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hiring

Episode 123: Solving The Hiring Problem In Your Pet Business

Abbie Hawkins is the Senior Channel Account Manager for JazzHR, the best hiring software in the pet industry. Listen in to see how over 60 pet sitting companies are turning their “I don’t have anyone to hire” problem into “I have too many qualified applicants to sift through” This is a great episode you will want to hear!

 

hiring

 

Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

  • The two problems you will always be solving in your pet sitting or dog walking company is getting more clients and getting more staff. By having a consistent, on-going hiring funnel, we can solve the problem of staffing once and for all. By always having an abundance of staff that are able to step in at any moment’s notice, you are preventing yourself from being held hostage in your business. Hiring isn’t a means to an end – it is an on-going process!

 

Show Highlights

  • How do we change the mindset from hiring one person to having an actual hiring funnel? [5:00]
  • What happens if you don’t have the right amount of staff? [6:45]
  • How does JazzHR solve the hiring problem on a global scale? [8:00]
  • What are some tips to having a strong hiring ad? [11:00]
  • Can you describe what a knockout question is? [14:00]
  • What are some sample hiring flows you’ve seen in other businesses? [18:00]
  • How do I proceed when I have resignations and new positions to fill? [18:45]
  • Any suggestions to bring in more applicants? [23:00]

 

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Links

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jump & scale

Over 6 Hours of Trainings and Recordings For You This Week!

I’m not lying when I say that this has been one of the most exciting weeks here EVER at Jump Consulting. I have so much going on… being created for YOU that I almost feel like how am I ever going to be able to TELL YOU all about it. I am about to do my best below….

Please, tell me what you think about it all. I want to know!

 

Jump & Scale

Over 90 Jumpers showed up for my FREE 3-Part Jump & Scale webinar where I taught you how to write killer job postings, attract the best candidates, and hire the right people. I can’t express enough how much I loved getting to teach on this topic and (hopefully) inspire you to always keep hiring!
If you missed out, have no fear. The replays of the video will be coming today (yes, today!!) and if you missed out, you can access them right now by signing up at jumpconsulting.net/scale.
Now here’s what else is happening this week…

 

Better Marketing With Bella – 2 Spots Left

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve opened up 2 more spots for the wildly popular Better Marketing With Bella Program. Imagine having your marketing 100% handled for the first half of 2019. Think about all of the OTHER things you could be working on in your business. Every month you will receive videos, outlines, emails, graphics, and so much more delivered to your inbox.

Will this be the year you take back your marketing? Apply Now: jumpconsulting.net/bella-marketing

 

PODCAST: Relationship Marketing & Buyer Personas

This week I had the INCREDIBLE Jessika Phillips on the podcast, and I know your mind is going to be blown when you listen to this episode. We’ve talked about content marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing and more… but this week the focus is all about relationship marketing. If you feel like you have trouble getting inside the mind of your client and really understanding what they want from YOU, then you have to listen to this episode. Check it out here.

 

T-Shirt Tuesdays: How To Get Consistency With Employees

 

This week’s T-Shirt Tuesday is brought to you by Allison Muggli of Pets Domain ATX (thanks girl!!) and we’re talking all about how to get and retain consistency with your employees. Do you feel like your employees get sick a lot, call out, or take a lot of time off? Well, you’ll want to watch this week’s 3 minute video to learn how you can put a stop to that real quick 🙂 Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/jumpconsulting/videos/340122153213926/

 

Bella Was Interviewed On 2 Podcasts

This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed on not one, but TWO different podcasts! I can’t tell you guys enough how fulfilling it is to share my stories with so many different audiences and inspire them.  If you have a few minutes this weekend, check them out and let me know what you think. On the one with Jay, I really get into some motivating stuff…

 

That’s it for this week! Is there anything I can help you with? Just shoot me an email at bella@jumpconsulting.net

Always Keep Jumping,

 

pet sitting employees

Episode 95: Coaching Your Pet Sitting Employees To Success With Niki Ramirez

Today we welcome our friend, Niki Ramirez! She is a Human Resource specialist at HRAnswers.org, who provides full-service HR consultation, compliance support and employee training for small businesses. Their mission is to take care of “HR” so that their clients can focus on their business. Today we’re talking about how to be a coach to your pet sitting employees and why it is so important. 

pet sitting employees

 

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

  • We are all natural coaches. But the way that we interact and socialize makes it difficult. Be mindful and focused to practice the skills that are already within us.
  • Coaching is an opportunity to point out what you do well and also offer immediate ways to adjust. It is also  a top opportunity to build relationships and report with our pet sitting employees
  • How often should we be coaching people? We don’t want to be a “mother hen” and we don’t want to go overboard. It is more important to go hard during the introduction time period. When an employee is new you want to coach them more.
  • Counseling vs coaching where do you draw the line? As a leader, you have to send questions ahead of time that guides your thinking. You have to identify that they are going through something but work through it quickly. Let them know you value them and you have a support base for them if needed. But you can’t “counsel” them.
  • Where do you draw the line of counseling or coaching and those personal boundaries? You can’t always get too personal, even though you may want to. You have to have a distinct boundary line
  • Can staff members coach each other? Definitely! In fact, they are a great resource for team building. Find who is doing a wonderful job that will help you grow. Tap into that and help them grow naturally within your company.

 

Show Highlights:

  • What is coaching and why should we coach? We don’t always feel like natural coaches or understand the mindset of how to become an effective coach. It is a way we can change the outcome of the “game” as it progresses. [5:00]
  • What do great coaches do to unlock the best potential of their employees? They often provide a vision for their employees [9:20]
  • Are there different types of coaching? And when should we implement these techniques and why? [13:20]
  • Is there any easy way to say “I’m going to be coaching you?” [15:00]
  • How can you coach stubborn pet sitting employees? We want to boost performance but think about coach vs. discipline. If you coach first, you will probably not have to discipline. But sometimes you have to put them on notice. [19:00]
  • How can you find Niki and tap into her resources? [24:00]

coach

Links

Find and contact Niki for a quick and easy consultation at HRAnswers.org

 

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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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Ten Things You Need To Know About Being A Pet Sitting Employees VS. IC

Good help is hard to find, as any business owner knows. With the variety of web-based services which offer Independent Contractor (IC) opportunities for aspiring pet sitters and dog walkers, why would a pet lover choose to work for a traditional business as a pet sitting employee rather than working independently and possibly bringing home more cash?  

Becoming an employee of an established company offers lots benefits for folks who are interested in caring for pets. When considering how to proceed, it’s important that an individual consider several things. Below are the top 10 differences in working for an employer versus working for one’s self.

Ten Things You Need to Know About Being A Pet Sitting Employee VS. IC

pet sitting employee

1. Instant income

Possibly the most obvious benefit of working for someone else is the instant stream of work! Rather than posting a profile all over the internet, handing out business cards and hoping to meet people at the dog park, an established company already has visits lined up and ready to go for employees. There’s no need to hustle.

2. Overhead

All of the marketing and client retention is completed by the company, which takes time (and money!). If a client is unhappy, employees are still paid. If tools or supplies are needed, it’s covered. An IC is financially responsible for all things related to the care they provide during visits they are contracted to complete.

3. Insurance

Beyond covering overhead costs, a professional business will be insured and bonded by a reliable insurance company. Although some of the web-based services offer insurance, there have been several questionable situations where insurance refused to pay out – it can leave an IC open to liability.

4. Personal liability

When working under the umbrella of insurance and bonding provided by a corporation, employees are generally insulated from lawsuits claiming negligence or other civil suits; this is not the case when working as an IC.

5. Workers comp

Did you know many health insurance policies will not cover workplace injuries? Most professional pet care companies carry workers compensation insurance; this means, if an employee is injured while caring for a pet, there isn’t a reliance on private health insurance — or the employee’s personal bank account! Self-insurance for workers comp as an IC is available, but it can be very, very pricey.

6. Safety

With a professional company, clients are screened ahead of time for pet temperament, neighborhood safety and accuracy of information provided in advance of the first visit. Employees won’t go into a job blindly and just hope for the best.

7. Taxes

An employer covers roughly half of taxes owed by an individual, plus they file the employee’s portion automatically each quarter. An IC must pay the full amount of taxes on all monies earned at the end of the year – and that bill can be unexpectedly large.

8. Protocols

Most established companies have specific rules for how to handle uncomfortable and emergency situations. No need to make up a solution on the fly!

9. Education

Beyond having established protocols, many companies teach technical skills on how to best care for pets including body language, avoiding bites, etc.

10. There’s Always A Back-Up

Feeling sick? Have an emergency? By being employed by a company, there will be someone who can pick up the slack when you’re unable to perform your visits.  As an IC, you and your clients may be out of luck.

 

Ultimately, both approaches have their perks. It comes down to what’s most important to an individual when deciding how they would like to pursue a career with pets! By properly presenting the information above, an IC for an internet company may be persuaded to instead join a professional team.

pet sitting

Robin Brown is the owner and founder of Manhattan Mutt Company, LLC in Manhattan, Kansas. She is a Yankee-born, Southern-bred, Midwestern transplant. Her life revolves around her husband’s Army career, a sassy toddler and the dogs who inspired her to launch MMCo.

 

pet sitting beginners guide

What To Say To The Applicants That Weren't Select For An Interview

Ways To Overcome Problems With Pet Sitting Employees

Many people think that when you have employees, you will always have probelms.

But that isn’t always the case.

There are just a few things you have to accept and understand in order for pet sitting employees to be the best decision of your life.

Ways To Overcome Problems With Pet Sitting Employees
problems with pet sitting employees

Trust

One of the biggest challenges I see with business owners is being able to trust their employees. There really is such a fine line between being an involved business owner and micromanaging. It’s up to you to find your balance and stick with it. So how can you overcome these trust issues?

It lies in your training process. You’ll need to train your pet sitting employees extremely well to give both you and them peace of mind. Most employees WANT to do their job well – you just have to provide them with the resources to be successful. This also makes them feel like a part of the company. When you do a good job of training your employees it shows them that you are invested in their success – it makes them feel good!

But don’t get comfy. It’s imperative that you stick to your rules, but you don’t want to come across as a dictator. It’s all about balance.

pet sitting deal

Cost

Try to see your employees as an investment rather than an expense. If you have the proper pricing structure and strategy, your employees will increase your revenue as well as the value of your business. In fact, every employee can bring you $20,000 to $60,000  in revenue! If you invest in people working for your company, your company will grow and so won’t your paycheck. The typical expenses are insurance, background tests, uniforms, training, etc. Arguably while many think that employees cost more than independent contractors (ICs), ICs end up costing more.

Interviewing/Hiring/Training

The process of hiring, interviewing, and training is one that many business owners find challenging. It’s easily one of the biggest problems with having pet sitting employees. My advice? Wrap your head around the fact that you’re going to be doing this your entire business career.

Become one with it.

Perfect it!

If you’re worried about tackling these processes on your own, consider hiring an HR representative. Having this kind of help can help you overcome the burden of having to figure all of this out on your own.

In the pet sitting businesses, I see so many capable business owners NOT growing their business due to people problems. If you can learn to overcome this, then the sky is the limit! There are so many resources out there for you – you just have to look. 🙂

employee handbook

Episode 57: Lead Through Strengths With Lisa Cummings

Description

On this episode, Bella spends time with Lisa Cummings, Founder of Lead Through Strengths.  Lisa talks about how it is her life’s mission to help people get over their obsession of fixing weaknesses instead of focusing on their strengths, the things that make them happy, give them energy and make them successful.

pet sitter marketing

Lisa Cummings

“Notice what works to get more of what works!” – Lisa Cummings

Pay attention to what is working. Make sure in your customer surveys you aren’t just asking what needs improvement. Ask customers what they loved most about the various parts of the service. You may find that some simple little thing you do, like giving out a little “report card” at the end of a stay, may be the thing that keeps them coming back and gets them referring you. After all, it is easier to replicate what is working for you than to try to figure out the 50 or 60 potential solutions to something one client says they don’t like.

To zero in on your strengths Lisa recommends the book Strengthsfinder 2.0 which gives you a code to take an online strengths survey. It gets away from skills and knowledge and helps you find your natural talents, the way you think, feel and act that feel good to you. It gives a filter for helping figure out the best way for you to approach issues. The book explains the definition of the 34 potential talent themes revealed by the survey.

Another way to zero in on strengths is to look for what brings you ease, energy and enjoyment. If a particular activity causes you to lose track of time, stop and exam just what about it really kept you engaged.

On her website, Lisa  has a list of things you may want “more of” in your daily life. It can give you clues as to what activities you are more attracted to.

Two books that Lisa recommends are First Break All the Rules by Gallup Press and Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. She says that if you read them from the standpoint of managing people and then combine that with a strengthsfinder of those people you manage it is most helpful in managing people.

When you have a business challenge imagine putting it through a funnel.  You drop it in at the top and you filter it through all the top talents and strengths in your business.  Try thinking how to solve it using each of those strengths.  Lisa says is causes your brain to think in ways it normally doesn’t and can lead to some creative solutions.

One first step you can take is to decide what you want your company to remembered for and what you want to be remembered for. Come up with a list of words and phrases around that which will serve as an outline of what is most important to you.  Another is to list out the values that are important to you. Lisa has a list of values on her website you can use as a reference.

Lisa also recommends finding out similar information from your customers.  Casually ask customers what word or words come to mind when they think of you or your business.

Finally, she suggests you make a list of at least 100 responses to “I am good at _________!”. It helps you not only affirm how much you are good at but you can group them into trends and see if you are truly applying them in your business.

About Lisa

Lisa Cummings has delivered training & speaking events to over 9,000 participants in 14 countries. You can see her featured in places like Harvard Business Publishing, Training Magazine, and Forbes. She’s the CEO of a company called Lead Through Strengths. When she’s not out spotting strengths with teams, you’ll find her rescuing stray dogs or playing drums.

Links mentioned in this episode

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Episode 53: Everything You Need To Know About Vetting With Justin Recla

On this episode Bella speaks with Justin Recla, Operations Officer for The Clear Business Directory Due Diligence and Vetting Solutions.

pet sitting business

Justin Recla

They discuss:

  • The importance of vetting your potential business partners, employees, and service providers
  • How best to go about vetting
  • How Justin and Tonya’s background in Counterintelligence translated over to the business world.
  • Does having a due diligence process tells others that you do not trust them?
  • How business owners can use their vetting process when marketing themselves.

Justin and Tonya Dawn Recla are Army veterans and former government agents who bring over 20 years of combined counterintelligence experience to the business world. They established The Clear Business DirectoryTM and have forever changed the way business gets done. For the first time, consumers and business owners alike can make sure potential partners, investors, and service providers are who they say they are and can do what they say they can do.

You can find out more at ClearBusinessDirectory.com.

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bella in your business

Episode 45: Everything You Need To Know About Background Checks With Jason Waggoner

On this episode  Bella spends time with Jason Waggoner, Vice President of Marketing for ACUTRAQ Background Screening Solutions. They discuss the importance of background checks and how ACUTRAQ can help eliminate some of the liabilities around doing it yourself.

hire Background Checks costs

Jason Waggoner

They discuss:

  • Some of the drawbacks to using the simple background check services you see online
  • How a service like ACUTRAQ can actually reduce some of the liability around background checks
  • How you should proceed when a potential employee has something flagged in their background check
  • Jason’s UMeetU movement and acting/video production activities.

You can find out more about ACUTRAQ at https://www.acutraq.com/.

To find out more about Jason’s UMeetU movement, go to http://www.umeetumovement.com/.

To see a cool music video Jason put together for ACUTRAQ check out https://youtu.be/2giXfjnB0p4.

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 43: Helping Your Clients Deal With Pet Loss Grief With Wendy Van de Poll

In this episode, Bella speaks with Wendy Van de Poll, the founder of The Center for Pet Loss Grief and an international best selling and award-winning author and speaker. They discuss pet loss grief and what pet professionals can say and do to be supportive to their clients in their loss. They also talk about how pet professionals can deal with their own grief.

Topics covered are:

  • What is pet loss grief
  • What you as a pet professional should do when a client gets the news that their pet has a terminal illness
  • How to help your clients when their pets die
  • What you shouldn’t say or do
  • How a pet professional can deal with their own grief over losing an animal client
Pet Loss Grief

Wendy Van de Poll

Wendy Van de Poll is a pioneering leader in the field of pet loss grief support. She is dedicated to providing a safe place for her clients to express their grief over the loss of their pets. What makes Wendy successful with her clients is that she get’s grief! “Over the years I’ve dealt with my own grief and helping many families communicate and connect with their pets long after their loss. It’s what I’ve done since I was just 5 yrs old!”

She is compassionate and supportive to all who know her. Her passion is to help people when they are grieving over the loss of a pet and her larger than life love for animals has led her to devote her life to the mission of increasing the quality of life between animals and people no matter what stage they are in their cycle of life! She has been called the animal whisperer. She is a Certified End of Life and Pet Grief Support Coach, Certified Pet Funeral Celebrant, Animal Medium and Communicator. She is the founder of The Center for Pet Loss Grief and an international best selling and award-winning author and speaker. She holds a Master’s of Science degree in Wolf Ecology and Behavior and has run with wild wolves in Minnesota, coyotes in Massachusetts and foxes in her backyard. She lives in the woods with her husband, two crazy birds, her rescue dog Addie and all kinds of wildlife.

You can find out more about Wendy and the Center for Pet Loss Grief at https://centerforpetlossgrief.com.

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Episode 41: Communication Problems In Pet Sitting Companies With Adam Smith

On this episode Bella speaks with Adam Smith from Precise Petcare. They discuss communication problems pet sitting business owners often have with both the pet sitters who work for them and with customers.  They discuss how the software offered by Precise Petcare addresses many of these challenges.

Communication Problems In Pet Sitting Companies

Adam & Lynn Smith

Precise Petcare is an online management system that could quickly become the center of your business. The online scheduling, billing and client/staff management are all in one place. With their system you’ll have fluid communication between you, your staff and your clients. Much loved features include Pet Care Journals, the Live Sitter Map and GPS sitter check-ins. Precise Petcare was co-created by a pet sitting business owner and a web developer to combine a perfect blend of knowledge and talents specifically for this industry. Husband and wife team, Adam and Lynn Smith understand first-hand what your needs are as a pet sitting business owner and have built each aspect of the software and continuously update and improve the system – without having to rely on outside talents to delay the process!

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 37: Leadership, Strategic Planning, & Vision With Tarran Deane

On this episode, Bella discusses leadership with Tarran Deane, author of the new book,  “The Alphabet Principle: Your A – Z Guide to Being a Compelling Leader”.

business coaching

Tarran Deane

Tarran Deane is Australia’s Corporate Cinderella a Leadership Development Company. Tarran works with executives, entrepreneurs, experts and emerging leaders to increase their personal effectiveness, capability, communication and commercial savviness. Bringing a maverick edge, and entrepreneurial trends to established businesses and organizations, Tarran boldly challenges, honors and equips people to shift the performance of their organization’s people, practice, and profit.  Tarran intentionally cuts through the whispered frustrations of workplaces today, equipping you to lead strategically and tactically in the fast pace of real life @ work, so you and your team can get the job done and love the company you’re in. A sought-after international keynote speaker, Tarran’s warmth, humor and 43,000 hours in leadership have helped more than 26,000 audience members to hit the shift key and lead like they mean it with boldness and humility.

alphabet principleBella and Tarran discuss:

  • How as a woman to be taken seriously in the corporate world
  • Dealing with problem generators in the workplace
  • Why vision and strategic planning matter.
  • Her “Signature 7 Leadership Framework” for planning out your work week. (Infographic can be gotten at https://www.tarrandeane.com/signature7leadershipinfographic/)

You can find out more about Tarran on her website at http://tarrandeane.com.
Connect with her on facebook
Get her book here

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2 Of The Most Important Requirements To Establish With New Pet Sitting Employees

How exciting! You just hired a new pet sitting employee for your company and now comes the training period. But how exactly do you teach someone and ensure that they not only understand but will agree to all the policies and procedures you have created for your business? How do you make sure they respect the boundaries that they are working in and your position as their boss?

Every day you’ll fight an uphill battle if the rules and boundaries of your pet sitting company aren’t properly set up. That means having a training program that teaches your staff members the employee handbook and training manual.

If you don’t have these things, prepare for your foot to hurt a lot – and often –  as you’re basically shooting at it as soon as you pop out of bed.

Just having rules isn’t enough, though.

They need to be clear, constantly updated and taught in a way that ensures employees
A) understand and
B) agree

 

 

Requirement #1 When Employees Understand:

For new pet sitting employees to understand rules, you’ll need a few different things during training such as:

  • Funny videos, pictures, and good personal stories stressing the importance of certain policies.
  • Handbook and policies are written in language that is simple, easy to read, and to the point.
  • An effective shadowing process to tie up loose ends at the culmination of training.
  • A process of about 1-2 weeks. It should be drawn out over a few days (and up to a few weeks) and may include shadowing in the field too.
  • Ultimately, the best way to make sure they’ve satisfied your company’s “understanding” requirement is that you could administer an employee-exam covering important policies and things employees frequently mess with.


Requirement #2 When New Pet Sitting Employees Agree:

When it comes to agreeing, we aren’t just talking about signing on the dotted line. When your employees don’t just know the policy, but truly agree with it, you’ll have an easier time offering them constructive criticism and giving out consequences.  It’s your job to make sure they agree. You’ll want to go out of your way for this one.

 

Include Your New Pet Sitting Employee To Get Them To Agree

During training, let them engage with you about policy and keep open the possibility of you tweaking or changing the rules based on their advice. Verbalize to them that you’d truly do something like that.

Create multiple opportunities like this to give them skin in the game. Hear their concerns and make them feel as comfortable as humanly possible to offer such wisdom back. Stay strong when you must.  

Be ready to defend and explain the reasons why certain policies mean so much to you. If you write policy with a strong moral and safety background, you’ll have little to debate.

new pet sitting employees

Create and Discuss Hypothetical Scenarios To Get Your New Pet Sitting Employees To Agree:

You should make sure that you go out of your way to ensure they agree with all the policies. Help your new pet sitting employees come up with issues they might experience.

Come up with separate hypothetical examples of employees where mistakes were met with constructive criticism,  

A) getting a strike

B) being suspended

C) getting fired

Show them how, in each example, you didn’t get upset, but simply gave the consequence. Ask them if this type of system they can be happy operating under. Get them, beyond all doubt, to say “I 100% agree to how this company runs.” Then, you can finally have them sign on the dotted line of your company’s employment agreement (that was looked at by your employment lawyer!).

 

The Business (You) Will Come Out The Good Guy:

When you get your new pet sitting employees to understand and agree, you preserve the relationship; the system does the consequence giving, not you.  Giving consequences are already awkward enough.

Giving consequences in a, non-confrontational manner, with as little words and interaction from your part, is how it’s done right. Do, however, tell them to please voice their concerns if they have any – and hear them with unconditional empathy and a refusal to argue.

Don’t offer any more than you must on your end though – let the system do the talking.  When you do it this way, you simultaneously preserve your relationship and boundaries. Then, the only thing you’ll have to focus on is giving the rewards – something that is much more powerful and wayyy more fun anyhow.

 

*****
David Steinberg is the owner of David’s Pet Services (DPS) – a Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Co. based out of West Hartford, CT. In his last profession, he was a certified psychotherapist where he worked 1-on-1 with children and young adults and provided psychoeducation to adults on parenting.

David feels the transition from therapist to dog trainer and business owner was seamless – with lesson learned including conflict resolution, positive reinforcement, and relationship building, he now feels equipped to ensure obedient doggy-clients, satisfied human-clients, happy employees, and a healthy business.

If you love adorable pictures of puppies, check out his Instagram Also, here’s his website, facebook page, twitter!

 

 

pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gift Ideas To Give Your Staff

There’s nothing quite like the squeals of excitement when your surprise someone with a gift. It’s even better when you’re rewarding your hard working employees with heartfelt appreciation. Day in and day out our employees put in their effort, energy, and time away from their home and family for our businesses. That’s why these 5 holiday gifts to give your staff are the perfect ideas to really show just how much they mean to you.

 

Think about it: Our employees are the backbones of our business. They are the faces our clients see, they are the ones we trust to show up as scheduled. This holiday season make sure your staff knows that you really care.

We talked with some of our closest pet sitting and dog walking business owners and here are 

pet sitting staff gifts

pet sitting staff gifts

5 Holiday Gifts To Give Your Staff:

 

Take Them Out On The Town

Our friend, Cheryle Meyer Stadler took her 6 Employees to a  VIP party at the Improv. They all enjoyed  dinner, drinks and front row entertainment with a guest of their choice. Even more, they also got a bonus, personalized wine glasses complete with a dog-inspired wine tags, plus a goodie bag full of awesome things like candy, hand sanitizer, flashlights, lanyards, nail polish, & lip stuff.

 

Send Them On a Getaway

Another great idea we got was from Krista Cugno Lofquist. She decided to give her hardworking Office Managers a trip or a cruise. Start searching now for a Groupon or Expedia and give them a much needed vacation. Our office managers work endlessly running the day to day tasks needed for a successful business, that’s why they truly deserve it! Sometimes even a stay-cation would do the trick!

christmas gifts to give your staff

Personalized Gifts

In previous years Krista also got each sitter and groomer a piece of pawprint jewelry, some with a birthstone, others with diamonds. How sweet is that? Try to find a local jeweler to get a great deal on a bulk order. This is such a wonderful idea that Katie Westerfield also gave out personalized jewelry one year. She gave pandora bracelets with the paw print dog bowl charm to her staff of three. Her staff posted about how great their boss was with pictures on Facebook. That’s how much they loved it!

Lindsay Licata likes to make things a bit more personal. She says, “I got one of my girls a beanie hat that has cat ears (Amazon $10), another one new cat dishes for her cat, a soap and cream set, a couple bath and body sets…..” What a great way to let your staff know that you put some personal through into what you got them. 

holiday gifts to give your staff

Bonuses

Sometimes when you have a larger staff it can be hard to do group parties. Pet sitting businesses aren’t set up like normal offices, where we all can break in the lunchroom for cake and punch for the holidays. That’s why Lucy Moore offers her employees cash by way of a bonus through payroll or even a year of membership at Costco. This is a perfect option for larger staffs and tougher schedules to coordinate. Speaking of Costco, they have great client gifts too!

Liz Chancey says  I always give cash. It’s not very creative, but I always loved receiving cash at Christmas. Plus, if they are having a hard time financially it’s helpful to them. I only have 3 employees and I give $50.00 to each.”

Samantha Busser also does cash with a twist: We do a girl’s day out every year (on their)  “workaversary” and Christmas with a nice lunch, a movie, and mani pedis, sometimes an old fashioned sleep over with girly movies and junk food lol, and for Christmas I also do a $50 cash bonus and some kind of gift, which I usually spend $25+ on.

 

Gift Cards

Everyone agrees that gift cards are a great way to go. For some, they can seem a little impersonal, so try to tailor the gift card to each person. Whether it’s a local boutique, pet store, or their favorite cafe, it’s more special when they know you were thinking of them specifically. Costco often sells them for 25% off, so check there first.

 

Even More Ideas… BONUS ROUND:

After I posted this article, I heard of even more awesome ideas that I couldn’t not add to the list. Take a look:

Christmas Lights and A Limo:

Sharon Jones says, “We are going out to eat this year and then a limo is picking us up and we are going to look at Christmas lights. We will have a gift exchange at the restaurant, we make it a game like white elephant but the gifts they bring are really nice. We limit to $25. Then we have for each of our staff members Holly Cook’s book “My End of the Leash”. We are celebrating this Sunday evening, I am excited!”   (BELLA NOTE: I have that book and I highly recommend it!!!)

Once you have picked out the best gifts for your staff let the fun begin!  Watching their eyes light up like twinkling lights and getting a big hug will make your day just as much as theirs. Plus, you’ll know your staff is assured of your appreciation, which is priceless. I always say, keep your staff happy, and they will keep your clients happy!

 

gifts to pet sitting clients

Employee Quick Start

Katrina Kadyszewski

Episode 20: Interview with a Small Business State Auditor

Katrina KadyszewskiIn this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Katrina Kadyszewski, a former state auditor with the State of Connecticut.  

Katrina has over 16 years experience working in a variety of financial positions. She started in the brokerage industry with a Series 7, 63 and 65 and life and health license, and then transitioned to audit work for the CT Department of Revenue Services before leaving to support small businesses in their efforts to get organized for expansion.

Katrina spent 3 of her almost 8 years with the CT Dept. of Revenue Services in the Business & Employment Tax Audit Unit, focused primarily on payroll tax issues. The last 5 years she worked as a Corporation Tax auditor, traveling across the US auditing largely Fortune 500 companies.

Bella and Katrina first discuss a big controversy in the pet sitting industry which is misclassification of employees as either independent contractors or employees.  Katrina outlines some key indicators that auditors look for in making that determination:

  • Is there an actual contract between you and the contractor?
  • Are your payments to them regular in nature?
  • How much control do you have over them with regards to work hours, uniform, training, etc.?
  • Do they offer the same services to other companies through their own business?
  • Are you providing them all the tools, training and supplies they need?
  • Basically, consider how loose is the relationship?

They also discuss why they think business owners are so apprehensive about audits, what documents a business owner should have at their disposal if they are being audited, and whether business owners should take their lawyer and accountant to the  audit. Katrina also gives some insight into what triggers an audit.

Some resources they discuss are the IRS’s  20-factor test to help you determine employee or independent contractor, and amnesty programs that exist to help encourage to make the right switch.

Have you ever been audited? Want to hear about pet sitters who have been audited? I have interviewed a handful and reported about it all here.

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How Should I Pay My Pet Sitting Employees?

how should I pay my pet sitting employees

 

If you are reading this, statistics show me it is because you did a google search. This is one of THE most asked questions amongst pet sitters and dog walkers. How should I pay my pet sitting employees is such a loaded question, that the answer is gray. Here’s what I mean:

How Much To Pay Your Pet Sitting Employees Has Nothing To Do With Your Competition.

The first thing that any pet sitting and dog walking business owner does is ask on Facebook what others are paying their staff. They seem to think that if they pay what others are paying, that it can be justified. It is very common for business owners to look outward to see what everyone else is doing

Illustration depicting a roadsign with ahow much concept. Abstract background.

How Much to Pay Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees Has Nothing To Do With What You Feel Either

Another common reasoning I hear a lot of is “I feel bad if I don’t pay my employees a lot”  I would want more money if I was working for me. “I want them to feel happy that they are working for me and they will be happy if they get a lot of money.” I’m sorry, but wrong reasoning again.

how much should I pay my pet sitting employee

How Much You Should Pay Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees Should Depend On What You Can Afford.

In the Pet Sitting Pricing and Strategy Guide I walk pet sitters step by step how to come up with their own perfect price based off of facts and then matched with their personal fiscal goals. I also show how to apply a principal where you always have enough money for you, the owner, your staff, and the business. This results in a well funded business, employees that are always paid, and a business owner with a regular paycheck. The numbers tell you exactly how much you can afford to pay your pet sitting and dog walking employees so you can feel confident when hiring.

 

classes-pricing-guide

How Should I Pay My Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees?

Depending on which way your CPA and lawyer advise you on your State Labor laws there are a few ways you can do this:

1. You can pay by the hour. You would track the time they start and stop work and you would have to pay at least minimum wage over time.
2. You could pay piece work. That means $x/per each visit or walk. This is very popular amongst the industry.

3. You could pay a commission based off how much the client is charged.

At any rate, I would highly recommend calling your State Department of Labor and ask them about the Labor Laws in your area and what your responsibilities are as a business owner in your state. 🙂 They are there to happily answer your questions!

prices on website

How You Should Pay Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees Isn’t A One Size Fits All Answer.

All businesses are operated differently and have very different goals so the answer of what to pay and how to pay will vary from business to business. The very best answer you can get is from your team. People that know your business the best, and the laws of the land in which you live! 🙂 But my best advice? Know exactly how much YOU want to make and how to make your business work for YOU!

You can download my step-by-step worksheet download my class so you can come up with your own numbers!

how-should-i-pay-my-pet-siting-employees

Let Your Employees Know When They Will Be Paid And How In Your Employee Handbook.

Your employee handbook should explain everything your employees need to know about the policies and procedures of your company. Above, we discussed ways in which you can compensate them. In your employee handbook you will outline exactly what their job is that they get paid for, how to submit payroll and when. If you do not have a handbook yet, I have an Employee Handbook and Training Manual that are completely written for you here

pet sitting employee manual

Episode 17: Should Pet Sitters Still Offer Overnights If They Have To Pay Per Hour?

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella discusses whether you should still offer overnights if you have to pay per hour? This is a hot topic because during this election year many are talking about raising the minimum wage, in some places as high as $15/hour.  In California, not only is the minimum wage being raised but they are mandating sick days and other things which are really going to cost businesses more and more money.

Education is Key to This Decision!

Bella emphasizes that you really need to educate yourself on the legislation in your particular state, what risk that implies for your  business, and what it will cost your business to comply. She says she really wants you to focus on the right team members (bookkeeper, CPA, lawyer) and to reach out to your state’s Department of Labor. Learn as much as you can and then make your own educated decision. Don’t listen to everyone on Facebook or your competitors!  Just because someone else elects to take one action doesn’t mean it’s the right one.

So, should you still offer overnights?  The easy answer for some will be no because they figure if they have to pay someone $15/hour for 8-10 hours, they would have to charge at least $200 for an overnight and they believe their clients would never pay that.  Bella points out, that could mean you are automatically giving up (what is on average) 20% of your revenue. In short, she recommends that you still offer overnights even if you have to pay per hour.

Put it on your website (with or without the price) and make sure you price it according to the 30/30/40 rule (30% for the business, 30% for you, and 40% for wages). Just be aware of what happens when you get to 40 hours (another great question to ask your state’s Department of Labor).

Remember, you don’t get to decide what is too expensive. Your clients do.  If a client does tell you it is too much, simply explain why it is that high.  Then offer them a less expensive alternative like 3 visits a day.  Let them know that it will probably be alright but if they feel that still isn’t enough then they could try the overnight option.

How To Sell Overnights:

Bella points out that if you don’t at least offer the option then visitors coming to your site looking for that option will “bounce” over to another service’s site.  Leave it on there. Keep them on your site. Engage them in a conversation giving them the reasoning and statistics and let them make the decision.

Another question to ask your state’s Department of Labor is whether or not you are exempt from the minimum wage due to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which states that people who make less than $500,000 don’t have to adhere to it.

Add More Value:

You could also consider additional value for these overnights like perhaps sending video and photos. You might include things like taking out the trash and/or sorting the mail. Add value to the overnights and make them exclusive benefits. Any of these additional values can help make a client feel better about spending the money.

Bella points out that in reality most pets are perfectly fine sleeping by themselves and that the real benefit offered in overnights is making the client feel less guilty about leaving their precious pet.  So let’s appeal to them and keep offering this service. Because if you don’t you have no idea just how much money you might be leaving on the table and walking away.

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Episode 16: Getting Rid of Toxic Relationships

Bella In Your Business

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella discusses getting rid of “bad apples” otherwise known as bad relationships.  At some point in your personal or professional life you have had that person who is a vampire of your time or energy.  And they can be very influential in your life.

You need to constantly take inventory because it is said you are the sum of the 5 closest people in your life. Bella says she sees a lot of pet business owners not “trimming the fat”  of these toxic relationships when it is really necessary and they end up with “tummy aches”.

Bella Has Dealt With Bad Apples…

Bella confesses that she has had to deal with “bad apples” over the years.  She reminds us that some “bad apples” may not have started that way.  Life can change people.  And sometimes it is even harder to get rid of someone if your relationship with them started out great.

Consequences To Keeping Negative People Around:

There are many negative things that can result from keeping “bad apples” in your company.  For one, it could put you in a bad mood and that might spill out in the next conversation you have with a client or another employee.  You may be disappointed in yourself because you know that you are being walked all over.  Or you might feel stressed or scared over what retaliation might happen if you do dissolve or walk away from that relationship.

These types of toxic relationships are like a disease.  They can continue to grow and take over more and more of your life and spoil a lot of things.  We need to protect ourselves, our business, and our employees.

Are YOU The Bad Apple?

Of course, it doesn’t always have to be a bad worker.  Sometimes YOU can be the “bad apple” as sometimes it is a bad boss.  Are you the one creating bad relationships? For instance, if  instead of helping and building up employees who seem to ask the same questions all the time, you lose your patience and yell at them.  Bella references a recent article that points to bad bosses as being among the chief reason people leave their jobs.

But whether you or one of your employees is the bad apple, not addressing it can have consequences on your business.  It can affect morale if employees see you treating another employee badly or if you accept bad behavior from another.  If you allow a “bad apple” to stick around it takes the power away from you for running your business.  For instance,  if someone has a lot of job responsibilities and they develop a chip on their shoulder it could bring about a negative attitude that will multiply when you bring in others to start taking on some of that person’s responsibilities.

So when people have a “bad apple”, why don’t they take care of it right away? Fear.  They might be afraid that by getting rid of that person there is some service or benefit that person still supplies that they will lose.

Don’t Fear The Break Up Of The Bad Relationships:

It could be fear of retaliation or of getting sued.  For that fear Bella suggests that you have a good team of legal and HR professionals you use who can help guide you through the correct process.  She points out that fear is just not understanding information.  Bella says that if you have more information and knowledge you are more able to make better decisions in life.  Do not let fear hold you back!

There is also a fear of who you will get to replace the “bad apple”.  To that, Bella says always be hiring.  Even when you think you don’t really have the business to support a new hire, still consider it.  Because, if you find the right candidate and you have the right pricing structure and strategies in place, you can be instantly boosting business and getting the new person some work.

Another fear is that  of the unemployment rate going up.  Many business owners are afraid that the terminated employee will file for unemployment potentially causing their unemployment rate to go up.  Bella says, once again,  the best way to overcome that fear is to educate yourself.  Call up your state’s Department of Labor and find out what it would mean if the terminated employee filed. But, don’t be afraid to fire them even if your unemployment is going up.  Just compare that increase to what it may cost you by  maybe ticking off some of your best clients or missing out on opportunities or not having your sanity day to day.

Is It Really Them, Or You?

One final important point that Bella stresses is that once you realize that an employee is a “Bad Apple”, and you choose to keep them on staff, they are no longer the problem. You are!  You are the problem.  Holding on to “bad apples”, in addition to giving you headaches, will hold your business back from becoming everything you dreamed it would be.  You have every right to build the team you want, with great relationships, and people that work well with you!  

Just remember, you are going to get back what you give.  If you show people that you appreciate them and that you care, they will give that back to you tenfold.   But if you are constantly struggling with hiring and finding the right people for you business, or you are having trouble with people respecting your business, or there is a constant struggle with your team, you might just want to take a deep look inside yourself.  It’s just possible that you might just be the “bad apple”!

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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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Are You Afraid To Make Money in Your Pet Sitting Business?

Why is everyone so afraid of people who make a lot of money?

Recently, I was driving down the road, listening XM Satellite radio and they were talking about the “rich” and taxes. Like it was a bad thing?

Now, despite you might stand in the political arena, isn’t having “wealthy” people a good thing in America? Shouldn’t our businesses MAKE money? Businesses that make money provide jobs in our community. It helps deflate the unemployment rate.

Shouldn’t we see what we can do to help businesses grow and be profitable?

That's a lot of Money!

I feel like this is a basic economic principal but I feel like there is such a gap. I often ponder why I got college credit for taking “The history of Elvis” and “The history of Rock and Roll” at ASU. Wouldn’t it have been better for America if every high school or college graduate had to take mandatory classes on topics like bank accounts, savings accounts, stocks, and retirement savings?

At the very least, knowing the economics that it takes to have a viable, sustainable, valuable on paper business should be the goal of each and every business owner. They should be engrossed in the numbers of their business. Tracking things like income, expenses, new client retention costs, profit, loss, return on investments in advertising, and a lot more. Why did you do better quarter 1 and not so good quarter 2? What about last year compared to this year? These numbers all lead to trends and can very easily tell us what we can predict for our future.

save money on taxes

As business owners, I feel like being obsessed with our numbers is vital to knowing exactly what is going on. It is what separates those from living paycheck to paycheck from those from paying themselves first in their business. It is what allows the business owners to take vacations, work four hour work weeks, or alternatively… be buried by their business!

As a pet sitting business coach, I see the gauntlet of situations. The ones who know their numbers are ALWAYS the ones who are more successful.

They are successful because they know what the numbers in their business are doing. They can make an educated decision. They can invest in their business and personal future. If a drought comes, their stock pile is strong because their house was built on stone. It won’t be easily washed away.

 

Money hungry

But yet – making money –  has such a negative connotation in so many arenas.

But that is confusing to me. We all have a for profit pet sitting company? Right?

I am in business to make money because the roof over my head isn’t free. When I am working, although I LOVE what I am doing, it is taking me away from my frist loves: My husband and daughter.

Are you? Are we in the same boat?

 

What drives the hunger?

The factor that drives me is clear to anyone who has ever really worked with me. I have a passion and love for helping others and excitement to see them succeed. 

I hungry because I sell my advice that has proven thousands of dollars over and over again to work in small and large pet sitting companies all over the world?

I hungry because I have a knack for seeing deficiencies and telling these business owners the hard truth in order to help turn their business around so they can line up and achieve their personal goals?

I hungry to help people and post helpful articles (free, by the way) that I have often provided detailed answers and interviews with experts on?

All you have to do is read some of the testimonies on my praise page

jump-consulting-lucy-moore-facebook-comment

 

Your Pet Sitting Business

If you survey many pet sitting business owners they will say they started for their love (passion) for pets. {Pretty similar to my coaching passion}

Further, if you want to have a pet sitting business that provides you with so much fulfillment living out your passion, wouldn’t you agree that you needed to make enough money to support yourself, pay the business so the business has money to spend on expenses, and possibly even pay staff? Wouldn’t a business owner want the luxury of not having to live paycheck to paycheck?

Or, take vacations? pick the kids up from school? be home for breakfast and dinners?

Pet-Sitter-Unplugged

If this is a want of a business owner, the solution is very simple. They must make money in order to be able to afford these luxuries (or options as I like to call them) in life.

We Must Make Money Or We Will Fail.

…And doing it passively isn’t going to cut it.

It is one of the absolute principals of business.  According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/#1ddf4f905e3c477082c25e3c

There are many reasons… but I believe the most important is that it all comes down to money.

Be money hungry…..with a conscience.

Back To The Government…

It worries me, for the state of our industry. In places like Seattle, we are already getting $15/hr minimum wage. What will that do to the small mom and pop businesses up there? Higher wages, higher taxes, less ability to provide jobs?

Regardless if you agree or disagree with me, have you thought about how this would affect your pet sitting business if all of a sudden you had to follow this new wage?

Do you have the room in your pricing to pay $15 an hour? Some of you do. Which is great! Although, it might cut into the profits or even your own paycheck.

Would this new wage make you have to work back in the business? Would your current lifestyle even support that? {Maybe you are a mom who is needed by kids and hubby?}

Do you have the desire to be financially free and have the options of working in or on your business?

.

Snowball effect….

I can literally HEAR you thinking, “But Bella, I can’t charge any more than I already am.” 

And the answer might just be “ok then change what you are spending and paying yourself.” 

But is that really sustainable if you DON’T raise your rates?  The answer is different for every single business owner. I challenge you to be able to answer that question right now with a YES or NO and know the exact numbers to support your answer. This is the single most important thing that you can do for your business. 

It comes down to a very personal decision for every single business owner. It comes down to knowing your numbers.

I’m Not Afraid To Talk About It.

While a lot of the world is running away from this subject, I am going to run right into it. It is the backbone of all business and I encourage you to BECOME MONEY HUNGRY!  You can’t afford not to be. You need to know what it takes to operate your business and grow your business. Be hungry. FEED YOURSELF because no one else will!

phone pet sitting

If you want to talk about it to, I am here for you. There are a million ways to reach me all over this website. I welcome your contact and hope that I can help inspire you to create the best business that you want.

I even recently published a podcast on whether you should discount daily dog walks and my answer might surprise you!

Back to you…

Sound off below! This blog was a bit more bold than the “norm” but I felt pretty passionate about this topic. Do you agree? Disagree? Have something more to say? I would love to hear from you below and will respond!

Episode 13: Should I Pet Sit for an Out of Control Dog?

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

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella discusses whether you should agree to pet sit for an out of control dog.  The discussion is based on a post from the discussion pages of her private Facebook group found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/jumpersnetwork/.

The writer of the post said that she had a “Meet and Greet” the previous night with an “out of control dog.” She said the dog was jumping on her and very unruly. It was putting its paws on her shoulders and its parents just seemed to dismiss the behavior.

out of control dog

Bella says that you as a pet sitter need to recognize that this situation could be a potential liability. First, for you individually, because this dog could cause you to injure yourself (like twisting your ankle) and that could result in your inability to serve your other clients. Doing so could even cost you your business.

This situation could also be a danger to your employees. If one of them gets injured not only is it a loss of a dependable member of your team, but it could open you up to liability.

Bella reminds you that as a pet sitter, it is not your job to train the dog and break bad habits.  In that type of situation, it may often be best to politely decline working with that dog. If you have a trainer you have a relationship with, use the opportunity to give a referral.

Bella also suggests that you ideally decline the job via email. This gives the parents a chance to absorb and digest your reasonings.  Those reasonings should include honesty about your concerns and how you feel you are not the best fit to serve that dog’s particular needs.

You can find more great information from Bella, additional podcast episodes, and  Bella’s blog at http://jumpconsulting.net/.

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Episode 11: How To Do A #PetSitting Background Check Without Getting Sued

HOW TO DO A BACKGROUND CHECK WITHOUT GETTING SUED
In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella is joined by Jason Waggoner, Vice President of Acutraq Background Screening. They discuss background checks and how important it is to get the right kind of background check when hiring an employee.

Jason starts off by explaining background checks and why using the quick, inexpensive background checks are ineffective. He emphasizes that these are good tools and a nice place to start but not reliable enough to base your decisions on, as affecting a person’s well being (by hiring or not hiring someone) based on inaccurate information can lead to costly lawsuits.

Jason explains how good professional background check companies like his follow up on hits from “multi-state” databases with checks in the local county for that given hit. This ensures that you have the most up-to-date record from the most accurate source.

Jason also covers the background check application you give to potential employees.  There are strict Federal guidelines (via the Federal Credit Reporting Act) on how that information is presented and what information must be included to ensure that applicants know exactly what they are agreeing to and how it will be used.  He cautions that failure to do so can be costly as some lawyers have been known to search websites, find non-compliant applications, and attempt to organize class-action suits against the company.

If you would like to contact Jason at ACUTRAQ, he can be reached at 281-727-0019 or at an email address which is mentioned in the podcast.

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Common Claims

Episode 10: Top 15 Most Common Pet Sitting Insurance Claims

BELLA IN YOUR BUSINESS-itunes

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, we are joined by David Pearsall, Vice President at Business Insurers of the Carolinas, which specializes in commercial insurance, including businesses providing pet services.  David joins Bella for the first of what will be many episodes dealing with insurance for those in the pet sitting industry. This episode focuses on the the 15 most common pet sitting insurance claims.

Bella asks the age old question of how to know when you should or should not put in a pet sitting insurance claim?


David discusses the factors insurance companies look at when deciding on writing or renewing your policy and how you can use those factors to make that call.  Though, he emphasizes that you should also keep in mind that what may appear to be a small claim may eventually turn out to be a big one.

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David kicks off the Top 15 by discussing the Top 5 most frequent pet sitting insurance claims (see below).  As part of it, he discusses the differences between Animal Care, Custody, and Control policies.

David also mentions that the contents of the client’s home are usually excluded from most general liability policies, but some policies, like the one offered by the association, may have endorsements covering that.

If you, your employee, or one of the animals in your care is attacked by a third-party animal, try to get the information about that animal’s owner.  More than likely, they will be liable for the incident. 

There sure are a lot of pet sitting insurance claims!

Then, David covers the

Top 5 most frequent third-party claims (also below).

He mentions how often people are injured when two dogs are fighting.  He stresses that you should NEVER try to get between two fighting dogs. It will more than likely end badly. He suggests using methods such as loud noises or water hoses to break it up.

Bites to children is big on the list as well. David recommends that you emphasize to your employees or independent contractors that it is their responsibility to keep other people, especially children, away from the dogs in their care as even the most well-tempered dog may bite if it is spooked or the child provokes it.

Another big claim on the list is property damage to clients’ homes.  David recommends sitters be cognizant of things like water faucets and running toilets.  He also suggests that sitters really know their cleaning supplies as there have been many claims related to sitters using a cleaner on a floor that ultimately ruins the finish.

David then talks about the Top 5 Workman’s Comp pet sitting insurance claims (also below).

He says the key thing is to get your employee taken care of and back to work as quickly as possible.   David says that if you or your employee has an accident or is injured, call the workman’s comp insurer as soon as possible!  The sooner they are involved the better your overall outcome is likely to be. He also suggests that you should have a relationship with a clinic where you send employees with non-life threatening emergencies as they are much less expensive and patients are often seen much more quickly there than in a hospital  emergency room.

Here the Top 5 lists:

Top 5 Pet Related Claims

  1. Ingesting  something foreign. (Example: medicine, toys)
  2. Dog bitten by another dog owned by third party
  3. Dog bitten by another dog in the sitter’s care
  4. Scratches and injuries (to animal) due to running into or stepping on things.
  5. Pet damages to the contents of homes.

Top 5 Third-Party Claims

  1. Dog in a sitter’s care attacks or bites another dog
  2. Dog bites a person (other than you or your employee)
  3. Water damage. (Example: Sitter leaving the water on in a client’s home)
  4. Dog runs into or undercuts a person (other than you or your employee)
  5. Damages to the client’s home. (Example: Sitter causes a fire in a client’s home)

Top 5 Workman’s Comp Claims

  1. Dog or cat bite to hands or arms
  2. Slips, trips, and falls
  3. Slips and falls on stairs
  4. Dog bites to other body parts
  5. Dogs at play..odd injuries. (Example:  Dog jumps up and knocks out a sitter’s tooth)

Here is David’s contact information:
David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA
Business Insurers of the Carolinas
PO Box 2536, Chapel Hill, NC 27515
1-800-962-4611 x214
dp@Business-Insurers.com

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Episode 9: What A Lawyer Told A Pet Sitter About Her ICs

Beth Green from Paws Pet Care in Louisville KY shares with us her lawyers interpretation of her pet sitting business with Independent Contractors. Listen in as she shares with Bella about the flow of the money, the suggested guidelines, the question about which is the right way to go.

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This episode is great for those pet sitters who have Independent Contractors. Beth is an incredible role model who demonstrates all the proper care and thought that it takes to run the business the correct way. I applaud her self reflection to constantly be checking if her business lines up to her personal needs and desires. I admire the way Beth doesn’t just follow the masses and really investigates the law, the risk, and the control in which she desires in her business.

Listen in to these bullet points:

In June, the Feds came out that they are putting more money in the budget to audits. Beth wanted to get confirmation from her lawyer that she was still doing everything right. What I loved about what she did was that she sent her lawyer EVERYTHING she had. She paid a retainer. Beth’s lawyer took 4 weeks to review Beth’s info and research the industry!

This is such a huge point because she didn’t run in for a “free consultation” and tried to jam everything into 30 or 60 minutes.

Link to the audits. http://jumpconsulting.net/2014/05/12/recap-learned-pet-sitting-audit-case-studies/

Your decision to have IC’s will depend on your comfort level of risk. How much risk do you want to take? Beth’s lawyer wrote this in her three page recap she got in return of her research. 

We talk about operations. How the assignments are accepted flows. Contractors decide when they work.

A very good point here is showing that those who like to TELL people when to work, shouldn’t have ICs. 

Beth talks about the GPS feature and if she uses it or not.  

We discussed what supplies supplies she could supply.

We talked about how she uses her CMS, Leashtime, to assists in ICs 

“Do not buy your contracts online” -Beth

We talk about one thing that businesses shouldn’t have on their ICs contracts

There is just so much great information in this podcast and well worth your listen.

If you listen to this and decide that it is time to switch from ICs to Employees, check out the industries largest resource on employees. Learn about the pricing structure, employee manuals, interviewing, hiring, and becoming a manger. 

Employee’s are the easier way to go. -Beth

The very last major point that we talked about was workmans compensation. Her lawyer says workmans compensation would be great to have for her ICs. It was because of our industry and bites happen. So then she went to her insurance broker and he told her NO. He suggested she goes to the State and check with the NCCI to get the document for them to exempt themselves. It can’t be copied, etc. It was a really important point. Here is the answer that I mentioned that my insurance broker wrote about businesses having workmans compensation on independent contractors.

All in all, I think they biggest take away from this interview is that a business owner MUST do their homework. They MUST have a team of professionals around them that they can have open and honest discussions.

I would like to thank Beth for being so open and honest with us as she didn’t have to. I just respect her so much. Also, I think it is worthy to mention that Beth’s heart and care for her community is so big that she has created My Dog Eats First. I HIGHLY suggest taking a look into this organization.

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What Every Pet Sitter Should Know Before They Have Employees Or Independent Contractors

 

The following is a list I have created inside my coaching group. It is a great reference guide that will really help put some major facts out there for you if you are considering independent contractors or employees. It is something that every business should read. This isn’t my opinion. It is based on actual data that is out there. I just gathered it all in one place for you.

I highly encourage you to contact me with your questions and I can help lead you in the right direction to get your answers. 
In the first half of 2014 numerous pet sitting companies allowed me a look into their business to help show the world what going through their audit was like. The following is a list for your quick reference. Below are more articles full of more valuable articles so you can’t say you didn’t know! 🙂

Audits Do Happen.

http://jumpconsulting.net/case-study-audit-60k-mistake-rattled-pet-sitting-businesses-structure/
—–> This case study shows how a “small” pet sitting company who was audited ended up costing her $60K that shook up her whole world. She had to switch from ICs to Employees and the damage was personal, business, and emotional. NOTE: That the same people who “advised” her on how to structure her ICs had no say in the matter when the State audited her. Nor, did they pay her penalties, fines, and back taxes.

 

How Having A Good CPA Can Help You Pass An Audit:

http://jumpconsulting.net/2014/04/21/case-study-pet-sitting-audit-team-helped-business-pass-flying-colors/
—–> This case study shows how a team of experts (CPA) helped this business owner pass her audit with flying colors. She had employees and her CPA took care of the rest. She did have to pay her CPA to speak and defend the company to the Auditors.

 

ICc Should Have a Workmans Compensation Policy On Themselves According To This Audit:

http://jumpconsulting.net/2014/04/03/case-study-pet-sitter-audit-independent-contractors-compliance/
—–> This case study the business’ ICs were found not to be in compliance because the individual ICs did not have a Workman’s Compensation policy on themselves. The fine was tiny, as the yearly business revenue was under $50K but had it been a bigger business, it could have been worse. They did change to employees.

If You Are Audited Once, Chances Are, You Will Be Audited Again.

—–> This pet sitter was audited twice. She passed with flying colors only because of her detailed records. They did find a tiny problem with home office deduction and mileage records but generally speaking, she passed!

Another Double Audit:

—–> This pet sitter was also audited twice by the State. The first time, she did everything they said to do. The second time, they faulted her for the changes that they told her to make. Crazy, huh? The pet sitter cites the federal administration that was in power at the time. This pet sitter did a LOT of research. Knew everything inside and out. But still, was slammed by the State. Be sure to read the ending of this study where she shows how her classification helped save her business! It will make you think!http://jumpconsulting.net/2014/03/27/case-study-pet-sitting-business-audit/

 

Audit Costing Over $25k!

—–> This audit cost this business owner over $25K!  Part of the expense was because she switched scheduling software companies and the old company never gave her the records. Ouch! It is a really interesting study that shows just how much the software program you choose could SAVE or HURT your hiney!

How The Money Is Collected Lead To ReClassification Here:

—-> Learn how this company was audited and changed to employees because they were found out of compliance. Their fault? The business collected the money from the client. Not the IC.
—–> Lessons learned from the pet sitting Audit Case Studies! A brief recap.

Did You Know?

The IRS program that will let you switch your ICs to Employees without the threat of an Audit EVER!

Here are 18 REAL REASONS why Employees are less of a legal headache than ICs with AUCTAL government factual back up!
Listen in as I interview an actual pet sitting business with ICs and Employees at the same time. I ask them the same questions and you can hear how they both operate differently!  *Great listen for those with ICs!*
Which costs more? ICs or Employees?
AND IF THAT ISN’T ENOUGH….. THE IRS HAS DEDICATED 14 MILLION DOLLARS to FINDING COMPANIES WHO ARE MISSCLASSIFING WORKERS : http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/opa/OPA20130661.htm

Happy Reading!
Bella =)
(PS) If you want help, email me at danielle@jumpconsulting.net or check out the Employee Quick Start Guide: http://jumpconsulting.net/services/employee-quick-start/
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Employee Quick Start

Can I Afford Pet Sitting Employees?

Recently, Kristen asked, “How can I afford pet sitting employees without ending in a financial crisis?”

 

This is a super question and very relevant in many business owners minds. After all, if you start giving away all your work, you are left with next to nothing, right? Wrong. Read more

Why You Can’t Afford Not To Have Employees, From the Insurance Company’s Mouth

Every day you are using Independent Contractors in your business, you are taking a risk.

There. I said it and I really mean it. I know, I know, you are sick and tired of hearing this debate. But this is different.  Why? Dennis Stowers, insurance agent for pet sitters, from Mourer-Foster explained all the below to me, and approved this article. So this isn’t just me typing away. Are you ready?

Read more

Why You Can't Afford Not To Have Employees, From the Insurance Company's Mouth

Every day you are using Independent Contractors in your business, you are taking a risk.

There. I said it and I really mean it. I know, I know, you are sick and tired of hearing this debate. But this is different.  Why? Dennis Stowers, insurance agent for pet sitters, from Mourer-Foster explained all the below to me, and approved this article. So this isn’t just me typing away. Are you ready?

Read more