How A Smaller Pet Sitting Staff Can Save You Thousands Of Dollars!

Many business owners are under the impression that the bigger the staff, the better.  This is simply NOT true.  In fact, it’s the complete opposite.  Running with a lean (small) staff is more beneficial to you and your staff.  Running with a lean staff will not only save you money but it will also boost staff morale and reduce your level of stress as you operate your business.

Sure, you can say “But what if someone quits?” Then keep one “insurance policy” worker on your staff. Someone who doesn’t need/want to work a lot, but will temporarily if you need it.

pet sitting taxes
Federal Unemployment Tax Act

Have you heard of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act?  As an astute business owner you may have but, do you really understand how it impacts you as a business owner? It takes money out of your checks every single pay period. Well, almost. Let me explain…

The Federal Unemployment Tax Act, FUTA, essentially imposes a tax on employers.  This tax helps to fund state agencies, particularly workforce agencies.  The tax is imposed on the first $7,000 that EACH of your employees earns. So, for arguments sake, let’s say you have 10 employees on staff and each of those employees earns $7,000.  You will be paying about $560 under FUTA for each of those ten employees. That equates to a whopping $5,600.  On the other hand, if you only had five employees doing the same amount of work, you would only be paying out $2,800 under FUTA.

Do you see how less really is more?

Scheduling Software

Many scheduling software companies charge you per user.  For example, Pet Sitter Plus scheduling software charges $49.95 a month for 2 – 5 sitters, $89.95 a month for 6 -10 sitters, and $149.95 for 11 – 20 sitters.  Referring back to our initial example of hiring 5 sitters versus 10 sitters, you would save $40 per month on your scheduling software alone. You see how running your company with a lean staff is already saving you money?

Time is Money

pet sitting staffWhat do you want to spend most of your work day doing?  Interacting with your staff is an integral part of a successful business but again, less is more. Quality versus quantity. Think about the time it takes you to lead each staff member.  Texts, phone calls, training, staff meetings… you get the drift? Time is of the essence – especially when you’re paying for it.

Think about each staff meeting that you hold.  How long is it?  Probably two hours, am I right?  Ten employees, two hours at whatever their hourly rate may be.  That adds up.  Again, if you have a staff of ten employees, then that’s twenty billable
hours right there as opposed to ten billable hours if you only had a staff of five employees.

Not to mention food for the staff meeting or a location to actually hold it at.  What about first aid training and other professional development that you wish to provide your employees with?

Investing in your employees is imperative to the success of your business too but wouldn’t it make more sense to provide solid professional development to a staff of five as opposed to loosely training a staff of ten?

Staff Morale

One sure-fire way to boost your business is by boosting staff morale.  Think of this, everyone wants to be part of something.  Your organization is a community and you want it to feel that way to your employees.  Your employees will feel valued, like they belong if you keep them fully involved.  They need to feel like you value their existence and the work that they do for you is important.  Employees that FEEL like they are an integral part of your business will behave like they are part of your business.  Fully vested employees are more eager to help you make your business succeed.

pet sitting employeeWill your ten employees feel like they are important if they only work a handful of hours a week? Again, do you have what it takes to make ten people feel like they matter? AND will those ten people do enough pet sits to really feel like they’re part of your team?

Another way we, as business owners, make our employees feel valued is showing our appreciation towards them.  Holiday bonuses and parties, employee appreciation day/week, birthdays.  You get the idea?  Wouldn’t you rather give a great holiday bonus to five people and make them feel really appreciated as opposed to giving a slim holiday bonus to ten staff members?

Running with a lean staff really IS the way to go.  It saves you time and quite a bit of money, allows you to fully invest in your employees, thereby boosting staff morale and will save you a few headaches along the way.

Back To You…

How does this all sound? Makes sense doesn’t it? That is how I have chosen to run my company and how I teach people to run theirs. I believe it is more efficient.

But I want to hear what you have to say…

Sound off below and tell me if you agree or disagree with me and how you have chosen to run your company. Has it been a strategic move? Or has it just evolved as you hired people who could help you here and there?


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10 replies
  1. Carol P
    Carol P says:

    I’m just starting my 3rd year and grossed $30k+ using a handful of ICs mostly for overnight gigs, so I think about this topic often as I continue to grow my biz in northern Michigan. Last month, I garnered 7 new clients, including 4 new 2x – 4x weeklies. This month, I have garnered 4 new clients so far, so my trend is good for 2015. Part of me wants to continue to grow big and reach for the $100k gross mark, and my other inner self who started this biz because I was burned out in the corporate America world, agrees 100% with Sarah Johnson.

    • Bella Vasta
      Bella Vasta says:

      Carol A. sarah isn’t wanting to not gross a lot. She’s wanting to have a lean staff.

      For example: how much revenue can a pet sitter pull in? In mine, the answer is $65k! In others, it might be $40k or even $15k

      What I’m trying to illustrate is the numbers behind the amount of staff each of us had on board.

      You could easily have a $100k business w two staff.

      But the real question is how much is NET?

  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I’m glad you wrote this Bella Vasta! I only have one staff member with plans to POSSIBLY add one more towards the end of the year but I only want one or two more staff members period. I definitely feel like a minority in wanting such a small staff (and still wanting to work myself) but I just don’t want the stress of managing a ton of people. I want to pet sit not people sit!

  3. KAYLA
    KAYLA says:

    Agree with everything you said, bigger isn’t always better. My only gripe is that for those companies like mine where midday walks are the majority of our income if one person quits or is fired then it puts a huge stain on ME and also on my staff. Ideally I would like a couple backup walkers, but it is hard to find someone who wants to work as a “back up”. Also how do you grow your business or keep up with the demand without hiring more people?

  4. Robyn
    Robyn says:

    Thanks for the great post and valuable numbers. Sometimes its challenging to see the math when you’re running around trying to get things done. I’ve scaled back on staff recently (not on purpose or by choice,) only to almost immediately benefit from our newly agile size. The expense and the value shifts have been great and we’re hoping to change the way we grow, when we do grow as a result of this revelation.

  5. Kim Williams
    Kim Williams says:

    Except your math is flawed. The rate on FUTA is 6%, less a 5.4% credit. The effective rate is .6% or .006. The tax on $7000 is $42.

    There may be other reasons to tighten staff, but FUTA isn’t one of them!

    • Bella Vasta
      Bella Vasta says:

      Hi Kim, Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. You are so right! I should add that to the article. Let me explain a little bit more….
      Many business owners I work with are always saying how challenging two things are: Cash flow, and the “expenses” to have employees. What I was trying to point out is that enough though there is the tax credit (which I need to add to the article) it is still money out of a business owners pocket. Hope that helps clear up the confusion.

  6. Kim Williams
    Kim Williams says:

    Hmmm, I left a comment and apparently it didn’t make it through moderation. I’ll try again. The FUTA tax rate is 6%, less a 5.4% credit for paying state unemployment. So the effective rate is .06%, or .006. That works out to $42 for the first $7000. That’s nowhere near $560 per person.


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