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hiring staff switching from IC's

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

One of the scariest things to do as a pet sitting business owner is hiring staff or switching from IC’s to staff. I mean think about it – you’re literally changing the structure of your business. You’re going from hiring people who have their own company, who know how to do a job to someone who doesn’t have their own company, who wants to be trained, who you get to control & check up on. Those personalities are two totally different things.

Today I bring you 6 steps to successfully make the jump from IC’s to staff, designed personally by myself and Kate McQuillan from Pawsome Media. If you don’t know Kate, she helps pet business owners around the world with their social media and marketing in their business. Be sure to check her out here.

Hiring Staff Or Switching From IC’s Without Losing Your Mind!

hiring staff switching from IC's

Step 1: The IRS Blessing

Little known fact: There’s this awesome government program called the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) that can serve as a HUGE help when making the switch from IC’s to employees.

To simplify it down from the legal mumbo-jumbo, your business pays a small fee and in return you NEVER have to worry about being audited for employment tax again. Consider this as a safety net and an investment for your business. Read more about it on the IRS website, or check out this detailed article I wrote breaking it down for you. 🙂

Step 2: Pricing

You HAVE to figure out your margins.  You deserve to make money – you’re dedicating so much time and energy to your business, that you deserve a handsome paycheck 🙂 If you’re not, let me help you get on track.

People fear when switching from IC’s to staff that there’s going to be all these extra costs, but the reality is you can RAISE your prices and see an increase in business. Seriously! I have NEVER seen a person say “OMG I raised my prices and my business crashed. Never.”

Not everyone has to raise their rates, but that’s when the numbers don’t lie. You have to pay yourself, pay the business, and pay for the labor.

If you’re still unsure how to price your services/figure out your margins to get ready for hiring staff or switching from IC’s, I have an entire guide dedicated to this. Take a look at my Pricing Guide Structure & Strategy, and never be confused again!

Step 3: Building A Team

Gather people you can trust to advise you on payroll, laws, operations, websites, hiring, and cash flow. Without a team in place, you will not be able to efficiently and professionally accomplish everything you need to. The art of delegation will be learned during this step!

You have to evaluate your business and find what your needs are. Picture the perfect demographic of what you’re looking for, and then FIND THEM! You don’t want to compromise – you have to stick to what you need and what you’re looking for. If you do this, finding the right people is as easy as checking off boxes.

Step 4: Creating A Manual

First you need to decide if you’re going to have one big fat employee manual, or are you going to have an employee manual AND a training manual? What’s even the difference between the two? Are you going to have a training manual for each position (i.e. pet sitter, dog walker, office manager etc.)

Ensure that your new staff will understand the rules and regulations of your company. Outline your exact operations and the philosophy of your business so each member can work harmoniously as a team with consistent service time and time again

These are all important questions you have to figure out before you even pick up that pen & paper. When hiring staff or switching from IC’s, you want to have all of your processes and procedures in place beforehand. This will create a successful work environment for everybody.

Hire for attitude, train for skill.[ctt template=”8″ link=”iK3nf” via=”no” ]Hire for attitude, train for skill.[/ctt]

Step 5: Interviewing

You need to learn how to ask the same question in many different ways to see if their answer changes. But most importantly, if you get it wrong: correct and continue.

Learn how to determine the right type of person for your business to grow with. Determine what interview questions, screening, and hiring processes will bring you the best candidates. This is the toughest part of the 6 steps!

Don’t use the all too common excuses of “I can’t hire” or “Nobody can do it as good as me” Hiring staff  or switching from IC’s to staff is an ON-GOING problem. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You always need to be hiring!

Step 6: Operations

Basically, you have to figure out how to make everything run smoothly. Nobody will want to work for you if they have to ask you questions for every single client they go and see. Communication has to flow through you, the clients, the pet sitter, and even other pet sitters.

You’ll want to have your client feel like you’re at the home and you know exactly what’s going on. That they’re hiring a COMPANY and not just the pet sitter. That nothing’s going to slip through the cracks.

Bottom Line: Operations can make or break you.

Now, I want you to take a deep breath. Is this a lot of information? YES. Does it mean that you can’t do it? NO. I believe in you – which is why I have SO many resources to help you achieve your goals and fit different learning styles.

Download My 6 Steps To Switching To Employees Infographic – FREE!

Employee QuickStart 1:1 With Bella

 

The Difference Between A Pet Sitting Employee Handbook vs. Training Manual

One of the very first things that pet sitting and dog walking business owners find themselves trying to struggle through is the pet sitting employee handbook. The realization that they need to create this massive document with everything under the sun, usually ends up paralyzing them in fear.

It is information overload.

How are you {the business owner} meant to create a document that is going to include EVERYTHING in your brain about your business… without forgetting a single detail?

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ANSWER: You are not supposed to. People go to college for this stuff. Like seriously. They learn how to write technically. They learn Human Resources. We are not meant to be doing all of this!

“Employee Handbooks and Training Manuals are so much fun to write!”  SAID NO ONE EVER! 🙂

 

There Are Too Many Legalities!

I mean there are so many legal policies that you have to include, just because you are a real life business and wanting to abide by the law… but you don’t know where to start with that?

“Equal opportunity employment” is maybe the only thing you can barely come up with in your mind.

Then, you have all these nuances that your company does, it is mind blowing to keep track of them all. So you decide to start writing down everything you do in your day to day pet sitting life.

WOAH! That list gets long, real fast… and then you are left wondering, “Well, isn’t most of this common sense?

The answer is NO.

Further, if you want to properly train the people who you hire, and hold them to your standards, it all needs to be in writing. You can’t enforce a corrective action for an employee based off something you “said.” That could be a lawsuit waiting to happen….

So you are back at square one….

Sigh.

This is overwhelming, isn’t it?

Well, I have news for you. Good-news! But first, I need to introduce you to the idea of two separate documents. An Employee Handbook and a Training Manual.

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The Difference Between a Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Employee Handbook vs Training Manual. 

Wait?!?!? There are TWO documents I need?

If you are thinking that right now, I was too when I first learned about it all. Why not just make one giant document with everything and the kitchen sink in it?

Read on…

Your dog walking and pet sitting employee handbook is the foundation of your business. It is the first company document your new employees read. The contents of your pet sitting or dog walking employee handbook will give your employees a sense of the type of culture you have, your philosophies, your mission, your rules and expectations.

Your employee handbook will also include critical company and legal policies. Including these in your handbook and making sure your new employees fully understand them will protect your company. It’s important to go through your employee handbook with your new employees, not just include it in their on boarding packet that they will throw in the corner and never look at again.

Your handbook will outline things like pay dates, sick leave, dress code, and other expectations. It is a living document that you will change as your grow and see the need to update, change or add to your policies and processes.

Your handbook is not meant to be your training manual. However, your employee handbook policies may mirror things in your training manual, but the employee handbook contains the policies whereas the training manual goes into explicit detail on items requiring training.

Your employee handbook is not your employee agreement. Like the training manual, you may mirror some items, but the Employee agreement is a separate document that goes into explicit detail on things like non-compete/non-solicitation agreements, company property handling and return upon termination, and confidentiality. It’s a good idea to hire an attorney in your state to draw up the employee agreement.

 

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But what about the Employee Quick Start Program?

The Employee Quick Start Program includes the outline of an Employee Manual. It’s like a mini Employee Handbook and Training Manual all wrapped into one. It is a great program, with a great document that has already helped over 100 pet sitters. You could say it’s a good JUMP start to get you going… It is a great option for the first draft of the starting literature for your business. But it is only a start.

 

So Now Let Me Finish This For You…

I have both documents. For you. To download. Right now.

You are happy now, aren’t you? =)  I am all about solving problems, not creating more for you. So let me wrap this ridiculously long blog post by telling you this. These documents that I have made are different from anything else out there. I will bullet point it for you:

1. They were written by a technical writer. That is someone who writes manuals like this for a living. Here would be an example:

3.5 Anti-Discrimination Policy / Anti-Harassment Policy

{YOUR COMPANY} management is committed to providing a work environment in which employees are treated with dignity, decency, and respect. To support a discrimination-free work environment, YOUR COMPANY maintains strict policies against discrimination and harassment.

All employees are covered by these anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Employees are expected to comply with these policies and to take appropriate measures to ensure that prohibited conduct does not occur. 

Acts of discrimination or harassment, or retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or participates in an investigation of such a report, may be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment. (See section 10.3 Whistleblower Policy.)

 

2. All downloads come with instructions on how to personalize the documents to your company, find all the places that need your attention (to put in your company info) and how to change the look and feel. Here are the first two paragraphs of that document:

There are certain instances in the Employee Manual and the Training Handbook where you are able to include your Company’s Name, the name of the owner of your business and other details relating to the management and running of your Pet Sitting business. This enables you to personalize these documents to make them specifically relevant to your business.

All instances of information that needs to be changed to personalize these documents are included in curly brackets: { and }. This makes it easy for you to find and replace specific content.

3. The same person that wrote this one page explanation of all the ways to customize the document is also available to help Jump Consulting clients to typeset the document if they run into any margin, typeset, formatting problems

4. The industry standard is an Employee Manual/Handbook with everything all in one place. With the documents I am offering, they total over 40 pages each.
5. Aaddendum. The Employee Handbook comes with extras like the “Grievance Form” and Company Property Checklist.
So see? Your entire problem is all solved and you don’t have to worry. Click below to see more of your options. You can have these documents downloaded in 60 seconds! 🙂
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Want To Take It A Step Further?

I heard pet sitters learning that the Red Cross was going away with their Pet First Aid/CPR first aid classes. That’s too bad becasue being able to train your staff to know if a pet needs medical attention and assess a situation when you aren’t there is important.

But there is another group, that I feel might even be a better solution than the Red Cross. In the past, you had to carve our hours of a day to go through training and it was often only held once a month, if you were lucky. This program through Pro Pet Hero actually trains your staff online… on their own time. Pretty neat huh? I contacted them and arranged a coupon code for you to use.  CODE: petsitter for a discount off. 🙂 You’re Welcome. 🙂

First Aid and CPR for Pets

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pet sitting employee manual

Employee Quick Start Program vs. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual

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The most natural question I get when talking about these products I have is, “Bella, what is the difference between the Employee Quick Start program vs the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual?”

And it is a pretty good question too!

So here, I will do my best to break it down into an easily digestible explanation. I understand these documents can be confusing by themselves.

But out the gate, let me make this clear: It isn’t one or the other like the title of this article might suggest. In fact, if you have the Employee Quick Start the  Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual will only enhance what you already have. The Employee Quick Start has a manual that is an outline, that you still need to write. These documents are already written FOR you. 🙂

It is perfect solution for the business owner who just doesn’t have the time to think and research what needs to be included, write it all out, and then produce the documents.

The Employee Quick Start:

Often times, when a pet sitting or dog walking business owner is ready to take the JUMP and bring on employees, it is a confusing and monumental project. There is confusion on things like, how much do employees cost? How much should I pay? Do I have to pay by the hour? How do I train them? How do I conduct or know what to ask on an interview? Where can I get an employee manual? How do I monitor the employees, and a lot, lot, more.

The Employee Quick Start was created with all this and more in mind. It has everything from A to Z that a pet sitter or dog walker would need to consider as they venture into having employees. Topics like: Pricing structure, building a team, employee manual outline, interview process with questions and an application, ways to transition your clients from you being their pet sitter, to your staff, and how to become a manager of your business instead of a worker are all explained in a step-by-step fashion.

The Employee Quick Start does contain an employee manual outline, with thought-provoking questions designed to get the reader thinking so they can start writing. It is like a handbook and manual in one, addressing some policies of your company AND how to do the job.

It is also offered in downloadable format or 1:1 on the phone. 

Employee Quick Start

 

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual:

The Employee Handbook is extensive – covering all the most important things that a handbook needs. It is very “legal” and “corporate” addressing everything from your mission to whistleblower policies, while containing definitions, Workplace, Hiring, and Continued Employment Policies, Code of Conducts, Employment Duties, Work and Compensation Policies, Employee Information, Leave Policies, Workplace Safety, Disciplinary Policies and Procedures, Separation of Employment, and an Index. With over 40 pages.

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The Training Manual explains things such as how to scoop litter, different types of leads and how to walk dogs, and specific tasks that need to be done at visits and a lot more. It tells you HOW to do the job of a pet sitter and dog walker. Some sections include: Pet Visits, client communication, keys, pet sitting for a cat, walking dogs, and more. It is also over 40 pages.

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Wondering About The Quality of Writing?

This document was also revised by a technical writer and edited over and over again through many months of creation. The purchase of one or both these documents come with explicit instructions on how and where to easily insert your company information throughout the pages.

Get Both Documents at Once And You Will Find Yourself In The Bonus Round:

Buy the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual together and receive a BONUS!

I wanted to reward those who took the leap and got both documents, so I am offering anyone who purchases BOTH documents, access to the live (If before Oct 26, 2016) or recorded class where I will verbally go through the documents and point out sections of interest and worthy of discussion.

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Just click that picture above to buy them both right now!

A Common Problem With These Documents and Solution:

If you are like me, sometimes when you receive a document and try to edit it, the margins get all wonky and no matter what tricks you try, things just don’t line up looking all “pretty.”

I anticipated that you might have this problem and solved it for you before you even knew you had it. I have landed an incredible deal with someone who can typeset the entire document for you when you are done adding your logo, company information, and anything else you might want to add to it.  This is the same person that I have used for this project and they are offering an incredibly affordable rate of $25 for 30 minutes of typesetting your documents.

Ready To Exhale?

There aren’t many options out there that will knock these two tough topics off your to-do list out there. I mean, the pet sitting and dog walking industry is pretty unique, right? No HR company is going to understand how or what to tell people about the nuances of our businesses like how to scoop non-clumping litter and where it goes. (Just thinking of that makes me chuckle). So take it from me, someone who had a pet sitting company for 14 years… I know the anxiety you are feeling. I know that cursor just antagonizing you blinking on your screen… Let Jump Consulting help!

If you have any more questions, just post them in the comments below. Chances are, if you have a question, someone else did too! 🙂

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