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Switching ICs to Employees for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers

Most Common Problems When Switching ICs to Employees

Switching from independent contractors (ICs) to employees can be a challenging process to execute no matter what industry you are in. It is especially tough for the pet sitting and dog walking industry because they are often small businesses, they have limited funds, and little advisement or support from experts.

Luckily for you, that is where I come in. In an earlier blog, I told you about the major shifts in our industry. One of them is businesses switching the classification of workers from ICs to employees in droves. Many are afraid to do it. They don’t know what will happen or how to do it. Stick around until the end and I will help get you through that.

What If All My Staff Leaves?

switching ICs to employees for pet sitters and dog walkers

The first thing many people are terrified about is that their staff will all leave them. Many think that if they tell their staff they are going to be getting taxes taken out and that they will now be able to dictate when people work that the staff will leave them. Perhaps they are true ICs already, running their own business, have many other clients of their own, and don’t want to give that up!

All of this is a valid concern. If your staff leaves, you are left with many clients and no one to help service them. You are only one person. There are certain ways to make sure that this transition happens perfectly and specific things you should not do.

 

What If My Clients Are Unhappy With The Shift?

The only problem that would come up with the clients is if their pet sitter changed. (See above) If your sitter decided to terminate the contract with you and the clients had to get new staff members, that is just about the only reason I see clients getting upset with your decision to switch from independent contractors to employees. In reality, they would have to find another company anyways, so time to step up the “why trust us” game.

 

What If I Have To Raise Rates?

switching from Independent contractors to employees for pet sitters and dog walkers

Ah! This is probably the biggest concern percolating in your head! Most likely, you will have to raise rates. There are countless people I have advised that had to do just this. Basically, they were paying too much (I will discuss below) and charging too little so naturally, they needed to shift their client base and raise their rates.

The numbers don’t lie and a lot of people start out with my pricing structure and strategy class. This class helps you understand what you need to charge and how to have a strategy that ties into your goals. There is a good chance you might have to raise your rates.

That is, unless you want to be a non-profit.  🙂

What If I Have To Lower Pay?

This sounds so scary and it is! What do you do if you already know you would like to pay more and now the numbers are showing you that in order to achieve your goals you need to pay even LESS.

Ahhh that is scary and almost incomprehensible.
I know.
But trust me, it can be done.

I helped one gal switch from ICs to employees. Her clients went down. Her staff went down. Her prices went up and her profit was higher than ever before. In the end, we need to remember that this is not a popularity contest.

What If I Have To Wait For VRSP?

The Voluntary Reclassification Settlement Program is through the US federal government. If you submit a form and pay a small fine they will grant you employee status and not look at your prior years.

Did you know that audits can happen up to two or three years later?!?! So even if you were to switch from ICs to employees today… it doesn’t mean in a year from now you couldn’t get a knock at your door asking to explain your ICs from 2 years ago!

Crazy huh?

We All Need To Be Leaders

With all these problems, it is easy to stick our head in the sand and play ostrich. But guess what? If we want to be the best leader of our life and business – we have to face this fact. Pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t going to get us anywhere and many, many, many states are cracking down and making it impossible to have ICs.

The benefits of having employees are that you can train them, you have more control, you won’t be scared of an audit, and YOU, the business owner, are protected because you are able to have all types of insurance. (Non-owned, worker’s compensation, general liability, etc)

As an established business, switching to employees is possible but you must have a plan.  You must know the steps you need to take and what it is going to cost you. You want to think about the big picture and know why you are doing it so it will help you get through the tough times. This is something that is tougher to accomplish the larger your company gets so if you are thinking about doing it, I would highly suggest that you do it sooner rather than later.

 

ICs to Employees webinar

Register Now – Tuesday May 21st @ 3pm

Jump Mastermind

The Journey Of Discovering The Right Person For The Jump Mastermind Group

Being around a bunch of people where you can share your ideas, learn, and really bond can prove to be incredibly life changing for any pet business.

I saw a need for the free pet sitting facebook groups I run.

People wanted to feel closer to one another where they could bond and really know exactly who was in the group.

This sort of closeness transforms businesses because when people can feel free to share openly and honestly without fear, true business and personal growth happen.

I see it all the time.

Jump Mastermind

The Problem I Needed To Solve For Pet Sitters:

People would direct messaging me explaining that they wish they could share in the free group but they didn’t feel comfortable because:
…they didn’t know who was reading.
…they didn’t know if it was going to be screenshot and publicized.
…they didn’t want to be judged.
….they were afraid what others would think.

Plus they really wanted to build their business and wanted to know how and not just in one post. They needed someone to help hold them accountable. They were hungry and ready to work.

They were also ready to invest in their own success.

They knew that the free groups, while sometimes good, only gets you so far. They knew that in order to be in an elite community where people are showing up and are caring about one another’s success, pushing together, that they would have to invest their time and money.

When this investment happens a lot of the bickering, drama, and failure to follow through on tasks or goals goes away.

 

When I decided to launch the Jump Mastermind group, I knew I needed to take my own advice and:

Defining My Audience Was A Must.

I also realized that people joining would want to know that “hey these are my people!” I know they would want to feel comfortable sharing, know that others had the same type of business and it would feel so comfortable

…almost like a family.

I didn’t want it to be a free for all where just anyone with a bank account could join.

There had to be a bit of exclusivity.

The most obvious qualification stated at the top of the Jump Mastermind landing page says that business needs to be making at least $50K a year.

I settled on $50K thinking that by this time, one would already have a website, clients, and are up and running. They also might be on the verge of having staff and just need that support.

Or they might already have staff?

I needed to set the bar at a qualification where we didn’t just get watered down with a bunch of Wag and Rover sitters. I also didn’t want a bunch of people who were constantly spinning their wheels “too busy” to make any progress.

But I have to be honest with you.

I actually had some really incredible people who are making things happen in their own business who haven’t yet reached this $50K threshold.

Their value wasn’t defined by their revenue.

It was actually defined by their mindset.

I have come to realize that mindset and participation is actually more important and any dollar number.

 

But Bella Doesn’t Care About Small Business…

It has been tough taking this type of stance with the Jump Mastermind. I have been told, “Bella doesn’t care about small businesses” which really couldn’t be further from the truth. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have 350 blogs and 200 videos free to the world!

I have also been bad-mouthed inside some ‘not so secret’ Facebook groups. For posting videos and blogs on my own Jump Consulting facebook page and saying things like “If you aren’t growing, then your dying!”

 

 

It hurts to read these things, but then I remember these aren’t my people. They aren’t the type of people who have been flooding the Jump Mastermind.

I learned a lesson.

The very reason I set out to define who is right for this Mastermind was glaring back at me as my loyal friends sent me screenshot after screenshot of the Bella Bashing that was taking place.

The lesson was mindset.

Mindset is the most important thing to ALL business success so it should be a cornerstone of the Jump Mastermind.

Additionally, I realized that I have an enormous responsibility to the group, or the “Jumpers” as some of them lovingly call each other, to make sure that the quality of people in this group stays at the cream of the crop!

To make sure that people who would write things like the above never end up in the group.

Side note: To the point of the screenshot above…I would never, ever, try to convince anyone to become a member. The group isn’t about that. It is like working out. I can’t make you work out. You have to WANT to do it! 😉

I Learned, Not Everyone Is The Right Fit And $50K Isn’t The Barrier:

It is the right mindset. Mindset is everything.

One of my favorite mentors says to write and talk about who is NOT a good fit for what you’re doing, and thanks to this interaction I have 3 ways detailed below.

 

3 Ways To Know Who Is Not Right For The Jump Mastermind

 

1. Those That Don’t Want to Grow:

If you aren’t growing, you are dying.

It is literally a science.

You can’t change that.

Also, you really become the people you hang around. Have you ever asked yourself and took inventory of who are you spending your time with?

As pet sitters and dog walkers, it is TOUGH. We are either around pets all day or alone!

Have you thought about how intentional or unintentional you are about who you surround yourself with? Are they pouring into you or sucking you dry?

Any successful person I know has always been surrounded by people of the same mindset pushing them to be better.

And the clincher?

They typically meet with them on a regular basis.

2. Those That Don’t Want to be Challenged:

This is a really tough one.

As business owners, we spend a lot of our days pouring our heart and soul into our businesses. When someone challenges they way we do things or encourages us to change our methods to go out of our comfort zone, it’s tough to receive!

It is even tough for me.

I just put my website out into the Jump Mastermind a few weeks ago and told them to rip it apart! Afterall, they are my target audience. Naturally, the struggle is real to not react and be defensive when we hear something we don’t like. It is a real human reaction many of us have when we are told to change.

They are why I have made recent changes to my own website and for that I am grateful.

A Mastermind conditions you to take it easy. Consider others ideas and think about solutions that you might not have thought about the first time around. It is literally the ‘group think’ and it helps members become better and better each month.

3. Those Who Are “Too Busy”

I tell my coaching clients to replace the words, “I’m too busy” with “It isn’t a priority” because that is really what it means.

We make time in our life for things that are a priority.

If someone isn’t willing to make the time in their life to participate in the group then they won’t be a good fit. They won’t get anything from the group and they probably won’t give anything to the group.

Granted we all have seasons in life. Sometimes we are in growth mode, sometimes we are in maintaining mode. To know which you are in is powerful.

Remember that bonding I told you about? Two local meet ups have already happened in the three months that the Jump Mastermind has been happening. People are connecting so much online that they are meeting up IRL (In Real Life) and learning to care and share on such a deeper level.

Want to know the clincher? These people were IN the free facebook groups, and never got together until the bond they formed in the Mastermind inspired them to.

Pretty powerful, huh?

So Where Does That Leave Us?

Well if you have read this entire thing you are either in one of two camps.

Camp #1: You disagree with this entire article. It might have even upset you. In that case, that’s okay. You have every right to feel the way you do. Let’s just be happy that I have taken the time to spell it out and you know for certain this Jump Mastermind isn’t right for you.

Honestly, it’s no problem for me, as I hope it isn’t for you!

Life is too short.

Camp #2: You are already scanning the page for “where can I sign up?” Thinking YES I need a group of people who GET me, who are DOERS and not complainers, and who will SHOW UP for me. If that is you, you need to go here and sign up.

Grateful

It is tough for me to express in words how much of an imapct this Jump Mastermind has had on so many businesses and personal lives. The privledge of being able to lead this, to spend my time pouring into many people and have them supporting my goal of influencing lives and busineses has been nothing short of overwhelming. So I am just going to let them do the talking for me. Don’t take my word for it. Hear what they have to say below.

 

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