What Would Happen If We Said NO More In Our Business?

It happened four times today. growing pet sitting business


And it is a Tuesday. It isn’t even Monday. Monday is usually when the requests come in like crazy.
Here is what happened:


“Hi! I was wondering how much it would be to pet sit my dogs with overnights/day visits Dec 23rd to 29th”


My response is typically: I am so sorry but we have been booked up since the beginning of Nov. Would you like to be put on our waiting list?”

But this time, I sent the longest email back in hopes of her being impressed that I cared enough and save my email for when she needed us again. I was almost rebelling against myself telling her no by still trying to convince her that we are the best pet sitting company. Here is what I wrote:


“Hello Mrs. X, 

Thank you for your inquiry. Could you please do me the pleasure of telling me exactly how you found us?
Unfortunately, we are already booked up for day visits and overnights for those dates. In fact, we have been since November. We have a waiting list, but there are already 5 people on it. You never know? I could add you if you would like. 
For your reference, we have been in business since 2002. We only do this area and practically have a client on every street in MMR and Windgate Ranch! The way we operate:  Our clients sign up with us online, we come and meet with them, go over routines, get keys, and CC. During their vacation we come and do the visits/overnights (it is a custom routine. Not two households are alike) and we leave detailed notes on the counter. Or, if the clients would rather, we can text or email them once each night. The neat thing about our services is that we do not charge our day visits by time. We are there for our two and four legged clients happiness to do whatever needs to be done. From cooking dinner for pets, walking, meds, hand feeding, playing in pool, cleaning up their messes… it is all included in our one price, full service guarantee. We also pride ourselves on being there for our clients. As you can see, you just emailed me and I am emailing you right back. We always have the phone on us and are easily accessible. A lot of our clients LOVE knowing that we are at their beck and call! 🙂 
As for prices, it is $105 a night from 8pm to 6am and $35 each visit. Clients do 2 or three visits a day sometimes with, sometimes without overnights. It is completely up to you and your pets needs. 
I know that was a lot of info, but I took the type to type it all out for you Mrs. X, in hopes that you do consider us again in the future. 
Merry Christmas and please do let me know how you found us! 🙂 “
…right. She will find a solution to her pet care problem and I probably will never hear from her again!

Can I Get An Amen?

Seriously… how many of you have ever felt this way? The burning sensation of wanting to say yes. Wanting to sacrifice your sanity and just say yes. After all, you could fit them in, if you just sucked it up enough for those 5 days around the Christmas week, didn’t sleep and…. sleep when you are dead as they say. Right?


Or at least in my case.

You see, I actually was washing dishes today thinking about this. Thinking about blogging to you all about this. How many times have we said yes, when we really should have said no? Here is what my internal struggle looks like:

I have already made our 2013 goal last month. Anything we are generating now is above and beyond it….which, by the way, I thought was a dream last year.  (Hey, make plans, God laughs, right?) So it isn’t the money… but it is in a way. I am thinking WOW…. if only. If only I could say yes imagine how much further past the goal I could blow. It is like I am in competition with myself! 

If only I didn’t decide to go on a hiring freeze in Oct and just run the operation with the three staff I know I can really rely on this Christmas and January. Maybe I could have trained someone to….. No Bella. No. I can not put that extra pressure on myself (and staff) when I am planning my wedding in January and going to Europe for a month. Right? I mean that is extra stress (potentially)…

Bella!  Check yourself. You gotta say NO. Saying NO means that you are able to kick it into low gear (which we all know is going to be a struggle) and not be running in 6th gear! Saying NO means that you can be present during Christmas, New Years, the time when your family comes into town, the events leading up to the wedding…. without all the “work” stuff getting in the way. After all, isn’t this why I have a business? So it can work for me? Accent my life? Be there for me, not me for it?” 

(That is the end of my thoughts)

But I realized something. That if I am going through these struggles… I know you all are too. Maybe not right now. But at some point. At some point or another in your business, you have wondered “Should I say yes or no?” In fact, after Thanksgiving there was a lengthy thread in one of my FB groups talking about missing out on family Thanksgiving dinners bc of work. They were not happy about it and were trying to figure out what to do.

What to do? Say no. And if you can’t say no quite yet because you are a solo pet sitter, then work towards the day you CAN say no. Or… say no in other areas. no, I will not do more than 12 visits on Thanksgiving Day. 4AM, 4Noon, 4PM so that you can still have family time.

These are all sorts of things we need to learn to say NO to:

  • That client that is just a little too far away and we think that by charging more will help, but in reality, it just stresses us out more.
  • That client that decides to create their payment terms.
  • The client that insists on 2x day visits when we know the pets may need more.
  • The client that insists that their dog NEEDS to be let out at 10pm or else…

Oooh, here is one. I hear a lot of people tell me “I just don’t have the time!”  Oh really? How many times a day are you flipping through FB getting involved in drama, peeking in on people, or just reading what others are up to living vicariously through their posts? Want more time?

Say NO to Facebook! 🙂

So Why Can’t Pet Sitters Say No Easily?

I don’t know! =)
I was hoping that you could help me out with that. What do you think?

How do you deal with saying no to your business, clients, staff, things in your life. Are you good or bad at it? Why do you think so? Do you think if you learned how to say no more often, or set healthy boundaries you would be less stressed? Sound off below… I want to hear your thoughts!



Employee Quick Start


6 replies
  1. Kelly Hall
    Kelly Hall says:

    This was a great blog, Bella! It is something a lot of us in this business face, including ME! Maybe it’s because we are care gives (we do all this because we love pets and caring for them), and we don’t want to let our clients down that we worked so hard to get. And, as you said in your blog, we set financial goals for ourself and it feels good to meet and exceed them. But, in the end, not saying NO takes it toll. On our relationships, our health, our mental being. I too got depressed last Thanksgiving when I had no time for family, but it was my own fault. I am trying to achieve a better work-life balance these days, and even though I never had intentions in the beginning to hire staff, it is either that, or stop growing. Once you’re on a roll, it’s hard to stop growing and gaining clients. I still get a thrill out of every new “meet and greet”. I have committed my time to a 3 day family reunion in July and 7 days camping trip in August because this is super important for me. Maybe I can say NO 🙂

  2. Mary Anne Johndrow
    Mary Anne Johndrow says:

    Lately I’ve been slowly realizing that by always saying YES to the clients – I am always saying NO to my daughter, my family, my friends, even my own pups. It is so much easier for me to say NO for my employees, because I know they wanted that time off, or its hard for them to get to an evening appointment, etc. I carefully consider extra requests to my ladies, because it will be hard for them to say NO to me!

  3. Eve Soban
    Eve Soban says:


    I just said no today to a $3,000 booking! Yes, you read that right, 3K! And it was HARD, but I did it because the dog was not the right fit for our business and I could not cause that kind of stress to my staff.

    And this was also the very first time I said no at the Meet & Greet without even considering a test run for a night.

    My struggle with saying no has more to do with the reputation of the company. I am afraid that if we can’t help everyone, we’ll come off as not professional enough, and the word might spread that we “can’t handle” certain things, that we’re not skilled enough, LOL… Silly I know, but that’s what goes through my head.

    And then of course, there is always the sob story that gets to me and I feel obligated to help everyone…

    But I’m getting much better at it and this article was definitely inspirational and supportive of that effort. THANKS!


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