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hiring pet sitters

The Problems With Hiring Pet Sitters For Your Pet Sitting Company

Hiring is something we talk about A LOT in the pet sitting industry, because it can be one of the most difficult parts of running a business. When hiring pet sitters, there are a number of problems that usually arise that make it difficult to make sure that you and the applicant are on the same page. Today, let’s break those problems down and discuss real life solutions to make sure that you are making the best choice for your pet sitting company.

The Problems With Hiring Pet Sitters For Your Pet Sitting Company

hiring pet sitters

The Basic Criteria

Finding quality pet sitting applicants starts with YOU. Yep, I’m talking about your hiring process. It’s important that you are properly screening applicants to make sure that they fit the vision of your company. A big problem when hiring pet sitters is that business owners are forgetting to ask instrumental questions that are extremely important to the business. You want to ensure applicants meet basic criteria such as:

  • How far away do they live from your service area?
  • Did they follow the instructions in your job posting? (i.e. send a resume AND cover letter)
  • What does their availability look like, and does it coincide with your company’s pet sitting schedule?
  • Do they have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, and own their own car?

Testing The Applicant

Once you get past the basic criteria, it’s then up to you to “test” the applicant to see just how badly they want your job. This is another problem business owners have when hiring pet sitters, because sometimes they are so desperate for new staff, they let applicants off easy! This is why I recommend conducting multiple interviews and requiring the applicant to jump through a series of hoops. Not only does it demonstrate to you how serious they are about being a pet sitter, but it tests their ability to follow directions (an important quality to have in the pet sitting world!).

That being said, you do have to make sure your job posting is appealing and not overly-technical. This is the only way to weed out applicants that aren’t serious. You have to be selective!

So how can you do this? Here’s a few tips:

  • Conduct multiple interviews. The first interview should have nothing to do with pet sitting at all. It is simply an opportunity for you to learn more about the applicant, and to gauge their personality and professionalism. If you decide to move forward, interview #2 is where you’ll discuss everything else. This can include asking the applicant about relevant experience and discussing some of the finer details of the job such as pay, scheduling, a typical pet sitting visit, etc.
  • Make the applicant jump through hoops. Your job posting should have specific instructions like “Send an email to bella@petsitting.com saying who you are, what your major cross-streets are, and how much money you’re looking to make per month. Attach your resume and cover letter.” Then before the first interview, you can create another hoop by having them take the Orion Hiring Assessment. See where I’m going with this? 🙂
  • Follow these tips when you receive unqualified pet sitting applicants.

Last but not least, are you looking for applicants in the right places? Check out this video where I tell you how to get more pet sitting applicants!

Getting To Know The Applicant – Interview #1

Another problem that comes up when hiring pet sitters is figuring out how to trust what they’re saying to you in an interview. People are usually really good about talking themselves up, so it’s up to you to find out if they’re the real deal. For example, is the person just telling you what you want to hear? Here’s a couple ways you can break down that barrier:

  • Use the Orion Hiring Assessment. If you don’t know what that is, Google it immediately! Essentially it is an assessment you can give to all potential applicants. The results will tell you more about the person’s personality like if they are a risk for theft or if they are likely to not be long-term, etc. It is scary accurate!
  • Call the applicant’s references. Not enough people do this, but it is a great way to glean some more information on the person.
  • Make sure you ask the right questions.
  • Don’t do all the talking! You don’t want to come out of the interview feeling you still have no idea who the applicant is. Have a drink ready to go before the interview, and make it your goal to finish it by the time it’s over. It works!

Retaining Your New Employee

Okay so you’ve made it through the interview phase, and your applicant is now officially an employee! Hooray! But now comes the hardest part of all when hiring pet sitters: Ensuring your new employee stays with you long term.  During or before training, have your employee agree to these basic guidelines.

While you want to keep your new employee happy, at the same time you have to make sure that they are following the rules set in place. You want to figure out how to keep your new employee happy to do their job, as well as empowering them. Your employees should feel like they have an important role in your company.

I hate to say it, but some pet sitting business owners don’t know how to manage. They are either too strict, like a dictator, or are a push-over, where the staff runs the show. Don’t be either of these extremes – find your balance and run with it!

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bella in your business

Episode 45: Everything You Need To Know About Background Checks With Jason Waggoner

On this episode  Bella spends time with Jason Waggoner, Vice President of Marketing for ACUTRAQ Background Screening Solutions. They discuss the importance of background checks and how ACUTRAQ can help eliminate some of the liabilities around doing it yourself.

Jason Waggoner, VP. Marketing for ACUTRAQ

Jason Waggoner

They discuss:

  • Some of the drawbacks to using the simple background check services you see online
  • How a service like ACUTRAQ can actually reduce some of the liability around background checks
  • How you should proceed when a potential employee has something flagged in their background check
  • Jason’s UMeetU movement and acting/video production activities.

You can find out more about ACUTRAQ at https://www.acutraq.com/.

To find out more about Jason’s UMeetU movement, go to http://www.umeetumovement.com/.

To see a cool music video Jason put together for ACUTRAQ check out https://youtu.be/2giXfjnB0p4.

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 38: Branding & Content Marketing With George Thomas

On this episode Bella speaks with George Thomas, Inbound Marketing & Brand Strategist for The Sales Lion.  George also specializes in training people on HubSpot.

George Thomas

George Thomas

George spent  15 years working in a traditional marketing agency to design and build websites and  other types of content. George then joined The Sales Lion where as an inbound designer and brand strategist. There his daily contributions include inbound strategy and design, HubSpot intensive training, speaking at conferences, content marketing, and social media marketing as well as business management and development.

George and Bella discuss branding. In particular, they talk about:

  • How to get started in video
  • How long videos should be
  • How often you should be putting out content
  • How to push your content in multiple formats
  • Changing your thinking to being a production company first.

To learn more about George, visit him at https://www.thesaleslion.com/meet-the-sales-lion/meet-george/

 

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 37: Leadership, Strategic Planning, & Vision With Tarran Deane

On this episode, Bella discusses leadership with Tarran Deane, author of the new book,  “The Alphabet Principle: Your A – Z Guide to Being a Compelling Leader”.

 

Tarran Deane

Tarran Deane

Tarran Deane is Australia’s Corporate Cinderella a Leadership Development Company. Tarran works with executives, entrepreneurs, experts and emerging leaders to increase their personal effectiveness, capability, communication and commercial savviness. Bringing a maverick edge, and entrepreneurial trends to established businesses and organizations, Tarran boldly challenges, honors and equips people to shift the performance of their organization’s people, practice, and profit.  Tarran intentionally cuts through the whispered frustrations of workplaces today, equipping you to lead strategically and tactically in the fast pace of real life @ work, so you and your team can get the job done and love the company you’re in. A sought-after international keynote speaker, Tarran’s warmth, humor and 43,000 hours in leadership have helped more than 26,000 audience members to hit the shift key and lead like they mean it with boldness and humility.

Tarran DeaneBella and Tarran discuss:

  • How as a woman to be taken seriously in the corporate world
  • Dealing with problem generators in the workplace
  • Why vision and strategic planning matter.
  • Her “Signature 7 Leadership Framework” for planning out your work week. (Infographic can be gotten at https://www.tarrandeane.com/signature7leadershipinfographic/)

 

 

You can find out more about Tarran on her website at http://tarrandeane.com.
Connect with her on facebook
Get her book here

 

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Episode 29: What Type of Pet Sitter is Best for Rover Type Websites?

In this Episode Bella talks with Walt Galvin, an independent contractor working for Rover.  They discuss how sites like Rover can be a viable option for some pet sitters and walkers who are just starting out or want to keep it simple.

Walt Gavin, independent contractor with Rover.

Walt Galvin, independent contractor with Rover.

Some of the advantages include:

  • Not having to handle payments from clients
  • Saving  time and money but not having to handle marketing
  • Not having to deal with all kinds of administrative headaches and paperwork.
  • Ability to set your own work schedule

For Walt it has turned into a substantial retirement income and he points out that it is also a good option for those who don’t have the desire to hire other sitters and walkers as staff.  Walt also recommends that you pay close attention to the service agreements, particularly in regards to what insurance covers and you may need to purchase additional insurance to cover yourself.

Many of these online websites do not provide adequate coverage for the pet sitters. Only the clients.

 

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Episode 22: How To Get More PR For Your Pet Business

Susie Timm, President of Knife & Fork Media Group

Susie Timm, President of Knife & Fork Media Group

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella spends time with Susie Timm,  President of Knife & Fork Media Group. Susie specializes in comprehensive public relations and marketing strategy in the gourmet food, restaurant and retail industries.

Gaining PR for your pet business can be wildly useful during the upcoming holidays, but if you get copies, you can also use it on your website and social media for months to come!

Bella and Susie discuss:

  • The importance of having a marketing and PR plan.
  • Creating interesting and useful event-based PR that then drive traffic and interest in your business.
  • How the “soft sell” approach works best when trying to get to exposure in mass media.
  • Some great ways to get yourself promoted on mass media.
  • Positioning yourself as an expert.
  • How great content drives traffic to your website.

You can find more information about Knife & Fork Media Group at KnifeAndForkMedia.com.

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Episode 21: How One Pet Lover Took Her Passion For Pets and United An Entire State with Woofalong

Darcy Graham, creator of WOOFALONG.COM

Darcy Graham, creator of WOOFALONG.COM

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Darcy Graham,  creator of WOOFALONG.com. The site, which shows you the dog-friendly restaurants, stores, parks, trails and events in Colorado, was launched earlier this year and is already looking to expand.

Bella and Darcy discuss:

  • The frustration that was the impetus for the site.
  • How Darcy compiled the list of locations.
  • What types of publicity Darcy has managed to get for the site already and how she did it.
  • The engagements her site has gathered so far and how she has gotten it to grow.
  • Her extensive use of social media.
  • What she has planned for the upcoming version 2 of the site.
  • The plans for expansion to other cities.
  • The potential opportunities on WOOFALONG.COM for business owners.

You can find more information about WOOFALONG.COM at, where else, http://www.woofalong.com.

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Katrina Kadyszewski

Episode 20: Interview with a Small Business State Auditor

Katrina KadyszewskiIn this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Katrina Kadyszewski, a former state auditor with the State of Connecticut.  

Katrina has over 16 years experience working in a variety of financial positions. She started in the brokerage industry with a Series 7, 63 and 65 and life and health license, and then transitioned to audit work for the CT Department of Revenue Services before leaving to support small businesses in their efforts to get organized for expansion.

Katrina spent 3 of her almost 8 years with the CT Dept. of Revenue Services in the Business & Employment Tax Audit Unit, focused primarily on payroll tax issues. The last 5 years she worked as a Corporation Tax auditor, traveling across the US auditing largely Fortune 500 companies.

Bella and Katrina first discuss a big controversy in the pet sitting industry which is misclassification of employees as either independent contractors or employees.  Katrina outlines some key indicators that auditors look for in making that determination:

  • Is there an actual contract between you and the contractor?
  • Are your payments to them regular in nature?
  • How much control do you have over them with regards to work hours, uniform, training, etc.?
  • Do they offer the same services to other companies through their own business?
  • Are you providing them all the tools, training and supplies they need?
  • Basically, consider how loose is the relationship?

They also discuss why they think business owners are so apprehensive about audits, what documents a business owner should have at their disposal if they are being audited, and whether business owners should take their lawyer and accountant to the  audit. Katrina also gives some insight into what triggers an audit.

Some resources they discuss are the IRS’s  20-factor test to help you determine employee or independent contractor, and amnesty programs that exist to help encourage to make the right switch.

Have you ever been audited? Want to hear about pet sitters who have been audited? I have interviewed a handful and reported about it all here.

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