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Marketing Problems

3 Problems Everyone Has With Marketing Their Pet Sitting Business

Marketing is something that either comes naturally to you or you despise. Have you ever had that moment where you’re lying awake at night wondering how to bring in more clients that you WANT? Or how to stop getting calls, texts, and emails from the clients that you don’t want?

You just hired a few incredible people and you don’t want them to lose interest (because we all know how hard it is to find great people) but you just don’t have any clients to give them.

Or you’re on the edge of working 100% in your business and want to hire but also doing a balancing act where you don’t give up all of your work. Your bills need to be paid, so you can’t give up your clients to the first person you hire. Things would be easier if you had a steady stream of clients coming in, or your name was everywhere in the community so that you had a bunch of new clients to give to your new hire.

You hope that when the residents in your town think about pet care… they think about your company.

Does any of this sound familiar?

That is the result we all dream of but honestly, it is really hard to get there.

marketing - hard work

The most common challenges I see pet businesses face around marketing are not having the time to do it, the money and resources to fund it, or the creative juices to create it.

Can I get an Amen?!?!

I Don’t Have The Time To Market.

Your to-do list probably has a to-do list. You are running non-stop all day and you might be surviving off fast food, sugar, and caffeine. I see you. Busting your tail trying to hold it all together, wishing for the day when things weren’t so busy. Even when a day comes when you finally have a few hours to work on the business something happens. You have a mental breakdown, you don’t have the energy, or it just isn’t the day.

We all have 24 hours in a day yet there are people who are far more impactful. What do they have that I don’t? How can I make an impact like them? Maybe you’re wondering how these 7-figure companies that I talk about pull it off.

One 7-figure mama who I work with comes to mind. She lives at a dog kennel, runs a large dog walking business, homeschools her two sons, and takes regular vacations. I am in awe of her. The mental power it takes to accomplish all of that is inspiring.

But she doesn’t do it alone, she has teams that support her, the family, and the business. She also has incredible will power and determination to succeed! She could say she doesn’t have time to do everything but she makes the time.

I’m sure you could be checking something off of your to-do list now, but somehow you ended up here. 🙂 Maybe you feel like you haven’t spent all of your time well. You dream of having more time to learn something new, work on the business, or plan dinner.

Time is one of our most precious commodities. It almost always gets in the way of business owners working on marketing within their business.

Marketing time and money

Marketing Uses Resources And Money.

In addition to taking a lot of time – marketing also isn’t cheap. When you think about how much an hour of your time is worth ($50? $100?) and how many hours you can put towards marketing, it is costing you a lot. Not only in time (for things like finding a designer and a scheduling software to help…) but also to fund the designer and the software to help streamline your efforts.

If you are like me when I used to have my pet sitting company of 14 years, you would binge on creating marketing materials and then go stale for a long time. It was only when you were feeling creative or found a designer that new materials were created. Then you might regret hiring the designer because there goes lots of money out the window. $500.00+ each time it seems.

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have someone to help us schedule the marketing – but then that is all that they can do. They can’t create the campaigns and they don’t know how to do hashtag research. They take 3 times as long to do something that it would take you. It costs a lot of money to produce all the marketing efforts.

It Is Challenging To Be Creative When You Have No Brainpower.

You know exactly what I mean…. I hear it all the time “I am so burnt out” and you know what happens then? Good-bye all the cute marketing ideas you might have had to create a new program, event, design, etc.

When your brain isn’t functioning or you’re permanently running on cortisol and stress, there is nothing left to get creative and be inspired. Have you ever logged onto Facebook to see that it was “international dog day” and everyone is sharing pictures? Now you just feel down and out because you think “why didn’t I know it was national dog day?”

All these special days are starting to get out of control, don’t you think? BUT — it is a great talking point, and you are in the pet industry, so it does make sense for you to jump on the bandwagon.

Feeling the pressure to post something, and not having the time or software to create anything, you just end up sharing someone else’s “international dog day” content.

There. It’s done.

But is it really? The lack of time to plan, resources to create, and creativity to produce something have lead you to make the worst decision. Which is sharing someone else’s content, because it’s only helping them, not you.

Golf Clap. Bravo.

Gosh, This Is All Tough, Right?

Who the heck is looking out for you? Who is there to be creative for you? Know exactly what works in your dog walking or pet sitting business? Something where you don’t have to constantly be finding vendors, spending time mapping it all out and deciding when to post the content, or trying to figure out the best software to make things?

Oh, and then goes what? Instagram and Facebook changed their algorithm….. again!

I got news for you – it happens multiple times a year and just when you think you have “beat” the system, it changes. And now we are all back to square one.

But what if you had someone in your back pocket? Someone with their ear to the ground… breaking down every conference and announcement that Facebook and Instagram makes? Knowing some of the top marketers in the social media space? What if you knew someone who had a proven track record in generating hundreds of thousands of dollars from social media? What if I took all the guess work out for you – gave you videos, graphics, outlines, content calendars, coaching sessions, IG and FB stories, captions, cover videos, and so much more?

I’ve Got Your Back.

Did you know that I have a program called Better Marketing with Bella? Did you know that every. single. semester. the program changes because social media is always changing?

What worked on social media in January 2017 isn’t what is working right now.

Did you know that if you type “comment, share, or like” in your description, you will not be shown in the newsfeed? Do you know that in 2017 you could post a description and still be seen in the feed and now your best chance of being seen is video?

Do you know there is no one else in the industry creating white-label videos for people like you – who have pet sitting and dog walking businesses to use on their platforms? Videos that are interesting, don’t all look the same, and that have your colors, logo, and font on them? Yeah. It is huge!

Listen, for the lowest price EVER – we are opening the doors soon for Better Marketing with Bella. You can get one of the limited seats, but the doors will close soon and it won’t be an option until 2020 to join for the second half of the year.

Even if you are the tiniest bit interested, you should fill out the short application – this will be time well spent, with money that won’t break the bank, and creatives from professional designers that would cost you thousands of dollars a month if you wanted to hire them privately to just do your brand.

Better Marketing With Bella

Charge - pay online

7 Considerations When Deciding What To Charge Your Clients

Knowing what to charge our clients is always a hot topic. It is hard to figure out if we should base it off of what others are charging, the averages, stay competitive, or something else. There is a fear that if we charge too much, we won’t have any work or a bunch will leave. So whether you are just starting out or have been in business for a long time, the following will be a timeless message.

Charge - pay online

What Are You Charging For?

Duh Bella… pet sitting and dog walking you might be saying. But what if I told you that is what everyone else is doing and you should be different!

How?

Easy. Are you charging for a service that takes someone’s problem away and gives them a certain positive feeling or are you taking their money and giving them X amount of your time?

It is really as simple as that and it is something that many don’t think about. Most pet sitting websites look like this:

15 minutes = $18
30 minutes = $22
45 minutes = $25

We walk, feed, play, and love on your pets just like they are our own.

Blah… blah… blah…

Now if you are feeling a little irked at me for saying that, I beg you to stay with me and hear me out. What I just showed you above is what the majority of business owners present. How about presenting a problem that you take away and then give them a positive feeling?

Like this:

Lunch Time Let Out: Never worry about racing home in the middle of the day from work to give your dog relief. Take back your lunch break and relax while we let the dog out. TLC, Water, and love always included.

Puppy Visit: Congratulations on your new addition! Just like babies, puppies are a lot of work and we are here to help save your carpet and furniture by keeping your same training schedule so your carpets don’t get soiled and your furniture gets chewed. With our help, your puppy can learn the rules of your house at an early age with the consistency we provide. We reinforce the words you are using and get all their puppy energy out.

Do you see how one is like a menu and the other is more emotional? Take some time to think about what you are selling and how you are selling. This basically comes down to quantity vs quality. 

charge - sign up online

How Is Your Sign Up Process Presented?

We did an interesting experiment in the Mastermind. We pretended we were a new client for 9 of the members and timed how long it took for us to be able to check Pet Sitter/Dog walker off of our to-do list. The average sign up took about 8-10 minutes. Some we couldn’t even sign up.

Side note: If you are in the Mastermind and didn’t watch yet, it is in the Processes Unit 🙂 

Did you know that 60% of the sale is over by the time you even hear from the client? 60%! Imagine how many people are actually going to your website but not converting. Do you know why? It just might be because of the user experience on your website. How easily can they get what they need or sign up? Most of the time if people have questions, they will NOT ask you.

I feel like many business owners are quick to blame it on the price. The price is too high… I can’t charge that much, which might be true, but it is neglecting to look at the full picture and this part of the picture is called User Experience.

What Do You Upcharge For?

Upcharges are those additional fees for extra pets, time or tasks. Consider a few things here:

  • How does it make your client feel when they have a base charge but then all these add ons? Does it focus them on the price?
  • If you charge by time (ie. 15 min and 30 min…) then are you always leaving a bill if you or your staff is there for extra time? Like 20min or 25min? or are you just leaving money on the table? Who decides how long the job should take?

In other words, will your charges be all-inclusive or al la carte?

Will You Put Your Prices On Your Website?

This is a tricky one that really depends on a number of factors. I will do my best to break it down:

Put them on your site if:

  • You have a cheap price.
  • Your ideal client is a price shopper.
  • Your website is not professionally created.
  • You do not have a software where the client can automatically sign up without speaking/emailing you.
  • It is a very simple fee structure.

Do not put them on your site if:

  • Your price is average or high.
  • Your ideal client thinks of their pet as their baby or this service as a luxury.
  • You have software that is simple and easy to sign up.
  • Your website is professionally created with a user experience (UE) that really is impressive.
  • You have problems that you solve on your site, not exchange for time and money.

I am sure there are even more factors, but basically, you don’t want the price to be the determining factor. No one is going to buy from you because you have a pretty website. Price is a factor but when it is introduced into the conversation is important. That being said, if you choose not to have your prices on your website, your call to actions need to be on point (and easy). You also need to address it somehow like, “Prices starting at X.” or “Email/call to find out about our current monthly special” 

So when you are trying to decide what to charge consider if it is important to you (or not) to have your prices on your website. That will play a factor when determining what to charge.

charge for dog walking

Will You Always Be Solo Or Will You Have Staff?

This is a tough one and where business planning comes into play. Obviously, you have a lot larger piece of the pie if you are just solo. However, if you ever want to bring on staff, you must start early in understanding the numbers and what it will take to run a healthy operation. The pricing structure and strategy guide is great for this. This will be a factor in deciding what you should charge.

How Much Does A Visit Cost You?

Have you ever done a cost analysis of how much a visit costs? How much it takes to acquire the clients, wear and tear on your car, gas, your time, supplies, admin work for the actual booking, etc? There are a lot of hidden costs that I don’t think many take into account. This is going to be your expenses. They must be covered and then some. Especially if you have or will have workers in the future.

Will You Be Giving Raises? and When?

Something else to think about when deciding how much to charge is that wiggle room. You want to be able to leave some room for raises. Think about how much you will want to give and how frequently.

it is math

Math not Emotions

At the end of the day, you have to remember that deciding what to charge is a mathematical equation and it is not a popularity contest. If you have a keen understanding of all the things that will go into creating your price, you will have a much easier time at the actual marketing of your services. Even though XYZ Pet Sitting company does the same thing as you – the experience and quality are very different. Am I right?

It is exactly why a Ford Fiesta costs $13,000 and a Tesla Model X costs $80,000. Ultimately, both vehicles get you from Point A to Point B bu the experience in which they accomplish the transport is completely different.

How do you think of your business? There is no right or wrong answer. It just all needs to tie into your end goals for what you want from your business.

Most people I talk with want to do less work for more money, be disruptive in their market, have a steady flow of clients, and happy employees who love their pay.

How about you? Tell me below. I want to know!

Jump Start Your Pet Business - What should you charge

Best Practices To Prepare Your Business For Tax Season

If you don’t prepare your business for tax season, it will usually end up stressful at the last minute.  I know many pet business owners moaning and groaning wishing they hired that bookkeeper or kept better records. Personally, for quite a few years it was opening a bottle of wine, printing out every bank statement, and recording a year’s worth of expenses in about 5 hours of time.

Ok, so it might have been more than one bottle of wine… 🙂

In the process, I am sure I missed a lot, classified in the wrong categories, and “forgot” a lot of other items. Doing an entire year in one session is never recommended.

So how do we not fall into this trap and how can we prevent this from happening ever again? Here are some

Prepare Your Pet Business For Tax Season
Best Practices To Prepare Your Business For Tax Season

Start Early

By “starting early” I mean doing it as the year goes on. Every single month, as soon as that bank account statement is ready, reconcile it with your Quickbooks or Freshbooks account. Keep on top of it while the expense page is fresh in your mind. Was the Amazon delivery for groceries or new business card holders? Doing this will eliminate another step of having to go research it in Amazon. It will help you prepare your business for tax season little by little.

Get The Right Categories Set Up

Each business will differ, with no two the exact same but getting the typical categories set up early will help you prepare your business for tax season. Examples: Meals and Entertainment can be broken down into: personal, staff meetings, interviews. Or taxes: FICA, SUTA, etc  Having the right categories will help you do projections for your business and potentially let you know where you might be bleeding money. Was all that money you spent with one company on advertising really profitable?

Consider Getting A Bookkeeper

If you don’t have a background in accounting, my best piece of advice would be to contact a local bookkeeper that you can trust to keep things checked and balanced. If you are a cash and check business this is HUGELY important because sometimes payments fall through the cracks. You are so busy running your business, you don’t realize that you missed collecting a $60 check from Mrs. Green. A bookkeeper can help you project, predict, and strategize your cash flow. When tax time comes he/she will already have a lot of your books taken care of so there will be no scramble as you prepare your business for tax season!

Find An Accountant You Can Trust

Most people only see their CPA once a year. Sometimes they just work virtually. As a small business, it is important to see your CPA a few times a year, especially for tax planning purposes. When your business grows, there are different types of corporations that you can file as that would help keep your tax bill lower than if you didn’t. A good CPA will give you options, if there are any, and be able to strategize with you. I would recommend asking your local networking groups and other small business owners who you trust who they use to get a recommendation.

 

Wrap Up

So to sum it all up, you can wipe away the crazy tax prep planning in March and replace it with a steady plan that works for your business throughout the year. Doing so, you will have less stress, ease of planning, and potentially less of a tax bill to pay because you have accounted for all your expenses and collected all your accounts receivable! Do just a little every month and you can always be preparing your business for tax season!

 

 

Mastermind

rate increase letter

Rate Increase Letter Example To Pet Sitting Clients

You have decided to send a rate increase letter but are drawing a blank on what to start writing.

I understand that increasing your rates can be scary. You might be thinking to yourself “What am I going to tell my clients?” and “HOW am I going to tell my clients?”

But what if I told you may not even need to write a rate increase letter at all? And if you DO choose to write a letter, I’m going to breakdown exactly how you should form your price increase letter to your clients, and whether you should send it via snail mail or email.

Example Of A Rate Increase Letter To Pet Sitting Clients

rate increase letter to pet sitting clients

Do You Even Need to SEND A Rate Increase Letter?

The answer is yes and no. Like most things in the pet sitting business, there’s no black and white answer. It’s more of a gray area. Why? Because no two clients are created equal.

In general, you have your pet sitting clients (those who book sporadically every now and then) and your regular dog walking clients (those who book consistently Monday through Friday every week). Your price increase letter is going to vary for both of them.

Dare I say it, but for your pet sitting clients DON’T even send a rate increase letter! Think about the services you pay for such as cable, car insurance, and your phone bill. When was the last time you got a call or a letter from them explaining to you that they’re going to increase your rates. Never, right? That’s because they just do it. And that’s what you should do too.

People understand that prices just naturally go up. So, you’re really under NO obligation to tell people that. You can simply let them know when they receive their invoice.

What About My Dog Walking Clients?

It’s a little bit of a different story for your dog walking clients. These people are loyal to you, booking Monday through Friday week after week after week. So, it is definitely courteous and professional of you to give them a little bit of a heads up.

But, don’t fall into the trap of making it long and convoluted. Keep it short and sweet. Simply send them something that says:

Hello! Effective X Date, our prices are going up to X amount. 

That’s really it! It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

Should I Send My Rate Increase Letter Through Email or Snail Mail?

The obvious choice here is email! There is absolutely no reason to expend your time and effort crafting these letters to mail them out to each individual client. Make it easy on yourself. And if you want to post it on your Facebook page as well, more power to you.

Simply write a mass email and send it out to everyone. And guess what – since you sent out the email, you get to assume that everyone got it. Well, what if you get backlash from your clients? In a perfect world you won’t, but this is the pet sitting business so we definitely have to account for these possibilities 🙂

This actually can work in your favor, since it gives you an opportunity to exercise your stellar customer service skills. You can simply tell the client that yes your rates are going up and you had sent out an email a few weeks ago detailing just that. BUT, since you value them so much as a client, you can honor the prior rate for this week, but starting next week it’s going to be the new rate.

What you’re doing is you’re giving your clients an option. You’re giving them time to think it over and decide if this is a service they want to stick with. And if they choose the latter – no big deal. I promise you, there will be many more clients!

I’m Giving YOU Permission – Just Do It!

Plus, if you have pet sitting scheduling software, this will help you with increasing your prices tremendously. When they book online – chances are they’re going to see the prices. This will help soften the blow, so to speak, so it’s not as big of a surprise or shock. If you don’t have software, I HIGHLY recommend it.

As a pet business owner, you ultimately need to do what’s best to make ends meet for both yourself and for your business. I don’t want you to be afraid to increase your rates. You should have control over your business, not your clients.

 

 

7 Problems With Starting A Pet Sitting Business


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

But not so fast….

 

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

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

I see these problems over and over again.

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

So let me save you the trouble. Here are the

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

 

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

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

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

pet sitter burnout

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Falling golden coin - isolated on white

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

 

Limited time offer. Apply now.

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

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

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

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

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

7 problems with starting a pet sitting business

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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


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

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

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

 

 

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

It happens.

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

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

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

 

#7  When Pet Sitters Don’t Set Good Boundaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.