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

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

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

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

out of control dog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Common Claims

Episode 10: Top 15 Most Common Pet Sitting Insurance Claims

BELLA IN YOUR BUSINESS-itunes

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

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


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

Yikes!Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.54.26 PM

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

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

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

There sure are a lot of pet sitting insurance claims!

Then, David covers the

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here the Top 5 lists:

Top 5 Pet Related Claims

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

Top 5 Third-Party Claims

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

Top 5 Workman’s Comp Claims

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

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

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What IS Social Media anyways? | Small Business Coaching

Danielle, I just don’t get it. It is all GREEK to me and none of this makes sense. What is social media? How does social media all go together? and WHY do I need it for my business? Can you explain it all to me please? – Kat

Sure! I would love to! The best way to explain is to first show you these two videos and then discuss each of the major social media components. I included a parody to try and explain it better!

Here is the first video. I am not responsible if it gets you really excited… it gets me every time!


Ok, so now that you are excited about what it can DO and how big it is from the video above…. lets try to break it down to a local level so you can apply it to your small business…

Basically it is broken down to these major components:

Website – Hosts everything!!!! It is like your PARENT and everything else You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg) are the KIDS who bring the other neighborhood kids to your house. The more kids at your house, the more popular your house and you are the “coolest” on the “Pet Sitting or Dog Training street” The more popular you are, the easier it is for people to come to your house. You want people in your “house.” We are going to keep using this analogy.

FacebookPlace that has the LOUDEST voice that is calling kids into your home. Here, you have a DAILY interaction with your likers (kids) and are able to give them milk and cookies every day (like a “cool” parent would). There can be instant feedback and all the kids in your home have the best ability to call more people to your house (let’s say, on their “cell phones”) becasue of the SHARE buttons. Anytime something is posted on your website, it posts to Facebook, and then goes to Twitter.

You Tube – Videos… makes you come to life, lets you host your own channel, with all your branding around it. You can take these videos and bring them to your Website, and Facebook. They make you come ALIVE with being able to give a tour, a day in the life of, video biographies, highlighting products or services, or whatever you want. The possibilities are endless. People can “subscribe” to your channel, but the chances of this happening are very low on the scale. It is important to put in the RIGHT key words when uploading videos. Google holds you Tube Videos in HIGH ranking and they *will* come up when you do google searches if they are SEO’ed right (have the right key words) This is like kids at your house taking video and uploading them to the internet or to your Facebook/House to show everyone. This then results in more kids wanting to come to your house becasue it “looks” cool!

TwitterIs for short conversations. Only 140 characters of less (like two sentences)  Great points: to connect your website and facebook postings to it, becasue your followers might see what you are posting and click on it, therefor going to your website. You can update twitter as much as you want during the day becasue they are constant updates. However as a customer or client, few actually “follow” people. If you want to know what is going on with a business you can go to their Twitter page and read what they have been posting. How many people you are following doesn’t matter. to an extent. I would only recommend following people you want to keep in touch with or who are information resources. How many people follow you does matter. It tells how big your audience is. It is better to have quality than quantity. Think of this like kids being at your house and text messaging their friends to come over….there are just LOTS of text messages at a time.

Digg – Great information source again. This is depending on who “follows” you or “diggs” (sort of like a LIKE) your article. It is another way to connect your content to the world. People can be on Digg looking for information and go to the search box and pull up your info. Digg articles also show up on the search engines. Will this directly translate to customers? No. Will it possibly help with clicks to your site? Yes. Your Digg is connected to your site so any blog that is posted gets posted to Digg. Then it posts to Twitter. This is like a kid at your house throwing a newspaper out on the sidewalk and hoping that someone finds it.

Ok, so how does this all flow?

Website —> Facebook —>Twitter
Website —>Digg —-> Twitter
YouTube —>(gets posted on your Website)—->Facebook/Digg —–>Twitter
Posting Emails from icontact —-> Website —->Facebook/Digg —–>Twitter

Important things to remember:

*The more times links are out there with the CONTENT being hosted at your website, the BETTER chances of people clicking on your website.

*The more people who click on your website, the higher you will get in the the rankings.

*The more reviews you have, the more important you will be in the search engines.

*The more valuable content you post at a consistent pace, the more important you are to the search engines.

I hope this helps explain a little bit more… Let me know if you have any questions.

Why Do I Need Social Media In My Pet Sitting Business?

Bella, I just don’t get it. It is all GREEK to me and none of this makes sense. What is social media? How does it all go together? and WHY do I need social media in my pet sitting business? Can you explain it all to me please? – Kat

Sure! I would love to! The best way to explain is to first show you these two videos and then discuss each of the major social media components. I included a parody to try and explain it better!

Here is the first video. I am not responsible if it gets you really excited… it gets me every time!


Ok, so now that you are excited about what it can DO and how big it is from the video above…. lets try to break it down to a local level so you can apply it to your small business…

 

Creating The Flow Of Social Media In My Pet Sitting Business:

Your Website Hosts Everything!

It is like your PARENT and everything else YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg) are the KIDS who bring the other neighborhood kids to your house. The more kids at your house, the more popular your house and you are the “coolest” on the “Pet Sitting or Dog Training street” The more popular you are, the easier it is for people to come to your house. You want people in your “house.” We are going to keep using this analogy.

fb-group

Facebook Has The Loudest Voice That Is Calling Kids Into Your Home

Here, you have a DAILY interaction with your likers (kids) and are able to give them milk and cookies every day (like a “cool” parent would). There can be instant feedback and all the kids in your home have the best ability to call more people to your house (let’s say, on their “cell phones”) because of the SHARE buttons. Anytime something is posted on your website, it posts to Facebook, and then goes to Twitter. Consider creating some groups and doing FB Live on a weekly basis to help your strategy as well.

Youtube Videos Make You Come To Life!

Social media for your pet sitting business can really explode by creating videos and hosting them on Youtube. It lets you host your own channel, with all your branding around it. You can take these videos and bring them to your Website, and Facebook. They make you come ALIVE with being able to give a tour, a day in the life of, video biographies, highlighting products or services, or whatever you want. The possibilities are endless. People can “subscribe” to your channel, but the chances of this happening are very low on the scale. It is important to put in the RIGHT key words when uploading videos. Google holds you Tube Videos in HIGH ranking and they *will* come up when you do google searches if they are SEO’ed right (have the right key words) This is like kids at your house taking video and uploading them to the internet or to your Facebook/House to show everyone. This then results in more kids wanting to come to your house because it “looks” cool!

Short Conversations are for Twitter

Only 140 characters of less (like two sentences)  Great points: to connect your website and facebook postings to it, because your followers might see what you are posting and click on it, therefore going to your website. You can update twitter as much as you want during the day because they are constant updates. However as a customer or client, few actually “follow” people. If you want to know what is going on with a business you can go to their Twitter page and read what they have been posting. How many people you are following doesn’t matter. to an extent. I would only recommend following people you want to keep in touch with or who are information resources. How many people follow you does matter. It tells how big your audience is. It is better to have quality than quantity. Think of this like kids being at your house and text messaging their friends to come over….there are just LOTS of text messages at a time.

Digg is a super information source!

This is depending on who “follows” you or “diggs” (sort of like a LIKE) your article. It is another way to connect your content to the world. People can be on Digg looking for information and go to the search box and pull up your info. Digg articles also show up on the search engines. Will this directly translate to customers? No. Will it possibly help with clicks to your site? Yes. Your Digg is connected to your site so any blog that is posted gets posted to Digg. Then it posts to Twitter. This is like a kid at your house throwing a newspaper out on the sidewalk and hoping that someone finds it.

Relaxing dog at the beach with flowers garland

How should you make it flow to help the social media for your pet sitting business?

Website —> Facebook —>Twitter
Website —>Digg —-> Twitter
YouTube —>(gets posted on your Website)—->Facebook/Digg —–>Twitter
Posting Emails from icontact —-> Website —->Facebook/Digg —–>Twitter

Important things to remember:

*The more times links are out there with the CONTENT being hosted at your website, the BETTER chances of people clicking on your website.

*The more people who click on your website, the higher you will get in the the rankings.

*The more reviews you have, the more important you will be in the search engines.

*The more valuable content you post at a consistent pace, the more important you are to the search engines.

I hope this helps explain a little bit more… Let me know if you have any questions.