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pet industry revolution

What Side of the Pet Service Industry Revolution Are You On?

pet industry revolution

 

There is a Pet Industry Revolution going on right now

If you haven’t noticed, 2020 is really shaking things up. It is splitting our pet service industry into two segments, and whether you realize it or not, you are on one of the sides. Some pet businesses experienced a temporary dip in business and are back up, but others experienced the same dip and haven’t come back up. The segments are more divided than ever, and some will survive this industry revolution and some will not.

 

 

The startling part is that I fully believe that you are in charge of what side of this industry revolution you are on…if you are aware of what is happening in and around you.

I say in you, because I fully believe that mindset and vision have a lot to do with this.

I say around you, because you really need to understand how society is shifting drastically right now. and how your business evolves as a result

Negating these two things leads to being on the side of the shift that will likely be gone for good.

 

Times Are Changing

People are forming pods and getting closer. They are working from home, learning from home, afraid to travel, or being shamed into thinking that venturing out is taboo.

We are in an election year, and the division of the US is stronger than ever. Human rights and racism is a forefront topic, and our social media feeds just reinforce our self-fulfilling views of the world by algorithms that are supercharged and know us better than our own mamas! (Have you seen the Netflix Docu-Drama The Social Dilemma?)

And news flash: It doesn’t matter how you feel about any of it. There is no room for how you are feeling when it comes to saving your business right now.

I’d actually argue that if you let your feelings get into this, your business will not be on the winning side of this revolution.

It isn’t a time for your feelings right now.

It is time for survival.

You can process it all later, but when it comes to business, if you want to survive, you have to do what you need to do to protect your livelihood.

But some of you aren’t—and I hope this is a wake up call.

Keep reading, but please don’t shoot the messenger…

 

Society Will Never Be the Same.

In the beginning of this year, people were fighting online learning. It was actually comical. I was reading things like “No, I don’t want to learn Pet First Aid and CPR online” and “Home school is for overprotective granola families”.

The idea of a virtual consultation or virtual meet-and-greet was something that would often be followed by an eye roll. The first time someone didn’t reply to the phase of an interview where it asked for a video recording… the CEO said “It doesn’t work” and “I can’t ask that”.

 

Fun fact, it actually DOES work. Just listen to how this dog walking business is crushing it with 100% virtual consultations, and last I checked they were back up to 80% of their customer volume!

 

We had extensive training on it in the Mastermind by one of the world’s leading sales trainers who helped us break it down. We did this back in March and learned what to say, how to say it, and tricks to use on Zoom to be the most effective. The businesses that have implemented this have been winning clients.

There are others out there who I only hear talk about why it won’t work… without even trying it. Our society has changed. People are more comfortable connecting and meeting online than ever before, and many actually prefer it. We are not going back to “normal” or the way it was before.

Not accepting this is the very first nail in a business’s coffin.

COVID has sped up the entire online learning process, and I don’t just mean the formal schooling either. Conferences have been canceled for up to a year. Almost everyone in the world, from CEOs to preschoolers, now learns online.

It isn’t enough to just be online anymore and have a website. You have to have an entire online user experience and a customer experience that give you all the feels, even after the transaction has taken place.

 

video training pet sitters

This will Revolutionize the Way You Do Business.

Businesses have no other choice but to shift.

Well, they DO have a choice, some have just have refused. SMH (that means Shake My Head by the way :).

The businesses that haven’t shifted still think that they are solving exactly the same problems before March 2020. They still think that the only reason why a dog needs a walk is that the pet parent is busy working outside of the home, and the dog needs to have a break in the day (mid-day) to get a walk and go potty.

They aren’t acknowledging that the new problem is that the dog won’t stop barking at the increased number of delivery drivers going up and down the street and the added stress, depression, and anxiety of its owner working from home while (some) are also trying to educate the children too. The new problems just aren’t being acknowledged.

 

delivery service

 

Meanwhile, there are lots of changes in our purchasing behavior. We are:

  • Buying everything online.
  • Waiting in parking lots for their store orders to come out.
  • Washing down groceries.
  • Staying inside our homes going home-improvement crazy rather than traveling around for the summer.
  • Planning ahead for delivery requests and shipments.
  • Researching even MORE online now that there is a barrier preventing us from touching and feeling things.

Rightfully so, people are scared to have people they don’t know come into their home. We aren’t just concerned for our own general health, but now about not getting exposed to COVID to protect those children and older family members who we love. The thought of someone coming into our home to walk our dog or take care of our house can actually be seen as a threat in 2020!

But pet business owners aren’t acknowledging this. They aren’t addressing it in their marketing, and it is going to make the dip in business even deeper, possibly to the point of no return.

This is a revolution that is happening. Things are changing and your business must change with it. If it doesn’t, history has shown what could happen.

Think about the businesses that have gone under over the years because they refused to innovate:

  • Blockbuster not going digital is a great example.
  • Kodak actually had the first digital camera but didn’t go to market with it because they were afraid of killing the film industry.
  • Toys ‘R Us took too long to selling online. By then it was too late, and their long time business went under.
  • Nokia didn’t realize that the user experience for a phone wasn’t voice but data, and they didn’t shift to software like they should have.
  • Borders books failed to adapt to new technologies and just kept books in a store, leading to their demise.
  • Sony actually had the software to create a device better than an iPod, but they were afraid to test something new and address illegally downloadable music, so they faded off into the musical distance.

All of these examples and more are powerful when you just think of how ideology can change a business trajectory. There are 45 more examples of big brands you know that have faded off into the sunset because they failed to innovate.

 

What Happens When A Business Revolution Is Taking Place?

When there are great trials in humanity, two things happen: People either fall or they rise. The pet services industry isn’t immune. During the 2008 recession, major start-ups grew into a huge business. Ever hear of:

WhatsApp?
Venmo?
Groupon?
Instagram?
Uber?
Pinterest?
Slack?
Square?

Many of these startups were driven by the consumer’s distrust in both the economy and big brands.

The idea of jumping into someone’s personal car, rather than a taxicab company made people feel good.

Feeling the power of curtailing big banks by using an app to exchange money, excited people.

Saying bye-bye to major telecom companies who were charging an arm and a leg just to talk to far-away friends made people feel like they were taking back their power by enabling communication to happen over an app.

This is the time for innovation. While your competition is still solving old problems, you solve the new ones. While your competition isn’t addressing contactless meet-and-greets or dog walking, you do! This is how you adapt and change to meet the current times.

The year 2020 is forcing you to shift your growth and adopt different ways to think and do business because society is changing at a rapid pace.

 

Businesses That Will Fail During This Revolution:

bubble burst

 

If you are one of those people who refuse to accept that the world has changed and that you need to change with it, your business will not make it through COVID. Bold statement? Yes.

I have read so many pet sitting and dog walking business owners type things like “COVID is killing my business”.  No, my friend, your stinkin’ thinkin’ mindset is killing your business.

What COVID is doing is it is forcing you to rise like the cream of the crop or die a slow and painful death. As you watch, the years and years of your business that you have sacrificed your life, relationships, health, finances, sanity, vacations, and time with family for are slowly dwindling away.

It is only a matter of time. The revolution is happening. The bubble is bursting in the pet care industry.

A short while ago, everyone and their mother were starting a pet sitting or dog walking business. People were charging poverty wages ($10 to $15 a visit) to do something they loved. Others were refusing to grow out of a job and into a business.

Now it is like watching a bubble burst.  Those who have a strong business (sure they are hurting or down), they will survive. And those who were just gluing it together every day are not going to withstand the length of stress that this pandemic is pressuring small businesses with.

According to a study that Proceedings of the National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States (PNAS),

“Our results also highlight the financial fragility of many businesses. The median firm with monthly expenses over $10,000 had only enough cash on hand to last roughly 2 wk. Three-quarters of respondents only had enough cash on hand to last 2 mo or less.* Not surprisingly, firms with more cash on hand were more optimistic that they would remain open by the end of the year.” 

I witnessed this when I was on the phone with companies who didn’t know how they were going to make payroll for the upcoming week because of the avalanche of cancellations happening in their business.

It is sad.

It is so sad, and I was crying with them all on the phone thinking that we need to be better than this! That fueled my fire to throw out my 2nd and 3rd quarter content marketing plan, and I buckled down to create 17 pieces of rich content to help support and encourage you all throughout this crisis.

Here it is for your reference:

The Pet Industry Revolution Is Here and Happening Whether You Want to Acknowledge It Or Not.

This wasn’t expected. We didn’t know this was going to happen. You did not do anything to cause it. But SUPRISE!!!! A new way of life IS here and nothing is going back to “normal.”

Some are better off than others having a larger staff that they have had to cut back but their volume was so big that cutting back meant that they were still in business. Meanwhile, others were already struggling to make ends meet and this revolution, if not adapted to well, will end up crushing their business.

Some businesses didn’t do things to build and keep a strong business foundation. Everyone was in shock and bewildered when we went under quarantine and lockdown. Rather than use the gift of time to build their business stronger, they were paralyzed in fear.

But it is all only temporary. This revolution is not only going to change the way we do business but change the landscape of pet sitting and dog walking businesses.

With the exception of places like California and NYC who are seeing a mass exodus of people moving to a different place, we have to remember that the unemployment rate is going down, the economy isn’t doing that badly, and most of the clients that pet sitting and dog walkers help are still working.

 

Be Honest Have You Revolutionized The Way You Talk To Your Clients Or Do Business?

 

walking dog

 

Even though people are working from home now,  pet sitters and dog walkers aren’t selling the reality that working from home is tough.

It isn’t a walk in the park as many fantasize it to be. We must start pulling the curtain back on and asking questions like “how many times are you really walking your dog a week?”

I think we are all telling ourselves a lie. It is like saying “I will go to the gym” but then you never actually do. How often are people really walking their dog from home?

I bet it isn’t as much as they think.

But no one is talking about this.

Recently, I challenged my Mastermind members to post about this and the results were off the charts with engagement. I showed them how to work magic and get conversations going that they normally wouldn’t have had. Have you done anything like this?

Why or why not? Seriously, I want to know. Write me below in the comments for this blog!

How Window World Is Doing It Right

I am editing this blog to bring you this incredible example that just came across my desk. I am shopping for new windows for my home and received this video as a confirmation for an estimate that is happening next week. I want you to watch this short video. Pay attention to how you feel and contrast why this message is so much more impactful on video than if it were just written out. This is so simple. It is so easy, and every single one of you reading this article, right now, can do this.

The Way You Respond To The Revolution Happening Will Determine Your Business Future 

respond

 

Let me remind you that your clients are just working from home.

Most of them still have a job. In fact, most of the people who pet sitting and dog walking companies service are not the sector that is out of work. They aren’t blue-collared workers. They are the affluent white-collared workers.

In other words, the money is still there.

Maybe even more money is there because not as many people are traveling. I mean, just look at the earnings for Home Depot these days!

What are you doing to convince your community that they need their dog walked or to inspire them to take local road trips if they don’t want to fly?

It is critical to remember that you sell peace of mind, trust, and security; that you exchange guilt for money, not hours for dollars.

If you stay in the mindset that you exchange hours/minutes for dollars it will be a hard struggle. You will be the business that doesn’t survive this year, and you will not survive this dip. You will be the one lacking excitement in your business, dreaming about selling, or switching careers because you have come to despise entrepreneurship.

So what do you do? If you want to be on the survival side, how can you accomplish this? How can you revive your business, and make it so that it is in a strong position for years to come and maybe even in the position to take over the market share of those that didn’t come through this alive?

I have some ideas for you… but it is going to take work. It isn’t going to be easy. You probably will try to resist some of it. I know these work because as a coach I get to see a huge variety of business owners all around the world. There are some keen traits of every successful business, and I am going to walk you through them now.

 

Five Areas You Need to Focus on Right Now to Survive:

  1. Mindset
  2. Location
  3. Messaging
  4. Customer Experience
  5. Leadership

 

1. Mindset

mindset

 

If you want to believe that the sky is falling and that everything is going to crap then I can’t help you.

If you are one of those people who say things like, “Why is this happening to me?” and you aren’t open to changing that mindset to “What is this trying to teach me?” then you should just stop reading now because this will be a waste of time.

But if you are fighting to see the good, and if you want this to work, then please keep reading. I have been sitting here fighting alone with you since March and what I am about to share with you is WORKING for my clients all over the USA and Canada!

Let’s rise above it all. Let’s fight this together.

What does that look like?

  • Read or listen to books.
  • Get a morning routine.
  • Get a pack of comrades around you all in the same position (Mastermind).
  • Feed your brain by listening to others’ successes and struggles.
  • Do some affirmations.
  • Live in a state of gratitude.
  • Humble yourself to ASK for help when you are feeling down or weak.
  • Tell people what you are going through so you don’t drown alone and others can help pull you out.
  • Take charge of those gosh darn voices inside your head!

2. Location

This is hard. This is just about the only thing you can’t control, and if you are in places like NYC or the Bay area where there are droves of people moving out of your area, I don’t have any life-changing advice. HOLD ON TIGHT, and try your best to wait it out.

But one thing I can say is that shelters have never been so empty. So please focus on the fact that although people might be staying home, there have never been so many pets at home. It is our job to figure out how to become relevant to help service these pets. What can you do? What problem can you solve? Are you asking for the sale? Are you attempting to bring on new clients?

If the trend in your area is that people are moving out, or your clients just aren’t coming back, then it is time to go back to Marketing 101 and start making connections, collaborating with your community, and getting your name out there.

It is time to start setting goals of getting X clients by DATE. We are doing that weekly and monthly in the Mastermind right now.

How many clients do you need to get today in order to get your revenue back to where it was? Do you know that number?

You need to start tilling the land in your location. Connect with people. Grow with them, and see how you can come together to get through this together. There are a LOT of ways that you can do this and there are many of my clients who have been successfully doing this with the right strategy.

3. Messaging

Website messaging

I think by this point we all know someone (if not ourselves or family) who has had COVID-19 or died from it. It’s sad, but true. There is an enormous social responsibility right now that is leading to fear of being judged for going to Costco or getting on an airplane for a trip. The secrecy surrounding normal activities is real.

As a society, we are riddled with an uprise in mental health issues from anxiety, depression, and even domestic violence. We are NOT okay, and as a business it is important to be sensitive to this.

In the pet industry, we get to care for and represent the most innocent and unconditionally loving creatures—our pets—and this is an emotional experience. Those who are negating this are missing the mark.

Now, more than ever, it is time to be emotional on our websites.

Before March 2020, I said that you are missing the mark if I can copy and paste your website onto another pet sitting or dog walking company website.

Now I am upping the ante. If you are not showing masks on faces, showing how you are using your personal protective equipment (PPE), doing contactless pick ups and drop offs, promoting virtual consultations, and THEN the online scheduling and back-up plans, showing that you are established, carfeful, and connected in your community, then you can not cry when people aren’t contacting you.

The world is afraid right now.

Rightfully so.

Social media messaging

What are you doing to control the narrative that you are using PPE, that your clients are protected, that you have contactless pick up and drop off, etc.? All the things we mentioned about your website above, should be talked about, shown, and told on your social media postings and in your stories.

Sixty percent of a buying decision is made before a potential client ever contacts you. What is your social media saying about you? If I go there, are you just sharing videos of viral pet videos? Or is each post establishing your personality and showing me that you are sensitive and considerate of the current climate?

Plan out your content. Make videos. Appeal to people’s emotions. It is not a time for you to stick your head in the sand. Now, more than ever, you need to be a superior marketer to save your business. Or, you can get on the wait-list for Better Marketing with Bella.

Shortly, we will open for two weeks to accept people into our program for January through June, 2021.

BMWB

Sick of doing your own graphics? Want us to do them for you? Space is limited.

 

4. Customer Experience

This is the feeling that someone has when they are doing business with you. It is meeting them where they are in their life journey, whether feeling scared, excited, remorseful, or curious and everything in between.

You must take charge. Let people know what to expect. Answer their questions before they even know they have them. Be a leader in your business and community.

Now people are looking for leadership and confidence. They might still have their job, but they might be scared of the future and feel like they need to hold on to their money a little longer than they normally would. They might be hesitant to spend because they don’t know what’s happening in the world.

Your customer experience is an entire sector of your business that makes people happy to interact and patronize your business. This isn’t something that can be overlooked—especially now.

I really love what Joey Coleman says about this subject. He is definitely an expert and did a great job explaining it on this podcast and then in his Mastermind workshop.

 

5. Leadership

There are businesses that are thriving. I am proud to call many of them JUMPERS. They are in my programs, they have been listening to my suggestions since March, and I will bet you $100 they have been doing it scared.

But it is working.

There are businesses whose customers or profits were decimated to 20% and are back up to 80% now. They ASKED all their clients to come back… 10 a week, calling them up on the phone to come back to them.

They don’t just “keep in touch”. They ask for the sale. There is a difference.

They have taken my guerrilla marketing ideas and done them. And they worked!

They have put their head down when they had to be closed and tightened their foundations by focusing on customer experience, SOPS, and the long list of things they have been wanting to do. They realized that despite the world falling apart that they were given the gift of TIME and they weren’t going to discard it.

They kept focused and worked hard.
They changed the problems they were solving.
They changed up the stories they were telling, the videos they were doing on FB live, the local connections and collaborations they were doing.
They leveraged relationships both internally in their business and in their community. They tested methods.
They kept hiring through the pandemic, they upped their educational game, and they sharpened their mindset.

They showed up on our coaching calls through Better Marketing with Bella and started doing Instagram stories and woke up with four new client inquires because of it. (True story!)

Gosh dang I am so proud of them.

Was it easy? Hell to the no!
Were they scared? Hell to the yes.
Did they think about throwing in the towel? Uh huh. Almost every one of them.

But they rose above it!

They relied on the positive community that they chose to be a member of. They decided to do it scared, try new things, and test theories as they were zigging and zagging with current events.

 

The Future Is Very Bright

Plan a

 

Imagine a world where more pets are adopted into loving homes, where affluent clients still have their jobs, and business competition has been drastically decreased. Imagine a world in which your messaging, marketing, and unique value propositions are completely unique and where your foundation, systems, and processes are solid.

This is what I believe the future will be for those who want it. There is nothing stopping you from embracing this reality. If your business is slow, pick yourself up, and start fixing and improving your foundation. Get everything checked off your to-do list, and align yourself with your crystal clear vision so you can take the next decade by storm and make all your wildest dreams come true.

The sad truth is that not everyone will still have a business after this.

You will. If you are a Jumper, if you let me help you, and if you show up for me and do it scared.

I know it might feel awkward. I know you might even feel bad for doing well, a feeling called survivors guilt.

But I don’t want you to focus on that. I want you to focus on getting through this, because in the end, the only thing that is going to determine your outcome is your own mindset.

Here is what one of my clients, Amberly from Pawfect Pet and House Sitter posted this week in my Mastermind:
Jump Mastermind

 

Tell Me Below How I Can Help You

I am here for you. I want to help you fight through this. Let me know below what you thought of this article and what questions you have about moving forward. Are you going to ride it out? Are you giving up? Are you fighting through it? Where are you at in this journey?

I want to know.

Write me below.


Are You New Here?

Welcome, I am so glad you are here. If you are a dog walker, dog sitter, cat sitter, doggy daycare or kennel owner, then you found the right place. Jump Consulting is the one place on the internet to get all the resources you need for your pet care business. Can I give you some freebies to generate sales and increase revenues for your business? Grab your freebies below.

Episode 166: How To Use Email Marketing In Your Pet Sitting Business

Email marketing is something that a lot of business owners have an adverse reaction to. They think they’re bothering people, no one opens them, and they don’t know what to say. Despite being able to batch them and schedule emails, not many choose this path. But why?

In a world where Rover is killing it in the inbox by sending emails to the people on their list at least once a week, why can’t professional pet sitters who can surely be even more effective, intimate, and relevant do this? Today, I want to break it down to show you how I use email marketing and how you can, too.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

Email marketing is a great way to keep your audience up to date with what’s going on in your business and humanize your business. Send weekly updates and use the P.S. section to ask them to respond, opening up the line of communication. Your emails don’t need to be long and drawn out, they should simply add value to your reader’s life. With each email, you’re able to show a bit of your personality, this is what people connect with, so be as personal as you can. Specifically, videos are a great way to show your personality and personalize your emails. And remember, on social media, you don’t own your audience, But with your email list, you do!

If you’re still not sure what to write or really don’t have the time to focus on email marketing, I get it. That is why we provide you with two short and fun emails to send to your clients each month in the Better Marketing with Bella program.

Show Highlights

  • How can you recap your week in an email? [3:20]
  • What should you put in the P.S. section? [4:30]
  • How do you segment your audience for better email marketing? [5:35]
  • How can you add value? [6:30]
  • What can you do to build a bond with your audience? [7:00]
  • What’s one of the best ways to share current sales you have? [7:40]
  • How can you personalize your email marketing with videos? [8:05]
  • What does it mean to “own” your audience? [8:30]

 

Email marketing

Links

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    1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
    2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
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Better Marketing with Bella - Social Media Solution

Social Media

Episode 164: What To Post On Social Media When You Don’t Know What To Say

People come to me all the time saying that they have no idea what to post on social media. They are staring at the cursor and have no idea what to say. All this pressure is mounting to try and be witty, to be different. If you’ve ever felt this way, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’m sharing seven things you can do when you’re lost on what to share on your social media.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

Be inspiring to your community and think local. Are there events in your community that you can get involved with? Or another local business or person you can shout out on social media? Highlight your community and connections. You are the expert. You have put in all the time and have learned a lot. Share your knowledge you have. Also, tell stories to draw out the emotions of your viewer. People remember how you made them feel, not what you said. If you don’t have the time to prepare your posts or think of ideas, Better Marketing With Bella can help by providing graphics, videos, captions, hashtags, Instagram stories, and more. Everything you need to stay active on social media with your branding to market your business.

Show Highlights

  • How can you inspire others? [1:10]
  • How do you keep track of everything? [3:00]
  • What are some ways to be funny on social media? [4:55]
  • How can you leverage local events in your community? [5:55]
  • What are tips that you can share with your audience? [7:50]
  • Who can you feature or shout out on your social media? [9:40]
  • How can you tell a story on social media? [12:20]
  • What if you don’t have the time to do these things? [13:50]

 

Social Media

Links

Share The Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

    1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
    2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
    3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
    4. Click on ‘Write a Review’

Better Marketing with Bella - Social Media Solution

marketing - hard work

Episode 162: 3 Problems with Marketing Your Pet Business

I’m coming to you today to talk about how you can solve the three biggest problems you have with marketing your pet business. I’ve found that marketing either comes naturally to you or you despise it. The ones that despise it are left lying awake at night wondering how to bring in more clients that they actually want. We all dream of having our business be the one that comes to mind in our local community when they think of pet care, but it’s really hard to get there.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

The most common challenges I see pet businesses face around marketing are not having the time to do it, the money and resources to fund it, or the creative juices to create it. Time is one of our most precious commodities. It almost always gets in the way of business owners working on marketing within their business. The lack of time to plan, resources to create, and creativity to produce something can lead you to share someone else’s content, which is only helping them, not you. Better Marketing With Bella can solve these challenges for your business by creating white-label videos and graphics with your branding, ready to post each month.

Show Highlights

  • What if you don’t have enough time? [4:45]
  • What resources go into marketing? [8:24]
  • How can you be creative when you’re burnt out? [12:10]
  • What if you had someone to help you? [16:00]
  • How can Better Marketing With Bella help you? [18:15]

 

Marketing

Links

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Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

    1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
    2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
    3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
    4. Click on ‘Write a Review’

Better Marketing With Bella

Episode 161: Why Rover Is Beating The Professional Pet Sitter

I wanted to talk about something pretty controversial today. Our listeners are at a myriad of levels in the pet industry from buying multiple businesses all the way to people who are on Rover or Wag and wanting to start their own professional company. I want you to take this message to heart, no longer are we mom and pop companies plugging away. There is something very unique that is changing in this business. Specifically, I’m going to be talking about why Rover (or any other app or hobby sitter) is beating the professional pet sitter.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

The reason why Rover or Wag might get more sign-ups than a professional pet sitter is because they’re beating us at the automation game. Pet parents don’t even get to experience how great our services are because our entire intake ignores the user experience. The experience your customer has with your business before even meeting you is paramount. Speak exactly to your avatar on your website, if I can copy and paste your website onto someone else’s site, you are doing it wrong.

Show Highlights

  • Why do Rover sitters get more sign-ups? [2:55]
  • How can we avoid people from moving on to other sitters? [8:15]
  • What is the most important part of the sales process? [9:00]
  • How can the professional sitter win against Rover? [12:15]

Rover

Links

Share The Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

    1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
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relationship marketing

Episode 159: BEST OF BELLA: Relationship Marketing & Buyer Personas With Jessika Phillips

Today for the Best of Bella series we are replaying Episode 120 with Jessika Phillips. She runs a multi-million dollar marketing firm where her major platform is relationship marketing and at the end of the day as small service providing businesses in our communities it’s all about the relationship. Jessika really leaves you with a lot of nuggets to think about that you can use in your business today, you don’t want to miss this one.

 

relationship marketing

Show Highlights

  • Who Is Jessika Phillips? [3:00]
  • How do I get started with relationship marketing? [7:30]
  • How do we tie in relationship marketing with buyer personas? [15:30]
  • What does a relationship marketing plan look like and how do I know if it’s working? [20:00]
  • What should we be doing on social media to start implementing relationship marketing? [26:00]
  • Describe your FREE social media toolkit? [27:15]

Original Show Notes

Jessika Phillips helps people master Relationship Marketing and as a relationship marketing evangelist she is often sought after for her approach to marketing. She’s the passionate Founder of NOW Marketing Group and host of the largest social media marketing conference in Ohio, Social Media Week Lima as well as the host of a weekly live video show called Magnet Marketers.

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

  • When it comes to marketing, the first step is to think about how you are capturing attention. How are you standing out? Attention is the game when it comes to marketing. Usually somebody will take notice of you because you’re helping them in some way. Articulate your message in a way that’s clear and concise. Create micro-moments that will build the relationship. Make them feel excited to do business with you by creating a unique and enjoyable experience.relationship marketing

 

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hiring

How To Stop Asking The Wrong Interview Questions At A Dog Walking Interview

Picture this…. You are all excited about this new hire you just brought onto your team. They have worked at a dog rescue as a volunteer for over five years. They have three dogs of their own. Their husband makes all the money and has the health insurance and their kids have almost graduated high school, with one in college. This new hire seems like a dream come true.

And then, she becomes demanding her second week on the job. She only wants certain clients and only want to work certain hours. She doesn’t like cats, only dogs, and she always has an opinion on the way you do things.

This new hire, that you were so happy about, is now a thorn in your side. You have no idea how to actually pull out this thorn and you have to constantly watch out that it doesn’t prick you deeper. In reality, you just wish she would quit. Eventually, the resentment grows and you feel like a hostage in your own business. Does this sound familiar?

Ever wonder what actually happened? How did she go from the perfect during the interview to a witch in just 14 days?

I see this all the time. Even I have been guilty of allowing it to happen on my own team. I can’t stress how important it is to streamline the hiring process in a way that is always being perfected. To create an image in your mind, let’s call it the gauntlet…

Interview

The Hiring Gauntlet

I think it is important to keep in mind that when you start the hiring process it isn’t about you being on your high horse and having people beg to work for you. Just as it doesn’t work that way on a first date, it certainly isn’t that way during an interview. The interest has to be mutual.

Looking for people to work for you is very similar to looking for clients. You have to appear attractive and appeal to your avatar. You have to understand why they are looking for a job, what value you offer, and why they should pick you over, let’s say, Rover, Wag, or any other company.

Is it possible that your own bias got in the way because your interview process is failing you? Are you blaming it on the job market or your area? I got news for you… unemployment is at an all-time low right now – so you can blame it on whatever you want but the truth of the matter is that excuses aside you must figure out how to systematically overcome this hurdle.

The process of interviewing should not be off-putting. The initial communication shouldn’t be an application or a long list of questions. If you do this, you will decrease your chances of getting people interested in the job and therefore your conversion of the people who look at your application to those who actually apply would be under 10%.  You should always be aware of your conversion rate – it will directly tell you how attractive your hiring ad and process really are. You will learn to tweak it this way.

Interview

If You Want To Be Attractive Here Is What I Suggest You Do:

1. Have a hiring ad that talks directly to your avatar in real human language. If you are lost on what I mean by this, I have a free 3-hour training you can watch here.

2. Have under five initial knock-out questions. For example, you can qualify the area they live in, ask them how much they are looking to make or find out their availability. The hundred other questions that I know you want to ask really don’t matter at this stage in the game. How many people do you meet these days who do NOT have a smartphone? This isn’t 2005. 🙂

Once you have qualified the right type of people to be in your hiring gauntlet now the hard work begins. However, if you have software to help you with this, you won’t ever have to think of what to say again and again because it is as easy as pressing a button to move them from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

This stage could be three open-ended questions. Where they have to describe what they would do. Or, you can have it as a multiple choice. But the toughest part for you is to create these questions. Here is what I mean.

Value-based vs Skill-based Questions.

Would you agree that if you don’t like dogs, you wouldn’t be applying for this position? Would you also agree that we can basically teach people how to walk a dog, scoop cat litter, and feed the pets? If we can agree on that, then we really need to focus more on the VALUE-based questions.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say that you value treating others how you would want to be treated. How can we test for this? One way might be an open-ended question like:

You are walking home from going out to dinner. There was too much food so you are carrying a to-go box with you to save for lunch the next day. You stop at a corner and a homeless woman engages with you and asks you if you can spare any change so she can buy something to eat. What do you do?

1. Pretend you don’t hear her and keep walking. There are homeless people everywhere.
2. Tell her you don’t have any cash on you.
3. Give her money from your wallet.
4. Give her your leftovers. If they were good enough to take home, they are certainly good enough for her.

You would have to decide ahead of time which is the right answer for you and which is the TOTALLY wrong answer for you based on your values. Now, of course, one question can’t give you everything you need to know about a person so certainly you will have to ask more questions. Perhaps even testing the same thing, but knowing the RIGHT questions to ask is huge.

How do they take feedback? Are they adaptable?

I want you to watch this short clip of Trivinia Barber of Priority VA. She was our guest expert for the training we had in June about delegation. Listen to what she says about asking questions, role-playing, and feedback. Can you incorporate this into your business?

 

This is a great example, showing how the ability to adapt to situations could help give you insight into your applicant’s ability.

Stop Asking The Wrong Questions:

Ever since pet sitters started interviewing I’ve seen the same questions come up again and again.

“If you walked into a home and there was poop everywhere, what would you do?”
“If you walked into a home and the dog looked like he was in distress, what would you do?”

All these questions are something you would train the employee for. You would tell them your protocol. Typically the first step is “call the office.”

If you can ask the right questions before you hire people… how much better hires will you make? Would you have to let people go after two weeks? There is always room for improvement and this task is never 100% perfected. Maybe what I said here helps ignite something in your system that you can test. Perhaps you want to know more of what Trivinia said or wish you had software to help you with all of this?

Well in true Bella fashion I will never give you more problems to solve, so you can:
1. Join the Mastermind to watch the entire 1 hour training with Trivinia and 15 other high-level experts we have had over the past year.
2. Grab your trial of JazzHr, 50% off, my hiring ads, and knockout questions here.

Just ask yourself… Am I asking the right questions to understand this person’s values? You need to hire for attitude and train for skill.

Jump Mastermind - Interview

hiring dog walkers

Review: The Top Websites For Hiring Pet Sitters & Hiring Dog Walkers

When hiring pet sitters or hiring dog walkers, it can be difficult knowing where to start. There are so many different websites out there where you can post job ads – so how do you know which one is the most lucrative? Today we bring you a review of the top sources for hiring for your pet sitting business, so you know which ones to invest your time into.

Review: The Top Websites for Hiring Pet Sitters & Hiring Dog Walkershiring dog walkers

Indeed

Indeed describes itself as the world’s #1 job site. And we can’t blame them. They pull in over 200 million unique visitors to their site every month. One of the main reasons why Indeed is great is because it’s FREE to post jobs. Or if you’re really in a pinch, there is an option to pay for your ads so that they are shown to more applicants. Plus, if you’re feeling extra proactive, you can search through resumes and invite potential applicants to apply for your job.

One of the reasons that Indeed is NOT so great however, is because you’ll get a lot of bogus and spam applicants. I’m talking about people that are just sending out their resume to the masses, with no regard to what the job is. I know some pet sitters that have had to wade through over 100 applicants to find 1 or 2 winners. But the reality is that hiring takes time, and wading through applicants you can automatically disqualify is just part of the process. No matter what, you have to stick with it!

Check out what other business owners have to say about Indeed:

Indeed has been a useful resource for us – drives the most applicants. However, applicants almost never send anything helpful via Indeed. We send back a standard response of ‘Thanks for your interest, please apply via our website.’ That helps narrow down the pool a bit!” -Robin Brown, Manhattan Mutt Company LLC

“Very few of the folks on Indeed bothered to read my posting. The ones who had relevant experience often didn’t bother with the cover letter and very few sent a cover letter at all.” – Annamarie Hessman

Craigslist

Craigslist can be another great source for hiring pet sitters and hiring dog walkers. The website has been around for over 20 years, and has quickly become the premiere website for posting classified ads. Another great thing about Craigslist is that it is totally free to use. It is also is really great about protecting your privacy. When you post an ad, applicants will be able to contact you without seeing your email.

TIP: Try posting your hiring ad in multiple categories such as part time, gigs, domestic, etc. This will allow you to reach more applicants!

But, Craigslist does have some downfalls. There is a lot of spam job ads on Craigslist, which lessens it’s credibility. A lot of people do not consider Craigslist a legitimate source for applying to jobs. It may be harder to reach the demographic you’re aiming for.

Here’s what pet sitters have to say about Craigslist:

“Craigslist has been the biggest success with 3 amazing employees.” – Nicole Brown, Miami Pet Concierge

Hireology

Hireology is a little different than your typical job posting site. Think of it more as a hiring “hub.” According to their website, Hireology allows you to manage all hiring activity from their platform. This includes writing job descriptions, posting to job boards, interview candidates, and running background checks. It allows you to keep all of your information in one place, including applications, resumes, interview notes, etc.

Keep in mind that Hireology is not free! If this sounds like something you’re interested in, you’ll have to request a free demo. If you like the software, there will be an additional cost, which is determined by the size of your business, how many employees you currently have etc. Hireology is also billed on either an annual or multi-year basis. One business owner reported paying $400 for one year.

“Hireology is a portal for CL [Craigslist] and Indeed for me. I do not plan on renewing after this year. My company is not big enough, nor do I hire enough people to justify the elaborate portal.” – Julie Fredrick, The Pet Sitter Of Boise

NextDoor

Nextdoor is also a successful platform for hiring pet sitters or hiring dog walkers. For those of you who don’t know what NextDoor is, think of it as Facebook for your neighborhood. You’ll be able to interact with your neighbors, share reviews of services, post classified ads, etc. It’s the go-to place to find all about what’s happening in your neighborhood.

For pet sitting businesses, it’s a great way to reach local talent and potential clients. You’re able to advertise your business as well as post job postings. But there is a downside – Nextdoor recently partnered with Rover, so they do give preferential treatment to Rover sitters. They have also implemented a pet directory, which is a plus, so you’ll be able to see which of your neighbors have pets. Good information!

“NextDoor is a disaster. I was ostracized for trying to help a neighbor find her missing dog, but when I gave her my email address someone accused me of soliciting business. Apparently, you’re not allowed to advertise your personal business on this site.” – Nicole Brown, Miami Pet Concierge

Facebook

Facebook, the most popular social media outlet in the world, has rapidly become another premiere platform for hiring. Although they have just rolled out their new job posting feature, many pet sitters say it is useless at this point. Not many people are using it yet.

Some business owners say that by posting their ad on their business page, and then boosting the post via a Facebook advertisement has proven very lucrative. Definitely something to consider!

No matter which platform you choose to utilize to post your hiring ads, one thing is for sure: you must always be hiring! Admittedly, there are many problems that can arise when hiring, but it is still so important that you continue to do it, regardless. I preach this time and time again because I still get stories of pet sitters who are stuck. Business owners that have to bend to the whims of their employees because they can’t afford to lose them. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you are in control. After all, a ship can’t sail without it’s captain!

dog walking deal

 

pet sitting marketing yard sale

The Most Unique Pet Sitting Marketing Tip That Costs Hardly Anything and Builds Strong Relationships

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE TEMPLATE & SCRIPT HERE.

 

Here I am explaining it JUST AS this idea came to mind:

I am writing this post out of the norm. I am not putting it into my publishing schedule, I am not going to make a long list. I am just going to tell you this very brilliant idea I just had as I was just out yard sailing. You see, you get the pleasure of all these marketing ideas I now have, that I can no longer do anything with, because I sold my pet sitting business.

Twice a year, a local planned community of 4400 homes has a yard sale twice a year. Once in the Spring and the other in the Fall. They do this to drum up shoppers and because it is against Home Association rules to put YARD SALE signs up everywhere in the community.

I always love these mornings because like Forrest Gump said, “You never know what you’re going to get!”

pet sitter marketing

How This Amazing Idea Came About:

So I was chatting with an older gentleman telling me that he had just remodeled and trying to sell me on his stove and microwave. “Look!,” he said, “It’s like new. You can see yourself in it still!” I wasn’t even in the market, but he was trying to hard sell me on the idea of getting rid of his “problem” which was this stove he no longer wanted. His wife was even mumbling about dragging it back in the garage and taking up space.

Can you picture it? 🙂

Recently, I learned that Habitat for Humanity would come out and pick up items you didn’t need, especially things like stoves, windows, doors, etc. so I mentioned it to him.

As I walked back in the car, the lightbulb over my head came on!

How To Help Saturate Your Pet Sitting Market Area

As pet sitters and dog walkers we are always driving around and passing by yard sales and garage sales, right?  What if you had a one page flier in your car that was a list of  valuable resources?  Something like:

What You Need To Know After Your Garage Sale Is Over

How To Avoid Lugging Everything Back In Your Home After Your Garage Sale

The Feel Good and Monetary Benefits Available After Your Yard Sale

On this flyer, you would list out places to drop off items in a 5 miles radius and places that you can call to schedule a pick up. The key to this is leaving the companies name and phone number.

Further, if you have a pet shelter in the area, many of them would love to receive the endless dog cages and cat carriers that almost every yard sale has. Why not be a resource to your community by helping give them ways to take care of their “problem” and give back?

pet sitting marketing yard sale

How Does This Come Back To Your Business?

At the bottom of the flier, you can have your business name, info, and a special offer. Even if they don’t become a client, it just gave you a reason to break the ice, talk to these people, tell them about your company and that you are a community leader helping to solve problems.

Great conversation starters, “If you don’t sell this (dog crate, cat carrier, dog carriage, pet steps to the bed) what are you going to do with it?”

Another way you can get even more creative is thinking of specific things… like:

Baby clothes to a shelter.
Scrap book pages to a local NICU.
Quilting or sewing materials to the local charity who makes baby blankets?

There are so many charities other than just “Goodwill” Get creative and make an interesting list!

Side note – The Community Yard Sale I went to hands out maps and a list of all the homes that are selling something. If I still had my company, I would totally contact the community director and find out if I could help “sponsor” the day by adding donuts at the checkin stand (where sellers get their balloon to mark their sales) *AND* including this one page sheet to the end of the list of homes selling goods!

Getting excited yet?

You Can Take It Online Too!

This list, could also be a blog online. There are so many Swip Swap CITY sites, where it is like a virtual online yard sale. How about any pet products being sold, you post a link saying, “I know what you can do with this here.” Inside would be an article about how the local shelter takes donations or (maybe?) they have a resell shop where they resell things to make money to keep the rescue open?  We always see people selling things online. Just make sure the Title is good click-bate! 🙂

 

Spread The Word

This is good-will, solving problems, and getting your brand out in the community. You can easily give them to your staff to hand out and offer incentives if the people call. Over half the yard sales I just went to either had a pet sitting next to the seller or the seller had pet items. Let’s use our incredibly warm and fuzzy industry to break the ice, build relationships, and be a solution to people’s problems!

Need a pet sitting Employee Manual and Training Handbook already written for your pet sitting or dog walking company? Now I have it all for you. Yours in just 60 seconds after purchase! 

pet sitting employee manual

Marketing Problems

What Should I Do When I Get Unqualified Pet Sitting Applicants?

Recently I received a question asking:

“How can I find qualified people? Most who apply are not qualified”

Marketing Problems

I asked the pet sitter to tell me what they mean by not qualified and they told me what they meant below.

Hiring is Tough

Hiring is tough. Especially for our industry. I mean we are not looking for someone to work 9-5 and just be a cashier, right? We are looking for specific people to do specific things and someone who we can trust, that can be professional, and of course understand the people and pet bond. Not to mention, almost on call.

This topic is so mighty that I actually wrote 60 pages and recorded two hours of audio to walk you through the entire process step by step so that you could have the only robust guide on the pet sitting market!

Although as I am helping pet sitters coaching on the phone and in our private facebook groups, I see people eliminating people prematurely sometimes without giving them a chance.

I always compare hiring to dating, and this is the same thing. You could be out there dating and have a perfect list of what you are looking for, but if you are looking for perfection, you may never find it. So… I challenge everyone reading this – what are your must have’s and negotiable?

Let’s take a look at this pet sitter’s “unqualified applicants”

The Unqualified:

(From the pet sitter who wrote me this question)
Here are the common ones I disqualify immediately:
1.  Those that can’t follow the instructions in the job posting.  (ie:  send me your zip code, resume, why you are interested etc).  If all you can do is reply with your resume with no cover email, I’m not interested in you.  If you can’t follow these instructions to get my attention, you are likely not going to follow the clients!
Yes. I agree. To a point. Although depending on what they send you, you could reply and say “I think you forgot to attach your cover letter? (Or resume?)” and see their response. Maybe they did forget. I can’t tell you how many times I have sent an email and forgot the attachment. Now, if they wrote you one sentence and didn’t seem interested, I would just press delete. 
2.  Those that are available between 6am and 7am, or only after 6pm. etc.  I don’t want  a client to have more than 2 pet sitters and me as a second back up, and they need to be flexible enough in their schedule to provide coverage.
Personally, I totally understand what you are saying, and normally I would tell you that you are 100% correct. But there is a thing I call and “insurance policy” pet sitter. Those are the ones, that if a great enough type of personality can really help your business if you are ever in a bind. Generally, though, you are right on with deleting them. You are looking for someone looking for a LIFESTYLE, not a JOB. 
3.   College students.  Their schedules are to erratic and I don’t have time to manage it, and I don’t want to have to introduce clients every 5-6 months to their “new” sitter.
Your systems might be working against you and you are striving for perfection in your company in a way that may not be attainable. Unless you are willing to wait 6 months for someone. In my personal experience, college students are great! They need the money, love the flex schedule, and are usually responsible. I would not disqualify them and again, tell your clients that you work as a TEAM. Unless you are willing to wait up to six months or so to find someone w open availability. What we ask for really is a LOT. This is assuming you do more pet sitting than daily dog walks. 
JazzHr for pet sitters
4.  Those with horrible grammar, spelling, don’t respond in full sentences.
I agree. Delete them.
5.  They had a pet 15 years ago when they were 7.  I feel the best service is provided by those that have current experience in particular with dogs.
I don’t agree. Maybe their situation doesn’t allow for them to have pets? Maybe they have a family member that is allergic? Maybe their pet died and they didn’t want to go through that trauma again? Just having a pet in your home, doesn’t qualify you for this job at all. 
6.  Those under 21 years old (they have to be able to enter a contract on behalf of my company).
Are you looking for ICs? That would be a whole other ball game then and I will tell you to RUN to the employee route. You are too much of a control freak. I can tell that by this list 🙂 I mean that with a happy heart! By your comment, are you saying that you can not enter in a contract with someone under 21? They have to be 18. Again, in my experience, age doesn’t mean a thing. I had a 17 yr old working for me that was stellar! Not to mention, age discrimination is illegal. 
7.  Those that have any dependence on the income earned from pet sitting.
I don’t agree. Do you have any idea if their family helps? If their spouse helps? That is part of the pre qualifications that you can get past when you email them back, “How much do you need to make a month?” How much money will the person make in the job you are offering? Your craigslist add you sent does not tell me anything other than $10-$19 a visit. Which, by the way, would ONLY make sense if you were charging clients $35-$40 a visit. Otherwise paying that much will either put you under or NOT make you any money. 
8.  Those that are willing to drive 25 miles one way for pet sitting jobs! (or anything along that line)
I agree. Delete. Qualifying their area is important and one of the reasons why we seek a resume. If you accept that many will apply who are outside the area, you won’t be as disappointed. In a way, you can’t blame them. They do not really understand what this job entails like we do. So don’t be offended or discouraged. 
I think our (my business peers and I) problem is getting qualified candidates (or in some cases ANY response at all).  One of my friendly competitors says he gets hundreds of applicants a year, but a vast majority of them are highly unqualified.
I couldn’t agree more with this statement. If you realize that you are only looking for 1 out of 100 and expect them to be bad, you won’t get as discouraged. You will also learn that you never stop hiring. You should always be looking. Even when you don’t think you are. There are 12 more places you can be looking for qualified pet sitting applicants other than craigslist. 
So for us, its finding sources outside of Craigslist to find sitters.  It is THE single most frustrating aspect of my business and preventing me from growing it.
I completely understand. Know that you are not alone and it is my belief that every pet sitter with staff feels the same way. So, you just need to know all of the places to look. I can tell you 12 resources you can look for pet sitters and dog walkers outside of Craigslist, but you need to keep an open mind. 

Consider changing your help wanted advertisement.


Here is an actual advertisement I found on Craigslist: 

  • People and pet friendly personality
  • Current experience with dogs, whether volunteer, professional or with personal pets
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Mature and extremely reliable
  • Flexible and consistent schedule.
  • Quick learner, detail oriented, able to follow instructions, natural drive to exceed expectations
  • Stable work history which demonstrates ability to work unsupervised
  • Cell phone (with text and/or email preferred)
  • Internet connected computer with printer
  • Neat in appearance
  • Reliable personal vehicle with valid driver’s license and auto insurance
  • Able to make a one year commitment
  • Age: Unfortunately, due to insurance and other requirements we must fulfill, this position is not appropriate for those under 21.

If you meet these qualifications, please email the following information: (Due to time constraints we can only respond to those who do)

  • A brief description of yourself and your pets
  • Why you are interested in the position and what skills/experience you have to offer
  • What days and times of the week you are available
  • Your zip code and nearest major cross streets
  • Your resume or work history for the last 5 years if no resume is available

General Responsibilities:

Typical pet sitter responsibilities: Walk dogs, pet waste pick up and disposal, refresh water, feed pets, clean litter boxes, play with cats/dogs, rotate lights and blinds, bring in mail/newspaper. Some pets may require medication. Most visits occur between 7am and 8:30pm, some weekends and holidays. Number of visits/week 0-25.

Typical dog walker responsibilities: Walk/play with dogs, pet waste pick up and disposal, refresh water. Some may require a meal and/or medication. These occur primarily Monday-Friday between 11am to 3pm, sometimes weekends. We prefer candidates be available all weekdays during this time. Number of visits/week 0-25.

This advertisement is so detailed it could be for some job with a PHD. I think the writer totally missed the boat on this. What is reliable? What is quick learner? What is neat in appearance? Mature and reliable? Assuming that someone has pets? I think the entire thing is a turn off and a drag to read!

So What Should You Do?

You want this to be an advertisement! It is your job to qualify them. How about appealing to the readers emotions? Narrow down the type of person you would like (Like a stay at home mom?) and talk to HER. (Is that is who you want)
Try mixing it up a few times. If you are dropping a flier off at the vet or groomer than make it specific to the audience reading it. Make it sound like the best job in the WORLD! Your only job here is to get as many people as interested to contact you. YOU qualify them. Not some advertisement.I think that is where many pet sitting business owners miss the boat. They try to let their job description do the qualifying for them when in all honesty the most qualifications should be:
1 – Area applicant lives
2 – Hours of availability
3- Amount of money needed a month.
I talk a lot about this in Lesson 3 of the Employee Quick Start Program. 
Everything else is subjective and that is what you have interviews for. I have said it before, and I will say it again.
It is pet sitting, not rocket science. So, this defiantly is one of my longest blogs, but hopefully you got a lot out of it. Sound off below. What do you think? What are your tactics?