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office manager pet business

How To Hire A Manager For Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business

As our industry grows, we are no longer in the infancy stage. In 2018 the industry is expected to earn 72 billion dollars with 6 billion being in the pet services sector. Pet sitting companies that were once run my mom and pop now are full-fledged business needing to hire a manager to help run the entire operation.

You are reading this because you too need to hire an office manager for your pet sitting or dog walking business but face the challenge of so many questions. Today, I am going to answer them all in the most comprehensive blog post to get your tail wagging!

office manager pet business

 

Can I Even Afford To Hire A Manager?

Obviously, I am not sitting next to you right now, looking over your financials so what I will say is this: Can you afford not to? Do you think that your business can keep growing with you doing all the scheduling, bookings, charging, social media, public events, triaging client and staff problems?

Wouldn’t you like to take a nap in the middle of the day? Have regular family dinners at home at a sensible hour? Not feel like you are running ragged all day and night?

The answer to this question is only one that you can answer, but I would venture to say that if you are reading this now, we can find a way. Most pet sitting and dog walking office managers make between $10-$15 an hour.

If you have the Pricing Structure and Strategy Guide, you will understand that this money can come from the 30% that is allocated to the business.

Not Labor.

Part Time:

This is how I encourage lots of my clients to start. I tell them to start handing the business over on Friday through Monday because those are the days where you typically have minimal calls and volume.  It is a great way to start off. This will also help you (and them) gain confidence in the position. Some businesses pay by the hour, while others pay per the day because the volume is so unpredictable.

Full Time:

This would be a full-fledged M-F gig where you pay someone by the hour and let them do it all. It could mean 30 hours a week or more and they would be your right-hand person and the first line of defense. Sort of like a gatekeeper. Some businesses pay a flat salary, while others pay by the hour.

 

hire a manager

How Do I Train An Office Manager?

When you hire a manager it is going to be a big learning curve for you, the business owner, who does this every day. There is a good amount of prep work that you will have to do and that would include creating an office manager manual where you write down all the systems and procedures that you do in your business.

I have a great system that I have shared on video inside the Jump Mastermind that has delivered great success to many businesses. This can often be the toughest part of the task because we tend to get long-winded and either over or under explain what needs to happen. It is important that you have a system in place to test your instructions.

 

Jump Consulting Mastermind

How Do I Know If The Office Manager Does A Good Job?

One of the most common mistakes I see people make is being a micromanager. Or, as one of my friends call it a “helicopter CEO”  You don’t ever want to be like this because it will not create a long-lasting relationship with that manager. They will think you don’t trust them and quit.

Rather, consider systems that help promote smooth back end workings. For example, I have a great video inside the Jump Mastermind that shows you a google spreadsheet that tracks all the calls and emails that come in from new clients. From this small sheet that takes 30 seconds to fill out, the office manager and the business owner are able to be on the same page.

No phone calls required. At any moment both the manager and the business owner can see who has called, what the outcome was, and even what the close rate is. After all, you will want the manager you hire to have a BETTER close rate than you already do.

 

What Do I Do When A Manager Doesn’t Do A Good Job?

Here is a fact:

At some point during the relationship with your manager, something will fail where they, or you, fall short of expectations. It is important to acknowledge that this will happen so you aren’t blindsided when it does.

How you handle it makes all the difference in the world.

 

hire a manager

First, examine if it is a people or process problem. Was the process there and the person just didn’t follow it? Or was there no process there and they were clueless about how to proceed? Once you can identify this, rectifying it all will be easier to maneuver. There is a big difference between a system and a process so narrow down which it might be and tackle that first.

Your mindset will also help you during these failed attempts, only if you let it. Embrace the messy and look at it as an opportunity to make your business better by learning from what happened. Failures with a good attitude are the indication of a successful CEO 🙂

No one ever said that if you walked through the wrong door that you couldn’t just turn around and walk right back through it! 🙂

Where Do I Find An Office Manager?

I wish I could tell you that there is a spot where all the qualified applicants hang out, but I can’t. I can say I have had clients with great luck on Indeed, Craigslist, and through my partner, JazzHr which basically posts on 15 job boards for you and helps weed the applicants out so you are only left with the creme de la creme!

I would also consider hiring from within because they already know your business.

Whoever you decide to hire, they need to have strong communication and organizational skills. I would consider putting them through the Orion test and a background check and making sure that all your processes were running smoothly before bringing anyone else on board.

 

Hiring An Office Manager Was The Worst Thing I Ever Did

Said no one ever.

You might not knock it out of the park the first time, but you will eventually. Who knows? Maybe it will be love at first sights and it just works? Like any relationship, this one takes time. It takes a lot of understanding about how to delegate, give instructions, and then fall on your own sword when maybe you didn’t give great enough instructions. Being a boss is tough. It isn’t all glamorous but having an office manager is the one thing that will really help take your business to the next level. It will take things off your desk and give you room to breathe (first), and then work on growing your business.

If you need a group of people around you to support this endeavor consider joining the Mastermind. To date, I believe there have been at least 12 office managers hired… so far. So you would be in great company!

Pet sitting podcast

Nutrition

Episode 84: How Self-Care Can Help Your Business THRIVE With Bonnie Roill

Bonnie Roill is a “Lifestyle Architect.” Her boutique private practice, B3 Nutrition,  specializes in helping women develop their customized blueprint for eating, moving, and daily habits that create a “livable and health-generating lifestyle.” Bonnie’s background includes a practicing Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for over 35 years along with accreditation as a Hormone Support Coach, a certified Health & Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer.  Her mission is to teach women how they can impact their health destiny through their food, focus, and feet.  Her vision is a world where women have the resources to control their health destiny no matter their age or where they live on the planet.

 

Nutrition

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

  • The number one thing people don’t understand is how to fuel their body properly. You have to fuel your body to have energy. If you don’t, you will have an insulin rollercoaster which gives you a drop and results in cravings. People need to eat in the morning to start the engine then properly fuel throughout the day.
  • The lunchtime let down will definitely affect how you feel later in the day. Your bio-individuality (your unique situation and genetics) does play a factor, so sometimes you may still feel sluggish no matter how healthy you eat. However, you shouldn’t feel like you need a nap every afternoon. Your circadian clock can work against you. Natural sunlight helps serotonin which is a natural pick-me-up.

  • What should you eat and drink? The best food is fiber containing carbs such as root vegetables like carrots and beets. Fiber slows down digestion which helps regulate your blood sugar. And don’t forget your protein for energy and a small amount healthy fat (ex: avocado). We also need water, lots of water! Often hunger is mistaken as thirst. A cold glass of water can energize you and also increase your metabolism.
  • Does dog walking count as exercising? One problem is that you don’t get your heart rate up to the level you need, but the fact that you’re getting out and about is very helpful. You can easily be meeting the minimal requirement for exercise. But if you are trying to lose weight you will probably need an extra boost of exercise to go along with the walking. Resistance training is a great way to amp up exercise for weight loss.
  • Women often don’t realize their obstacles that are often anchored in our habits. Medical history, eating habits, medications and thought processes are all the root of figuring out what is stopping you from feeling your best and bringing your best to your business.


Show Highlights:

  • How hormones and age can affect women’s daily performance and business [2:30]
  • The importance of and how to alter your circadian rhythm [6:45]
  • How much water you need and the benefits you get from it [10:30]
  • The benefits and drawbacks of claiming dog walking as exercise [16:00]
  • Exactly what is B3 Nutrition? [19:40]
  • How self-care makes you strong for your business as well as the people in your life [22:00]

Tweetables:

Links:

Find out more about Bonnie Roill and the B3 Nutrition by visiting:

https://www.B3Nutrition.com

Downloadable Offer:

Sign up for the session at www.B3Nutrition.com under the header Free Consultation. It takes about 30 minutes. Share my free breakthrough session “Eat Clean(er)*Feel Great* Look Awesome, including my Hormone Profile Self-Assessment checklist.

Also, sign up for FREE 5 Strategies for Success Slimming.

Join me for my Free 7 Day Healthy Habits for Happy Hormones challenge at  www.B3Nutrition.com and select the header “Healthy Habits Challenge.”

 

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small business coaching success

Episode 82: Scaling Your Business Into A Well-Oiled Machine With Randa Clark

Today’s Podcast features the inspiring Mompreneur, Randa Clark, from Tailchasers Pet Heroes Inc. Randa started Tail Chasers Pet Heroes Inc. in 2004 with the mission to help people discover, develop, and nurture the human and animal bond with their pets. She offers dog walking, pet sitting, dog training, and pet first aid classes to pets and their families in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Tailchasers Pet Heroes Inc. received the Super Service Award from Angie’s List in 2016 as well as the People Love Us On Yelp Award.

In this episode, Randa and Bella discussed some of the strategies that Randa used to turn her pet sitting company into a pet business empire. Do you struggle with multitasking, being a control freak, or successfully balancing the business between you or your spouse? Then this episode is for you! 

Success

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

Instead of devoting your entire life to the business, make your business fit into YOUR life. Scheduling business operations around your day-to-day tasks like picking up the kids from school or spending time with family will help you find that work-life balance that all business owners so desperately need. Also, be sure to give yourself some time each day to work on advancing the business to the next level. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the pet sits and dog walks, but ensuring you’re taking strides in your business instead of running in place is crucial to success.

An office manager is NOT going to be exactly like you – and that’s okay! An office manager is a person that is going to allow you to really grow and scale your business so much more than you’re able to if you continue to do day-to-day operations yourself. At the end of the day, there are qualified people out there that can answer the phone and answer emails just as good as you do – you just have to find them (and give them the tools to succeed!). Empowering and valuing your office managers to make them feel needed is what will allow them to be successful in their role.

A fact-based mindset is a key tool that will help you deal with crises and emergencies that inevitably arise in any pet sitting company. Taking the emotions out of your response and deciding what you can do to mitigate the situation factually will allow you to make the best decisions for your client. In other words, you can’t change the past, but you CAN change your response to it!

The more time you can spend out of the field, the more time you can spend advancing your business. Randa’s advice? Build up a route of clients, and then hand it off to an employee! The more you do this, the more income you’ll have on hand, and the less time you’ll have to spend in the field. The goal is to have the client’s alliance with the COMPANY and not to the DOG WALKER.

Show Highlights

  • How Randa learned to multitask to get work done quickly [2:30]
  • Evolving your business and focus; Pet Sitting Vs. Dog Walking only [3:15]
  • Decision making for a better business [7:00]
  • The Good and the Bad of Hiring an Office Manager [10:45]
  • How to let go of control [15:00]
  • Managing a business with your spouse [16:15]
  • Separating yourself from the field for success [19:00]

Tweetables

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’
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credit card rates

How Are Credit Card Rates Calculated For My Pet Sitting Company?

Since my last post on credit card processing and pet sitting software companies, I have gotten lots of questions about how credit card rates are determined. I know it is a taboo topic we don’t often talk about. The purpose of writing this is to be able to use it as a resource again and again.

I take personal responsibility for everything I publish, and genuinely want to help every business become educated on a messy and confusing topic.

That’s why I haven’t written this alone.

I am not the authority on merchant services, also known as “credit cards” in our Facebook forums, so I decided to go straight to the experts I know, like, and trust.

 

credit card rates

 

Tiered Pricing vs Interchange Plus Pricing?

 

Since the post of my recent blog where I shed some light on what was happening with credit cards and one pet sitting software, I was asked a few questions. The most popular was, “Do the people I work with offered a tiered pricing program or do they use the Interchange Plus Pricing model?”  This pet sitter was hearing that the Tiered Pricing Model wasn’t the best choice.

I thought it was a great question so I reached out to my contacts and spent 20 minutes on the phone learning about what determines credit card rates and taking notes for this article.

I am going to tell you what I discovered, but first, I am going to explain the two. If you are like me, I didn’t know and I really didn’t care as long as I was in love with my rate (which I am, of course!)

Tiered Pricing
This is when a company creates buckets and all cards fall into one of the buckets. Each bucket has its own percentage and that is what the card will be charged. Some buckets make the credit card company more money and some buckets make the company less money. The customer who is charging the cards will only see as many rates on their bill as how many buckets their cards fell into.

 

Interchange Plus Pricing
This is a system where it acknowledges that there are thousands of cards out there. On your statement, you will see a different fee for all cards including the upcharge that the company decided to add onto it. This statement might be a little harder and confusing to look at as the customer but allows cards not to be grouped together.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both models.

To answer the question I received: The company I work with uses both. 

It is why looking at people’s statements is so important to see what cards they are already currently charging and then find the plan that best fits them. They gave me an example that a donut shop might have different types of transactions than a hotel and that made perfect sense. Different volumes, amounts, and probably types of cards.

You actually might remember that person who I just helped save $8700!  She would have saved some by taking the flat 2.9% offer but ended up double because she had the negotiating power with many companies and chose against the software that would lock her into a higher rate of 2.9% causing her thousands of dollars.

More About How Credit Card Rates Are Determined From The Experts:

I recorded this interview about how to determine credit card rates back in April 2015. The man you see in the video is the same person who took the time to help explain everything I just wrote about the two models above. If you check out when I did this interview, it was 3 years ago!

Accountability, relationships, and honesty….they all matter to me.

 

You Could End Up Paying a Lot More In Your Credit Card Rates Than What They Courted You For:

What a certain software system is trying to claim “you could end up paying a lot more than what they courted you for” is actually true! Many merchant services operate like this. They bait you with a great rate and then switch or raise you as time goes on. In fact, the one you are with right now, might actually have raised your rates already and you have been too busy to even notice. After all, your payments are probably on auto-deduct, right?

What this software company says is true….. if you don’t know where to go.

 

credit card rates

How Do You Know Which Is Best For You?

Different businesses will have different trends like the hotel and donut shop I mentioned earlier.

It all depends and this is why it is SO important to have someone that you can know, like, and trust walking side by side with you. They should be able to explain credit card rates and fees and even re-evaluate things with you as your business grows. I can easily see how a dog walking company would vary differently than a pet sitting company simply because of the spending habits of their different clients.

What’s My Motive?

It is to help you. I have spent ten years in this industry looking through your profit and loss statements, looking where you could increase profits and cut costs. We have agonized on how to pick the best rate to charge so you can achieve your personal financial dreams. We have celebrated and cried together. A business coach with no successful clients isn’t a good business coach at all. So what I am trying to do here is make you successful. Make you keep some of your hard-earned money. I am trying to encourage you to not procrastinate a horribly stressful and confusing task that every business owner needs to pay attention to at least once a year and let you know that there is help.

I am begging you to not just say OK when someone gives you a flat rate without fully understanding the implications of what that really means. It might be good. It might be bad. My motive is to arm you with an education so you can make the best choice for you and that you can literally take to the bank.

pet sitting package deal

dog walking clients

The Problems With Getting More Dog Walking Clients

It can be a scary moment in any dog walking business when you start to notice a decline in new clients. While dog walking clients are usually consistent in their bookings, there’s no telling when a loyal client may choose to stop service. This is why it’s SO important to consistently have new clients coming down the pipeline. Easier said then done right? Let’s discuss some of the challenges that dog walking business owners encounter when trying to gain more dog walking clients, and how you can overcome them.

The Problems With Getting More Dog Walking Clients

dog walking clients

Consistency

One of the reasons many dog walking business owners aren’t gaining new clients is because they don’t ASK! I’m officially giving you permission to overcome that barrier – don’t be afraid to ask for new clients through your marketing! Plus, you want to make sure you’re promoting your business on every platform you have an account for. This can be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media marketing. Note that this doesn’t have to necessarily be advertising – you could simply be solving people’s problems via Facebook and then boosting that post for $5 or so. Or, maybe you are sending out email newsletters or writing blogs. Don’t forget to keep track of how much interaction and engagement each platform has, so that you can determine for yourself what the best social media marketing channels are.

Keep in mind that with any marketing cycle, you may not see results right away. That’s why I say consistency is key. The more you market and the more you brand, the more your business becomes a household name. Growth takes time, so be sure to stick with one marketing effort for a few months. Track your results, and if you notice that you’re not getting much feedback, change it up! Just allow adequate time for your marketing to run its course, which will help you really determine if your marketing is working.

Money

Maybe you’re consistent in your marketing, but are you doing enough (and spending enough)? Marketing is definitely an investment, so you have to be smart about how to get the most bang for your buck. Also be sure you’re investing in marketing both online AND offline. As the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. Spending your money on marketing is really the best way to grow and scale your business – given that you’re working smarter NOT harder. To help you with this process, be sure to check out my one year pet sitting business marketing plan I designed for you.

Time

Even more so than money, time can be a commodity you have very little of as as dog walking business owner. I see a lot of business owners that are just so busy in the day-to-day aspects of their business, that they literally have no time to spend on marketing. Don’t let this be you! Design systems and processes to prevent this from happening. When you are being buried by your business, you absolutely NEED to make sure you have clients in the pipeline to stay afloat.

Remember those Facebook posts, email newsletters, and blogs I mentioned above? I recommend writing a batch at once and then scheduling them! Almost all content platforms have a scheduling feature now – so take advantage of it! But if blog writing, email writing, and Facebook status creation isn’t your forte, let me do it for you here through my Better Marketing With Bella Program.

Okay – so I think we’ve established that gaining new dog walking clients is definitely no easy task. There’s a lot of problems dog walking business owners run into for sure. But I think we’ve also determined that there are a number of ways we can overcome those problems. If you still feel lost, let’s work on it together – I am here to help!

free coaching session

Episode 62: The Do’s & Don’ts Of Hiring Pet Sitting Employees

One of the most challenging hurdles pet sitting business owners encounter is hiring. Many reach a point where they absolutely cannot take on anymore clients, unless they bring on some extra hands. What some business owners don’t consider is how much truly goes into making sure you’re hiring a HERO rather than a ZERO. So what better way to get your feet wet in the world of pet sitting employees than hearing the stories of other business owners who’ve been through the process many times before?

On this episode, Bella is joined by three successful pet sitting business owners that have been through it ALL when hiring pet sitting employees. In three 10 minute segments, Bella asks each one of these industry veterans three crucial questions:

  • What is the best way to find pet sitting employees?
  • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made when hiring pet sitting employees?
  • What’s your best secret that you would tell your old self about hiring pet sitting employees?

Listen now to find out the answers to Bella’s burning questions while gaining invaluable knowledge about the hiring process in the pet sitting world.

pet sitters

Maureen McCarthy

Maureen McCarthy has worked with dogs and cats either grooming or pet sitting since 1980.  When she moved to North Carolina in 2006, she started Love and Kisses Pet Sitting  which she continues to successfully operate today. Love and Kisses Pet Sitting is now an award winning company (4 years and counting!), honored as the recipient of the Best Pet Sitting Business In Union County. Additionally, Maureen’s business has attained the 2015 and 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award. Maureen now has 21 pet sitting employees working for her, all of which she requires to continually undergo continuing education to ensure they provide the best service possible.

pet sitting business

David Steinberg

David Steinberg founded David’s Pet Sitting while studying in graduate school to become a therapist at the UConn School of Social Work. Luckily, the program was located in his hometown (West Hartford). His friends then demanded he watched their pets when they went away. David happily obliged and before he knew it, David’s Pet Services was a thing.  David now has a number of employee’s working under him, and is continuing to hire more and more while honing the process.

In 2003 Cara Armour co-founded Active Paws Inc., in the Boston, MA area. In 2009, Cara won Pet Sitter of the Year. She is decorated in many accolades and even expanded to opening a grooming and holistic pet supply store.

small business

Cara Armour

Since 2003, Cara has been trained by the American Red Cross as well as several veterinarians in Pet First Aid and CPR. In 2011 she completed an instructor training course and became a certified Pet First Aid and CPR instructor. In 2015 she co-founded an online Pet First Aid academy and now works as a product and marketing manager for ProPetHero, the Pet First Aid and CPR division of ProTrainings. 

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dog walking business coach

How Much Does A Dog Walking Business Coach Cost?

Running and operating a dog walking business can not only be difficult, but also isolating. Sometimes having somebody in your corner, helping you make tough decisions for your business can be just what you need to get your bounce back. This is where a dog walking business coach comes in. A dog walking business coach is able to help you “get unstuck” so you can continue to grow and thrive your business – for a cost. But how much DOES a dog walking business coach really cost? Today let’s explore this important question, so you’re not blindsided or surprised should you choose to work with one.

How Much Does A Dog Walking Business Coach Cost?

dog walking business coach

High Cost Coaches

Without naming names, there are a number of dog walking business coaches who I would consider “high cost.” Maybe their one-on-one coaching is expensive, or their products carry a high dollar price tag. The number one question you have to ask yourself with these types of coaches is: Is it really more valuable?

Many people believe in the saying “you get what you pay for.” This makes it very easy for business owners to believe that a high cost coach automatically offers a higher quality service – even if this isn’t always the case. Because of this, it’s imperative that you make the coach show you the value. This can be through social proof, testimonials, or reviews.

With that being said, high cost dog walking coaches are probably going to be more serious about your results. They want to work hard to make sure that their high cost backs up your results.

Low Cost Coaches

You also have the option of working with a low cost dog walking coach to gain help with your business. Something very important to consider here is if your coach is in the biz to make a living and that’s why they’re offering low prices.

The bottom line is you don’t want to work with a coach who isn’t doing this to make a living. They might not care much about your success – because your success doesn’t equal their success.

As mentioned above, you get what you pay for and sometimes it could mean less.

With all that being said, a low-cost coach isn’t necessarily bad. It is 100% possible that everything they are doing is from the heart! I offer tons of free content and low-cost content because I do this for YOU!

Free Coaches

Okay – so there probably isn’t a coach out there that works 100% for free, but many coaches offer TONS of free content! This can include things like:

  • Blogs
  • Podcast
  • Facebook Groups
  • Info-Graphics
  • Charts
  • Samples

Why do we do this? It’s so you can get a feel for the coach’s beliefs and philosophies before you start spending your hard-earned cash. Not only do we want you feel to comfortable with us, but we want you to know what to expect before jumping in!

Different Spending Options

If you choose to work with a dog walking business coach, you want to work with someone that is not only in your price range, but offers a variety of ways to learn. This can include:

  • Private Online Groups
  • 1:1 Coaching
  • Downloadable Products (e-books, etc.)
  • Virtual Classes
  • Subscriptions

It’s important that the coach you work with is able to deliver their content to you in a learning style that works for you. Coaches are here to help you grow and thrive your business. Our goal is to see you succeed!

free coaching session

A Review Of The Industry’s Dog Walking Business Coaches

I always say that as business owners, it’s up to us to wear several different “hats” so to speak. Not only are you the boss, but you’re the interviewer, payroll manager, schedule maker, and so much more. You may want to take your business to the next level. Or maybe you’re just not sure where to turn next. If this sounds like you, consider working with one of the industry’s dog walking business coaches. There are a few different coaches out there that are ready to help you grow your business to its full potential!

A Review Of The Industry’s Dog Walking Business Coaches

dog walking business coaches

Kristen Morrison – Six Figure Pet Sitting Academy

Kristin Morrison is no doubt an industry veteran. She started her pet sitting company in 1995 and began pet business coaching in 2000. Then, she sold her pet sitting business in 2013 and is now a full time business coach.

Kristen offers a large selection of resources for all types of business owners – whether you’re just starting or have been in the biz for 20+ years. Some of Kristen’s most popular resources include:

  • One-On-One Coaching
  • SEO Coaching
  • Workshops & Webinars
  • A Myriad of Downloadable Products & E-Books

Colleen Sedgwick – The Pet Nanny Coach

Colleen Sedgwick (a.k.a The Pet Nanny Coach) has over 14 years of experience in the pet sitting and dog walking industry. After starting her business from the ground up, she has now served over a 1,000 clients in the Philadelphia area.

While she describes herself as a pet sitting business coach, she offers a number resources that would be also be helpful for dog walking business owners. Some of Colleen’s most sought after programs are:

  • 7 Top Flight Strategies For Getting All The Pet Sitting Clients You Need
  • The Pet Sitting Firestarter Program
  • The Pet Nanny Success System
  • The Ignite Private Coaching Program

Bella Vasta – Jump Consulting

Hey, that’s me! After starting my pet sitting business while in college, I went full speed ahead after graduating, growing Bella’s House & Pet Sitting to be nationally and locally award winning as well as boasting with employees. One year ago I sold my company for over six-figures, so I can spend my days inspiring and motivating pet sitting business owners, as well as being a wife and mom!

Some of the unique services I offer that my client’s particularly love are:

No matter which of the dog walking business coaches you choose to work with, you want to make sure you consider the problems with coaches as well as the cost of one. Ensuring that a coach “clicks” with your personality is essential to your success. Be sure to check out the free content that coaches offer so you can get a feel for if they’re the right choice for you.

free coaching session

Episode 56: Defining Your Brand With Lain Ehmann

Description

On this episode Bella spends time with Lain Ehmann, Marketing Strategist at #FastLain.

communication business

Lain Ehmann

Listen in as they talk about the mistakes small businesses make on their websites, including telling a story that your audience wants to hear vs. telling the story you want the audience to hear. Be mindful of your audience.

You will also learn how to make that message different between the mediums. In particular, be conscious of the frame of mind people are in when they are reaching out to you vs. when you are reaching out to them. Give them something they wouldn’t expect. Don’t sell them.

Messaging, which is “communications branding”, is critical to success. It is the message you are going to consistently send out to your audience that also helps you distinguish yourself from others in your niche. As a bonus, doing so may even allow you to charge more.

“Messaging is a tool to do that by defining who you are, what the value is that you provide, and the audience you provide that to.” – Lain Ehmann

The next logical step in the process is helping customers see that you can solve the problems they have.  You can drive customer motivation by tapping into their “pain points”. Bella recommends that you include the benefits of your online scheduling as part of your messaging.  Lain says that playing up your “secret sauce”, that unique niche that  you have identified, will help you reach those who need that service and even build your standing among those who don’t because they see how much you care.

They  also recommend doubling up on your marketing. For instance, doing a Facebook live with tips about dog walking and then putting a link to that under your services page.

Another common mistake Lain points out is that often business owners speak from their point of view and assume that the audience knows everything that they know. In fact, educating the audience should be an important part of your efforts. Make sure they understand the terminology and services you are offering. Lead them through your site to the call to action.

About Lain

Lain is a bestselling author and communications strategist, who specializes in helping six- and seven- figure entrepreneurs uncover hidden profits and potential – FAST.  Her superpower is saying what your customers and clients really need to hear, to get the results you want as quickly as possible.

Links mentioned in this episode

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Episode 47: Customer Experience With Joey Coleman

On this episode Bella catches up with Joey Coleman, Chief Experience Composer, Design Symphony.  They talk about things you can do as a business owner to create a meaningful customer experience. Ideas include:

  • Sending personalized gifts to your customers seemingly at random
  • Sending handwritten notes thanking them for trusting you with their fur baby
  • Keeping track of simple things like the pet’s birthday and sending acknowledgements
  • Doing a monthly quick check of the pet (for any issues)

    Pet Sitting Customer Experience

    Joey Coleman

  • Giving the pet a bath unexpectedly
  • Sending quick personalized videos of the you and the pet to the client.

For over a decade, Joey has helped organizations retain their best customers and turn them into raving fans via his entertaining and actionable keynotes, workshops, and consulting projects.

His First 100 Days methodology helps fuel successful customer experience endeavors at companies and organizations around the world.

As a recognized expert in customer experience design and an award-winning speaker at national and international conferences, Joey specializes in creating unique, attention- grabbing customer experiences.

He works with companies ranging from small VC-funded start-ups, to large Fortune 500s, with hundreds of mid-size businesses in between.

Joey developed his narrative skills as a criminal defense trial attorney, advised and counseled Fortune 500 companies as a business consultant, honed his communications and messaging skills at the White House, and did things for the U.S. Secret Service and the CIA that he can’t talk about publicly.

His design and artwork has been displayed in museums, featured in juried shows, and graced publications in the U.S. and abroad. When not traveling the world (48 countries and counting) for keynote presentations, client workshops, and quality beach time, Joey enjoys watching magnificent sunsets from his mountain-top home in Colorado with his wife and two young sons.

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Episode 42: How To Use Facebook Groups and Video In Your Pet Sitting Business

On this episode Bella speaks with Maureen McCarthy, owner of Love and Kisses Pet Sitting. Bella has found Maureen’s use of Facebook groups, social media, and video to be an awesome example of how to market.  Bella gets the scoop from Maureen, about how Facebook groups can be a great way to connect and expand your reach as a business. Maureen started a group for her own community called What’s Up Indiana Trail and it has grown like wild fire. Through it, she has been able to get more people engaged on her own facebook page and grown her business.

They also discuss Facebook Live videos – which if you’ve been listening to me for awhile, you know that I consider video as a MUST HAVE in your business. Maureen discusses with Bella how exactly she started doing Facebook Live videos with both her and her staff and the direct effect they’ve had on her business revenue.

She talks with Maureen about:

Facebook Groups In Your Pet Sitting Business

Maureen McCarthy

  • The Facebook group she started.
  • Why she started the group
  • How much work is involved
  • How successful it has been
  • How she got into doing videos

Her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndianTrailPetSitter/

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Episode 34: “Click Here To Agree” Contracts, Sharing Client Photos, And Privacy Policies On Your Website.

On this episode Bella speaks with Sara F. Hawkins, an attorney who specializes in working with startups, entrepreneurs, marketing and advertising agencies, as well as major corporations where she regularly counsels clients on all aspects of federal and state marketing, advertising, sweepstakes and contests; international promotions; social media and internet law; copyright, trademark, and digital rights; as well as general business matters.

small business social media

Sara F. Hawkins

With a background in consumer product marketing compliance, Sara has worked with clients to create policies and procedures for engagement with agencies, celebrities, and influencers. Sara frequently speaks on legal topics related to influencer marketing; sweepstakes and contest promotions; as well as a host of digital, native, and mobile advertising and marketing topics. Since 1998, Sara has maintained her own firm in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bella and Sara discuss:

  • Where business owners can get photos from
  • Photo licenses and what they are
  • Who regulates photos and copyrights
  • How business owners can get clients to agree to share photos
  • Privacy policies
  • “Click to agree” agreements.

Here is the resource for my Deposit Photo deal 🙂
Sara can be reached at her website or Facebook

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Episode 29: What Type of Pet Sitter is Best for Rover Type Websites?

In this Episode Bella talks with Walt Galvin, an independent contractor working for Rover.  They discuss how sites like Rover can be a viable option for some pet sitters and walkers who are just starting out or want to keep it simple.

Walt Gavin, independent contractor with Rover.

Walt Galvin, independent contractor with Rover.

Some of the advantages include:

  • Not having to handle payments from clients
  • Saving  time and money but not having to handle marketing
  • Not having to deal with all kinds of administrative headaches and paperwork.
  • Ability to set your own work schedule

For Walt it has turned into a substantial retirement income and he points out that it is also a good option for those who don’t have the desire to hire other sitters and walkers as staff.  Walt also recommends that you pay close attention to the service agreements, particularly in regards to what insurance covers and you may need to purchase additional insurance to cover yourself.

Many of these online websites do not provide adequate coverage for the pet sitters. Only the clients.

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8 Simple Ways To Get More Dog Walking Clients For My Pet Sitting Business.

 

more dog walking clients

Getting more dog walking clients can be the bread and butter to a pet sitting company. When your vacation clients are not on vacation or your business clients are not traveling, you know that you can always count on those daily dog walking clients. They are a great revenue stream to have in your business because they are predictable and easy to hire for. They require less back and forth to their home and it is typically Monday through Friday in the middle of the day.

Let me show you 8 simple ways can promote your daily dog walking service. I use the word simple because many of them don’t take that much effort but their rewards can last years after you do them. Understand that this, like anything else in your business, needs to have a plan and your messaging needs to be the same across all platforms. If you want daily dog walks, then talk about gaining daily dog walks.

 

1. Talk About Dog Walking On Your Website

The first thing I do when someone asks me for advice to get more dog walking clients is go straight to their website and to their Facebook page. If I don’t see anything front and center talking about it then that is exactly why. You must ask for what you want. You have only seconds to capture people’s attention. The messaging that you are leaving on your website and Facebook page will help or hurt you tremendously.  It is obvious that talking about it on your website and even having pages devoted to it will gain you favor with google, but I encourage my clients to take it a step further. Go deeper. Talk about the problems that your company solves for its dog walking clients. If you are unsure about what I mean, I have a 30-minute interview with the incredible Lain Ehman who gets paid thousands of dollars to make her clients multiple six figures through their messaging.

2. Blog About Dog Walking

The word blog has almost become white noise these days but I imagine that I am jumping up and down in front of you right now saying LISTEN TO ME!!! Blogging (or inbound marketing) can really help your business. I have done it myself for both of my companies and I have seen pet sitting companies that I help coach just grow tremendously by blogging the right way. Key word stuffing will not get you anywhere, you have to do it right. To do it right, that will take a bit of learning and training on your part but nothing that you can’t get your feet wet on in just one day. The person I learned everything from is Marcus Sheridan. He is an incredible teacher whose philosophy about blogging about the Big 5 will work every time if you do it. That is where I suggest you start.

3.  Bark Cards

Consider yourself lucky being here with me because I am about to tell you about an incredible idea that I had years ago and used successfully in my own pet sitting business. It hasn’t only worked for me, but many I coach with and now I am going to share my secret.

Bark card

bark card

 

Have you ever been visiting a client and the dogs that live next door are just barking their heads off. It is clear that no one is home and they are just so excited that you are in their neighborhood? This is where the bark cards come in. Every dog walker would love to have clients on the same street. It is more efficient and easier money! So why not invite the neighors of your clients to use your services in a way that is attention grabbing? Create your own bark cards and you will get responses. On the front of the card you can have a picture of an obnoxious dog barking and on the back side you can write something like Sounds like a medium-sized dog? Pretty sure they were saying, “Let *your business name* come visit me to Mom!” Let us know if we can help break up your dog’s day!

4 – Get Endorsed By A Veterinarian.

Being endorsed by a well-respected person of influence in your community can give you enormous credibility. If you don’t already, try to create a friendship with a veterinarian in your area. You could even do this with a dog trainer or a popular pet store in your town. Get to know them. Help them. Blog about them. Notice how I didn’t say drop business cards off at the front desk and run? I want you to build a relationship. Once you do, or if you already have… ask them to go on camera and offer an endorsement of your services. This could be huge in your phone script, on your website and in all your marketing materials.

5 – Create Marketing Material That Says Dog Walking. 

It isn’t enough to have “pet sitting” on everything. You need to create fliers, post cards, rack cards (whatever you do) that specifically say dog walking and talk about the benefits pets receive from having them. Perhaps you are creating rack cards to leave in the waiting room at the veterinarian’s office? The top of them could say “dog walking” and three examples of clients you serve to help with their dog walking needs. Just because you might be a pet sitting company, doesn’t mean you can’t create marketing materials that specifically talk about dog walking.

6 – Discounted Rates That Are Enticing!

Discounts will work beautifully!  Now hear me out. There is something that happens psychologically when we hear a comparison of price. We have all heard it before, “Typically this is $100, but today only… you can get it for $33.00!”  Well gee, now $33 doesn’t sound that expensive, does it? If you can understand your pricing strategy enough, this can really work to your advantage. Although I see many pet businesses paint themselves into a corner with this because they publish their rates and they only talk about the cost on the phone, rather than the investment. Here is an example:

The cost would be $33.00 a walk.
The investment would be going to lunch with your bosses and landing that promotion because you were able to chum around with them! Or…. save time, gas, and stress from not having to rush home every day to walk or let out the dog.

If you embrace the fact that you are not only a dog walker but also a sales person…. yes, whether you like it or not, you are… then you can really go far with a pricing strategy utilizes discounts. If it is sone the right way 🙂

Wondering more about how to create your strategy? I have an entire class on this here

7 – Start A Dog Walking or Hiking Club or a Social Media Campaign

Make it cute! Create an event. Looking for 5 dogs who need daily dog walking. Is this your dog? With a bunch of examples of what happens when they are not exercised. Tell about all the dogs you do walk and why their parents need you to walk them. Your viewers will start to see themselves as your clients because they can relate to the problems you are solving.

Alternatively, you can start a club. Gather people up to walk their dogs every 1st Saturday of the month. Once they see how great it is, they will want you to walk their dog every day! Take it a step further and ask the pet store you have a relationship with if they would give you a discount on bulk toys or donate a small doggie bag that all your dog walking club members get at the end of the walk.

logo_dog_walking 4

 

8- Ask Your Existing Clients

What better way than to access your existing client base? Send them your blogs on daily dog walks and your discounted pricing. Ask them if they would like to sign up for once a week dog walks and up sell them from their typical pet sitting appointments with you. They already know and love your business, so why not use these hot leads you already have?

Daily dog walks can be a great service to maintain a pet sitting business cash flow. They are important for any business to have in order to maintain a steady business. There is so much that can be done to attract the daily dog walking customers. You can’t simply think that people will know that a pet sitter will do this or can do this.

Let me know how your results turn out!

 

Feel like this is all too much to do?

I get it. This is a lot of effort to build your business and who has time for all of that when you are busy doing all the pet sits and dog walks, right? I know exactly how it feels because I used to be just like you. In fact, after I sold my company I missed doing the marketing so much that I decided to do it for 12 pet sitting companies at a time for a six month period. It is called Better Marketing with Bella and I provide all my marketers with blogs, emails, statuses, graphics, and photos on the 1st of every month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8-unique-ways-to-get-more-pet-sitting-clients