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hiring

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview

The Hiring Gauntlet

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

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

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

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

Interview

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

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

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

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

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

Value-based vs Skill-based Questions.

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

Let me give you an example:

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

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

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

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

How do they take feedback? Are they adaptable?

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

 

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

Stop Asking The Wrong Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jump Mastermind - Interview

join a mastermind

What You Need To Know Before You Join A Mastermind for Your Pet Business

Have you ever wondered if you should join a mastermind? It’s a good question for many business owners who are ready to take it to the next level and who want the extra support and guidance from people they really respect. Today, I want to dive deep taking a look at what Masterminds are, what they are not, and what you should consider before you join a mastermind. Are they all created equal? What makes some have a greater impact than others?

pet sitter join a mastermind

 What is a Mastermind?

A Mastermind is a group of people that come together to help one another.  Typically they have a difference of opinions, resources, and experiences which makes the group even more powerful.

It is a place where members can work through ideas, make plans, and overcome challenges with many minds at once.  It is a place they can feel safe and say things they normally wouldn’t publically and in an environment where members can be challenged and vulnerable all at the same time.

If you join a mastermind you can expect to have structured meetings, strong attendance, and expectations placed on all members as a cornerstone to maintaining membership. Some masterminds meet in person weekly, others meet virtually, some meet once a quarter at different locations around the country.

A way to illustrate the mentality of a Mastermind is a gang. I know that might sound a bit harsh but think about it:  They all hang together, they act as one unit, and they all influence each other’s decisions.

They also hold each other accountable.

join a mastermind pet sitter

 Why Would Someone Want To Join a Mastermind?

There are endless obvious and not so obvious reasons why someone would want to join a mastermind. Sometimes it is for selfish reasons; they want to get as much from the group as possible. Sometimes it is for selfless reasons; sometimes they want to give back. Some because they just want to be apart of a bigger body that is moving.

Feel Alone in Business

Many business owners simply feel all alone. Their friends and family just don’t understand their business. They don’t have many friends on or offline that understand what they do or have the same attitude towards growth that they do.

Sometimes it just feels like we are trying to convince people that we even have a business and no one really believes us. Oh my daughter walks dogs” is typically the way someone shows they “understand” what we do. When you join a mastermind everyone intimately understands exactly what you do.

 

join mastermind

They Have No Support

When things go good, there is rarely anyone that understands the depth of the strength it took to reach that achievement. When things are bad, it always feels like no one understands. Maybe some might pretend to understand, but in the end, all they are looking to do is tell you what they think you should have done and how wrong you really are (according to them). The people who join a mastermind tend to invite the support into their lives both good and constructive.

Again, the group think offers many opinions, resources, and advice.

Big Fish in a Small Pond

I know many business owners who are on the top of their game. They have a fresh outlook on their business, a positive mindset, and embrace failures as ways to learn. Unfortunately, not everyone is like that and sometime you will feel like you are surrounded by a bunch of people who are small fish with simple minds.

A business owner must be careful of where he or she spends their time because hanging out this crowd too long can severely hurt your business. If you join a mastermind you can be prepared to feel like a small fish in a big pond. It will offer you a chance to learn, grow, and explore the possibilities.

 

join a mastermind dog walker

 What Masterminds Are Not:

If you want to join a mastermind, it is important to understand what they are not. Sometimes people get masterminds confused with something else and it is important to be clear what they are not so you aren’t surprised.

They Are Not Coaching Groups

If you are expecting to get one on one coaching from the Mastermind leader, then joining a mastermind might not be right for you. It gets a little tricky here as some had a hard time finding the distinction between this group think and coaching. While you might feel like there is a little overlap, a Mastermind isn’t coaching.

When you hire a business coach you are getting to work one on one through challenges and there is often direct teachings specifically for you. The beauty of a Mastermind is learning not only when the spotlight is on you, but also when it is on others and they are learning lessons that you can directly apply to your business.

In fact, most of the learning happens when you witness others journies throughout it!

It is Not a Place To Vent

Masterminds are focused on solutions. They solve problems, together as a group. They have a positive, can do, we-believe-in-you attitude and a lot of encouragement sprinkled into everything. It is not a place to come and complain without looking for a solution. It is not a place to vent or moan and groan. When you join a Mastermind it is about overcoming your challenges and by the end, you should feel confident knowing exactly how you can move forward in conquering your obstacles.

You Can’t Be a Wallflower if You Join a Mastermind

The Mastermind will not be successful without everyone participating, and that means you! If you were at a business networking meeting, you might be able to get away with sitting at the bar and letting the room work you… but not in a Mastermind. You need to support your fellow members. You need to offer advice and encouragement and you need to show up and be on time. Afterall, that is what you want them to do for you, right?

“Be prepared to work and you will reap the benefits. What you put in is what you will get out of it.”
Alix DiLorenzo Homeward Bound
Jump Mastermind founding member

 

 

join a mastermind pet business

What To Expect if You Join A Mastermind

Admittedly, this concept is pretty new to the pet industry…no one is really doing any of these so I want to break it down to show you exactly what Masterminds are all about.

They are laser focused:

This means that the participants are directly out to do a certain goal or task. Each group might achieve this differently.

I am in a Mastermind with under five people. This masterminds task is to put one person in the hot seat at our weekly meeting and we all help that one person figure out a challenge, create a roadmap, and the person usually commits to achieving that duty by the next meeting.

In other masterminds when you have larger groups, sometimes there are monthly themes. Where everything you talk about that month has to do with the theme.

“When considering a mastermind, be ready to do the work. Be ready to be laser focused and use valuable advice that is not available anywhere else.” 
Kelly Harrell Tails Around Town
Jump Mastermind Founding Member.

 

They Are Member Driven:

Just like you can’t be absent and it isn’t a coaching session, the true “mastermind” happens when all the group members put their heads together for the common good of the group. The group is driven by the memberships ability to support one another.

 “Being in a Mastermind Group helps you to break through your fear and make some powerful choices that you would not otherwise have done. It helps you to GET REAL with yourself and your business. Everyone in the group has something to bring to the table. If you have a challenge, you can get some answers from someone in the group that has probably gone through it before and can help you. It is all about sharing because the members of a mastermind group tend to be so open about their past mistakes and so open to helping.” 
Maureen Dunn Mccarthy   Love and Kisses Pet Sitting
Jump Consulting Founding Member

 

The Leadership of The Group Matters:

Although it isn’t a coaching group, the leader of the group should have some clout with the members. They are the captain of the ship leading and guiding the group down the road. Leadership will help create topics, have experts come in, keep the tone of the group, enforce the rules, keep the meetings on target. They will also hand select or approve the group members entering the group so you can be assured that there has been some vetting done.

Alternatively, if there is a leader who doesn’t have resources, knowledge, or authority over leading a group of people, it might end up being a bit chaotic. I’d ask yourself, how much do you believe in the leader?

“The most important thing for any business owner deciding what mastermind to join is who the founder is. Are they the rare individual who has the charisma, eloquence, grit, heroism and, above all, love to believe in you when you’re battle-scarred and you don’t even believe in yourself? Do they have a plan and vision for the people they bring together? Do they understand what it takes to succeed from deep inside? Do they challenge and drive you to walk up the mountain to see the planets align for the first time in all your years of business and life?”
Asha Olivia  Hoby Dogy
Jump Consulting Mastermind Member

There is Usually an Investment:

What separates one group from another? Cost.

You will automatically value something if you have to invest your hard-earned money. If you didn’t invest, you have nothing to lose and often the way to treat “it” will change. Just think the last time you were given something for free vs something you had to save up and buy? You valued the one that took a lot of work to acquire!

Masterminds have a wide range of costs. I have heard of some as much as $60,000 a YEAR and I have heard of some at $19 a month. The cost also creates exclusivity. Not everyone can just join. There is an investment to have your seat, to have the privilege, of being around a group of like-minded individuals. Cost should be a factor that you should consider as a tool that ensures that you are surrounded by serious people.

You Need To Show Up Consistently!

Masterminds rely heavily on the group all being present. Regular meetings require that you get to know one another so attendance is a must! Even if the group doesn’t have you in the hot seat that day, there is still a lot you can learn from others going through challenges in their business and you might have the key piece of advice that help that business owner.

The group is only as good as the members that show up! If no one showed up, there would be no group. It also helps hold members accountable.

You have to understand the group takes time to participate and that you have to be prepared to: -take time to invest in yourself by achieving your goals which may mean you work more at first to reap the benefit of letting go. -be pushed by your peers -get exceptional advice from other bus owners like you from their own trial and errors. “
Katie Westerfield Homeward Bound Pet Care
Jump Mastermind Founding Member

Is a Mastermind Right For You?

It is always tough to tell if the Mastermind would be right for you. At the very least, I think you should contact the organizer of the group you are looking to join because they will be able to tell you.

Now, if you are like me, you are probably saying, “yeah right Bella! They just want to “sell” me to join the group” But here is the thing – it actually hurts them if you aren’t the right fit and join. One bad apple could through the entire group mojo off and the group leader

If you are at the point in your business you want to be held accountable, feel like you want to take your business to the next level but need a bit of group think to expand your horizons and cheer you on… a Mastermind could be for you. It is just as much about giving as receiving and the networking that naturally happens in these groups tends to create forever friendships!


jump consulting mastermind

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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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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hiring dog walkers

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

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

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

Indeed

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

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

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

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

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

Craigslist

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

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

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

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

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

Hireology

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

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

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

NextDoor

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

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

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

Facebook

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

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

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

dog walking deal

 

Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 46: Website Copy, SEO, Blogging, & FB Live With Jen Phillips April

On this episode of “Bella in your Business” Bella speaks with Jen Phillips April, an SEO copywriter and social media trainer. They discuss different ways of impacting the traffic you get from search engines.

blogging SEO pet sitting business

Jen Phillips April

Specifically they discuss:

  • Website copy (the words on your website) and how you need to rewrite so people can find your page more easily when searching
  • The wide range of searches user are doing these days
  • How consistent blogging can affect your SEO
  • The importance of Facebook Live to attract customers.

Jen Phillips April’s online marketing journey started way back in 2005 with a dog treat recipe site. Using content and the best practices of SEO, she grew that site to 87, 500 visitors/month. These days, she works with clients like pet sitters and dog trainers. She writes their website copy so it gets found by Google (and their target market) and she also offers training on social media and SEO. When she is not working with her clients, she is usually reading a novel, practicing her Down Dog or cooking up a delicious meal.

Check out Jen’s free 5 day email course on “How To Gain MASSIVE Visibility with Facebook Live in Only 5 Minutes a Day — Even if You’ve Never “Done” Video Before.” 

You can find out more at www.jenphillipsapril.com

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pet sitting videos

A Quick Guide On EXPLODING Your Business With Pet Sitting Videos

Video is TOTALLY exploding right now. Seriously. If you’re not taking advantage of using pet sitting videos in your business, it’s never too late to start. You’ve heard me time and time again talk for days about how important video is for your business and how it can help explode your social media following. However, I understand that it can be difficult figuring out where to start. So today, let me break it down for you with all your options.

But first… mark my words, you will be left in the dust if you don’t start producing video in your pet business. Just ask Maureen McCarthy of Love & Kisses Pet Sitting how she has been able to generate an EXTRA $5,000 a MONTH using FB LIVE!

A Quick Guide On EXPLODING Your Business With Pet Sitting Videos

pet sitting videos

Okay so here is the breakdown:

Facebook Live

Facebook live is new, exciting, and more popular than ever. Do you guys ever feel like you see me ALL THE TIME? I hope you do! It’s because I’m on live video with you all almost every day. You can do this with your business too! Viewers will feel like they’re connected with your business and will love seeing insight on to what pet sitting is really like.

Plus, while you’re going live you can respond to questions and see what others are commenting to make the experience even more interactive.

Find out more here.

Check out Catherine from David’s Pet Services knocking it out of the park with live video:

Facebook Dual Screen

This is exactly what it sounds like – a Facebook Live Video of you + another person side by side chatting it up with your viewers! You could do a dual screen video with you and one of your employees, a vet that’s endorsed you, another business owner in the area etc. Find people to talk to that have relevant content to share with your audience. It’s a quick and easy way to help grow your Facebook following as well as forming relationships with whoever you go live with.

Check out this Facebook Dual Screen video I did with Stephanie Liu all about Live Streaming:

 

Facebook Messenger Day & Facebook Stories

With Facebook Messenger Day & Facebook Stories, you’re encouraged to upload some selfies or quick pet sitting videos throughout the day so your followers can see what you’re up to. So what’s the difference between this and Facebook Live video? Everything on Facebook Messenger Day & Facebook Stories disappears after 24 hours! So you don’t want to put anything on here you want to keep for later. It’s yet another way to keep your followers engaged and connected in what you’re doing.

You can also add fun filters, color, and text if you want to get a little goofy. Plus you can also see who watches your stories!

After these four features, umm, are you convinced that Facebook wants you ON camera?

Fun Fact: Did you know we will be consuming 80% of our content via VIDEO by 2020?

Here’s Haleigh from Presidential Pet Care checking in and connecting with her base:

Okay, moving on … there are also these programs to help you produce video.

Video Production Software

OBM – It’s a free software for both PC & Mac. Ability to add transitions, filters, etc. to create professional looking pet sitting videos.

Ecamm LiveThis software is geared towards creating professional looking Facebook Live videos. It streams in HD and has the ability to add overlays, text, and animations. You can also broadcast pre-recorded if you wish as well as picture-in-picture. It only costs $29.95 and is a STEAL!!! Think about all the “this is how you sign up” and “this is how you update your pet’s infomation” videos you can do!

YouTube – well duh! I don’t think I need to explain what YouTube is, but in case you don’t know, it is the largest video production platform on the Internet. You set up your own “channel” where you can produce pet sitting videos and your followers can like, subscribe, and comment on videos to keep engaged.

iMovie – This one is only for Macs. It’s a great, simple editing software that’s perfect for beginners. Very easy to learn and you can create pet sitting videos that look professional.

Looking For Someone To Follow Who Is Always On The Cutting Edge?

George B Thomas! Friend him. Follow him. He is a totally cool guy. And if you want to hear more from him check out this video he and I did together:

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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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

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

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

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

She talks with Maureen about:

Facebook Groups In Your Pet Sitting Business

Maureen McCarthy

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

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

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pet sitter facebook groups

What Makes Up Good Pet Sitter Facebook Groups?

Facebook groups are quickly becoming a premiere way to make meaningful connections and expand your network. There is seriously a Facebook group for EVERYTHING. As pet sitting business owners, many of you may be a part of (or are interested in joining) a pet sitter Facebook group. So, today we’re going to talk about what exactly makes pet sitter Facebook groups worth joining.

What Makes Up Good Pet Sitter Facebook Groups?

pet sitter facebook groups

Screening Process

When joining a Facebook group, it’s definitely important to determine whether or not the group “screens” the incoming members. Generally, it is better that the group HAS a screening process than not. This ensures that the right types of people fit the group.

In pet sitter Facebook groups, you’ll see a lot of non-pet sitters try to join them. This is because some people will join groups in mass to promote their own product/service. So, once there’s too many of these kinds of people, the integrity of the group is lost. It’s now just become a self-promotion page.

For example, in the “I Own A Pet Sitting Company W/Staff” Facebook group (sponsored by yours truly), we message every single person who wants to join the group. Why? Because we want to cultivate a certain type of community. And because we feel that quality is much more important than quantity.

Free Resources For Pet Sitter Facebook Groups

Many pet sitter Facebook groups actually offer group members free resources. You’ll typically see this in groups sponsored by pet business coaches or pet businesses themselves. Some of the free resources we offer in our pet sitter Facebook groups include a pet sitter networking guide and a  20 minute coaching session, just to name a couple.

Number Of Moderators

Pet sitter Facebook groups usually either have one moderator or a number of them. Typically the moderator is either a pet industry veteran or a pet business coach.

It’s usually better to have a group of moderators in order to ensure the group runs smoothly. Multiple moderators screening incoming members, reading and answering posts, and posting content can all be beneficial to the group.

With a large group, it can be difficult for one moderator to keep up on all of the posts. Multiple moderators help manage what type of content is allowed. This can in turn benefit the overall quality of the group.

The True Benefit Of Pet Sitter Facebook Groups

The ultimate resource of being in these pet sitter Facebook groups is that you can network. Pet business owners can connect with other pet business owners around the country. These groups provide a platform where you can get valuable insider advice and answers to your burning questions. It’s a great way to not feel ALONE in your business – which is really important.

Pet Sitter Facebook Groups

pet sitting facebook group

Episode 32: Amy Schmittauer Explains Video In Her New Book VLog Like A Boss

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Amy Schmittauer from the popular YouTube series Savvy Sexy Social

In this episode they discuss what a Vlog is, and how and why Amy got into it.  They also talk about how pet sitters can use video to enhance their business and marketing and some tips on how to overcome that fear of being on camera.

Amy’s newly released book Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging just launched on Jan 31st and just by listening to this episode, you might win a free copy.

Want to join our book club?

The Jumpers in my FB group voted for Amy’s book as our next book club read. If you would like to join us, we start the middle of February. You can get a copy of her book here and join our FB book club group here

 

Amy Schmittauer

Amy Schmittauer

Amy Schmittauer  is the Vlog Boss. As a new media triple threat —YouTuber, Keynote Speaker and Author—she coaches people to go after what they want in life and leverage online video to make it happen.

Creator of the popular YouTube series Savvy Sexy Social, her channel boasts a global community and millions of views.  And let’s not forget she is Mama to an adorable Beagle named LUCY.

In Amy’s first book Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging, she shares her collection of strategies and tactics to help you create video that gets the attention you deserve.

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Britt Alwerud

Episode 31: Types of Apps

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Britt Alwerud from Handlr.  They discuss  the top 9 apps they think are great for the Pet Sitting business.

The apps they discuss are:

Britt Alwerud

Britt Alwerud lives in Los Angeles, CA with her menagerie of furbabies – two Goldens, Daisy and Taj, two cats, Tiger and Monkey, two horses named Gracie and Moo, and a chameleon named Larry. Britt owns DogZenergy in San Diego, CA. Now she’s the full-time Founder and CEO of Handlr. Handlr is the ultimate business app for busy pet sitters who are looking to automate and grow their business. Learn more about Handlr by clicking here or email her at britt@myhandlr.com. You can also find Britt on Instagram @doggonetechgirl or follow Handlr on Twitter @myhandlr for weekly business tips.

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Episode 30: Proven Social Media Marketing Methods

Britney Young, Social Media Marketing Manager

Britney Young, Social Media Marketing Manager

In this episode, Bella talks to Britney Young. Britney is a digital marketing professional and social media enthusiast. Her day-to-day life as a social media marketing manager includes: finding/curating relevant content to post to social channels, analyzing post data and post performance to see key trends or spikes in engagement, looking for relevant industry influencers to connect with, and responding to customer inquires, etc.

They discuss:

  • What a social marketing manager does
  • The pros and cons of using automatic republishers like Meet Edgar
  • How often should you post
  • What should you be posting
  • What you should be doing with all of those pet pictures you post
  • Their favorite apps for doctoring up pictures
  • The differences in the social media channels and a good workflow for pushing one post through many of them.
  • Focusing your efforts on a few selected channels.
  • Knowing your audience and finding out what channel works best for them.Apps mentioned:
    – Canva
    – Abobe Spark
    – Pixaby

For more information about Britney Young, you can find her on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/britneynyoung/

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

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

Walt Gavin, independent contractor with Rover.

Walt Galvin, independent contractor with Rover.

Some of the advantages include:

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

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

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

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Episode 28: How To Pet Sit for Aggressive Dogs

In this episode, Bella speaks with Jennifer Taylor, the Founder and owner of JenLovesPets, an award-winning San Diego pet sitting and dog walking company.

After sitting down with Jennifer in her home town of San Diego, Bella was so impressed with the vast knowledge and stories that Jen has that she immediately knew she had to be on a podcast with the intent to help elevate the pet industry when it comes to approaching and accepting clients who are aggressive or fearful.

In This Episode:

aggressive dogs

Jennifer Taylor, JenLovesPets.com

Bella and Jen talk about “aggressive” dogs and how people often lump fearful dogs into the same category. Jennifer discusses some of the causes of aggression and ways to overcome it.

Listen in as they discuss:

1. What is the difference between fearful and aggressive dogs?

2. What advice would you have for a sitter who encounters a fearful or aggressive dog during a consultation? What steps should they take to ensure their safety?

3. What if that situation was that pet sitter’s staff member? How can one train their staff to acknowledge these types of pets and alert management?

4. Tell me a success story with a two and four legged client and how you were able to create a happy environment for that pet (the one you told me)

5. Where can sitters go to get more education on this topic for themselves and their staff?

They also discuss how a pet sitter would go about working with a fearful dog by including dog behavioralists and trainers on the team. Jen also lists some great resources for those who want to work with fearful dogs.

Mentioned In The Episode:
The Pet Professional Guild – http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/

pet first aid training online

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Episode 25: Compassion Fatigue

Holly Cook, author of My End of the Leash

Holly Cook, author of My End of the Leash

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Holly Cook, author of My End of the Leash: Compassion Fatigue From a Pet Sitter’s Perspective.

She started pet sitting in 1994, and won the Pet Sitters International,  Pet Sitter of the Year award in 2004;  She has been serving the pet sitting industry by becoming a state Ambassador for PSI in 2005. She has also authored several articles presented at many pet sitting conferences. She has developed donation drives for communities devastated by disaster (From Missouri floods in 1993, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy.). 

Holly also became a certified Compassion Fatigue Educator through the University of Tennessee School Of  Veterinary Social Work in 2016. To say she is an advocate for the pets and the people who care for them is an understatement. 

Bella and Holly discuss what compassion fatigue is and how it differs from “burn out”  Holly discloses traits common among those susceptible to compassion fatigue including:

  • Being a highly dedicated professional
  • Always expecting positive feedback about work
  • High demand for personal competence
  • A personal history of exhaustion
  • A large workload
  • Lack of trauma training
  • Identification with those in their care
  • Those is a non-supportive work environment or unsupportive friends and family

Holly then details some of the symptoms of compassion fatigue:

  • Bone-tired exhaustionpet sitter compassion fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Persistent physical ailments
  • Apprehension
  • Over exaggerated startle reflex
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Abnormal anger
  • Rumination or excessive thoughts about an incident
  • Clumsiness
  • Nightmares and flashbacks
  • Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness
  • Tendency to isolate from other people
  • Inability to make a decision
  • Intrusive imagery
  • Reduced ability to feel sympathy or empathy toward other people or animals
  • Denial of any of the above symptoms

Grab her book here: My End of the Leash: Compassion Fatigue From a Pet Sitter’s Perspective

If you feel like this might be you, Holly encourages you to take the quiz on her website

Learn more about Holly and her book in a previous article we wrote back in June when her book originally came out.

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rover insurance

What Insurance Does A Rover & DogVacay Pet Sitter Need?

Rover and Dogvacay do a great job at providing basic, broad insurance to their independent contractors, but is that enough? The answer to this question will vary with every pet sitter, but generally speaking, the answer is no.

Most pet sitters like to be covered if something were to happen at the meet and greet, while on a walk with a dog and they were attacked by another dog, or simply put, if they hurt themselves… These types of situations generally are not covered by the liability insurance provided to the members of these sites. However, their own pets in their own home are covered, which is something that is above and beyond a typical industry standard.

In order to make sense of what pet sitters, dog sitter, dog walkers, and pet boarders really need to know about their policies, I invited David Pearsall of Business Insurers of the Carolina’s on to help breakdown what we need to know and what to look for:

NOTE: This is not a recommendation. Always consult your insurance agent, or David, or support at Rover or Dogvacay to get the expert opinion for your situation. 🙂

 

*Rover has declined to be interviewed or join a pannel.

The full transcript can be found below. If there are any spots that you have questions about, feel free to search and listen to the actual video to understand the context.

Full Transcript:

Bella: Welcome everybody, my name is Bella Vasta from Jump Consulting and today, we are going to blow the lead off of everything insurance, if you are a pet sitter, just starting out and listed on one of those popular online places. Today, I have with me, someone that you should get to know pretty well if you don’t know already. His name is David Pearsall and he is from business insurance of the Carolinas.

David, thank you for taking some time out to be here with me today.

David: sure thing, look forward to it. Thanks Bella.

Bella: yeah, so I have found myself amongst an exciting group of pet sitters that are starting as shared economy starts exploding and they are the pet sitters that are listed on a lot of these popular apps and websites, it is the sign up, put your name here and get some clients and start boarding dogs in your home or being a dog walker or pet sitter and gosh, it reminds me when I first started, David. I actually wrote a blog post and I believed that we all were one of these pet sitters when we first started, so to speak. We just didn’t have the organization online to do it with, right?

David: yeah, it’s amazing, what’s come out today.

Bella: and when I started, it was maybe little easier for me because I always just knew that I need to be insured and at the time, went to a national organization and I thought I can only be insured through a national organization, which we all now know isn’t necessarily true but you do get some benefits by going that way.

And so, I just wanted to have you on today, to kind of set the record straight, I want you to talk to me as if I am someone on one of those popular apps and tell me what I really need to know, is it enough, you know, I have been told that I am insured, so is that all it is? I mean do I need to look for anything in particular, even as a new pet sitter starting out, what is business insurance like give me the 101 I guess.

David: okay, certainly. The business liability insurance, everybody should have, you know? If you are going out and you are pet sitting for somebody or you are boarding into your own home, you still need liability insurance. And understand that both these organizations, they are all of the above are offering insurance through their sites and you know, the key is to understand what you have and request a copy of your policy, if they’ll give it to you and if they won’t give it to you, should ask why. Because, really, if you are the one insured under that policy, you ought to be able to get a copy of it.

Bella: and by getting a copy of it, what kind of things are we looking at? You know, okay, so business liability that means if I break something, I am covered, right or wrong? It is a lot more, , right?

David: it is a good question, liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage to a third party, generally and that could be, a third party could be someone that’s out on a walk, that has nothing to do with you, just comes up and tries to pet a dog that you are walking and gets bit or, it could be bigger clients or it could be any property damage to the client’s home. Typically, will not cover your home because that’s the first party coverage. So typically, there is really no way to cover your home because the home owners insurance will typically exclude business liability. So if you are boarding in your home, there really is no way to cover your personal property there. So the liability is going to cover others, third party or your clients, it is going to cover the pets of the third party, you want to look for some care custody, control coverage that’s what we termed it when we first started but there’s also forums out on the market today called Animal Friendly and Pet Groomers Professionals and under those forms, they also give you some coverage for the animals in your care. It is not quite the same but that’s what you need to look for. You need to make sure, you have a liability policy, one main dollar limits recommended and they make sure you have coverage for care custody or control because that’s the pets in your care and that’s usually the property in your care.

Bella: okay, that’s really good. So custody, care and control helps cover the pets in my control. Sounds very funny, I want to get this in just because this is the beginning of our interview and I know a lot of people kind of start and they then click away and I remember when I first started, I thought, oh! Business liability insurance, that sounds really like scary and sketchy and expensive. But I kind of have looked at some of these sites and it seems as though, if I ever needed to call upon the insurance on these sites, I have to pay if they allow me access to the insurance which that needs to be talked about too.

I have to pay either $250 deductible or $500 deductible, so that means I have to pay that money before they even kick in any kind of coverage for me. Now, just using good thought here, David, how much could a pet sitter get a decent policy for?

[05:21]

David: that’s a good question and your definition of decent is a big question too because there are lot of policies being sold out there through random websites, through insurance agents all across the country. Some I have seen is as low as $129. How they are offering that price, I don’t know. That’s when you need to question what the policy covers and that’s why you need to go through with it with a licensed agent to understand what you are getting. Because not all policies are the same and you know, that’s what we look at is we try to offer the broadest form possible through our association plans, we also work with large insurance companies like CNA and Travelers, I read a lot of coverage forms.

Bella: you sure do,

David: that seem to be quite the same because even for one insurance company to the next, they may use the same primary insurance agreement but it is the endorsements they attach behind it, that could change our limit coverage. Then the question comes up with the deductibles and that’s what I think you are referring to when you save the $100 or $500 to use it but that’s common in any policy like most you know, under our association plans, we offer a $100 deductible for any claim. We have some insurance where we offer 0 deductible when it comes to a liability such as a dog bite but then they offer $500 deductible or if anything happens to the animal in your custody control or deductible. Just like your auto insurance or your home loan insurance, you are going to have deductibles pretty much anywhere you go. You just need to look and see how much you can take and what can you take on. Usually you can take on a higher deductible if you can afford to do so, if it makes the most sense but if you are living on a limited budget, you need to take that into consideration. You need say, well if I am going to be okay if somebody gets hurt or if injury happens, if I am going to be able to do, call forth for $100 or 250 or 500 etc. to make sure I can get my client covered.

Bella: I kind of feel like if I have to pay $500 deductible, I would rather pay $500 deductible knowing that it was my policy and then it covered a lot of like everything I needed, then I have to pay $500, go through someone else, try to make sure it covers me and then realize that I need to buy my own policy when I kind of could put the money towards my own policy, is that the right kind of thinking?

David: well, I agree with you. I think you should, I think everybody should have their own coverage policy or if they have a master policy, at least a certificate of coverage that shows what they have and preferably a copy of the master policy, that shows what they have. Because you are entitled to it and if you are insured, you are entitled to see the coverage form that covers you and if someone limits you to that, I would probably go elsewhere as far as getting my insurance. So those are the things you have to consider going into this since you are in business. I personally would want to have my own policy. I personally would recommend that everybody have a policy on their own.

Bella: I always say, I have never, not met a pet sitting business owner, who is not a control freak. So if you are a control freak out there and you want to know everything or at least, know what you are covered for, sometimes having your own policy is the best. I personally, I have my own policy.

What else do you think is important if I am just a new pet sitter, starting out, knowing about business insurance liability and trying to figure out like what’s best for me and we touched on the $129 policy, what kind of things should I look for to see if that actually is or is not for me?

David: okay, well, some of the things you want to look for in a policy are, is the policy primary or is it access over any other policy that’s out there that you may haven’t play. I have been reading a lot of coverage forms you know, over the last few years and you will find some that will say, we will not cover a dog bite unless there’s absolutely no other policy that will cover you. That seems to be like …. policies which are, you know, there are policies that are put together by a group of investors that decides where we are going to give this a shot and this is what we want to cover and what we don’t want to cover. And so, they can be very limiting in nature. You also have to look at how much they are giving you for animal Bailee or care custody or control.

10:02

You also want to look at the limit they are giving you for property if you are going into people’s homes because once you are given the keys to someone’s home, you have that property in your care custody or care control and the whole reason we bring up the care custody or care control is because under the general liability ISO form which most any insure uses, there is an exclusion for personal property in your care custody or control. That’s what brought about the whole pet sitting industry when it comes to insurance because that’s when your people’s content when you get the keys to their house or in your care custody control. If it is excluded, you have to have cover somewhere. So what we did, we took away and gave that coverage under the endorsement that we call a personal property in your care custody control, that’s how we market our program. However, we work with other companies like CNA and Travelers and they covered under animal bailee form as switch to property forms, not a liability form at all. That’s under the property form and then they give you pet groomer’s liability but you have to be careful reading those forms because they cover pet groomers, they cover boardingand some of them will cover pet sitters. But you have to be very careful those forms are covering animals, there are nowhere in there that they are covering personal property in your care custody or control. And so the association policy is as we offered, covered both. Lot of these policies are limiting and they are only covering animals. So if you damage, let’s say you left a water damage or water on in someone’s apartment and it slipped through and damaged all the contents or you left it on in a house, upstairs and it damaged all the contents below and the sealing came in.

Bella: totally happened to me before.

David: that all be excluded under a rover policy. It is not in the care custody control. So you have to consider that. And lot of the forms I am reading from these new providers that are websites, they seem to be very limiting and I am yet to read a policy, so I honestly can’t give you an insight about what their forms say, I can only give you insight from what their website reads and from what I have read, it seems to be very limiting. So I think you need to take it into consideration. I noticed they exclude meet and greet, so if you are going out to meet someone and something happens, you know, one of the thing is important for everybody to understand is the difference between worker compensation and general liability. I have got a lot of pet sitters, they come to me for the first time and they want coverage and they say, okay, what do I need? I tell them, well first of all, you need a liability policy. You get your liability policy, some people have the thought processes that that’s covering their injuries. And that’s not the case because workers compensation exclusive remedy or employee injuries, independent contract that are working for you, if they are uninsured unless they provide you with a certificate covers you elsewhere and it is the only way to cover anyone that is working for you.

Bella: and yourself right, you could take it out on yourself if you wanted to, right?

David: absolutely, you do. Most, all States allow you to elect or reject coverage as an, so you can either have the choice of covering just your employees or you can cover yourself if you are a one person show. So you can make sure that if you get bitten or you slip and fall and get hurt, which I see these claims all the time, pet sitters. So you know, if you are going to do a meet and greet and you slip and fall or get bitten, they are not going to cover that. So that would be a workers. They are not going to cover any peoples injury in your household. So if you have people that are, you are boarding pets in your home and you get injured or bitten, again that’s going to be workers.

Then the other thing that goes to play is your contents are not going to be covered, so if you bring a dog into your house and it gets out of its spot, let’s say, you kept it in the bathroom or kept it somewhere and it got out and all your furnishings, you are out of luck. Because your policy won’t cover it either because there is an exclusion business liability under all policies. There is endorsement to a homeowners policy which you can add but that’s only if you home owner to add it, they would, knowing what you are doing, that you are boarding pets and it is basically the endorsement for the incidental business but they are going to look at the, they are going to question that and they probably won’t even want to insure you anymore, so that’s going to be a tough sell.

Bella: yeah. Now, David, we are only like 15 minutes into these interview and I can already see and hear our listeners going ‘Oh my God!’ have been so overwhelmed and stressed and to you guys, I want to take a minute and say, please don’t let that paralyze you. There’s health out there and there is, I am definitely not the expert in it but I have a platform that I want to encourage you to contact David. David is not any salesman, he is not any high-pressure salesman, he is just as much about education as I am. He will review any policy that you have. I have known him for years, he is the nicest person ever. He will explain it insides out, backwards forwards. You just need to say, ‘Wait, can you say that again? Or can you rewind?’ How many times I have done that to you? And this is probably like our 5th interview that we are doing because he wants us all to be educated.

So I want to encourage you that if this is starting to feel like over your head or too much information, don’t get scared or paralyzed or run away because you will thank me that time when you actually knew the insurance, you know you have it.

David, I have a question in my group and it says, if I carry the rover or DogVacay insurance packages, should I consider purchasing independent insurance. Do the benefits outweighs the cost? Could you speak to that because I am sure a lot of people listening right now have this same question?

David: yeah, my personal opinion, if you can’t read their policy, you should get a policy that you can read, this is going to protect you and not only for that, but just for reading some of the things that they exclude on their websites. You know, I have a list here, it says here that damages to the sitter, dog walkers personal property which we know there’s no coverage for, injuries to the sitter dog walker, anyone related to or living with the sitter or the walker or anyone helping provide coverage. So it is nothing else, if you want to protect yourself, for running your business, if you get hurt, there is a workers policy that will pay for your medical injuries, they will pay doctors bill, they will pay medical pharmacy charges and they also cover disability. So if you can, they will replenish your lost revenue from your business.   

Bella: I think I just want to say that I think that something really important that if you are a dogvacay or a rover or anything like that kind of pet sitter and you are using this, I have met a lot of pet sitters recently that they make this full time job and they are happy and it is great and I love that. But I want you to consider like what would happen if the next pet sitter you went to, you did slip and fall and break your ankle like David was saying and you are doing 5 visits a day, 5 days a week, you are making a pretty good income for yourself and that’d be a major financial dent because all of a sudden you couldn’t do it, you probably will lose your clients because they will need to find someone else but at least if you saved up some money and got a policy  yourself, at least you could still have some income while you are healing and have yourself taken care of, so it is almost entirely different mind-shift when you are a part of this and I guess while I am saying this, I also want to say that I think it is incredible that DogVacay and Rover actually do offer something. I feel like there’s been a little bit of miscommunication in the industry on what that something is, which is what inspired me to do this video today. By pure definition, you are an independent contractor for Rover or Dogvacay. So I also got the question, well Bella, maybe we should tell them to get us better insurance? I am like, no, no, no, no, if they do that, you would be an employee and that’s not their model. That is not what you signed up for.

So I see this break between education here in the middle, you have these online websites and the pet sitters thinking, oh I have insurance but not understanding what that means and their websites, although you might not be, I haven’t been able to see actual policies, they do a good job with summarizing what we do not cover and you, as a business owner or independent contractor, it is important for you to look past the snuggly kitties and puppies and dog walking and exercise and actually take a good look at the business implications that you could be having on yourself, your home and your family.

And David is such a great, you do great inventory of peoples liability exposure and again, I cannot stress enough, if you are listening this today, I really want you to call up David and say, hey this is what I have got, where I am left liable, where I am left vulnerable? And what are my options? Can you explain it to me in a way that I can understand, so that at least, you are not part of the expression, ignorant, to your situation. There are great methods of making money, I am absolutely not saying it is bad but what I am saying is that, there needs to be more education on this topic.

David, sorry to interrupt you. But go on back to your list there because I love this list.

David: okay, one thing before I go back to the list, I do want to point out the same thing that you said because I am a believer in getting it all out there and being positive and giving the variety where it is due and both of these sides, you cover your pets which is most policies would not cover your own pets.

20:08

Now, you might have to be $500 deductible or 250 deductible but at least, you have some coverage on your own pet, let’s say 2 dogs got into a fight and one is you are boarding and one is your personal pet, you certainly want your pet to be taken care of. Even our association policy don’t cover because that’s the first party cover, that is the dog that you own, you are responsible for that, we are taking care of most liability policies would take care of the dog that you are taking care of, not your own.

So there are surpluses. One of that is if you do any work outside either Rover or DogVacay, you have to understand that you definitely need your own policy because your back coverage won’t apply. Because this is a policy for them and the people who are working through their program but if you get any pet sitting outside or any boarding and you don’t book with them or you met a client that says, I don’t want to deal with Rover, I want to deal with you, in that case you probably need to look into having your own liability policy just to protect you, even if you know that person and are best friend because it is long enough to see people turn when a claim happens. So if there is an incident, you want to be protected.

Looks like, the cost for medical or vet bills as a result of a dog illness excludes or preventable care. Well, I agree with that. Most policies are going to exclude that because that’s not your responsibility. If a dog has preexisting condition or they have a disease that was given to them prior to being with you, that’s one thing. Now if you cause the incident like if you dog were to give something to them, you know, we will cover that into our liability policies and most would. So that’s going to be considered as a preexisting injury or a property damage claim to a pet. So if anything happens to the pets when you are in control, there’s two ways of looking at this and I don’t know how it is spelled out on these websites. I read a lot of policies that will limit you to a thousand dollars or maybe even up to $5000 for that coverage. An example of vet medical would be let’s say the dog’s towards ACL. Just about running in the backyard. Happens all the time.

Bella: yeah, it sure does.

David: and you know what, you are not negligent. So, you didn’t cause that, the dog was running and another thing is let’s say the dog is out in your backyard and ingest a rock or a stick. Those claims happen all the time or they ingested a toy. You know, you were negligent just because that dog acts because you didn’t think the dog act and so, because of that, you have to watch the vet medical limit and the care custody control limit. Because most policies under the care custody control or the animal bailee or the professional liability, they are only going to cover you if you are negligent. There’s lots of claims that go on where you are not negligent and there is a grey area. So to begin, that’s where I’d love to see the coverage forms to see where their coverage starts and stops. And it could be that they are willing to pay some of these claims out of pocket and that could be Rover or it could be, I don’t know the answer to that unless I see their policy.

Bella: wouldn’t it be so great if we could get like on a three way interview one day with them and just like them is the people and you as the insurance expert and me like I will represent all the pet sitters, I don’t know, wouldn’t that be cool?

David: yeah, I would love to because again, all I want to do is educate the public, I have been doing this for so long and we can educate both the pet owners, the pet sitters and people who are selling insurance really not as good as it could be, you know, I would like to educate them all. Because it would really help being the industry up as opposed to having people that have claims that aren’t covered or are limited and then they have a headache and then they hate insurance.

Bella: you deal with the oopsies all the time, huh? People probably crying to you on the phone

daily, ‘What do you mean it is not covered?’

David: I wouldn’t say daily but I would say at least monthly I get somebody crying. And you know, I want to help them. The good in me wants to be like I want to pay the claim right now. I am sorry, let me call the company. I call the company and they still won’t able to do certain things since they are limited. It just depends on what the form says and that’s why I preach over and over again, get your cover forms, I will be to review them for you or you can take it to an insurance agent that you trust in your local area but have somebody review the coverage forms to see what are the limitations, the exclusions and where coverage starts and stops.

Bella: yeah.

That’s awesome! It’s been about 25 minutes now, I like to kind of keep it short and sweet. I think we have given everyone some really good food for thought and I didn’t really intend to but if anyone from DogVacay or Rover is listening to this which I hope, you guys do and you want to join us, please contact me, I am all over the internet and I am sure there are some contacts where the videos is.

25:02

And we would love to get on like just a panel and just talk about it because I feel like insurance, I still don’t like insurance myself, no offense. It is still so complicated to me and I know, there’s a lot of people that feel that way. You know, we are pet sitters and dog walkers, dog boarders and groomers and trainers, we are not insurance experts. So, I am so glad that you always take the time. David is always up to say, yeah Bella, when do you want to do it? I asked him yesterday to do this and today he is on. So David, from all of us pet sitters, all over the world, thank you for being you and helping us out.

Everyone else, if you want to get a contact with David, go ahead and go to business insurance of Carolinas or David, what’s your email? That’s probably is a good way too, right?

David: yeah, thank you. My email is ‘d’ as in David, ‘p’ as in Pearsall, @ business insurance.com. you can find me on the internet by business-insurance.com.

Bella: okay, wonderful.

Well, thanks everyone for joining us and please, please know exactly what you are covered for so that you are not crying on the phone to your insurance agent one day.

Take care.

[END OF AUDIO 26:12]

make money rover dog sitter

Can I Make Money Working For Rover As A Dog Sitter?

With the popularity in a shared economy growing, the opportunity to make more money on the side has become increasingly popular. You can drive people around with Lyft and Uber, you can deliver for Amazon, you can clean people’s homes through Handy, and you can now be a pet sitter or board dogs in your home on apps like Rover, DogVacay, and Care.com But can you actually make money working for rover?

make money rover dog sitter

But Can You Make Money Working For Rover As A Dog Sitter?

The short answer, sure you can! Creating your profile takes about 15 minutes. Upload a few pictures, select the right price for your services and you are off to the races. According to the rover.com website, they take 15% of the fee that you charge and the rest of it is all yours!

Pretty neat if you love pets and want to make some money… yet not exactly have your own full blown company, right?

Maybe…

make money rover dog sitter

There Is A Lot Of Responsibility To Being A Pet Sitter

If you are considering making money working for rover as a dog sitter, or any of the other apps, then I encourage you to consider a few important details:

1. Is the liability insurance that comes with your membership to these sites enough to cover you? Think about what the coverage limits are and what the deductibles are. Will it have any influence on your home owner’s insurance?

2. What if you were to break up a dog fight that happened in your home and were so injured you couldn’t go to your day job? Who would pay for your lost wages?

3. What happens if one of the dogs you are watching destroys your property or the property in their home?

4. What are your city zoning laws? Are you even legally allowed to host dogs in your home for the exchange of money?

There is just so much that you, as an independent contractor, need to be aware of.

make money rover dog sitter

Look Before You Fall In Love

It is easy to fall into the romance of loving on pets all day and getting a paycheck. I mean, who wouldn’t want to? 🙂 It is a lovable, rewarding, and fun job. Truth be told, I made it my life for over 14 years when I had my company.

But in the end, we must remember that we are still caring for animals. They have an entirely different way of communicating than humans. 

 

Do You Know The Difference?

For example, did you know that if dogs approach nose to nose it is aggressive and if it is from the side it is friendly? I learned that a long time ago in one of the best Dog Behavior for Pet Sitter Manuals that are out on the market. The nuggets of info stored in there could be the difference between a calm day at the “home office” and a dog fight.

can-i-make-money-working-for-rover

So What Is the Final Answer?

In the end, the simple answer to your question, “Can I make money being a rover dog sitter?” is YES. You can. But equally important of a question is, “Do you fully understand the liability and risks you are assuming while doing so?”

Note: Where ever you see rover.com that can also mean dogvacay.com, care.com, Wag, etc.

 

rover dog sitter coaching

rover

7 Problems With Starting A Pet Sitting Business


In this day in age, people have started to realize how easy it is to start a pet sitting business. They think that you get some business cards, tell some vets your accepting clients, and throw up a website via Wix or some other free website builder, and list their services on care.com Within a few weeks they are off and running. Checks are coming in and they think “Wow. That was easy!”

But not so fast….

 

I applaud the ambition, but there is a bunch of fine tuning that needs to happen. Most of the time, the way pet sitting businesses start, isn’t something that can be maintained over the years.  At least not if they plan on still seeing their friends, family, going on vacation, and saving some money.

{Which, lets’ face it, you could 100% get if you go work for someone else. So why not yourself?}

I see these problems over and over again.

Sometimes the pet sitter has started their business, but never really addressed the elephant in the room. This leads to a snowball effect. The changes they need to create feel even bigger of a burden than if they had they started “right” in the first place.

So let me save you the trouble. Here are the

7 Problems {and solutions} When Starting A Pet Sitting Business.

 

#1 Pet Sitters Get Burned Out When Starting a Pet Sitting Business:

A lot of people start out because they love the pets. But they love the pets so much that they care more about the pets than themselves and their business. Too much of this imbalance could put you out of business.

It is imperative for a business owner to set business hours and take scheduled time off at least once or twice a year. After all, if you had a “regular” job you would get an average of two weeks vacation, right? A lot of pet sitters are working all around the clock by doing overnights and then early morning visits at 6am and visits as late as 10pm.

pet sitter burnout

 

It makes a person tried, unmotivated, hungry… so you end up choosing bad options like drive thru. It is also isolating because you are always running away from your friends and family to “go do a pet sit.”

Solution: Set strict working hours and schedule two vacations a year to recharge your batteries. 

 

#2 Pet Sitters Don’t Consider The Importance Of
Money Flow:

This can be the biggest headache for most. Do you send paypal invoices? Do you use Square, Swipe, have the clients enter it in online, or accept cash or checks?

 

A business will need to streamline this process. Not paying close enough attention could cost hours of the business owners time each week and be very confusing and almost a chore for the client who is trying to spend money. You don’t want to be chasing people down for money or having to sit in front of the computer creating invoices and applying payment to the invoices so your balance sheet is in check.

Falling golden coin - isolated on white

Solution: I suggest taking credit cards and have a method that will take less than 15 minutes each week. Here are all the ins and outs of CC processing. I have a great virtual book keeper if you are interested! 

 

#3  Pet Sitters Do Not Have Unique Branding When They Start A Pet Sitting Business.

One of the biggest mistakes new pet sitters make is trying to be like everyone else. Or, they grab the industry standards on “Benefits to a professional pet sitter” and use them on their own website. All that does is sell the industry. The majority of the start up pet sitters say the same exact thing on their website. When you don’t have a strong brand, your value isn’t high. Think about the branding for a Walmart Vs. Sak’s 5th Ave or Barney’s. Different, eh?

Some pet sitting businesses also have the same looking logo made from a stock image and a plain or cutesy name that no one can spell. This is a problem becasue their business won’t stand out from all the others and no one will know how to spell their business name when they go to search for it on Google!

Solution: Take the time to create a great pet sitting logo, choose the right colors on your website, and formulate your unique message and value proposition. 

Personal example below: My own pet sitting company has a saying “We see things a different way” and our advertisement is run UPSIDE DOWN in publications. Everyone see’s it!   = Be Different!

7 problems with starting a pet sitting business

 

#4  Pet Sitters Don’t Charge The Right Price When Start A Pet Sitting Business:

Not charging the right amount is heavily associated with burn out. A lot of the time pet sitters charge what they “feel” is right but that mentality alone could cost you your business. Looking around at what everyone else is charging and basing your pricing structure off of that is the worst thing that you could do for your business. You are not strategic about it.

Will you have pricing tiers?
What is the lowest you will go?
Will you “discount”?
How many visits do you need to do a day in order to make your personal salary goal for the year?
Do you charge enough to pay someone enough?
Do you know how much you should be paying them?
The business? Yourself?
Will you charge/pay by time or by service?
Are there things you will or will not charge extra for?
What will your cancelation policy be?
Will you list your prices on your pet sitting website? 
These are all things that a business owner must give serious consideration to. A lack of thought in this area will eventually limit the potential of the business.

Solution: Answer all of the questions above and if you need more help consider taking the Pricing Structure and Strategy class. If you need more, hear what one of my clients said about this class: 

 

 

#5. Pet Sitters Forget The Important Legal and Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.54.26 PMInsurance Considerations


I find that when pet sitters start a pet sitting company they download forms, purchase the cheapest insurance and just go on with life. Many times things like properly classifying your business entity for tax saving purposes isn’t even a thought. Or things like protection of your current or future assets with different classifications like LLC, S-Corp, etc. It is vitally important to every pet sitters present and future to have a CPA and Lawyer on their team from Day 1. Do not be giving our service contracts that might not even be valid in your state! (It really happens)

Your business insurance could be your saving grace or what puts you out of business. It is important to know that you are covered properly for when pet sitting business insurance claims happen.

Solution: Find a CPA and Lawyer you can trust. Or, save yourself the hassle and call David with Business Insurers of the Carolina’s! Thats who I trust!

 

 

#6 Pet Sitters Will Miss A Pet Sit or Overbooking Themselves

It happens.

You are trying to keep track of all your new clients on your iPhone’s calendar and before you know it you forget to enter in someone or you promise one too many clients the same time slot and BOOM. You are overbooked. Or worse, you miss a visit.

Clients are constantly changing their travel arrangements and work schedules. It is very easy for a pet sitter to become a professional scheduler. Do not make this mistake when you start your pet sitting business. You are setting yourself up for failure by accepting reservations via phone, text, email, and pigeon carrier! You will mess up. You will overbook. You will miss a visit.

Solution: Get a Client Management System and require that all clients register and book inside of your software system.

 

#7  When Pet Sitters Don’t Set Good Boundaries

This problem is two fold. First, the pet sitter accepts clients in a large service area thinking that the more clients they can get the better. No matter where they are located. “It is only 10 minutes outside my service area.” becomes a frequent thought.

The second is they let their business run their life. They don’t consider that they need to do simple things like eat, sleep, and visit with their family from time to time.  I have seen people get divorces, have relatives upset at them over the holidays because they aren’t at the celebrations, and more. When I finally get to help them, they are already at the end of their rope. They even start despising this business that they so fondly started because the people who matter most in their life are upset at them for not being present.

Having a business should eventually give you more options in life to do the things you like with those you love. – Bella

Solution: Set strict office hours. Set strict boundaries no more than a 10 mile radius from your home.

In the end, the toughest boundary you need to establish is between you and the business. By having clear goals, objectives, the right people surrounding you, well thought out policies and systems, you will be successful. It is when people try to sacrifice their lives for their business. When they are working for less than they would make working at McDonalds and so tired and burnt out that they start resenting the life they are trying to build.

It is not a pretty place to be. Please take these suggestions very seriously so you don’t become victim to your own business. Start a business so you can work on it. Not under it. If you are going to be under it, why not get a J.O.B. working for someone else and let them have all the headache?

You can do it. It is pet sitting. There aren’t many unknowns. Especially for someone like me who has seen all types of businesses nationally and internationally.

If you are thinking about starting a business, or just feel completely out of control in your business consider hiring Bella to help you avoid all the pitfalls that starting a pet sitting business comes with.