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The Problems With Creating Your Own Pet Sitting Employee Manual

Developing a pet sitting employee manual may be one of the most overwhelming projects you undergo in your pet sitting company. There are lots of different components involved in order to make the manual complete and well-done. Today we will discuss some of the problems with creating your own employee manual as well as the solution to those problems.

The Problems With Creating Your Own Pet Sitting Employee Manual

pet sitting employee manual

Time

Creating an employee manual takes TIME. A lot of it. Sometimes, it can even take up to a year. This is because you’ll be writing, conducting research, gathering helpful resources, and consulting with experts. These experts may include an HR representative, lawyer, editor, and a typesetter. It takes time to gather all of the necessary information to develop a complete employee manual. Once you have it all put together, you’ll need to have it lawyer reviewed which can also take time.

Ultimately, because this is such a large project, you’ll be spending a large portion of your time working on this document. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should be prepared to make a major time commitment!

 

The cost of creating your own pet sitting and dog walking employee handbook

 

Constantly Changing

Business is ALWAYS changing, and as this happens, you’ll need to update your employee manual accordingly. You may decide to change a policy or procedure, so you’ll have to make sure you update your manual as needed. Additionally, state laws can change too regarding time off, jury duty, breaks, etc. You’ll definitely have to remember to update your employee manual to reflect the most current laws. It’s crucial that all of your new hires have the correct information.

It can be difficult to stay on top with all of the changes in your business. It’s good to review your employee manual often so that you can make necessary changes as needed. You don’t want it to become outdated!

Legal Jargon

Employee manuals are not just all about your business practices and procedures. There’s lots of legal mumbo-jumbo that has to be in there too. This includes portions such as jury duty and equal opportunity employment. This part will be very research-heavy. Consider the fact that you will have to spend time not only researching the law, but interpreting what you’re reading. Then you’ll have to finally narrow down exactly what to include in the document. This is where having a lawyer on your team becomes VERY helpful!

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Including A Training Manual

When creating your pet sitting employee manual, you’ll have to decide if you want to include your training manual as well. What’s even the difference?

While I personally think they should be two separate documents, some pet sitting companies choose to include it. If you decide to include the training manual, you’ll want to be sure that your document presents all of the relevant information in an order that makes sense. Or if you decide not to include the manual, you’ll want to decide which information you want to include in each document.

Professional Writing

The writing used in an employee manual or training manual is not nearly as fun as writing blogs! Sometimes it can be difficult to write professionally so that your document is well-respected. Again this is where having a lawyer and an editor on your team comes in handy. Remember that this document will be given to your new hires, and they will have a perception of your company after reading it. You want to make sure that it puts you and your company in the best light!

So I know this sounds like a lot, and you may be wondering when you’re ever going to have the time to undergo this overwhelming project. If you just simply don’t have the time to create your own pet sitting employee manual, consider outsourcing the task. We currently offer a fully customizable pet sitting employee manual where you can input your information and be DONE. You won’t have to worry about missing anything, as our document is already lawyer reviewed! Learn more here: http://jumpconsulting.net/pet-sitting-employee-manual-handbook/

 


If you do want to continue with creating your own pet sitting employee manual, more power to you! Just be sure to consider the costs of creating your own employee manual here.

How Much Will It Cost To Create My Pet Sitting Employee Manual?

An essential to component for any pet sitting business with staff is an employee manual. Creating one is definitely a daunting task, and the cost of making one comes in many forms. Developing a pet sitting employee manual is going to cost you time, money, and resources. Today let’s break down exactly the cost of creating an employee manual.

How Much Will It Cost To Create My Pet Sitting Employee Manual?

Pet Sitting Employee Manual

Time

One of the biggest costs of creating a pet sitting employee manual is easily your TIME. Before deciding to make your own manual, consider how many hours of your time it will take. Then, think about how you much your time is worth per hour. If you find that after considering these factors, it isn’t worth your personal time to create one, you may want to think about outsourcing.

As business owners, it’s easy to get into the mindset that others cannot perform tasks as well as we can. We always want to do everything ourselves to make sure it’s done right! And while creating an employee manual is definitely important for your business, it’s critical to prioritize. You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin. It’s important to not only dedicate the necessary time to your clients and staff, but also to yourself.

Answer this question:

My Time Is Worth $_______ Per Hour.

Money

Creating your own pet sitting employee manual can be expensive. Even if you decide to make your own, it is not a one-man or one-woman show. You’ll need multiple individuals on your team to ensure it is complete with all necessary information and looks professional.  Some examples of people you’ll need to work with are:

  • A lawyer
  • An HR representative
  • A technical editor
  • A typesetter

While these individuals will all be able to provide you with crucial information to create your manual, it comes at a financial cost.  In fact, the lawyer alone would likely be around $500 to review. This team is easily a few thousands of dollars.

Resources

I can tell you first-hand that gathering and securing your resources in place can be difficult. Finding the right people to help work for you is HARD because there are a lot of flakes. Putting together the perfect team to assist you in crafting your employee manual will take a lot of time and effort. While this isn’t necessarily a reason to give up altogether, it is absolutely something you must keep in mind before starting the process.

Also keep in mind that for every moment you spend trying to compile your team, another moment goes by where you do not have an employee manual and are potentially creating bigger problems for yourself.

Overall, adding up all of the time, money, and resources spent easily comes out to a few thousand dollars. It is clear that creating your own pet sitting employee manual is a massive project, but one that can be done given you have the correct mindset and outlook. If you feel that creating your own manual isn’t the right choice for you after considering all of these factors, consider taking a look at outsourcing the task or purchasing a pre-made employee manual. In the long run, it might end up being the better choice for your business.

pet sitting business handbook

 

hiring staff switching from IC's

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

One of the scariest things to do as a pet sitting business owner is hiring staff or switching from IC’s to staff. I mean think about it – you’re literally changing the structure of your business. You’re going from hiring people who have their own company, who know how to do a job to someone who doesn’t have their own company, who wants to be trained, who you get to control & check up on. Those personalities are two totally different things.

Today I bring you 6 steps to successfully make the jump from IC’s to staff, designed personally by myself and Kate McQuillan from Pawsome Media. If you don’t know Kate, she helps pet business owners around the world with their social media and marketing in their business. Be sure to check her out here.

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

hiring staff switching from IC's

Step 1: The IRS Blessing

Little known fact: There’s this awesome government program called the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) that can serve as a HUGE help when making the switch from IC’s to employees.

To simplify it down from the legal mumbo-jumbo, your business pays a small fee and in return you NEVER have to worry about being audited for employment tax again. Consider this as a safety net and an investment for your business. Read more about it on the IRS website, or check out this detailed article I wrote breaking it down for you. 🙂

Step 2: Pricing

You HAVE to figure out your margins.  You deserve to make money – you’re dedicating so much time and energy to your business, that you deserve a handsome paycheck 🙂 If you’re not, let me help you get on track.

People fear when switching from IC’s to staff that there’s going to be all these extra costs, but the reality is you can RAISE your prices and see an increase in business. Seriously! I have NEVER seen a person say “OMG I raised my prices and my business crashed. Never.”

Not everyone has to raise their rates, but that’s when the numbers don’t lie. You have to pay yourself, pay the business, and pay for the labor.

If you’re still unsure how to price your services/figure out your margins to get ready for hiring staff or switching from IC’s, I have an entire guide dedicated to this. Take a look at my Pricing Guide Structure & Strategy, and never be confused again!

Step 3: Building A Team

Gather people you can trust to advise you on payroll, laws, operations, websites, hiring, and cash flow. Without a team in place, you will not be able to efficiently and professionally accomplish everything you need to. The art of delegation will be learned during this step!

You have to evaluate your business and find what your needs are. Picture the perfect demographic of what you’re looking for, and then FIND THEM! You don’t want to compromise – you have to stick to what you need and what you’re looking for. If you do this, finding the right people is as easy as checking off boxes.

Step 4: Creating A Manual

First you need to decide if you’re going to have one big fat employee manual, or are you going to have an employee manual AND a training manual? What’s even the difference between the two? Are you going to have a training manual for each position (i.e. pet sitter, dog walker, office manager etc.)

Ensure that your new staff will understand the rules and regulations of your company. Outline your exact operations and the philosophy of your business so each member can work harmoniously as a team with consistent service time and time again

These are all important questions you have to figure out before you even pick up that pen & paper. When hiring staff or switching from IC’s, you want to have all of your processes and procedures in place beforehand. This will create a successful work environment for everybody.

Hire for attitude, train for skill.[ctt template=”8″ link=”iK3nf” via=”no” ]Hire for attitude, train for skill.[/ctt]

Step 5: Interviewing

You need to learn how to ask the same question in many different ways to see if their answer changes. But most importantly, if you get it wrong: correct and continue.

Learn how to determine the right type of person for your business to grow with. Determine what interview questions, screening, and hiring processes will bring you the best candidates. This is the toughest part of the 6 steps!

Don’t use the all too common excuses of “I can’t hire” or “Nobody can do it as good as me” Hiring staff  or switching from IC’s to staff is an ON-GOING problem. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You always need to be hiring!

Step 6: Operations

Basically, you have to figure out how to make everything run smoothly. Nobody will want to work for you if they have to ask you questions for every single client they go and see. Communication has to flow through you, the clients, the pet sitter, and even other pet sitters.

You’ll want to have your client feel like you’re at the home and you know exactly what’s going on. That they’re hiring a COMPANY and not just the pet sitter. That nothing’s going to slip through the cracks.

Bottom Line: Operations can make or break you.

Now, I want you to take a deep breath. Is this a lot of information? YES. Does it mean that you can’t do it? NO. I believe in you – which is why I have SO many resources to help you achieve your goals and fit different learning styles.

Download My 6 Steps To Switching To Employees Infographic – FREE!

Employee QuickStart 1:1 With Bella

 

pet sitting employee manual

Employee Quick Start Program vs. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual

little dog ask help

The most natural question I get when talking about these products I have is, “Bella, what is the difference between the Employee Quick Start program vs the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual?”

And it is a pretty good question too!

So here, I will do my best to break it down into an easily digestible explanation. I understand these documents can be confusing by themselves.

But out the gate, let me make this clear: It isn’t one or the other like the title of this article might suggest. In fact, if you have the Employee Quick Start the  Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual will only enhance what you already have. The Employee Quick Start has a manual that is an outline, that you still need to write. These documents are already written FOR you. 🙂

It is perfect solution for the business owner who just doesn’t have the time to think and research what needs to be included, write it all out, and then produce the documents.

The Employee Quick Start:

Often times, when a pet sitting or dog walking business owner is ready to take the JUMP and bring on employees, it is a confusing and monumental project. There is confusion on things like, how much do employees cost? How much should I pay? Do I have to pay by the hour? How do I train them? How do I conduct or know what to ask on an interview? Where can I get an employee manual? How do I monitor the employees, and a lot, lot, more.

The Employee Quick Start was created with all this and more in mind. It has everything from A to Z that a pet sitter or dog walker would need to consider as they venture into having employees. Topics like: Pricing structure, building a team, employee manual outline, interview process with questions and an application, ways to transition your clients from you being their pet sitter, to your staff, and how to become a manager of your business instead of a worker are all explained in a step-by-step fashion.

The Employee Quick Start does contain an employee manual outline, with thought-provoking questions designed to get the reader thinking so they can start writing. It is like a handbook and manual in one, addressing some policies of your company AND how to do the job.

It is also offered in downloadable format or 1:1 on the phone. 

Employee Quick Start

 

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual:

The Employee Handbook is extensive – covering all the most important things that a handbook needs. It is very “legal” and “corporate” addressing everything from your mission to whistleblower policies, while containing definitions, Workplace, Hiring, and Continued Employment Policies, Code of Conducts, Employment Duties, Work and Compensation Policies, Employee Information, Leave Policies, Workplace Safety, Disciplinary Policies and Procedures, Separation of Employment, and an Index. With over 40 pages.

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The Training Manual explains things such as how to scoop litter, different types of leads and how to walk dogs, and specific tasks that need to be done at visits and a lot more. It tells you HOW to do the job of a pet sitter and dog walker. Some sections include: Pet Visits, client communication, keys, pet sitting for a cat, walking dogs, and more. It is also over 40 pages.

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Wondering About The Quality of Writing?

This document was also revised by a technical writer and edited over and over again through many months of creation. The purchase of one or both these documents come with explicit instructions on how and where to easily insert your company information throughout the pages.

Get Both Documents at Once And You Will Find Yourself In The Bonus Round:

Buy the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual together and receive a BONUS!

I wanted to reward those who took the leap and got both documents, so I am offering anyone who purchases BOTH documents, access to the live (If before Oct 26, 2016) or recorded class where I will verbally go through the documents and point out sections of interest and worthy of discussion.

employeehandbookclass-option2

Just click that picture above to buy them both right now!

A Common Problem With These Documents and Solution:

If you are like me, sometimes when you receive a document and try to edit it, the margins get all wonky and no matter what tricks you try, things just don’t line up looking all “pretty.”

I anticipated that you might have this problem and solved it for you before you even knew you had it. I have landed an incredible deal with someone who can typeset the entire document for you when you are done adding your logo, company information, and anything else you might want to add to it.  This is the same person that I have used for this project and they are offering an incredibly affordable rate of $25 for 30 minutes of typesetting your documents.

Ready To Exhale?

There aren’t many options out there that will knock these two tough topics off your to-do list out there. I mean, the pet sitting and dog walking industry is pretty unique, right? No HR company is going to understand how or what to tell people about the nuances of our businesses like how to scoop non-clumping litter and where it goes. (Just thinking of that makes me chuckle). So take it from me, someone who had a pet sitting company for 14 years… I know the anxiety you are feeling. I know that cursor just antagonizing you blinking on your screen… Let Jump Consulting help!

If you have any more questions, just post them in the comments below. Chances are, if you have a question, someone else did too! 🙂

employee-quick-start-vs-pet-sitting-dog-walking-training-manuals

Episode 15: How to Get Rid of the Fear of Delegation

bella-pet-sitting-industry-podcast-album-cover

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella is joined by Kate McQuillan from Pawsome Media. They dismantle the myths surrounding the fear of delegation in pet sitting businesses and discuss the profitable advantages of it.

Bella leads off by talking about her first delegation experience with the website Fancy Hands , a website that for a small fee will perform a few simple tasks for you. But she warns that your instructions need to be clear to ensure the task is done as you expect.  She says it’s like “the bootcamp for learning how to delegate.” Doing this, will decrease your fear of delegation.

Bella then talks about how she moved up to getting a virtual assistant (VA) and how with that she learned that prioritizing tasks for the VA  is key. She realized that she also needed to communicate how many hours she expected to be spent on the task as it better clarified the expectations and led to both her and the VA  feeling a sense of control over the task.  Kate pointed out that setting expectations on both sides is a very important step.

Kate then says that she feels that if you are going to delegate a task, make it one that needs to be repeated periodically. Doing so means that the time you spend setting up the expectations for the task the first time, will in essence, be training the assistant to do it in the future. As you set up expectations and outline the process for each task, you are essentially at the same time building an employee handbook. It becomes time well spent!

Kate also points out that you need to make sure you are putting a task in the hands of the right person. For instance, more complicated repetitive tasks are best done by someone like a VA who is consistently the same person, rather than using FancyHands or Fiverr ) where you may not be getting the same person each time.  Bella points out that mindless one-off tasks are better suited for those sites.

At this point Kate manages to blow Bella’s mind by suggesting that you have your VA document the process while they are doing the task. As Bella puts it, “Delegating the Delegation!”  

Bella then tells the listeners not to get discouraged when finding the right VA. She points out that just like hiring, sometimes a person does not work out.  Or, even when you find the right VA, they may have to leave for personal or family reasons.  She reinforces this by relating an experience she had. Kate adds that sometimes you or your needs change and that you should not be afraid to change your VA if things stop working out.

Bella mentions that some VAs can be more expensive than others but may bring a bigger skill set that can ultimately make you more productive.  She points out how critical a VA was in helping her organize and publish the first ever comprehensive chart of all the software companies in the pet sitting field. Kate says to think of it as an investment rather than a cost as it may help you and your business make more money.

Kate then discusses how one of the biggest hurdles people have in moving to delegating is the fear of letting go. They are afraid that someone else can’t do it as well as they can do it. She says rather than fear it, use it as an opportunity to examine and streamline the process.  You just may make it more efficient!

Kate mentions that one online tool she has found very helpful for delegation is Trello. It’s a free tool for putting up lists of tasks (which can be shared with others like your VA) and setting up a project timeline. Bella notes that visually it reminds her of Pinterest.

Since they have gotten on the topic of technology tools, Bella points out that most of us probably only use about 20% of the functionality of the tools we use. So she encourages the listeners to take the time to look at the tools website or seek out tutorials in order to really learn how to the get the most out of each tool!  Kate adds that she has tried to take the time this year to do just that.

Bella says that business owners should always make sure that their business is healthy and you always have enough money set aside to pour back into the business.  You can then use the “business” money to invest in these tools and processes that will ultimately help you grow your business.

They wrap up by stressing the importance of streamlining the processes and delegating the tasks. Kate also points out that there are some tasks, like contracts, that ABSOLUTELY should be delegated to the appropriate professionals, like lawyers. Bella agrees as she has had other business owners come and ask her for her service contract or her employee manual to use in their businesses, prompting her to ask “Do you want my underwear too?”  A perfect way to end an episode.

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