quickly build your pet sitting community!

A popular one in many cities is www.citymomsblog.com   Check them out!

 

Rescue Groups

Obviously, rescue groups are going to have your target audience – animals lovers! So, step one here is to get a point of contact. Then, ask them to let you know when silent auctions are coming up so you can give a certificate or put together a basket. This not only strengthens your relationship with the group, but as a sponsor you’ll definitely get some recognition!

You can also ask them to tell you about their MAJOR events coming up that you can help promote or bring people to. Ask them if you can include a gift certificate (not coupon) in their new adoption packets.

Keep in mind when promoting events that you shouldn’t just post pictures of dogs because people are numb to that. Just simply let people know that we are here to promote their events. If you want, every month you can highlight a different rescue group with a “who/what/when/where/why” segment. As a business owner you have a platform – so use it! Use it to publicize these groups, and hopefully they’ll share that publication that you wrote about them.

 

Community Pages

Another way to build your pet sitting community online is to look for and connect with local pages. Maybe it’s a dog park, lake, or an area in your community that’s dialed in to what you’re doing at a local level.

Step two is to share their stuff, but talk to them as your business page to their business page and comment. They’ll see that you’re engaging so that when the time comes that you want them to promote something of yours, you have that established relationship and they’re happy to do it.

Plus, community residents that follow the page will see you come up again and again. You’re getting your name is OUT THERE which can sometimes be the hardest part about running a business. But by extending your reach to local outlets and pages, you can successfully build your pet sitting community.

Another thing to think about is if there’s a town newspaper or magazine that goes out. Maybe they would love to have a pet tips column. You never know unless you ask. Maybe they have a pet spot already and you can offer a gift certificate to the winner if they run a contest with or without pets? Just some food for thought to get your creative juices flowing!

 

Get Out Of Your Own Way

It’s really important that you don’t isolate yourself by not reaching out to people. Not everyone will be responsive but you need to try to find some connectors in your community. As I’ve said before, learn to love the word “no,” and you’ll be an unstoppable force!

For more ways on building your pet sitting community and network, be sure to check out the following blogs:

How To Build Your Pet Sitting Network Locally
How To Have A Successful Business Partnership With Your Community
How To Become An Expert In Your Community

 

Why Your Staff Should Use Facebook Live For Your Pet Sitting Business Page

Technology is ever changing. And with new technology comes new ways for your business to connect with your clients. One of these ways is Facebook Live – a feature on Facebook where you can broadcast yourself LIVE to your Facebook friends. Cool, right? While blogging is still really popular, video is becoming where it’s AT! Using Facebook Live for pet sitting is a great way that you and your staff can really connect with your audience. So today, we’re going to talk about why having your staff use Facebook Live is a good idea and how you can begin to implement it into your business.

Why Your Staff Should Use Facebook Live On Your Pet Sitting Business Page:

facebook live for pet sitting

Your Clients Will LOVE It!

Live video is so much more personal than pre-recorded, professional video. Clients will love getting to see an inside look of what it’s like to be a pet sitter for your company. It can also help them feel more safe and secure since they’ll have an inside perspective on what your pet sitters do at homes.

But, it’s important to note that you don’t want to just throw your staff into this new task. There is a couple different ways you can go about it:

  1. Hold an official training so ALL of your pet sitters can learn how to use Facebook Live for pet sitting to your standards.
  2. Only allow your “veteran” employees who really understand your brand to take part in it.

Whichever you choose, you want to make sure that you add an additional section in your training manual so that you have all policies and procedures documented in writing.

Your Sitters Will LOVE Doing it!

It’s no secret that your pet sitters love pets! So what better way for them to show off their love for animals by using Facebook Live for pet sitting on your business page? They will feel a sense of pride and importance once asked to be one of the many faces of your business.

Giving your sitters extra responsibility will make them feel appreciated. It will also help you promote your business through content creation. Your job, however, is to give them all the tools they need to succeed.

 

Tell Them The Rules Of The Game:

What do I mean by that? Every week you should have some type of discussion like, “Hey ____, this week on Facebook Live the topic is going to be one reason why you love working for the company.” You want to make sure you give your staff some direction. That way, they won’t have to think on the spot to come up with something to say. Also have some specific guidelines in place such as:

  • How long the video should be
  • What time of day is optimal for posting
  • Only use Facebook Live for dogs/pets that they feel completely comfortable with.

You’ll 100% Set Yourself Apart From The Competition!

We don’t have to be the only people that are the face of our company. In fact, your sitters are the main reason why your clients will come back again and again. Keeping up with the newest trends and technology allows your business to grow and prosper. Stay relevant, engaged, and in-tune with how people want to view content. If you make it EASY for people to see what you’re all about, the sky’s the limit!

pet sitting facebook group

 

value of your pet sitting service

4 Ways To Find The Market Value Of Your Pet Sitting Business

Business owners may often wonder about the value of their business. Knowing the value of your pet sitting business helps business owners determine if they are pricing their services effectively. It can also help them better understand what they can do to improve the value of their business. Valuing your business service is an important undertaking if you plan to sell your company.

There are a number of ways to determine the value of your pet sitting service. Though arriving at a valuation is a complex process, it is important to note that determining the value of your pet sitting service is just as much an art as it is a science. Below, we will discuss the most common ways that you can determine the value of your business.

4 Ways to Determine The Value Of Your Pet Sitting Business

value of your pet sitting service

There are four common ways to determine the value of your pet sitting service. Though some are more accurate than others, you can take a weighted average of the four to arrive at a more accurate valuation. Here are four methodologies you can use to determine business valuation:

 

1. Book Value

The book value is the easiest to identify, but it is also the least accurate way to determine business value. Business owners can determine the book value by looking at the balance sheet and considering the value of hard assets minus the debts. For example, a restaurant has kitchen equipment, which would be considered hard assets with value. The restaurant owner could determine the value of these assets by estimating what the resale value of the equipment would be.

The book value or assets-based method of determining business value often results in the lowest valuation. This is because this type of valuation does not take into account what accountants would call “Good Will.” Good Will is the difference between what someone is willing to pay for your company, or its market value, and the value of your net assets, or assets minus liabilities. Most companies have some Good Will, which provides a higher overall valuation.

In your pet sitting company, Good Will ends up being the majority of your businesses value.

 

2. Publicly-Traded Comparables

The public stock market provides a valuation to each company with shares being traded. This can provide a basis for valuating your company. Especially when you compare your business to similar companies. Using this method, you would look at the last twelve months (LTM) and next twelve months (NTM). Or you could look at  revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

You can take the average multiples in each category – LTM revenue, LTM EBITDA, NTM revenue, NTM EBITDA – and multiple this by your company’s performance over the past year and projected performance over the next year. This provides an estimated value for each category. Then, you can take the weighted average of the four different estimates to arrive at a valuation.

 

3. Transaction Comparables

The transaction comparable approach is similar to the publicly-traded comparable approach that we just discussed. With transaction comparables, valuation experts focus on recent transactions.

This time, you take the multiples of LTM and NTM revenue and EBITDA for recent transactions. Then, you apply those multiples to your business. This allows you to arrive at another estimated value based on historical and projected performance.

This method would be used more for dog walking companies where there is a lot of repeat business.

 

4. Discounted Cash Flow

The discounted cash flow method of valuation is different than the other three. It is driven by long-term projected performance rather than focusing on historical performance. With this method, you are estimating what your future cash flow stream is worth in today’s dollars, or net present value (NPV).

You start by attempting to determine how much profit you expect to make in the next few years. Once you have determined how much profit you will most likely make in the future, you apply a discount rate. This considers the time value of money.

Cash flow is one of the greatest determinants of business value. By looking at how much cash you have generated and how much you will generate in the future, you can have a clearer idea of business value. The more consistent and predictable your company’s cash flows are, the higher the value of your business.

Once you have the four different estimated values, you can apply a weight to each to determine the overall estimate. The lowest weight should be assigned to the book value. This is because book value is the least accurate of the four valuation methods. Then, apply equal weights to the remaining three estimated values – (Publicly-Traded Comparables, Transaction Comparables, and Discounted Cash Flow).

This will give you the most accurate valuation for your business.

Now that you have an estimated value for your pet sitting service, you can work toward finding ways to increase your business value. One way to start is by gaining access to working capital for your business. Another is finding ways to expand your offering to increase cash flow. You may also want to reevaluate your pricing model for products and services. Why? Well, you may not be charging as much as you should!