Tag Archive for: pet sitting

pet sitting marketing yard sale

The Most Unique Pet Sitting Marketing Tip That Costs Hardly Anything and Builds Strong Relationships

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Here I am explaining it JUST AS this idea came to mind:

I am writing this post out of the norm. I am not putting it into my publishing schedule, I am not going to make a long list. I am just going to tell you this very brilliant idea I just had as I was just out yard sailing. You see, you get the pleasure of all these marketing ideas I now have, that I can no longer do anything with, because I sold my pet sitting business.

Twice a year, a local planned community of 4400 homes has a yard sale twice a year. Once in the Spring and the other in the Fall. They do this to drum up shoppers and because it is against Home Association rules to put YARD SALE signs up everywhere in the community.

I always love these mornings because like Forrest Gump said, “You never know what you’re going to get!”

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How This Amazing Idea Came About:

So I was chatting with an older gentleman telling me that he had just remodeled and trying to sell me on his stove and microwave. “Look!,” he said, “It’s like new. You can see yourself in it still!” I wasn’t even in the market, but he was trying to hard sell me on the idea of getting rid of his “problem” which was this stove he no longer wanted. His wife was even mumbling about dragging it back in the garage and taking up space.

Can you picture it? 🙂

Recently, I learned that Habitat for Humanity would come out and pick up items you didn’t need, especially things like stoves, windows, doors, etc. so I mentioned it to him.

As I walked back in the car, the lightbulb over my head came on!

How To Help Saturate Your Pet Sitting Market Area

As pet sitters and dog walkers we are always driving around and passing by yard sales and garage sales, right?  What if you had a one page flier in your car that was a list of  valuable resources?  Something like:

What You Need To Know After Your Garage Sale Is Over

How To Avoid Lugging Everything Back In Your Home After Your Garage Sale

The Feel Good and Monetary Benefits Available After Your Yard Sale

On this flyer, you would list out places to drop off items in a 5 miles radius and places that you can call to schedule a pick up. The key to this is leaving the companies name and phone number.

Further, if you have a pet shelter in the area, many of them would love to receive the endless dog cages and cat carriers that almost every yard sale has. Why not be a resource to your community by helping give them ways to take care of their “problem” and give back?

pet sitting marketing yard sale

How Does This Come Back To Your Business?

At the bottom of the flier, you can have your business name, info, and a special offer. Even if they don’t become a client, it just gave you a reason to break the ice, talk to these people, tell them about your company and that you are a community leader helping to solve problems.

Great conversation starters, “If you don’t sell this (dog crate, cat carrier, dog carriage, pet steps to the bed) what are you going to do with it?”

Another way you can get even more creative is thinking of specific things… like:

Baby clothes to a shelter.
Scrap book pages to a local NICU.
Quilting or sewing materials to the local charity who makes baby blankets?

There are so many charities other than just “Goodwill” Get creative and make an interesting list!

Side note – The Community Yard Sale I went to hands out maps and a list of all the homes that are selling something. If I still had my company, I would totally contact the community director and find out if I could help “sponsor” the day by adding donuts at the checkin stand (where sellers get their balloon to mark their sales) *AND* including this one page sheet to the end of the list of homes selling goods!

Getting excited yet?

You Can Take It Online Too!

This list, could also be a blog online. There are so many Swip Swap CITY sites, where it is like a virtual online yard sale. How about any pet products being sold, you post a link saying, “I know what you can do with this here.” Inside would be an article about how the local shelter takes donations or (maybe?) they have a resell shop where they resell things to make money to keep the rescue open?  We always see people selling things online. Just make sure the Title is good click-bate! 🙂

 

Spread The Word

This is good-will, solving problems, and getting your brand out in the community. You can easily give them to your staff to hand out and offer incentives if the people call. Over half the yard sales I just went to either had a pet sitting next to the seller or the seller had pet items. Let’s use our incredibly warm and fuzzy industry to break the ice, build relationships, and be a solution to people’s problems!

Need a pet sitting Employee Manual and Training Handbook already written for your pet sitting or dog walking company? Now I have it all for you. Yours in just 60 seconds after purchase! 

pet sitting employee manual

Episode 19: A Look Back at How A Pet Sitting Business Started & Grew with Kristie Glazer

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In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Kristie Glazer from Philly Pet Care, a family-owned pet-sitting and dog-walking company in Philadelphia. Kristie talks about how she got started and what changes she made that really helped her business grow.

After graduating college, Kristie and her husband moved to Philadelphia which is near where she grew up in South Jersey.  She was a teacher for a little while and then a sales rep for a shipping company. But she wasn’t happy.  She sat down and thought about what would make her happy….the answer….dogs!  She figured she lived in a city now and people probably needed dog walkers. Before her husband got home that day from his job as a chef, she had a full business plan worked out.  She told him she planned to quit her job and start this business. He told her to go ahead and do it!

{Don’t you just love that?}

So Kristie did it. She started a website. She started cold calling and giving people her card.  She would take any job that came along (which she says in retrospect is a mistake many new business owners make). She did start  to grow the business though, which at the time was called “Personal Pet Care by Kristie”, and continued on for four years adding clients as she went.

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Bella notes that having that moral support from our loved ones really can help catapult our businesses from the start. Maybe not necessarily our business numbers, but it certainly helps us with our tenacity.

Kristie continued by saying that when she first started the business, the ironic thing was that they lived in an apartment where they could not even have pets. So they naturally had to refuse requests for overnights or doggie daycare.  But they eventually moved to a place where they could have pets and started offering both of those services.The business got so busy that they moved to their own home and Dave quit his job as a chef and joined the business!

Kristie said they had some major bumps in the road along the way. In fact, she wishes in retrospect that they had had a “team” (lawyers and accountants) early on as it may have helped them avoid some of the roughest bumps.

One bump, she points out, was a failure to secure all the licenses needed to board dogs in their home. It led to a neighbor calling Licensing and Inspections on them resulting in them having to cease doing the boarding for two years while they worked out all the necessary issues (including getting their home zoned to be a kennel).  

Kristie talked about a point in time when they were working constantly in the business. It was just her and Dave and trying to juggle the business and their three year old son got to be too much.  She came across Bella and Jump Consulting and as a result made some changes.  They rebranded to “Philly Pet Care”.  They revamped  their website and added professional photos and higher quality business cards.

They raised their rates, which caused many customers to go away, but with the higher rates they still made that money back. They cut out the doggie daycare which Kristie said drove her nuts anyway. They made those changes four years ago and Kristie said doing all that gave them back their sanity and the business has been humming along smoothly every since.

Bella says what she is hearing is that they now have a clean system and process and that their business works for them and not them working for the business. Bella paints the analogy of the bow and arrow.  She said that, at that time, Kristie and Dave were like a bow that needs to get pulled back a little bit so that it can get released and send that arrow soaring forward. But notes that it really stinks when you are going through it.

Kristie agreed. She says it is difficult and a lot of work but it is so worth it in the end. She notes that you have to grow though, because if you don’t grow your business will fail.

Bella then asks Kristie about the future of Philly Pet Care.

Kristie says they are still doing the dog walking services in Center City (Philadelphia). They do still do overnights, but only for dogs they have a walking relationship with.  Dave and she hope to remove themselves more and more from the business. Not remove themselves completely because she and Dave like to make sure they personally know each and every client. In fact, she believes that is what really helps set them apart. They have two employees now but hope to have more in the future so they can have more time off.

Kristie also said they are starting to plan for retirement. They are at a point with their business where they are making enough money to really start saving for the future. So that, maybe in 10 years or so, they could be in some form of retirement. But she notes that she doesn’t really see herself ever completely letting go or selling the business.  She has even pictured their son ultimately being the owner of Philly Pet Care.

Bella compares a successful small business to having built your own beautiful home.  You can live in it until the day you die. You build yourself a quality life with the luxury of having options.

Bella wraps the episode by telling  Kristie how proud she is of everything Kristie and Dave have accomplished.

You can find out more about Philly Pet Care and Kristie and Dave at http://www.MyPhillyPetCare.com or to hear about the rebranding experience Kristie had with Bella a few years ago, you can watch the video here.

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What’s The Deal Between Rover.com and Professional Pet Sitters Anyways?

So if you go to the professional pet sitters, sometimes they don’t have the most glowing things to say about the Rover.com folks and if you take a gander into the rover.com groups… sometimes they don’t have too many nice things to say about the Professional Pet Sitters.

Can’t we just all get along?

Why the divide?

Both groups have two things in common, they have a business that loves on pets and they both make money off doing something they love.

So what is it about these two groups that have them disliking each other like cats and dogs?

 

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Our Economy is Shifting.

Since the invention and popularity of Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, and Handlr, our economy is shifting. We are entering a whole new era of anyone can make some side money and consumers can literally have things on demand, at their fingertips.

Britt Alwerud from Founder of Handlr and app that makes it easy for pet sitting clients to book and chat with their sitter says,”On-demand service apps not only give customers what they want right away, it also gives them peace of mind. With trust-based service businesses, people want to see ratings, see exactly whose coming to their house and be able to track their food order, dog or driver.”

So why is this a good thing?

Well, it is obviously great for those looking to make a little extra side cash. Those who want to save for their wedding, add to their retirement, or just have a little more spending money.

It is also great for the professional pet sitting companies that want to take on the world, make themselves different, and stand apart.

I am never quite sure why professional pet sitters get their feathers ruffled when they see the likes of the rover.com pet sitters starting up in their area. If you ask me, if their potential clients are comparing the two of them, the professional pet sitters haven’t done enough through their marketing and branding to make themselves stand apart.

 

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All Professional Pet Sitters Used to be Rover.com Sitters.

No, really!   At one point, we were all hobby sitters. Doing it all on our own.

I will use my own story as an example. Before I had a 14 year long business that was nationally and locally award-winning, I was in college. Trying to get out of my parents house, by sleeping at someone else’s house for $25 a night. At that point, I would have paid HER to stay at her house. It was a great gig and serviced my personal needs at the time. I enjoyed it so much, I attracted more and more clients by placing classified advertisements in community newsletters. If rover.com were around back then, you bet your bottom dollar I would have been all over it!

It’s just at that time, there wasn’t an app for that! *smile*

Think about it – most of these rover.com pet sitters are doing it for their love for animals. Sure there is a bad story every now and again, but there are also some bad stories about professional pet sitters that I can recall as well!

I think both sides should just bark less and wag more. It is more fun that way anyways, right?

rover.com pet sitters

To The Rover.com Pet Sitters

I encourage you to seek out the answers to your questions. Know that you can get seriously hurt on the job and know what a “redirect bite” is. Do everything to make your business legit by getting your own bonding, insurance, and registering with your state. In fact, if you really want to work more in the industry, if you do that, you are the glowing definition of an independent contractor and you can not only list yourself on rover.com and the likes of others, but find out which professional pet sitting companies in your area hire ICs and apply!

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To The Professional Pet Sitters

Make some room! Move over and allow the rover.com to come into the world. It is only going to give you the chance to develop your brand and shine brighter becasue there are more options for consumers in the marketplace now. The more “competition” or “options” for consumers, the stronger of an opportunity you have to set yourself a part. Branding, websites, policies, procedures, customer experience and customer service… it is all your time to shine now that you have all the professional pillars to make you strong. You have dedicated your livelihood to your business, now make it shine!

My fellow colleague agrees.  Cara Armour  Product Manager at ProPetHero says this:

“As pet ownership increases year after year, so does the demand for care for them when we can’t be there. While a professional pet sitter may look down upon a rover.com sitter, step back and think, maybe that rover sitter is looking up to that professional?

As a professional pet sitter I can’t make the industry better if I don’t set an example. Set aside your animosity and help make the industry better for the pets, there’s room for both types of businesses.”

We all need to start getting along and fostering relationships. We all have to start somewhere.

NOTE: For sake of this article, when you see rover.com I also mean dogvacay.com, care.com, wag.com, and all the other instant, at your service, pet care apps. 🙂

 

Start A Pet Sitting Business

Episode 18: How to Get More Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Clients

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In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella is joined once again by Kate McQuillan from PawsomeMedia. They discuss the timeless question they always get, “How do I get more pet sitting and dog walking clients?”

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List All The Services You Offer On Your Website:


In order to get more pet sitting and dog walking clients, Bella notes that people search for many different terms. For instance, she says that  if you are dog groomer and you want to groom small dogs or even cats, make sure you list that. Someone looking to get a cat groomed likely won’t search for a dog groomer first. Make sure you are putting all the services you offer, along with descriptions, on your website. Kate notes you should really review your website periodically and make sure what you want out there is very clear.

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Promote Yourself On Facebook:

Kate mentions that people often get caught up sharing pet pics, memes and news, but should not forget to put out something everyday about what you do. Images, articles you have written and tips are all good ways to do that. Also, make sure you have filled out all the about sections in Facebook, especially the contact information. Also make  sure your banner clearly says what you do. Facebook pages get Googled and so having all of that information in there may actually help you show up more often in Google searches. For those who feel such promotion is too “salesy” Bella recommends you check out “Gary V” (Gary Vaynerchuk ) who has a book called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy social world. He writes that it is about giving value, value, value, and then a sale. Bella says it’s ok to keep sharing valuable items, but don’t forget the “right hook”!

Blog About What You Do:

Bella says to blog and talk about what you do. Discuss things like “How much does dog grooming cost?”, “Should I get my cat groomed?”, “How do I train my dog?”.  She says to take every question people ask you, use the exact question as the title of your blog post, and then answer it. She says it’s not only good for SEO (getting higher placement  in Google results), but also gives you an “arsenal” to use when people call with questions. Ask them for their email address and send them the blog post that answers that question. Kate points out that you also need to SHARE your blog post (see tip #2)! And don’t forget to reshare things you wrote months and years ago.  Keep sharing it for those who may not have seen it the first time. And revisit them periodically to “tidy” them up and make them more current.

Make Free Downloads For Your Site:

Kate suggests that you offer things on your site like free EBooks you create or checklists (like one on things to do before your next vacation), cleaning tips, etc. It doesn’t always have to be about the services you offer, just things that are useful to your customers.

Create and use “Bark Cards”

When you are out performing mobile services (grooming, pet sitting, dog walking) and you (dog) hear barking at a neighbor’s house, your worker can leave one of these bark cards. Bark cards are small postcards with a picture of a barking dog you get made up that say “BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK, BARK”. On the back leave the top half blank and on the bottom put your branding, list of services, and contact info. In the blank area, take a pen and write something like. “I think I heard a small dog and they were saying ‘Come groom me! Come groom me!’.  I was in the neighborhood and if you call me for more information I would like to offer you….” Bella says these cards are shocking and attention grabbing. They also target your demographic. Personalization in key with these cards.

 

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Email Marketing:

Kate said to make better use of the email addresses you have collected through newsletter sign ups, or people opting in to your free downloads. Send information periodically to ensure people remember who you are and what you offer.  Bella suggests it could be a “drip campaign” where you have a series of say 5 emails go out over a period of time or it could be a short periodic newsletter.  Kate notes that email is important because not everybody is on Facebook or checking out your website, but they may likely be checking email.

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Talk To Vets

Bella says a lot of pet business owners just walk into a vet’s office, drop their cards and leave.  More than likely the cards get dropped in the trash. So Bella recommends that you build a relationship with the vet’s office manager. People rarely ask the vet about pet sitting or grooming services, but they do ask the front office staff or call in with that kind of question.

Start A Facebook Group:

Kate says that you start a private Facebook group not to sell services but to allow customers and members of the group to get to know you personally.  Members get to know each other, build relationships, talk about pets, etc., and build a good community.

 

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Start A Dog Walking Club!

Bella says that by starting these clubs you will have a micro area of people all interested in the same thing. Do it with your existing customers to build up brand loyalty or expose them to other services you offer. You can encourage them to bring a friend. You could start one at an apartment complex and have the complex promote the club as an activity. Kate suggests you could combine that with the private Facebook group as well.

Create Competition

Kate recommends that you create competition events as they are a good way to get new clients. But do it right! Don’t just do a like and share campaign. Really plan it out.  Kate has more information about doing so in her online marketing academy which Bella says is awesome!

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Episode 16: Getting Rid of Toxic Relationships

Bella In Your Business

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

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

Bella Has Dealt With Bad Apples…

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

Consequences To Keeping Negative People Around:

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

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

Are YOU The Bad Apple?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is It Really Them, Or You?

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

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

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Episode 14: Discount Daily Dog Walks

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella discusses whether or not you should offer a discount daily dog walks. She covers points on both sides of the issue.

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Bella starts by stressing that before even considering a discount for daily dog walks, you really should know just how much profit you make off of a dog walk or pet visit. She points out that many company owners aren’t fully cognizant of that number or even understand how the costs and profits are divided. Bella points out that some of the money goes to the employee who walked the dog (usually a fixed amount) and some of that money should go to your business to cover expenses and business profit.  Finally, some money needs to go directly to you the owner, so that you are paying your salary.

Pricing-Guide - Discount Daily Dog Walks

Can You Even Afford it?

When offering a discount on a daily dog walk you have to decide out of which of these pots that discount will be taken.  You can’t really pay your employee less, so it will need to come out of either your pot or the business’.  If your business has stabilized costs, you may be able to find some money in the business pot to support the discount.  But if you are in a period of steadily increasing expenses, then you may not have it there.  Bella advises you to be careful about taking discounts out of your own pot as many business owners hurt themselves by not paying themselves enough to sustain themselves, and the business.

Discounting Can Be Good!

On the pro-discount side, Bella talks about how even “rich people” like discounts and

you should not be offended if someone asks you to discount daily dog walks.  

She even suggests that you set a higher “standard” rate and that the “discount” you offer be actually in the range of what you need to keep the business growing.  This could also be couched as a “Friends and Family” discount, or be given through package plans that encourage clients to use your services more often.

When You Should Never Discount

On the anti-discount side, Bella suggests that discounts on daily dog walks are not likely appropriate if your rates are currently low, especially if they barely cover costs.  In those cases, it is best to gradually increase your rates to a level where you can offer discounts.

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

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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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Common Claims

Episode 10: Top 15 Most Common Pet Sitting Insurance Claims

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

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


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

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

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

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

There sure are a lot of pet sitting insurance claims!

Then, David covers the

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here the Top 5 lists:

Top 5 Pet Related Claims

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

Top 5 Third-Party Claims

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

Top 5 Workman’s Comp Claims

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

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

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The LONG Pet Sitting Problem I SOLVED For You.

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You might want to start a pet sitting business but know know where to start.

You wonder: Should you see what others are charging or figure out your own pricing structure and strategy?

background check

 

You make the decision on which way you want to go. So the next step starts with your  colors, and logo.

When you choose your branding you name will say a lot, without the proper diligence, your business could end up in the pot.

You will want to keep things running with systems and processes that will help you along the way. You learn ways to find dog walking clients and when the phone rings, you will know  what to say.

phone pet sitting

 

Creating ways to knock clients socks off at consultations will become clear.

Along the way your motivation might dry up;
but thats when you need to become a river and not a reservoir and not get stuck!

During these trying times it is always good to consider renewing your business vows. And on occasion there will be that one person you just can’t please so you might get a bad review. But don’t dear, you are going to be a warrior and focus your goals higher.

praying

 

One day, as your old friend burnout appears, you’ve had enough all the way up to here. You basically feeling like you are hanging out of a tree. It’s staring you in the face that you are only one person but you really need… three!

hanging tree

 

You hum and haw about employees or ICs. You read what happens in the audits and hear and myths about employees. After realizing your inner control freak, you decide {wrong} to go along with ICs.

You think its good and your are doing everything right, but then one day you have a tiny dog bite. {oops!} You immediately realize you had the wrong idea and wrote the IRS to switch and get their blessing to put you in the clear! But you have all sorts of questions like:

Should I switch?
How Do I Switch?
What Should I Know Before I Hire?
Are There Real Reasons With Facts To Back It Up?
What Is Workmans Compensation?
Which Costs More? Ics or Employees?
Do I Have To Get My Staff Phones?
How Much Do Payroll Taxes Cost?
Is Pet Sitting With Employees Even Profitable?
How Much Is The Average Pet Sit Visit With Employees?
How Do I Get My Clients Ok With My Staff and Not Me?
How Do I Pay For Overnights?

…and lots more!  {Which of course I have answered or interviewed the experts for you!}

stop

It was overwhelming to navigate the process but through the employee quick start program you were able to fire on all cylinders. Learning about taxes and book keepers and software systems and websites you revamped it all and tripled your bottom line.

After all that hard work you decide to take a vacation and turn off your business life. As you lay on the beach and look up at the clouds you soon begin to realize that you have finally made it and you go fly a kite!

Senior Portraits

You return with a fresh and clear mind.  You realize it is time to take another step back from the business and train your staff to do the consultations. You want to have the freedom in your life to be with your friends and family, so the final step (if you haven’t already) is to hire ME… so I can help you jump!

 

I don’t consider myself a Dr. Seuss or anything, but I did try my best. I wanted to show you, in one place, all the research that I have done for you… this industry.

Why? One reason, I care.

So I ask you, IF YOU ARE GOING TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS TO HAVE EMPLOYEES WHY NOT COME TO THE #1 SOURCE IN THE PET SITTING INDUSTRY WHO HAS FOUGHT LONG (2+ YEARS) AND HARD RESEARCHING IT ALL FOR YOU?

Take a look my friends, no where else, will you get all this information. Grab the Employee Quick Start Program today to see how to put it all together! Just click below!

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What You Need To Know Before You Redo Your Pet Sitting Website

Have you ever had a really horrible experience with trying to build a website?

I have.

For example: You sort of know what you want but are trusting the person you hired to help you create this vision of miracles?  You expect it to sing your businesses brand and makes people fall over themselves with an incredible impression of who your business is resulting in lots of sales?

This fairy tail doesn’t exist. That isn’t the way it works. It isn’t reality.

So How Do You Get A New Pet Sitting Website?

Most of the time it isn’t as simple as just plugging in some colors and words to a template either. I mean, your business is different and unique, right? So why have a template that isn’t responsive and looks like so many others out there? You need someone to customize a template to make it your own. Not to mention, so many websites are lead with graphics now so having a designer on your team is essential!

It used to be (even just two years ago) you could hire someone to slap up a template and then be finished. There was minimal graphics with a few pictures, maybe a slider at the most. You would write in what you wanted to say and BOOM! You are done.

Somewhere between then and now it has evolved into needing a developer, designer, and graphic artist.

Throughout this evolution, I feel like we (as business owners who want a new website) have forgotten two things:

1. We need to know what we don’t want.

2. A designer isn’t a developer.

Here Is What I Mean:

Let’s take a look at #1 first. Knowing what you don’t want is as important as knowing what you want. Why? So that you steer clear of those things. For those of us who “don’t know what we want” knowing what we don’t want does help to narrow the field down.

But it is overwhelming, right? You want someone to just hold your hand and walk you through the entire process. Telling you what looks good, taking care of the technical side of things, etc. But that is like finding Price Charming. There aren’t many of them out there and you have to kiss a lot of toads first.

So what is a pet sitting business owner to do? 

Often times, myself included, we just throw our hands up in the air and say “The heck with it” and stop the project in its tracks.

Well that does us no good in getting us to our goal.

A Designer Isn’t A Developer

There is a major difference between someone who can throw up a template and insert things into it and then someone that can customize that template, make it your own. Understand that you have certain colors in your logo and use them throughout the website theme, as well as the font. Things need to be uniformed don’t forget!

There is one type of person who can write the code and there is another person that can design the site. Rarely is it the same person that can successfully do both. They can try but….. ?

 

 It is like asking your home builder to tell you how to feng shui your home.

That rarely works out. 

Getting Personal

It took me forever and a day to try and find someone to give my Bella’s website a facelift. Finally one day I just “went for it”  But there was a lot of work on my end required. I needed to figure out what template I wanted. I needed to figure out what pages I wanted to keep and add. I had to find the plug ins and have the creative idea in my head. I needed to remind the person that my colors all needed to reflect my brand as well as the font type and more. It was wonderful working with her. She took direction incredibly well, but I was clearly in control. It still isn’t exactly where I want it to be. A huge overhaul is still in the making. But for now, there is a facelift. Truth be told, I am about to embark on that same journey with the Jump Consulting page.

The only real time in my life I have experienced someone who is great at both the technical and design aspect of websites has been Jake from Precision Graphics. While you may have to get on a wait list to start working with him and he won’t be the least expensive person… you will get both the design and technical mind when you work with him. I have always been a fan of him but finding people like him is like finding a Prince Charming. Jake and I actually met on odesk years ago.

Turning It Onto You

Who do you use for your website? Would you recommend them? Give them a shout out below. Or perhaps you have a horror story that you can share the lesson below? What did you learn from it?

In any case – it is important to know that not all web designers are created equal.

How Do I Explain Un-Timed Visits To Pet Sitting Clients?

Pet sitters around the world typically do two things when they charge for their services.

They either charge by time or by un-timed visits.

Personally, I don’t believe in charging by time and I think every single pet sitter could do the same, if they wanted to. Here, we will focus on the in’s and out’s of un-timed visits as well as how to get over the mental roadblock of many automatic questions it comes along with.

price of pet sitting

How Will My Clients Still Know That They Are Getting A Good Value For Their Money?

How do they know that 30 minutes equals great pet sitting services?

They don’t.

They have been conditioned to think that.

So is it safe to assume that we can condition them to think a different way? Couldn’t a pet sitter sit there doing nothing for 15 minutes because a cat won’t come out for them? Every client (two and four-legged) is different. Some want you to try and sing and hang out to get the cat to come out, others don’t want you to. Plus, what an amazing marketing technique that could be in your area. “No Time Limit!” When all of your “competition” is charging by time! This is precisely what un-timed visits are all about!

How Can I Find Employees That Won’t Think It Is A Good Way To Go Fast And Not Do A Bad job?

If an employee does a good job or not, it has nothing to do with the amount of time on the clock. Some are lazy. Some are superstars. Some will walk back to the kitchen 5 different times for 5 different things. Others will anticipate what they will need and bring it all at once.  Sometimes they are there for 45-50 minutes. Sometimes they are there for 15. It all depends on the client. Every client is different.

What Do I Tell The Clients Who Ask How Long I Will Be There?

(This is my fav)

Before they even have a chance to say anything…. you tell THEM that you have un-timed visits. Trust me, this really breaks up the momentum of it all. It is like tires screeching and, “Wait…. what?!?”

Then you can explain to them that “This means if Fluffy is scared, we will take the time to try to form a bond. If Fido is sad because Mom is away, we will sit on the floor and hand feed him. Or, if it is a beautiful day and they are really enjoying their walk, we might take an extra lap. Alternativelyif they decide to “redecorate your house” or have an accident and we need to wash materials… we will be there to get it done. We are more concerned about you and your pets happiness and less about the ticking on the clock! I usually tell them that if any emergencies arise, we deal with that 100% with no extra charge for our time. Un-timed visits mean we are there for a quality time… not a quantity!” 

Another benefit to this type of thinking, and what always makes the client feel great is when you say, “If we charged by time, you would come home to an extra bill for extra time spent. With us, you will never have an extra bill. We provide a full service, quality service, guaranteed!”

This is almost verbatim what I say to people on the phone.

If they ask you again, how much time (which by this time, since I brought up the objection myself….AND showed them the value they hardly ever ask) I tell them average visits for households like yours are…. (insert time span here. 20-30 min 25-35 min 25-45 min) It all depends on their situation.

What About Dog Walks?

“Our average dog walk is between 20-30 minutes. Just depends on the day and the dog!” See? That is un-timed too!

What If They Insist on A Certain Time?

If clients are demanding an exact time and that isn’t what you provide you can do two things. One, tell them you don’t have a service that will fit their needs. Two, offer then another service like pet sitting by the hour. Which, in my company, is not a visit. It is like baby sitting. It is by the hour.

It Is A Frame Of Mind

Are you a rigid business owner? Do you have a micro or macro management style? How are your marketing skills? How do you set yourself aside from the rest? Not charging by time doesn’t mean that a business owner is a rip-off or being evasive. It just simply means they like to do things different than the normal. Sometimes it could really offer the business a way to stand out above the rest. It is all in the way that the business owner views and manages this situation. A pet sitting business owner could “not charge by time” but then say that every visit is typically between 20-40 minutes. Is that charging by time? Nope. That is a range and not specific. If a pet sitting business owner charges by time and says $20 for 30 minutes, I firmly believe the client should be charged for 10 or 15 minutes extra if the pet sitter is there. After all, that WOULD be charging by time, right? But many do not. (Sorry, I know I am repeating myself but I think it is a huge point to make!)

Why Is This The Way I Choose To Do Business?

  • My staff isn’t watching the clock and “waiting” for time to pass on those houses that just are low maintenance.
  • When you have a saturated area, (clients on the same street/building) sometimes you can do 3 -4 visits in an hour or hour and fifteen minutes. It all depends on the situations. This is great for your staff and for your business. Although this is more connected to your marketing plan.
  • My clients are more concerned about the quality of the work. The warm and fuzzies. The intangible feeling and understanding that we “get” their pet like they do.
  • My staff LOVES it. They feel like they are always on the move and they have the freedom to do a great job. Honestly, more often than not they spend more time than I think they should but they have the option to do that and make a difference.
  • It offers me a HUGE way to differentiate my business from the other 40 pet sitting companies in my area. Saying off the bat, “No Time Limit!”  People do a double take because for all the other websites they were searching everything is 30 minutes for $X. Now, truth be told, there is one “competitor” who recently just followed my lead… 🙂 It helps our brand message be quite different!

Who Isn’t This Method Good For?

As with all things in life, everything isn’t for everyone. Just like timed visits aren’t for me. Un timed visits aren’t for others. The business owners that think this method wouldn’t be good for are those who run a rigid ship where everything is defined. I am not sure of the best way to say it, but “structured” seems like the best description. There is an exact exchange of $20 for 30 minutes. You know exactly what you are getting (time) and it is measurable. When you don’t charge by time, it is less measurable. Although, what is being cared for is almost immeasurable. I mean, when was the last time you rated your happiness on a number scale?

 

Still Don’t Believe Me?

That’s okay. You don’t have to.  Believe Becki:

untimed visits pet sitting

Your Turn:

How do you charge your clients? Do you charge by time or no time and WHY? Do you think I am right with what I just wrote to you above or do you disagree? I would love to hear your thoughts and how you do things!

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How Should I Tell My Clients I’m Changing Pet Sitting Rates?

Following one of my last posts of Should I Put My Prices On My Website? the next question that I have been been asked the money2most is:

“How Should I Tell My Clients I Am Changing My Pet Sitting Rates?”

There is a number of ways that you can do this and it really all depends on where you are currently at and how you feel about it. Here are the 3 ways you can “announce” it:

Send A Letter:
You can send a short and sweet letter to your clients via email or mail telling them that you are changing your pet sitting rates.  Many pet sitters do this because they feel that their clients should know ahead of time. They feel that it would give them the “passive” choice to decide whether to book again. They also probably do not want a conflict, or to be in an uncomfortable position of telling them when they book so they chose this option. Problem is, not everyone reads OR thinks that it applies to them.  If done by good old USPS (how often do you even check your mailbox these days?) chances are they will never read it!

Tell Them The Next Time They Book:
Client: “Hi! Can you watch Max Fri, Sat and Sun?”
Sitter: “Sure, it will be $100.00”
Client: “Oh, shouldn’t it be $80?”
Sitter: Left in a weird space to tell them:
a. Prices went up that is the new price.
b. Prices went up and they will honor the old one this time (Sitter is disappointed bc they lost their back bone and knows they deserve more money)

Just Up Your Rates In Your Booking System:
By now, I am going to assume that you have gotten serious about your business whether you are working by yourself or with staff. You have some sort of scheduling software for your company. If you are changing rates, you can simply change them across the board that way. So when someone books and they get confirmation in their email the monkey is on their back. They are to look at the invoice and if they have a problem with it, they can contact you. Otherwise, there is no uncomfortable silence or that “I didn’t get your letter” scenario.

In addition, if someone says something, you can give them the line of, “Ok I will honor it this time, but next time it will be the new rate” and then you send an updated invoice showing a discount. So there is no miss communication. Alternatively, those that you are keeping at a lower rate (dailies maybe?) you can show then how much they are saving.

Now Who Do You Tell First?

Just because you are increasing your rates doesn’t mean that it has to be for old and new clients. Maybe you just figured out your pricing structure  and realized that you were not charging enough to survive. In that case, you will want to do it to everyone all at once. Although, if what you are charging is getting you by and it is just an annual rate increase then by all means, tell all the new clients (new callers) the new rate and once you have enough on at that rate, you can start telling your old clients in any of the methods listed above that their rate is going to increase.

So you see, it really isn’t rocket science. It is just pricing structure and pet sitting!

Now tell me below… how do you usually do your price increases? Do you agree or disagree?

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

 

more dog walking clients

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

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

 

1. Talk About Dog Walking On Your Website

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

2. Blog About Dog Walking

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

3.  Bark Cards

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

Bark card

bark card

 

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

4 – Get Endorsed By A Veterinarian.

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

5 – Create Marketing Material That Says Dog Walking. 

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

6 – Discounted Rates That Are Enticing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

logo_dog_walking 4

 

8- Ask Your Existing Clients

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

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

Let me know how your results turn out!

 

Feel like this is all too much to do?

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

bloggig small business

Why Should I Blog For My Pet Sitting Business?

Having a blog for my pet sitting business is so important for my SEO. Without re-posting the content, I would be dead.

bloggig small business

Where I am writing you from at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale

I have been able to have my website dominate in many key words in my area. This is important because it leads to phone calls and ultimately clients. I only pay to advertise in one place. The rest of our advertising comes from my blog.

First, lets look at a few MYTHS:

MYTH: I don’t have time to start a blog for my pet sitting business.
FACT: If you have time to be on Facebook, you have time for blogging. Plus you can write a few blogs and schedule them to come out once a week.

MYTH: I don’t have anything to say.
FACT: You have inspiration all around you in your job. Different leashes, litters, “How To’s” etc.

MYTH: I am not a good writer.
FACT: You don’t have to be. Write in your own voice that is what blogging is about.

Ways I can benefit with a blog for my pet sitting business:

1-      Search Engine Optimization. You are creating pages on the internet to direct traffic and key words to your website. Do this tens or hundreds of times and you will dominate over your competition.

2-      You are able to position yourself as an expert. Write down all your knowledge and people will read, share, and interview you for more.

3-      You are able to offer rebuttals when selling a client on the phone by sending them you “My cat is too shy and won’t come out for you” blog that shows the techniques you used to alleviate this problem.

4-      You become an information source that others look at for valuable information. Through breaking important pet news stories (that you can often find out about on Bella In Your Business) you can write a short commentary about it with a link to the article or organization hosting it. It builds your credibility.

5-      You are hijacking the search engines. So you don’t do dog boarding or dog kenneling, but you have a post that talks about “Why pet sitting in (your town) is better than dog boarding” Well guess who is going to come up when someone googles (your town) and dog boarding?

Blogging is something that is FREE that I think no business owner can afford NOT to do.  We consider spending money on passive advertising like Yellow pages or relocation magazines or welcome wagons, but never once consider saving our money and creating our own welcome wagon. Why not create a blog post about ARE YOU NEW TO (YOUR TOWN)?

Do you blog or not? Why or why not? If you do blog list your blog below and tell me what you blog about that gets the most comments, reaction, or hits on your website and why you think that is.

Can I Afford Pet Sitting Employees?

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

 

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

How To Set Great Goals In Your Pet Sitting Company.

Goals are so important to anything in life. If you don’t know where you are headed, how the heck do you know how to get there. Recently, I have been struggling with some very tough decisions. (more on this later) However if I didn’t have personal and business goals in mind there would be no rhyme or reason to any decision I make. I do not wander through the woods – I pave a path towards a destination.

Last year for BHPS I actually wrote down my goals on a white board. I thought it was a pipe dream! In an economy where there is a “recession” When I hear business owners complaining all over that their businesses are failing… I took a steady look at my goals and thought ” How the heck do I get there? ” Jan and Feb 09 were one of the worst months ever in the past 8 yrs I have been in business. Why do I think this was? Simply put – the media SCARED everyone into thinking we were doomed. That the world was ending. It was at this point where I was faced with a really difficulty decision….Should I do what every other person was doing and lower my rates? I was getting told NO a lot on the phone. It made me question everything I was doing. What did I do? I went back to what my GOALS were. No, I just don’t mean a fiscal 2009 goal – but what I wanted for my life, what lifestyle I wanted to afford to live, what sort of time I wanted free for the important things in my life, what I wanted for a future with Bella’s… many things went through my mind.

It was at that point that I decided SCREW IT – I want to keep building this business and that is what I am going to do. I forget where I heard it, but the quote “You can’t change the way the wind blows, but you can change the position of your sails” was PROFOUND to me and I took that and ran.

That is when I started the Gift Certificate program. Even though I was the highest priced sitter in an area where there were over 40 pet sitting companies, and interestingly enough people were HURTING bc everyone was living above their means and on a borrowed dollar….I decided to keep my prices right where I wanted. I struggled a lot with quality over quantity and decided to stay true to my roots. What I originally intended for my business. To have a quality service at a premium price. Not a quantity service at a discount price (no offense meant to anyone at all).

This program saved my toockas! (butt)
All the vendors on there gave me free advertising. I had pizza boxes being delivered to homes with my flier on them! (and sooooo much more too)

MORAL OF THE STORY Having my clear set goals in mind, knowing who I was, and standing on solid ground… when the “earthquake” (aka recession) hit I was able to make my move while not jeopardizing who my business was. This is so pivotal for business owners to really understand. KNOW who you are. KNOW who your business is. KNOW where you want to go with it. If you do, your decision making process will be that much better and like me, by the end of ’09, we were 20% UP falling just a few thousand short of what I thought was a “pipe dream goal”

DREAM….
THINK….
SEARCH….
THEN SET GOALS AND MAKE PLANS ACCORDINGLY

YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF !

Look at all the successful entrepreneurs… they did not faulture (sp?).
Ben and Jerry’s was broke for 7 yrs before they took off.
Michael Jordan was told that he would never be on Varsity HS Bball.
…..and so many more….

By the way…. Bella’s is UP 53% since the doom and gloom of Jan 09. (Written Jan ’11)

Goal setting – the pipe dream with an end | Small business coaching

GOALS are so important to anything in life. If you don’t know where you are headed, how the heck do you know how to get there. Recently, I have been struggling with some very tough decisions. (more on this later) However if I didn’t have personal and business goals in mind there would be no rhyme or reason to any decision I make. I do not wander through the woods – I pave a path towards a destination.

Last year for BHPS I actually wrote down my goals on a white board. I thought it was a pipe dream! In an economy where there is a “recession” When I hear business owners complaining all over that their businesses are failing… I took a steady look at my goals and thought ” How the heck do I get there? ” Jan and Feb 09 were one of the worst months ever in the past 8 yrs I have been in business. Why do I think this was? Simply put – the media SCARED everyone into thinking we were doomed. That the world was ending. It was at this point where I was faced with a really difficulty decision….Should I do what every other person was doing and lower my rates? I was getting told NO a lot on the phone. It made me question everything I was doing. What did I do? I went back to what my GOALS were. No, I just don’t mean a fiscal 2009 goal – but what I wanted for my life, what lifestyle I wanted to afford to live, what sort of time I wanted free for the important things in my life, what I wanted for a future with Bella’s… many things went through my mind.

It was at that point that I decided SCREW IT – I want to keep building this business and that is what I am going to do. I forget where I heard it, but the quote “You can’t change the way the wind blows, but you can change the position of your sails” was PROFOUND to me and I took that and ran.

That is when I started the Gift Certificate program. Even though I was the highest priced sitter in an area where there were over 40 pet sitting companies, and interestingly enough people were HURTING bc everyone was living above their means and on a borrowed dollar….I decided to keep my prices right where I wanted. I struggled a lot with quality over quantity and decided to stay true to my roots. What I originally intended for my business. To have a quality service at a premium price. Not a quantity service at a discount price (no offense meant to anyone at all).

This program saved my toockas! (butt)
All the vendors on there gave me free advertising. I had pizza boxes being delivered to homes with my flier on them! (and sooooo much more too)

MORAL OF THE STORY Having my clear set goals in mind, knowing who I was, and standing on solid ground… when the “earthquake” (aka recession) hit I was able to make my move while not jeopardizing who my business was. This is so pivotal for business owners to really understand. KNOW who you are. KNOW who your business is. KNOW where you want to go with it. If you do, your decision making process will be that much better and like me, by the end of ’09, we were 20% UP falling just a few thousand short of what I thought was a “pipe dream goal”

DREAM….
THINK….
SEARCH….
THEN SET GOALS AND MAKE PLANS ACCORDINGLY

YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF !

Look at all the successful entrepreneurs… they did not faulture (sp?).
Ben and Jerry’s was broke for 7 yrs before they took off.
Michael Jordan was told that he would never be on Varsity HS Bball.
…..and so many more….

By the way…. Bella’s is UP 53% since the doom and gloom of Jan 09. (Written Jan ’11)