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How Much Will It Cost To Create My Pet Sitting Employee Manual?

An essential to component for any pet sitting business with staff is an employee manual. Creating one is definitely a daunting task, and the cost of making one comes in many forms. Developing a pet sitting employee manual is going to cost you time, money, and resources. Today let’s break down exactly the cost of creating an employee manual.

How Much Will It Cost To Create My Pet Sitting Employee Manual?

Time

One of the biggest costs of creating a pet sitting employee manual is easily your TIME. Before deciding to make your own manual, consider how many hours of your time it will take. Then, think about how you much your time is worth per hour. If you find that after considering these factors, it isn’t worth your personal time to create one, you may want to think about outsourcing.

As business owners, it’s easy to get into the mindset that others cannot perform tasks as well as we can. We always want to do everything ourselves to make sure it’s done right! And while creating an employee manual is definitely important for your business, it’s critical to prioritize. You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin. It’s important to not only dedicate the necessary time to your clients and staff, but also to yourself.

Answer this question:

My Time Is Worth $_______ Per Hour.

Money

Creating your own pet sitting employee manual can be expensive. Even if you decide to make your own, it is not a one-man or one-woman show. You’ll need multiple individuals on your team to ensure it is complete with all necessary information and looks professional.  Some examples of people you’ll need to work with are:

  • A lawyer
  • An HR representative
  • A technical editor
  • A typesetter

While these individuals will all be able to provide you with crucial information to create your manual, it comes at a financial cost.  In fact, the lawyer alone would likely be around $500 to review. This team is easily a few thousands of dollars.

Resources

I can tell you first-hand that gathering and securing your resources in place can be difficult. Finding the right people to help work for you is HARD because there are a lot of flakes. Putting together the perfect team to assist you in crafting your employee manual will take a lot of time and effort. While this isn’t necessarily a reason to give up altogether, it is absolutely something you must keep in mind before starting the process.

Also keep in mind that for every moment you spend trying to compile your team, another moment goes by where you do not have an employee manual and are potentially creating bigger problems for yourself.

Overall, adding up all of the time, money, and resources spent easily comes out to a few thousand dollars. It is clear that creating your own pet sitting employee manual is a massive project, but one that can be done given you have the correct mindset and outlook. If you feel that creating your own manual isn’t the right choice for you after considering all of these factors, consider taking a look at outsourcing the task or purchasing a pre-made employee manual. In the long run, it might end up being the better choice for your business.

Pet Sitting Employee Handbook

 

Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 43: Helping Your Clients Deal With Pet Loss Grief With Wendy Van de Poll

In this episode, Bella speaks with Wendy Van de Poll, the founder of The Center for Pet Loss Grief and an international best selling and award-winning author and speaker. They discuss pet loss grief and what pet professionals can say and do to be supportive to their clients in their loss. They also talk about how pet professionals can deal with their own grief.

Topics covered are:

  • What is pet loss grief
  • What you as a pet professional should do when a client gets the news that their pet has a terminal illness
  • How to help your clients when their pets die
  • What you shouldn’t say or do
  • How a pet professional can deal with their own grief over losing an animal client
Wendy Van de Poll

Wendy Van de Poll

Wendy Van de Poll is a pioneering leader in the field of pet loss grief support. She is dedicated to providing a safe place for her clients to express their grief over the loss of their pets. What makes Wendy successful with her clients is that she get’s grief! “Over the years I’ve dealt with my own grief and helping many families communicate and connect with their pets long after their loss. It’s what I’ve done since I was just 5 yrs old!”

She is compassionate and supportive to all who know her. Her passion is to help people when they are grieving over the loss of a pet and her larger than life love for animals has led her to devote her life to the mission of increasing the quality of life between animals and people no matter what stage they are in their cycle of life! She has been called the animal whisperer. She is a Certified End of Life and Pet Grief Support Coach, Certified Pet Funeral Celebrant, Animal Medium and Communicator. She is the founder of The Center for Pet Loss Grief and an international best selling and award-winning author and speaker. She holds a Master’s of Science degree in Wolf Ecology and Behavior and has run with wild wolves in Minnesota, coyotes in Massachusetts and foxes in her backyard. She lives in the woods with her husband, two crazy birds, her rescue dog Addie and all kinds of wildlife.

You can find out more about Wendy and the Center for Pet Loss Grief at https://centerforpetlossgrief.com.

 

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 41: Communication Problems In Pet Sitting Companies With Adam Smith

On this episode Bella speaks with Adam Smith from Precise Petcare. They discuss communication problems pet sitting business owners often have with both the pet sitters who work for them and with customers.  They discuss how the software offered by Precise Petcare addresses many of these challenges.

Adam Smith

Adam & Lynn Smith

Precise Petcare is an online management system that could quickly become the center of your business. The online scheduling, billing and client/staff management are all in one place. With their system you’ll have fluid communication between you, your staff and your clients. Much loved features include Pet Care Journals, the Live Sitter Map and GPS sitter check-ins. Precise Petcare was co-created by a pet sitting business owner and a web developer to combine a perfect blend of knowledge and talents specifically for this industry. Husband and wife team, Adam and Lynn Smith understand first-hand what your needs are as a pet sitting business owner and have built each aspect of the software and continuously update and improve the system – without having to rely on outside talents to delay the process!

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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

does your pet sitter job posting have these 3 key ingredients to success?

Does Your Pet Sitter Job Posting Have These 3 Key Ingredients for Success?

Imagine this. You are the owner of a successful pet sitting company that is booming with business. So much so that you’re ready to take on some new staff. So you create a job posting, upload it, and …. no responses. Sound familiar?

Well I’m here to tell you that it’s not you, it’s your job posting. Let’s take a look at a few key ingredients that every pet sitter job posting needs to be successful and engaging.

Beautiful young businesswoman conducting a job interview seated at her desk in her office holding a folder and smiling at the potential female candidate

Beautiful young businesswoman conducting a job interview seated at her desk in her office holding a folder and smiling at the potential female candidate

An Engaging Pet Sitter Job Posting Is Just Like Marketing

When you’re creating your pet sitter job posting, it is very easy to fall into the trap of making it about yourself. You know, the endless list of “Musts.” Not only is this type of job posting daunting to a potential applicant, but it’s boring and it doesn’t stand out.

Writing your pet sitter job posting is NO DIFFERENT than writing your marketing and promotion material. Think about it. When marketing to clients we don’t say things like “Must have a clean house, must have a lot of money, must follow all my policies,” etc. We would have no clients!

Instead, try to list out the many benefits and bonuses of being a pet sitter in your job posting just like you would with your clients. Things such as, “Your bosses will always greet you with tail-wags and kisses” or “You won’t have to do your hair and makeup.” are eye-catching.

do-you-like-to-walk-with-dogs-your-boss-is-always-wagging-its-tail-excited-to-see-youno-more-having-to-do-your-hair-and-makeu

 

Enticing statements like these gets people excited to read your job posting and ultimately apply, which in turn gives you a large pool of applicants to choose from. It’s a win-win!

 

Consider the Audience Who is Reading Your Job Posting

When someone is looking for a job, they’re looking at a ton of difference sources and websites. This means that they could be sifting through hundreds of job postings a day. Bottom line? You’re not only fish in the sea!

Try to consider how the potential applicant is feeling. They are probably feeling depressed because every other job posting they have come across is filled with “musts,” requirements, and stipulations. This might make them feel inadequate. It’s a depressing experience.

So when they come across your dog walker or pet sitter job posting,  it needs to be happy, exciting, and stand out. Now you may be thinking, “But Bella, I want people to know what I’m looking for!”

You have to understand that even if you include a bunch of “must” statements, nobody is even reading them!

I hate to say it, but you are still going to get applicants who should have disqualified themselves. So it truly is a better approach to make your pet sitter job posting happy and upbeat if for no other purpose than to get those applications flowing. You can sift through the good, and the bad later.

Your Pet Sitter Job Posting Should Be Up and Active All The Time

It is easy to get into a mindset of only hiring when we need to be. This is actually not ideal, as applicants and employees can be fickle. As a business owner, you have to be ready for whatever comes your way.

Basically, we need to be looking for people all the time. You need to find people even when you might not have work for them. Why? Because if you’re only hiring when you need them, this can lead to bad hiring decisions.

It’s the same thing for any member of your business team. For example, you don’t want to be finding a lawyer or an accountant when you need them. You will be scrambling and stressed out. You want them to be ready to go and standing by.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes getting successful applicants is just as hard as securing long-term clients. But the way you attract them both should be the same. It’s important to consider the audience you’re writing for and tailor your pet sitter job posting accordingly.

Pet sitting is a great job with so many benefits. So, make sure you spell them out for your applicants to get the best response. And remember – always be hiring!

 

Employee Quick Start

The Difference Between A Pet Sitting Employee Handbook vs. Training Manual

One of the very first things that pet sitting and dog walking business owners find themselves trying to struggle through is the pet sitting employee handbook. The realization that they need to create this massive document with everything under the sun, usually ends up paralyzing them in fear.

It is information overload.

How are you {the business owner} mean to create a document that is going to include EVERYTHING in your brain about your business… without forgetting a single detail?

pet sitting employee manual

ANSWER: You are not supposed to. People go to college for this stuff. Like seriously. They learn how to write technically. They learn Human Resources. We are not meant to be doing all of this!

“Employee Handbooks and Training Manuals are so much fun to write!”  SAID NO ONE EVER! 🙂

 

There Are Too Many Legalities!

I mean there are so many legal policies that you have to include, just because you are a real life business and wanting to abide by the law… but you don’t know where to start with that?

“Equal opportunity employment” is maybe the only thing you can barely come up with in your mind.

Then, you have all these nuances that your company does, it is mind blowing to keep track of them all. So you decide to start writing down everything you do in your day to day pet sitting life.

WOAH! That list gets long, real fast… and then you are left wondering, “Well, isn’t most of this common sense?”

The answer is NO.

Further, if you want to properly train the people who you hire, and hold them to your standards, it all needs to be in writing. You can’t enforce a corrective action for an employee based off something you “said.” That could be a lawsuit waiting to happen….

So you are back at square one….

Sigh.

This is overwhelming, isn’t it?

Well, I have news for you. Good-news! But first, I need to introduce you to the idea of two separate documents. An Employee Handbook and a Training Manual.

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The Difference Between a Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Employee Handbook vs Training Manual. 

Wait?!?!? There are TWO documents I need?

If you are thinking that right now, I was too when I first learned about it all. Why not just make one giant document with everything and the kitchen sink in it?

Read on…

Your dog walking and pet sitting employee handbook is the foundation of your business. It is the first company document your new employees read. The contents of your pet sitting or dog walking employee handbook will give your employees a sense of the type of culture you have, your philosophies, your mission, your rules and expectations.

Your employee handbook will also include critical company and legal policies. Including these in your handbook and making sure your new employees fully understand them will protect your company. It’s important to go through your employee handbook with your new employees, not just include it in their on boarding packet that they will throw in the corner and never look at again.

Your handbook will outline things like pay dates, sick leave, dress code, and other expectations. It is a living document that you will change as your grow and see the need to update, change or add to your policies and processes.

Your handbook is not meant to be your training manual. Your employee handbook policies may mirror things in your training manual, but the employee handbook contains the policies whereas the training manual goes into explicit detail on items requiring training.

Your employee handbook is not your employee agreement. Like the training manual, you may mirror some items, but the Employee agreement is a separate document that goes into explicit detail on things like non-compete/non-solicitation agreements, company property handling and return upon termination, and confidentiality. It’s a good idea to hire an attorney in your state to draw up the employee agreement.

 

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But what about the Employee Quick Start Program?

The Employee Quick Start Program includes the outline of an Employee Manual. It is like a mini Employee Handbook and Training Manual all wrapped into one. It is a great program, with a great document that has already helped over 100 pet sitters. It is a good JUMP start to get you going… It is a great option for the first draft of the starting literature for your business. But it is only a start.

 

So Now Let Me Finish This For You…

I have both documents. For you. To download. Right now.

You are happy now, aren’t you? =)  I am all about solving problems, not creating more for you. So let me wrap this ridiculously long blog post by telling you this. These documents that I have made are different from anything else out there. I will bullet point it for you:

1. They were written by a technical writer. That is someone who writes manuals like this for a living. Here would be an example:

3.5 Anti-Discrimination Policy / Anti-Harassment Policy

{YOUR COMPANY} management is committed to providing a work environment in which employees are treated with dignity, decency, and respect. To support a discrimination-free work environment, YOUR COMPANY maintains strict policies against discrimination and harassment.

All employees are covered by these anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Employees are expected to comply with these policies and to take appropriate measures to ensure that prohibited conduct does not occur. 

Acts of discrimination or harassment, or retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or participates in an investigation of such a report, may be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment. (See section 10.3 Whistleblower Policy.)

 

2. All downloads come with instructions on how to personalize the documents to your company, find all the places that need your attention (to put in your company info) and how to change the look and feel. Here are the first two paragraphs of that document:

There are certain instances in the Employee Manual and the Training Handbook where you are able to include your Company’s Name, the name of the owner of your business and other details relating to the management and running of your Pet Sitting business. This enables you to personalize these documents to make them specifically relevant to your business.

All instances of information that needs to be changed to personalize these documents are included in curly brackets: { and }. This makes it easy for you to find and replace specific content.

3. The same person that wrote this one page explanation of all the ways to customize the document is also available to help Jump Consulting clients to typeset the document if they run into any margin, typeset, formatting problems

4. The industry standard is an Employee Manual/Handbook with everything all in one place. With the documents I am offering, they total over 40 pages each.
5. Aaddendum. The Employee Handbook comes with extras like the “Grievance Form” and Company Property Checklist.
So see? Your entire problem is all solved and you don’t have to worry. Click below to see more of your options. You can have these documents downloaded in 60 seconds! 🙂
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Want To Take It A Step Further?

I heard pet sitters learning that the Red Cross was going away with their Pet First Aid/CPR first aid classes. That’s too bad becasue being able to train your staff to know if a pet needs medical attention and assess a situation when you aren’t there is important.

But there is another group, that I feel might even be a better solution than the Red Cross. In the past, you had to carve our hours of a day to go through training and it was often only held once a month, if you were lucky. This program through Pro Pet Hero actually trains your staff online… on their own time. Pretty neat huh? I contacted them and arranged a coupon code for you to use.  CODE: petsitter for a discount off. 🙂 You’re Welcome. 🙂

First Aid and CPR for Pets

the-difference-between-pet-sitting-employee-handbooks-and-training-manuals

pet sitting employee manual

Employee Quick Start Program vs. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual

little dog ask help

The most natural question I get when talking about these products I have is, “Bella, what is the difference between the Employee Quick Start program vs the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual?”

And it is a pretty good question too!

So here, I will do my best to break it down into an easily digestible explanation. I understand these documents can be confusing by themselves.

But out the gate, let me make this clear: It isn’t one or the other like the title of this article might suggest. In fact, if you have the Employee Quick Start the  Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual will only enhance what you already have. The Employee Quick Start has a manual that is an outline, that you still need to write. These documents are already written FOR you. 🙂

It is perfect solution for the business owner who just doesn’t have the time to think and research what needs to be included, write it all out, and then produce the documents.

The Employee Quick Start:

Often times, when a pet sitting or dog walking business owner is ready to take the JUMP and bring on employees, it is a confusing and monumental project. There is confusion on things like, how much do employees cost? How much should I pay? Do I have to pay by the hour? How do I train them? How do I conduct or know what to ask on an interview? How do I get an employee manual? How do I monitor the employees, and a lot, lot, more.

The Employee Quick Start was created with all this and more in mind. It has everything from A to Z that a pet sitter or dog walker would need to consider as they venture into having employees. Topics like: Pricing structure, building a team, employee manual outline, interview process with questions and an application, ways to transition your clients from you being their pet sitter, to your staff, and how to become a manager of your business instead of a worker are all explained in a step-by-step fashion.

The Employee Quick Start does contain an employee manual outline, with thought-provoking questions designed to get the reader thinking so they can start writing. It is like a handbook and manual in one. It addresses some policies of your company AND how to do the job. It is like a mini two in one (Two being Employee Handbook and Training Manual)

It is also offered in downloadable format or 1:1 on the phone. 

Employee Quick Start

 

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual:

The Employee Handbook is extensive – covering all the most important things that a handbook needs. It is very “legal” and “corporate” addressing everything from your mission to whistleblower policies. It contains definitions, Workplace, Hiring, and Continued Employment Policies, Code of Conducts, Employment Duties, Work and Compensation Policies, Employee Information, Leave Policies, Workplace Safety, Disciplinary Policies and Procedures, Seperation of Employement, and an Index. It is over 40 pages.

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The Training Manual explains things such as how to scoop litter, different types of leads and how to walk dogs, and specific tasks that need to be done at visits and a lot more. It tells you HOW to do the job of a pet sitter and dog walker. Some sections include: Pet Visits, client communication, keys, pet sitting for a cat, walking dogs, and more. It is also over 40 pages.

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Wondering About The Quality of Writing?

This document was also revised by a technical writer and edited over and over again through many months of creation. The purchase of one or both these documents come with explicit instructions on how and where to easily insert your company information throughout the pages.

Get Both Documents at Once And You Will Find Yourself In The Bonus Round:

Buy the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual together and receive a BONUS!

I wanted to reward those who took the leap and got both documents, so I am offering anyone who purchases BOTH documents, access to the live (If before Oct 26, 2016) or recorded class where I will verbally go through the documents and point out sections of interest and worthy of discussion.

employeehandbookclass-option2

Just click that picture above to buy them both right now!

A Common Problem With These Documents and Solution:

If you are like me, sometimes when you receive a document and try to edit it, the margins get all wonky and no matter what tricks you try, things just don’t line up looking all “pretty.”

I anticipated that you might have this problem and solved it for you before you even knew you had it. I have landed an incredible deal with someone who can typeset the entire document for you when you are done adding your logo, company information, and anything else you might want to add to it.  This is the same person that I have used for this project and they are offering an incredibly affordable rate of $25 for 30 minutes of typesetting your documents.

Ready To Exhale?

There aren’t many options out there that will knock these two tough topics off your to-do list out there. I mean, the pet sitting and dog walking industry is pretty unique, right? No HR company is going to understand how or what to tell people about the nuances of our businesses like how to scoop nonclumping litter and where it goes. (Just thinking of that makes me chuckle). So take it from me, someone who had a pet sitting company for 14 years… I know the anxiety you are feeling. I know that cursor just antagonizing you blinking on your screen… Let Jump Consulting help!

If you have any more questions, just post them in the comments below. Chances are, if you have a question, someone else did too! 🙂

employee-quick-start-vs-pet-sitting-dog-walking-training-manuals

Can I Afford Pet Sitting Employees?

Recently, Kristen asked, “How can I afford pet sitting employees without ending in a financial crisis?”

 

This is a super question and very relevant in many business owners minds. After all, if you start giving away all your work, you are left with next to nothing, right? Wrong. Read more