How To Automate Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business

Technology sure has grown since the start of this industry. In the 90s, we were doing everything with paper and pen.Paper schedules, our flip phones, if we even had that… and websites were just coming on the scene. Social Media wasn’t popular and the only real type of marketing and advertising was good old fashioned print mail.

Take a minute and think about this for a second. If you started a business in the 90s or even earlier 2000s, the way we get business and provide business has 100% changed since then.

Some might argue that it has gotten more complicated since then, but technology has actually made it so much easier to get instant data coming in and going out of your business that you can make real-time decisions. We can make pivots without waiting for publication cycles or a meeting with a bookkeeper.

Automation is something that many businesses need to adopt to make their processes run smoother. Proper automation could actually yield higher profit margins, while improper automation, or lack thereof, could really add to the stress of owning and operating a business and cost the business owner a lot of money.

 

Woman holding phone and coffee cup with words like "social", "tweet", and "network" coming from phone screen.

Today, I am going to show you all the ways you can automate a pet sitting and dog walking business.

Listen up! If you are a solo sitter, this is especially important because there is only one of you and you need to make every minute of your day efficient.

If you are in the process of building and scaling your business, it is even more important. You want to make sure you have as much automated as possible so when you hand the baton to an office manager they will have the most efficient workflow.

So here is the list, in no particular order, and how you can use it in your business.

GSuite: 

GSuite has so many advantages that your business can be using. First, is the email. Here, you can assign everyone their own email so that all the company info is sent to that email and when they leave the company it is all absorbed back to your company. If you do not do this, consider yourself to have a security breach where clients sensitive info is stored forever on someone’s email account.

Another advantage to GSuite is the ability to have canned responses. These are responses that you or your staff might type all the time, but being able to populate the message inside the email with one button really saves a lot of time. It also ensures that the messaging from your company is consistent.

Screenshot of Boomerang website, showing that you can add Boomerang to Gmail to send emails late and get email reminders.

Boomerang:

This chrome app allows you to schedule emails to send and also will remind you to follow up with other emails that you indicate. The beauty of this automation is when someone emails or calls you after your office hours, you no longer have to:

A. Email them back and break the boundaries of office hours essentially showing them that they can reach you at all hours of the night. 

B. Try to remember to reply to them in the morning and sleep with one eye open because you don’t want to forget. You know that feeling? Like something is hanging over your head?

 

Pet Sitting Software:

This might sound like a no-brainer but do you even know how many pet sitters and dog walkers are not using this the right way?  Make it mandatory that every client needs to schedule online. They need to update their notes online. They need to change their schedule or cancel….. make them do it all online! Make sure that your entire staff if using your software to the fullest capabilities. You can even turn on notifications for GPS in case some don’t arrive or check in at the right time and this has been a lifesaver and peace of mind to so many.

Loom website showing that you can record videos, sharing your computer screen, to send a message rather than using email or text.

The most common question I get asked around software is, “Which one should I choose?” It is a very personal question, but I think there are certain things you should consider:

1. Accounting

2. Customer service

3. Software updated?

4. Mobile version or app?

5. Communication

6. Credit Cards

More explanation about how to come to a decision on this here.

Loom:

This goes hand in hand with software. Whenever anyone has a question about the software (clients or staff), record a short video explanation. Loom is a free Chrome extension where you can record your screen. By doing these videos, and then properly naming them and storing them, this will allow your staff and clients the ability to make a difficult situation easier by way of the video. You could even create a video and add it to your FAQ on your website so it is at the user’s fingertips. This will also decrease the number of problems you have to solve.

Agore pulse homepage, a social media management tool allowing users to post to multiple social media websites.

Agora Pulse:

Ever struggle to know what software to schedule your social media? Agora Pulse really checks ALL the boxes. They post to every relevant platform, have a way for you to keep up on your social media notifications and inbox all in one place, and also will recycle your content so it never “dies” after you post it the first time. This is a necessity for any small business who wants to have a killer social presence. If you’re ready to get started, you can sign up right here for a free trial and 2 months free!

Screenshot of Payroll Experts website, providing payroll solutions for businesses.

If you get into the habit of batching your social media, you can do it all in 1-2 hours a month to set it and forget it. then you will be getting told that “I see you everywhere” when it really took minimal effort!

Payroll:

The thing I LOVED about working with Payroll Experts was that it was easy. Here is how this worked:

  1. My staff knew what days they needed to email me their payroll by.
  2. I would gather all the names and amounts and email it to my specialist.
  3. Done! The company took care of the rest and direct deposited it all.

Having a company take care of all the necessary payroll “stuff” is very helpful. Percentage change and laws change and honestly, there is just too much to keep up with. Certain forms need to be filed at certain times and when you can hand it off to someone to take care of, it will free up a lot of your time and headspace.

For a great company, take a look here

Credit Cards:

Did you know studies show that if you don’t see it, you will spend more money? It always makes me chuckle when people think credit cards COST money because they see it coming out but don’t realize that the mere fact of having credit cards will cause people to spend more with you… because they don’t see it! It happens all the time.

If you have a software system you can automatically set it to charge clients at a certain time or you can go in once a week and click, click, click, CHARGE…. and off it goes to your bank. Using credit cards saves SO much time over collecting the checks and going to the bank.

You won’t ever have to sit down and search through Paypal to see if someone paid you, be folding laundry to find that you WASHED the check that was in your jeans, or just try to keep track of the cash you have been given.

Sure, credit cards cost (typically less than 3%) but the time that you save and money made by not seeing it is astronomical.

Guess what? I have people that do this too. Email me if you want the hook-up!

JazzHR homepage, a website for tracking applicants and recruiting software.

Hiring:

Most hiring methods are de-funked and I get it. You have a lot of other things going on and when an applicant gets back to you it isn’t always easy to stop what you are doing and reply. Let alone understand what to say or remember which applicant you said what to.

It is difficult when you need an employee you have to post a job opening, then wonder if your hiring ad is good enough, and then find out if anyone applies… etc.

What if I told you over 70 pet sitters found the solution to that through automation and are using software to solve this problem?

Did you know the job market is shifting? Do you realize that people aren’t just applying to your job? Do you realize it is like dating and you have to appear attractive to them? What better way to do that then responding fast and having an entirely automated process? A company I work with (and sponsoring the retreat!) has done just that for over 70 pet sitting companies. I explain how here and you can get your own Bella hook up and discount here.

 

Quickbooks website with pricing for their accounting software for small businesses.

Quickbooks Online:

Most people I know have a bookkeeper because they understand that there are just too many chances to make mistakes that will take money out of your pocket at the end of the year. In order to get fast reporting, Quickbooks online is a must. Now, feel how you may about the company… but once it is set up the rest is really easy. AND if you have a bookkeeper this is something they can do for you. Having a bookkeeper and QBO allows you to get reporting fast because you don’t have to pass reports back and forth. It also allows your statements to be downloaded automatically from your bank and credit cards. I highly recommend this set up. It is what I do and I only have to look at my numbers when my bookkeeper sends me her monthly report and I have full knowledge of what I am spending money on, profit, cash flow, and what I can afford.

 

Project Boards:

Like Asana or Trello are great project management tools or even a great place to store a checklist with your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Here, your office staff (or you) can do a brain dump and organize the cards into categories that make sense to you. You can add people to the boards and you can share your thoughts and plans in an easy way.

Google Analytics:

If you don’t check this weekly, you are missing out. It will tell you how people arrive on your website, where they go, what they read, and even what you need to add to your website. This is a highly powerful tool and we actually have a lot of trainings on it in the Jump Mastermind. Plus, Google Analytics is free!

So as you can see there are lots of ways you can arrange your business to flow. In the end, it is all an individual choice but we have to understand that we need to use tools to help us because there just certainly isn’t enough time in the day to do “all the things.”

If you need help in any way, let me know in the comments below or in one of my free groups. I am here to help.

pet sitting facebook group

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