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partnership agreements

Partnership Agreements: The $40K Pet Sitting Business Lesson Learned

When you start a pet sitting business, you never think about the end, right? You start your business, all excited, with all these hopes and dreams of changing the world and having all this freedom and flexibility to do what you want.

Right? 

Or maybe you already have this wonderful business going part time or full blast and you meet that (what you think is) love of your life. You get married, no prenup, because let’s face it, neither one of you is made of money… and you live happily ever after.

Or do you? 

Or let’s even say that you and your friend or co-worker decide, “heck! we can do this together!” and you start a business together, skipping down the yellow brick road singing along together. You think this is great! I get to be with someone I trust and make money doing what I love.

But is that true?

partnership agreements

When Beth Green came to Arizona to do a little R&R and business boot camp, we felt strongly that we needed to share her story. We needed to warn the pet sitting industry about what could happen to your business. As we both point out in this video, it is almost irresponsible not to plan for a business dissolution. We plan for marketing, finances, customers, employees, but not an exit plan? It is easily forgotten in the mix, which is why Beth & I really wanted to bring home this very important message.

Why Do So Many People Forget About Partnership Agreements?

A partnership agreement is a document that you sign when you first start a business or a legal relationship (like a marriage) explaining what each other’s roles are in the business *and* what course of action you have agreed to take when one partner wants out of the business relationship. Without these partnership agreements – your business is left exposed and all your hard work could go down the drain.

 

How Easy Is It To Get A Partnership Agreement?

It is as easy as typing it into your friend, GOOGLE, and then editing it to your satisfaction. Have a lawyer give it a look over, and sign it in front of a notary.

If you are starting a business together, the obvious time to do it is at the beginning when you start. For marriage, it would be a prenup. If you are already married, it would be a post nuptial or a partnership agreement.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Partnership Agreements?

Sit down because you might not like this answer. The options are basically this:
1. You have to remain business partners until one of you caves in.
2. One of you will have to buy the other out and argue over what the business is worth.
3. One abandons it and creates a lot of problems.

I am not a lawyer and there might be more scenarios but this is what I have seen as a business coach.

If Your Business Partner Dies, Their Beneficiary Could Also Come After You:

After I posted this article, I got lots of examples flooding in of other people who have dealt with the fall outs of not having a partnership agreement. Take a look at the lesson Lauren’s family learned:

pet sitting partnership agreements

How Important Is This Really Bella?

Honestly – if you are married right now, you need to have this document. As they say, the only thing that is definite in life is death and taxes. I have had about 3 calls in the past 1.5 years about people freaking out because they are getting a divorce and they are scared that they significant other is going to take away the business. They are terrified because it is their livelihood. Their job. Part of what defines them as a person!

It is VERY real.

 

Another True Story That You Have To Read:

Soon after this post went live, I had another pet sitting business owner come forward and tell me her story. She agreed to go on record and have me share it here with you to show you all that this stuff really does happen….

Jessica Greenfield writes:

Hi Bella!
So my story is very long…. Lol. But I’m going to sum it up and give you the parts that are relevant to the topic at hand. Because I could seriously write a book about my experience with being married, starting a business, drug addiction (my ex, not me!), business failure and divorce…
But what really resonated with me about your video with Beth was when Beth said everyone thinks that nothing will ever happen to their relationship because you are in love and everything is great. Or something to that effect… That’s exactly what I thought too.
While my ex husband and I were engaged, he was laid off from his job. The factory he was working at went out of business and we found ourselves wondering what we were going to do. He made 3x as much as I did at my job so it was a hard hit. After a while of not being able to find another job, my ex wanted to start his own business. He had bad credit so of course, I told him to put everything in my name. He started an online business while I worked full time at my job and helped out here and there. I was able to quit my job after a few months and things were going great (or so I thought). We got married and moved out of our house and converted it to a store. Unfortunately, after just a short time, I realized that things weren’t quite right… money missing, I was being lied to about things, and he wouldn’t let me do or look at any of the financials. I found out my husband was on drugs and driving our business and our entire lives into the ground.
Long story short, we went out of business and got divorced. But everything was in my name. My ex moved out of state and avoided getting the divorce papers for almost a year. I needed to file bankruptcy asap so I could start repairing my life and move on but I couldn’t do this until the divorce was settled. So, after much drama and BS, I decided to suck it up and we each took all the debt that was in our own names. I walked away with $400,000 in debt and he got a $1,500 light bill….
So, my story is a little different than Beth’s. Beth had a successful business that her husband was not a part of and then a divorce while I had a husband with a failing business that I was not a part of (I was merely an employee – not part of the business part of things) and a divorce. But I think the moral of the story is the same. You need to protect yourself and make sure you are prepared for any situation. You may think you know your partner, but things change. Business puts so much stress on your relationship. You change, your partner changes, and you are so busy that you may not even notice until it’s too late. Too late to fix things, too late to remain civil and act like grown-ups… Then what?
Believe me, it’s not a good place to find yourself in.

 

If you have a story and you want to share with the world to help inspire others, just post in the comments below or reach out to me and I would be happy to add it here. I want to help as many people realize how uber important it is to have a partnership agreement in their company!

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marketing tips for pet sitters

The Do’s & Don’ts of Pet Sitting Business Marketing

Are you stuck trying to decide the best ways to implement effective pet sitting business marketing? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there at some point or another. I completely get it.

I know that there are so many different tools and techniques that you as a business owner can use when trying to market your business. So many, in fact, that it would be impossible to invest in all of them. So today, let’s talk about the most effective (and ineffective!) ways that I’ve found to have effective marketing your pet sitting business.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Pet Sitting Business Marketing

pet sitting business marketing

Do: Community Newsletter Marketing

When I still had my business, one of my most successful forms of pet sitting business marketing was running my ad in a community newsletter. In fact, it worked so well that at one point I had a client on every single street in the community I advertised in. I know this strategy can work for you, too!

The community newsletter that I’m talking about here is a newsletter or magazine that goes out to a certain neighborhood or homes. These typically show owners the values of their homes along with homes for sale, events going on in the community etc.

Keep in mind that this is NOT a newspaper!

To market yourself in the best light possible, come up with an innovative, creative idea for your ad. I know this is easier said than done. But I promise you if you put your brain to work and come up with something stellar, the payoff is huge! Try to thing of something catchy to say that draws your eye and outshines the other ads in the newsletter.

Another important factor to consider is your ad placement. Think about this. When you’re reading a book or a magazine, the most natural place for your eyes to fall is the top right-hand corner. They don’t go towards the middle or to the bottom left-hand corner, right?

This is why placement is so important. You want your ad to be seen, and the best place to do this is the top right-hand corner. If you can’t get that spot, then I would say that the middle on the right-hand page is the next ideal.

I touch more on this topic and others in my video below: How To Know If My Marketing is Working?

Don’t: Mailer Marketing

You may be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute Bella, you just told me I should advertise in community newsletters. How is this different than a mailer?

The thing is really breaks down to is use. In community newsletters, people have somewhat of a use for them. They either are interested in the value or their home, or want to see what events are going on in the community. They’re more likely to keep this newsletter around on their kitchen counter or coffee table. And by keeping the newsletter around – they’re keeping your ad around!

Mailers do not do these things. Think of when you get junk mail. You sift through it for a couple seconds and then boom – trashcan. If you send mailers, this is exactly what’s going to happen to you. Plus, sending things in the mail is expensive. You’re not only paying to make your ad look nice and pretty, but then you’re paying to ship it.

This is a lot of time, money, and effort for very little to no payoff. If you’re going to invest in mailed marketing, community newsletters is definitely the way to go. Why? You will be paying to have your ad run, but then you’re done. You don’t have to worry about shipping it and getting it in the hands of people. It’s a much more cost-effective form of pet sitting business marketing – and has a greater use.

Do: Community Booth Events

Community booth events are the second best form of pet sitting business marketing, directly under the community newsletters. Many of you have probably heard me talk about this topic over and over again – but for good reason! It is because they are so effective that I write so much on them.

While community booth events can be incredibly successful, they can absolutely make or break your business. This is not to sound harsh or mean, but to encourage you to make your booth the absolute best it can be. Community events are a fantastic way to get yourself and your name out there while meeting tons of potential new clients.

They are a chance for people in the community to get to know you and your business. There are going to be a bunch of other businesses there as well (maybe even other pet sitting companies), so you want to make your booth two things: interactive and memorable.

Your goal is to both to connect with people but also to capture their information in a non-obvious way. By this I mean doing something cliche like a raffle that you have to enter with your name and email or simply just having a clipboard where people write down their information (yes I have ACTUALLY seen this here!) is not going to work.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – consumers are way too smart for these gimmicks! So you have to get creative and crafty.

To learn more about the specifics about having a rock-star pet sitting booth, check out my other articles here:

9 Must Have Elements To Have a Howling Pet Event In Your Community

What You Need To Have A Successful Pet Sitting Booth At An Event

How To Have The Worst Pet Sitting Booth At A Local Event

Don’t: Newspaper Marketing

At first glance, newspapers may seem great because they have the potential to reach a lot of people. For instance, my local newspaper is the Arizona Republic, which is state-wide. You might think I’m crazy for not advertising here, but hear me out!

First of all, you’re not going to want to put your ad into a newspaper that covers the whole state or even multiple cities. Why? Because you don’t want to be spending the time, money, and effort to send your ad to areas of your state that you don’t service.

Next, even if you are thinking about putting your ad into a smaller newspaper that is for your town only, it’s probably still not a good idea. Aside from the fact that the number of people that actually read newspapers anymore is declining, newspapers are huge and daunting. They are filled cover to cover with tiny print and tons and tons of ads. So your ad is likely to get lost and not seen by many.

Plus – newspaper ads are expensive! I recommend steering clear of them as far as pet sitting business marketing goes and just sticking to the community newsletters.

Whatever You Choose, Implement and Track!

Regardless of what type of marketing you do, you MUST do these two things: implement and track. It’s not enough to just try a new marketing technique and leave it at that. If you’re not tracking your marketing, you will never know whether or not it’s bringing you desired results.

So, whenever you get a new call or email ask the question,”How did you hear about us?” Compile a list of responses, and the you will really be able to tell where your most effective marketing techniques lie.

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pet sitter facebook groups

What Makes Up Good Pet Sitter Facebook Groups?

Facebook groups are quickly becoming a premiere way to make meaningful connections and expand your network. There is seriously a Facebook group for EVERYTHING. As pet sitting business owners, many of you may be a part of (or are interested in joining) a pet sitter Facebook group. So, today we’re going to talk about what exactly makes pet sitter Facebook groups worth joining.

What Makes Up Good Pet Sitter Facebook Groups?

pet sitter facebook groups

Screening Process

When joining a Facebook group, it’s definitely important to determine whether or not the group “screens” the incoming members. Generally, it is better that the group HAS a screening process than not. This ensures that the right types of people fit the group.

In pet sitter Facebook groups, you’ll see a lot of non-pet sitters try to join them. This is because some people will join groups in mass to promote their own product/service. So, once there’s too many of these kinds of people, the integrity of the group is lost. It’s now just become a self-promotion page.

For example, in the “I Own A Pet Sitting Company W/Staff” Facebook group (sponsored by yours truly), we message every single person who wants to join the group. Why? Because we want to cultivate a certain type of community. And because we feel that quality is much more important than quantity.

Free Resources For Pet Sitter Facebook Groups

Many pet sitter Facebook groups actually offer group members free resources. You’ll typically see this in groups sponsored by pet business coaches or pet businesses themselves. Some of the free resources we offer in our pet sitter Facebook groups include a pet sitter networking guide, a 20 minute coaching session, and a pet sitting software comparison chart, just to name a few.

Number Of Moderators

Pet sitter Facebook groups usually either have one moderator or a number of them. Typically the moderator is either a pet industry veteran or a pet business coach.

It’s usually better to have a group of moderators in order to ensure the group runs smoothly. Multiple moderators screening incoming members, reading and answering posts, and posting content can all be beneficial to the group.

With a large group, it can be difficult for one moderator to keep up on all of the posts. Multiple moderators help manage what type of content is allowed. This can in turn benefit the overall quality of the group.

The True Benefit Of Pet Sitter Facebook Groups

The ultimate resource of being in these pet sitter Facebook groups is that you can network. Pet business owners can connect with other pet business owners around the country. These groups provide a platform where you can get valuable insider advice and answers to your burning questions. It’s a great way to not feel ALONE in your business – which is really important.

Pet Sitter Facebook Groups

pet sitting facebook group

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.

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build pet sitting community

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

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

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

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

build pet sitting community

 

Mom’s Blogs

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

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

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

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

 

Rescue Groups

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

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

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

 

Community Pages

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

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

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

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

 

Get Out Of Your Own Way

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

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

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

 

choosing pet sitting software

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Pet Sitting Software For Your Business

Choosing pet sitting software is no doubt a daunting task. After all there are a TON of different companies, all with loads of different, innovative features. But how do you know which of those features you truly need? Today we’re going to talk about the 5 things you MUST consider when choosing pet sitting software in order to keep yourself sane and organized.

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Pet Sitting Software For Your Business

choosing pet sitting software

Accounting

When choosing pet sitting software, we have to consider what type of accounting we do. You want to ask yourself if it’s important to you whether or not your accounting is done within the system. By this I mean if you want the software to track invoices, income, give you profit and loss reports, etc.

But, maybe your accountant or CPA prefers you use a software like Quickbooks to do your accounting. Maybe your CPA works with you virtually through Quickbooks where they log in and help you manage business finances. If this is the case, then a software with built-in accounting may not be vital for your business.

 

Customer Service

Another crucial aspect of choosing pet sitting software is customer service. What type of customer service does the software offer? What is there response time like? Do they have 24/7 support? What do other pet business owners think about the company’s customer service? Do they have online Facebook support groups? And are these groups run by community or actual Helpdesk at the company?

All of the above are great questions to ask and research when choosing pet sitting software. As a pet sitter, I know you know as well as I do that things DO go wrong sometimes. And in the event of an emergency or major problem with your software, you want to make sure that someone has your back.

 

How Often Is The Software Updated?

Nowadays, technology and software is constantly changes. There are always new breakthroughs. It’s important to choose pet sitting software that stays on top of the technology industry and is constantly changing with it. This can include things such as increasing loading speeds, GPS, adding new features, and optimizing their software for other devices such as phones or tablets.

Plus, does the company actually listen to their client’s ideas for changes? You definitely want to pick a company that listens to feedback and implements it in a timely manner.

 

Mobile Version or App Version?

It’s really handy for your pet sitters to be able to use the software on their mobile devices. So it’s important to find out when choosing pet sitting software if they at least have mobile friendly version (i.e. a simpler website specifically for a phone). Or, even better, do they have a specific phone application that you can download? And, can the client use the app or just the company?

Being able to use pet sitting software on a mobile device eliminates lots of room for error and can eliminate a paper trail, as in pet sitters won’t have to manually print out client notes or their schedule. There’s lots of benefits to having mobile access to your pet sitting software, so this should be a primary deciding factor.

Communication

Every pet sitting company should have a primary form of communication. When communication is spread out between multiple methods (i.e. email, texting, phone calls, voicemail etc.), things get lost in translation. Consider choosing pet sitting software that offers communication within the program. This can be helpful so that you have all client and pet sitter communication within one medium.

Or, if you prefer email (or another method), then choosing pet sitting software with communication built in may not be as important to you.

 

Final Food For Thought

Everything listed above are some of the major things you should consider when trying to choose a software company. You should consider these 5 factors first and determine what’s important to you. Then, you can look at the additional “bells and whistles” that the software companies offer.

Software is there to help you, so you want to find the program that’s right for YOUR business and fits in with your model.

pet sitting software company comparison

 

switch pet sitting software companies

The Problems With Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies

Thinking of switching pet sitting software companies can be a big pain in the A$%, isn’t it? In fact, all the headache that goes along with switching is the single most important reason why I hear many pet sitters won’t do it. Even after we see the {free} comparison chart of all major 8 companies!

As a business owner, we already have way too much on our plate. If delegation is the key to success, why don’t we allow our clients to help us out with this process?

Stay with me here…

The Problems With Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies

switch pet sitting software companies

Don’t Make Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies A Solo Project

When switching pet sitting software companies, you will ultimately have your clients log in, update their info as needed, and schedule services with you, right? A common misconception with pet sitters is that they think the burden of updating their client’s information is on THEM – but I’m happy to tell you that this is not the case 🙂

So let’s invite them to “update their information” as we get our new system set up.

” This type of phrasing not only shows that you care, but gives the client an incentive to comply. It also alleviates the pain of you having to enter in all the information or pay to have someone do it. Plus, different systems might have different fields for information making it a little difficult. When this happens, we might procrastinate things even more. AKA Not get the task complete!

 

Here Are Two Examples Of What You Can Say To Your Clients:

If you can muster up the positivity and set expectations properly – consider the task of switching pet sitting software systems done!

How do you do that? Well, thankfully, you are reading this now, so here goes a mock letter, that you can copy and paste, right here from my website, for you to use:

 

Sample Letter #1

Dear NAME:

Our tail is wagging in anticipation of this new toy we just bought for XYZ PET SITTING COMPANY. It is an even BETTER scheduling software system that we just know you will absolutely LOVE!

Feel free to scratch and sniff your way around by going HERE and clicking THIS. Once you are in, you can actually create your OWN UN and PW. (I thought it would be better for you to create it rather than making something that you would probably forget, because, let’s face it, you didn’t create it!)

Before we are able to approve your next booking, we just need you to take 5 minutes, enter in the info for your fur babies, your credit card, and then you can be on your way to booking.

EVEN BETTER:

I know it is probably been dog ages since you have updated your babies info, so this will help us all stay on the same page!

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?
If your paws hurt, you can always watch how easy it is to set up an account by watching this 30 second video HERE

Or, you can give me a howl on the office phone OFFICE HOURS, I am on stand by ready to help!

Tailwags,
YOUR NAME

 

Sample Letter #2

Hello CLIENT,

We are doing some updates to our online profile system and just need for you to update your fur kid(s) info before making your next booking.  Feel free to do it now, if you have the time!

It is as easy as 1-2-3.

1 – Click HERE and create a UN and PW
2 – Fill out all of your info and your pet’s info.
3 – Oh wait, we are all ready done! See how easy that was? 🙂

If you have any questions at all about this new process, I am in the office OFFICE HOURS and ready to help!

Tailwags,
YOUR NAME

Manage Expectations & Solve Problems Before They Come

I have always said, if you can manage someone’s expectations, you will cut the questions down to a minimum. Likewise, if you can expect people’s behavior, you can lessen your frustrations!

Here is what I mean: Anticipate the questions that your clients will have for you and consider making a short video like this one to help show them their answers:

You can easily create videos on Screencast-o-matic for free!

Remember, Questions Do Not Mean Criticism

Don’t fret when clients are asking you questions on the system. It doesn’t mean that the system you just moved to is de-funked. It means that they just simply have questions and they are looking to you for help. Think of it as a way to touch them and open up a conversation about how their services are going or how their pets are doing. Ask them their opinion of what they like and if there is anything you can improve on. Simply ASKING that last question can secure a client for life because they know that you care!

Switching Pet Sitting Software Systems Doesn’t Have To Be Tough

Change is always tough. I am betting that it actually took you a while to take the JUMP towards switching pet sitting software companies, am I right? What you need to do now is hold on tight, anticipate the questions, and know that you don’t need to sit there for hours upon hours to update every single client file.

Nor, is a data transfer going to be seamless. So in my opinion, it is best to have your clients help you do it. 🙂 Not to mention, all of the companies are always there to help you. After all, they want you to LIKE using their software!

Don’t ever let this challenge prevent you from making a switch!

 

above and beyond

Out-Of-The-Box Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients With This Simple Concept

Question: What would happen if today you didn’t gain any more pet sitting clients because you already have enough? How would you go about keeping the ones that you have?

So many companies say they go “above and beyond” with their clients, and attribute that to gaining more pet sitting clients. But what does that really mean? How do you go above and beyond with your pet sitting clients when you are sometimes removed from the day to day pet sitting? Your heart might be above and beyond but what actions do you do to show this?

more pet sitting clients

You might try with occasional emails or maybe even gifts… but usually, that is surrounded by you wanting something or it is an obligation to give a gift (holidays, new pet, pet passing).

It is passive.

It is predicted.

Sometimes it is even talking AT them and not with them…

Well now, I want to flip your thinking.

What if you started talking to your clients just like they were your friends? Ever see something that would be valuable to a friend and share it with them on Facebook? I do. All the time and I do it in business too.

 

In fact, since selling my company a few months ago, I feel awkward because there are so many things I read that I think, “Oh wow! I want to share that!” but I don’t have anywhere to do it. So now, you are going to reap the marketing bursts my brain has:

Here is How To REALLY Go Above And Beyond To Gain More Pet Sitting Clients:

 

1. Cincinnati Winning Basketball And Streets Being Clogged

Recently, we had a member in my Facebook Group notify all her clients the about street closures for the parade that Cincinnati was having for their team who won the finals. She let them know so they didn’t get in a traffic jam going to work. Nice way to reach out to everyone in a valuable way, huh? Many thanked her for the heads up.

Simple gestures like these will stick in your client’s mind. It’s a great way to ensure that your current clients will recommend you via word of mouth – ultimately ending up with MORE clients for you!

 

2. TSA Taking Longer And People Missing Flights.

When I had my pet sitting company, I actually emailed all the clients who were leaving town that weekend and reminded them about TSA wait times. It was a big story at the time. Many people were missing their flights. I even included a link to the airport where they listed the current wait times at each terminal location. I got many “Thank you’s!” and even a bunch of, “We were driving but thanks for thinking of us!”  Great way to show that you care and reach out without WANTING something, huh? 🙂

 

3. Major Weather Catastrophes Like A Tornado, Fire, Or Flood

Admittedly, it is horrible when this happens. There is panic among everyone and if you have a client out of town, watching it on the news, they might even get anxious.

Imagine getting an email from your pet sitter while you’re away saying something like “Don’t worry about the weather going on… here is our plan should we ever need it and you can stay up to date on our Facebook page.” And then post updates!

Pet sitting software systems will help you contact a certain group of clients that are away so you can speak directly to them. You could even email everyone a blanket email saying:

To the families who are away: Here is our plan.
To the families that are local: Here are some resources.

As pet sitters we all say we care, but how do we show it to everyone? Imagine the confidence that would our worried traveling pet parents? The alternative is that there is no communication and they are calling you frantically. I can almost promise you, no other pet care company is doing this. Get ahead of the anxiety!

 

4. Snowstorm That Strands People On The East Coast

Even thought I am in warm and sunny AZ, the snowstorms on the east coast during the winter affected by business and my clients. Flights would be canceled, delayed, or worse, people couldn’t get into the airport because of the road closures or airport closures. Acknowledging the stress in your pet parents lives while traveling will make them feel safe and secure. And they will remember you. It is very similar to #3.

 

5. Pet Food Recalls

Hear of a pet food recall happening? A quick email to your client base with a link to the press release on your website will be helpful for them to know you are thinking about them and care about passing along valuable information.

 

above and beyond

There Are More Ways To Gain More Pet Sitting Clients By Going TRULY Above And Beyond

Too many to be listed! For more creative ideas and inspirations, check out these other great tips:

Just keep an open mind the next time you are watching the news or listening to the radio. Think about yourself as a journalist as well as a pet sitting business owner and that will really help shift your mindset.

Now it’s your turn. How do YOU go above and beyond with your clients? How did that help you ultimately gain more pet sitting clients? Let me know in the comments below.

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Expand Your Pet Sitting Business To A New Area With These 4 Key Steps

Expanding. It’s both a scary and exciting concept, right? And it’s definitely not easy to expand your pet sitting business. You not only have to market to these new areas of town, but also make sure you have the proper amount of staff coverage to expand to your new area.

Today we’re going to take a look at step one, which is marketing to this new area. As much as we wish that business would just start pouring in as soon as we expand our service area, this simply isn’t the case. Expanding is hard work, but there some crucial keys to success that will help you simplify the process.

Expand Your Pet Sitting Business To A New Area With These 4 Key Steps:

expand your business

 

If You’re Not On Page One Of Google, You Don’t Exist

Think about the last time you needed a service, a new restaurant to eat at, or a phone number. Did you pull out your dusty old phone book and look up different businesses one by one? Of course not! You Googled it.

The Internet, Google in particular, is an extremely powerful tool that can make or break your business. One of the first things you should do when you decide to expand is to go to Google, and search the area you want to expand to, followed by pet sitting (or dog walking, pet care, dog walker, pet sitter…)

Essentially you want to check out your competition and see if it’s feasible to get on the coveted first page of Google. If you’re trying to expand into an area with 20 existing pet sitting companies, it is doable but you need to be aggressive with your content marketing strategy. But, if you find a nearby area with only a few pet sitting companies with small online presences, bingo… that should be pretty simple.

Expand Your Online Presence, THEN Your Business

A beginner mistake that I’ve seen lots of pet sitting companies make is allocating way too much time to in-person marketing, and not enough to online. Think about this for a second. You could pay to have a bunch of mailers sent out to homes in your new area,  – and then what? People stare at it for a few seconds before inevitably tossing you into the trash. It hurts, but it’s the truth!

Instead, pour this energy into your online presence. I’m talking blogs, videos, podcasts, the whole nine yards. This content lasts essentially FOREVER. If you can get enough blogs and articles out into cyberspace, pretty much any time anybody googles something pet related, your website will pop up! So much better, right?

But the work doesn’t stop there.

Once you get people onto your website, you want them to stay there. You can do this by having a top-notch, user friendly website. You have only a few seconds to get somebody engaged with your website, so you want to make them count. Do this by having impeccable navigation and solve people’s problems rather than talk about yourself! 🙂

 

Expand Your Pet Sitting Business Presence Within The Community

When you’re trying to expand your pet sitting business, you want to get to know the community and have the community get to know you. One of the best ways to do this is to get an ad in your community newsletters. So many people read these, and if you can get your ad to stand out, this will fare even better for you.

Be certain that this is a newsletter or magazine that goes to a certain number of homes showing home values in the area. This is NOT a newspaper as those tend to only cover a small percentage of your area and your advertsiment will get lost in the sea of text and ads.

True Story:
When I still had my business, my ad would print in the newsletters upside down!  The caption read: “We see things a different way. They are not your pets. They are your kids with fur.” And you know where everybody’s eyes went first? Right to my ad. It got so “bad” that the newsletter eventually started putting “It’s supposed to be upside down” right next to my ad. Imagine how many eyes that drew?

If you can come up with an innovative idea like this, I promise, it will outshine the other ads in the newsletter, this is an extremely effective way to expand your clientele.

Another great way to expand your community presence is to participate in community booth events. But – they have to be done the right way. The day and age where businesses could use gimmicks such as “Write down your email to win this prize” or “Guess how many treats are in the jar” are over.

Consumers are WAY too smart for this kind of stuff now. They know exactly what you’re going to do with their information, and they don’t want any part of it.

So, you have to get creative. You could have people take a picture with their pet in a hat or doing something silly and then email them the picture. I’ve also written a couple blogs already on how to have awesome community events, that you can check out. They explain exactly what to do, and not to do.

9 Must Have Elements To Have a Howling Pet Event In Your Community

What You Need To Have A Successful Pet Sitting Booth At An Event

How To Have The Worst Pet Sitting Booth At A Local Event

Wow – This All Seems Like A Lot!

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your business. So when you’re trying to expand your business, take it slowly, one step at a time. Start with your online presence as that is key. You have to have your website appearing on Google as much as possible. When you have the time, then go for the community newsletters and events.

But again, work at a pace that is right for you. Everything in business is a process, and as long as you are continually making meaningful strides towards your goal, you will succeed. Just don’t give up and remember to use your team and the tools at your disposal to help you along.

Here is a short video I recorded on one way I would go out and get more clients in a saturated area TODAY… I even provided a download for you to get your own template and script.

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