hiring staff switching from IC's

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

One of the scariest things to do as a pet sitting business owner is hiring staff or switching from IC’s to staff. I mean think about it – you’re literally changing the structure of your business. You’re going from hiring people who have their own company, who know how to do a job to someone who doesn’t have their own company, who wants to be trained, who you get to control & check up on. Those personalities are two totally different things.

Today I bring you 6 steps to successfully make the jump from IC’s to staff, designed personally by myself and Kate McQuillan from Pawsome Media. If you don’t know Kate, she helps pet business owners around the world with their social media and marketing in their business. Be sure to check her out here.

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

hiring staff switching from IC's

Step 1: The IRS Blessing

Little known fact: There’s this awesome government program called the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) that can serve as a HUGE help when making the switch from IC’s to employees.

To simplify it down from the legal mumbo-jumbo, your business pays a small fee and in return you NEVER have to worry about being audited for employment tax again. Consider this as a safety net and an investment for your business. Read more about it on the IRS website, or check out this detailed article I wrote breaking it down for you. 🙂

Step 2: Pricing

You HAVE to figure out your margins.  You deserve to make money – you’re dedicating so much time and energy to your business, that you deserve a handsome paycheck 🙂 If you’re not, let me help you get on track.

People fear when switching from IC’s to staff that there’s going to be all these extra costs, but the reality is you can RAISE your prices and see an increase in business. Seriously! I have NEVER seen a person say “OMG I raised my prices and my business crashed. Never.”

Not everyone has to raise their rates, but that’s when the numbers don’t lie. You have to pay yourself, pay the business, and pay for the labor.

If you’re still unsure how to price your services/figure out your margins to get ready for hiring staff or switching from IC’s, I have an entire guide dedicated to this. Take a look at my Pricing Guide Structure & Strategy, and never be confused again!

Step 3: Building A Team

Gather people you can trust to advise you on payroll, laws, operations, websites, hiring, and cash flow. Without a team in place, you will not be able to efficiently and professionally accomplish everything you need to. The art of delegation will be learned during this step!

You have to evaluate your business and find what your needs are. Picture the perfect demographic of what you’re looking for, and then FIND THEM! You don’t want to compromise – you have to stick to what you need and what you’re looking for. If you do this, finding the right people is as easy as checking off boxes.

Step 4: Creating A Manual

First you need to decide if you’re going to have one big fat employee manual, or are you going to have an employee manual AND a training manual? What’s even the difference between the two? Are you going to have a training manual for each position (i.e. pet sitter, dog walker, office manager etc.)

Ensure that your new staff will understand the rules and regulations of your company. Outline your exact operations and the philosophy of your business so each member can work harmoniously as a team with consistent service time and time again

These are all important questions you have to figure out before you even pick up that pen & paper. When hiring staff or switching from IC’s, you want to have all of your processes and procedures in place beforehand. This will create a successful work environment for everybody.

Hire for attitude, train for skill.

Step 5: Interviewing

You need to learn how to ask the same question in many different ways to see if their answer changes. But most importantly, if you get it wrong: correct and continue.

Learn how to determine the right type of person for your business to grow with. Determine what interview questions, screening, and hiring processes will bring you the best candidates. This is the toughest part of the 6 steps!

Don’t use the all too common excuses of “I can’t hire” or “Nobody can do it as good as me” Hiring staff  or switching from IC’s to staff is an ON-GOING problem. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You always need to be hiring!

Step 6: Operations

Basically, you have to figure out how to make everything run smoothly. Nobody will want to work for you if they have to ask you questions for every single client they go and see. Communication has to flow through you, the clients, the pet sitter, and even other pet sitters.

You’ll want to have your client feel like you’re at the home and you know exactly what’s going on. That they’re hiring a COMPANY and not just the pet sitter. That nothing’s going to slip through the cracks.

Bottom Line: Operations can make or break you.

Now, I want you to take a deep breath. Is this a lot of information? YES. Does it mean that you can’t do it? NO. I believe in you – which is why I have SO many resources to help you achieve your goals and fit different learning styles.

Download My 6 Steps To Switching To Employees Infographic – FREE!

Employee QuickStart 1:1 With Bella

BOSSES IN CHARGE: The Employee Quick Start Challenge!

Bosses In Charge

pet sitting employee meetings

How To Have Pet Sitting Employee Meetings That Don’t Suck!

When anybody thinks about having to go to a “meeting,” their first reaction is usually to groan and complain. To the average person, business meetings usually mean a overly-long discussion about things nobody really cares about. So how can YOU, as the successful pet sitting business owner break that stigma? How can you have pet sitting employee meetings that are engaging, fun and productive? Today we’re going to address these questions to ensure that your next employee meetings doesn’t turn out to be a flop.

How To Have Pet Sitting Employee Meetings That Don’t Suck!

#1 – The Fun Route

Having a “fun” employee meeting usually means that you and your employees go out and do a fun activity together. This can be things such as a pottery class, mini golf, painting classes, etc. You might be thinking, well what’s the benefit to this? Think about it from the employee’s perspective. Their boss is taking them out for a day of fun! This will show them that you not only care about getting to know them better, but their happiness as well.

This also offers an opportunity for the employees to bond with one another and with you. Overall this will create a stronger team atmosphere, and serves well to keeping your employees happy 🙂

#2 – The Educational Route

An educational meeting is exactly what it sounds like – educating your employees about things pertaining to the company. This can involve going through the training handbook or employee manual. Or, for an extra special treat you could bring in a dog trainer or veterinarian. Your sitters will learn valuable information about caring for the animals.

You might be worried that your employees will find this boring. But, I promise you, they won’t. They will feel like you are invested in them. That you want them to be a better person and a better pet sitter. Everyone will feel loved, important, and like they’re an integral part of the business – which they absolutely are!

#3 – The Team Building Route

This is NOT the same as the fun route. The difference here is that team building events involve everyone having to work together to accomplish a common goal. Team building activities include things such as Escape The Room, Scavenger Hunts, or a group volunteering event.

Team building events break down barriers. They promote people to work together, ultimately getting to know each other better. People will go outside their comfort zones, and accomplish something as a unit rather than an individual.

Employee meetings don’t have to be boring. They can and SHOULD be fun and engaging. Using any one of he above three methods will ensure that your next pet sitting employee meetings boost morale and making your sitters love working for you even more than they already do 🙂

Do you not have employees, but WANT to? Check out my new program, Bosses In Charge, below:

Bosses In Charge

Selected for an interview

What To Say To The Applicants That Weren’t Select For An Interview {Letter Included}

 

Recruiting and hiring the right employees is likely high on your list of priorities. Making the right hiring decision the first time provides long-lasting benefits to your organization.

Communicating with job applicants and keeping them informed of their status, relative to your search, is a key step in managing a successful recruitment cycle. When considering if or how to communicate with job applicants, keep in mind that how you treat job candidates may be seen as a reflection of how you treat your customers. In this age of online (and anonymous) company reviews, it is important to treat everyone who is in communication with your company respectfully and keep job candidates informed.

selected for an interview

Best Practice

Everyone that responds to a job posting with your company should be contacted during the appropriate phase of recruitment to inform them of their status. In order to address the question, I’ll provide a couple of common scenarios. to address today’s question.

 

Scenario 1

An applicant applies and has not contacted you to find out if they will have an interview.

Here is a sample communication that you can tailor to meet your needs:

 

Dear [Candidate’s Name],

Thank you for taking time to apply for our open [JOB TITLE] position. Competition for jobs is always strong, and it was tough to select the group to invite for interviews. Unfortunately, you were not selected for further consideration for this position.

Thank you for your interest in joining the [COMPANY NAME] team. Please feel free to apply for other open positions in the future. Best of luck with your job search.

Respectfully,

[Name of Hiring Manager]

[Job Title]

 

Scenario 2

An applicant contacts you and asks about their status; and/or wants to know why they have not been selected for an interview.

When a job applicant reaches out to discuss their candidacy and wants to know why they were not selected for an interview this can put you in an uncomfortable situation. However, in this pre-interview, screening phase, it is fairly easy and rather common to provide specific feedback to candidates who request it.

Most often, candidates who are not selected for an interview do not meet the basic job qualifications or possesses skills outlined in the selection criteria (for example, years of experience, specific required skills, education, certification or training requirement). If this is the case, you can let the applicant know the main reason why they were “screened out” and invite them to apply for open positions again in the future. However, if they met all of the basic requirements of the job and were still not selected, it may be best to stay quiet on the issue and not provide specific feedback. Applicants who met the basic requirements may not understand the underlying reasons that they were not selected for an interview; for example, an equally qualified candidate who was asked to interview was referred by one of your current employees.

Also consider that in order to simplify the process and to reduce potential liability, it is ok to adopt a “no information provided” policy. In this case, regardless of the reason an applicant is not selected, they would be provided with a polite general statement, such as:

“It is our company’s policy that we do not provide specific or detailed feedback to job applicants who are not selected for an interview. However, we encourage you to apply again in the future with our company as you see fit. We wish you the best in your job search.”  

 

BONUS

To notify candidates who have interviewed for an open position, but were not selected, you can consider using the following phone script to inform them of their status:

Hello, [Candidate’s Name]. This is [YOUR NAME] from [COMPANY NAME]. I’m calling today to thank you again for your interest in the [JOB TITLE] position. We appreciate the time that you’ve spent with us during this recruitment process. I’m calling today to let you know that you were not selected for the position. We were impressed with your background and wish you the best in the future.”

Selected for an interview

Compliance Note

Note that there are federal, state and sometimes local non-discrimination laws that must be considered when managing the recruitment and hiring process. For example, federally, if your company employs more than 15 people, employers are never permitted to make hiring decisions based on a candidate’s: race and color, as well as national origin, sex, religion or disability status.

 

What’s Next:

As you navigate the recruitment and hiring process, you will find a communication style that is right for you and your company. We reviewed just a few important considerations when managing the recruitment communication process, specifically what to say when a candidate is not selected for an open position. We hope you contact us if you have additional or specific questions that we can address!

 

– – – – – – – – –

 

About the author: Niki Ramirez is a seasoned professional consultant, speaker and coach with a knack for engaging business leaders. She is the Founder & Managing Partner at HRAnswers.org. Niki has a successful track record partnering with a wide variety of businesses to analyze human resources and business operations with the objective of collaborating to design cost-effective training, employee relations programs, develop employment policies and procedures, and help business leaders exceed their goals.

Maybe most importantly, Niki is the proud momma to three strikingly gorgeous, intelligent, fun-loving kids. She volunteers for organizations that support education access for children, as well as foster care support organizations. She loves to garden, play with her dogs, horseback ride and get outside to hike and explore the world every spare minute that she has.

 

pet sitters who addressed cost

2 Fearless Pet Sitters Who Addressed Cost Head On

We know as business owners how serious pet sitting is. But, there is still a common stigma around the industry that is it more of  a “hobby.” To combat this, today I bring you 2 pet sitters who helped solidify the seriousness of pet sitting. They are doing this by educating potential clients on the costs and benefits. Additionally, these pet sitters who addressed cost on the Internet for everyone to lets their clients know that they have nothing to hide – showing their transparency and honesty.

2 Fearless Pet Sitters Who Addressed Cost Head On

pet sitters who addressed cost

 

#1 Sit-Stay-Play

Here in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kelley Stewart addresses a highly debated topic head on. She explains why pet sitting is more expensive than kenneling. She describes how very different pet sitting and kenneling are, which is why it can be difficult to compare cost.

You might be thinking, “Why do I want to introduce a potential client to another option for their pet other than my company?” Transparent pet sitters show potential clients that you are honest and looking out for them. Plus, providing them with answers to all of the options shows you have nothing to hide.

 

Sit-Stay-Play

#2 Endless Pawsibilities

Tori Lattig (who we featured in our Transparent Pet Sitters Blog) is one of the pet sitters who addressed cost head on when she breaks down exactly how much pet sitting costs.  She describes how professional pet sitting companies can structure their prices very differently based on a number of factors.

She goes on to explain those factors, and concludes by citing the national average for pet sitting visits.

This kind of post gives the client some background behind why pet sitting prices can fluctuate so drastically. By citing the national average, now the client will be able to compare yours and others’ services to this number. This ultimately helps the client choose the services that’s best for them.

Endless Pawsibilities

When these pet sitters addressed cost, they demonstrated transparency and honesty to their readers. There are other ways to show transparency, but talking cost is key since it can sometimes be a “touchy” subject.

Nobody really wants to talk about it. So, when pet sitters come out and educate the public on why pet sitting costs what it does – it shows that the industry and their business is serious. They’re showing that pet sitting is here to stay.

BMWB 2nd Semester

 

transparent pet sitters

3 Transparent Pet Sitters Who Go The Extra Mile On Their Websites

Transparency literally means you can see THROUGH something. It is a term that is thrown around a lot in business. But what does it actually mean? Transparency builds trust because the person, object, or business, isn’t hiding anything. If your viewer feels that you are being transparent, there is a higher chance they will trust you and take you seriously as an authority..

Pet sitting businesses often talk about themselves. Examples being how great they are, and all types of cliches. But, the truth is that many other businesses can also say the same exact things about themselves.

Today, I wanted to inspire you by drawing attention to a few transparent pet sitters who wrote blogs that go the extra length to really let it all hang out there. In short, being very clear about their ways.

3 Transparent Pet Sitters Who Go The Extra Mile On Their Websites

transparent pet sitters

 

#1. The Pet Sitter of Boise:

Julie Fredrick is the owner of this incredible successful and growing business. She utilizes her website 100% as she has started and built this incredible company all while having a “day job.” As part of that, you can learn the answer to about just about everything, without having to make a dreaded phone call to talk to a human. I mean really, who likes to talk on the phone these days?  Take a look at her FAQ page here

Julie goes as far as listing exactly what her insurance policy covers. If that doesn’t scream transparency, I don’t know what does! She is a great example of transparent pet sitters.

The Pet Sitter of Boise

#2. Endless Pawsibilities

Over in Toms River, New Jersey, Endless Pawsibilities owner Tory Lattig is knocking it out of the park. She uses pictures and videos to tell the story of what goes on during a pet sit.

This is an extremely popular question of many first time pet parents. So, to be able to use this blog to show her apprehensive caller what actually happens can really help put down that barrier. Tori just used the internet and the tools on her cell phone to bring to life the actual daily events that occur when you are a client of her company.

 

Endless Pawsibilities

#3. Jen Loves Pets

In San Diego, Jen is answering clients questions by giving a detailed explanation of what they can expect at a meet and greet. I especially love this posting because it is so important to set the right expectations. It’s also a good idea  tell your new client exactly what they can expect from you and what you need from them. Setting these boundaries up in advance sets the both of you up for a great relationship. Also, this is another posting that you can easily add a link in an email to explain when you first meet a client (saving you time!).

Jen Loves Pets

They Ask, You Answer

A lot of what these fabulous pet sitters are doing actually comes from the They Ask, You Answer principle from The Sales Lion. Listen in on the next 30 minutes, and I promise your life will be changed. This concept changed mine and is the epitome of what the sitter’s are doing above.

 

BMWB 2nd Semester

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!

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