What You Need To Have A Sucessful Pet Sitting Booth At An Event

I get asked numerous times, “I have an event coming up, what should I have at my pet sitting booth?” Having done more events than I can count over the years I have learned what works and what doesn’t. I am going to break it all down for you here and give you lots of ideas:

Let’s first discover what our goals are. Too many times I hear pet sitters posting on Facebook, “I did an event and got no clients. It was a failure.” What they don’t know is that they missed the whole point.

Events are a chance to network.

When you are at these events, sometimes the only person that you actually make a connection with is the business booth right next to you. If you can understand how to blossom this relationship after the event, it can prove to be incredibly valuable. Examples to illustrate my point:

  • A realtor who knows that a new development is going up and tells you and connects you to the community manager. You start a relationship and become the official dog walker of the community or the first to be invited to events or sponsor things.
  • Another pet business knows a few great connectors in the community that feature your company on their blog or social media.
  • You make another business friend. Yes folks, sometimes it is THAT simple 🙂
  • You connect with someone who invites you to an event where you meet a writer who wants to do a piece on you in the local paper.
  • You meet the local PTO who tells you they love your business and give you opportunities to be in the know and have representation at their next events

There are SO many possibilities!


Just Strike Up A Conversation!

Think of this booth as an opportunity to START talking to the community and CREATE a chance to keep the conversation going AFTER the event. In everything you do, you should try to create relationships.

Sales are not made, and business does not grow, with one sided communication. Especially in the pet sitting industry. We are selling trust. They won’t just see your booth, trust you, and hand over their credit card and keys to their house. It doens’t work that way. They have to LIKE you… and KNOW you.

You can’t trust someone by walking endlessly up and down isle’s of vendors at a pet event.

You are giving away your right to build a relationship and sell if the sole purpose of your booth is to hand out things. To be giving, giving, giving, out THINGS. That is what everyone else does and will just make you a part of the “noise”

So how do we connect?

Good ice breakers are:
(Is their pet is with them) “Aww, what’s his/her name?”
(If pet is not with them) “Tell me about your fur kids at home!”
Even better, grab a baby pool (that collapses) and a bunch of balls that kids jump in and play find the treat” game. Put some stinkly dehydrated liver chunks in there. Dogs LOVE it and their parents will get a kick out of watching.

Relationship building find out about them so you can have something in common:
What part of town are you in? (Making sure they qualify as a client)
What do you usually do with them when you travel?
How often do you travel?
How did (your pet) find you? Tell me the story? (Awwww…)

ONLY after you have built a relationship with the folks is when you ask them for their email.  With a notepad in YOUR hand and pen say, What is your email so I can send you a $50 Gift Certificate to our company? or I can send you the pic of Fido looking for that treat?

This ONLY works if:
1 – You ask them for it. (Not “Can I…” but What is?”)
2 – YOU write it down. Chances are their hands are already full and then it will be in your handwriting and you won’t have to worry about not being able to read their writing.
3 – You have already built a relationship with them (IE they are smiling or they have told you a story)


What should you have displayed on your pet sitting booth?

Since you are selling trust, you want to put things on your booth that help people trust you. Things like framed quotes your clients have said in 32

8 ft banner

8 x 10 pictures in frames of dogs AND cats. (It is crazy how people do not connect if you “discriminate”) Although I would do more than 1 or 2. Displaying your brag book for people to flip through. Maybe have a few business cards and brochures but literally, only keep about 20 out of each. That stuff is expensive and this isn’t Halloween where your handing out free stuff.

Focus on getting their email more than your business card so you can build on the relatiponship you started. It isn’t a numbers game. It is a QUALITY game.

It is important is to have your brand everywhere possible. Those stand up 8 ft vertical banners are great combined with the 6 foot horizontal hanging banners are great! Do your hair, put on some make up, put on some nice jeans with your company Tshirt rather than your average “pet sitter” pants, and maybe even some jewelry. Sell yourself and your business! People will buy (and talk to) those they like!

TIP: Leave the chairs at home or fold them up. This is not a time for you to be sitting down behind the booth. Standing up is more inviting to people passing by your booth and shows that you are ready to talk. It also puts you on the same level as them and non verbally this is very important when you are selling. Be in FRONT of your booth!

The basic point of this booth is it really isn’t about what you have to give away it is the relationship you can build. People will remember YOU, not your business card, or promotional item with your name on it. When was the last time you looked for a pen that you had been given for the companies name and phone number? Never. Right?

Understand what is going on in the mind of the pet owner:

There could be many scenarios but to sum it up: I highly doubt this person came to this event to say “Gee, I need to find a pet sitter. Let me go to this event to find one.” The point that many pet sitters forget is that this is passive selling. Most people are not in the place to buy your service now so you have to do other things to entice them. So how do you make them remember YOU after this event? After they go home with a bag full of papers and some trinkets and sit next to the trash can throwing everything out or putting it in a stack of papers in their house because they feel bad throwing it away right now?

I want you to follow up with an email. Individually. To everyone you got. Hopefully you wrote down that their cat’s name was Fluffy and in the subject line you write: To Fluffy’s Mom

“It was great to meet you at the Pet Expo this weekend! We would be honored to be Fluffy’s pet sitter whenever you are away. Please connect with us on Facebook as we have a very active and fun community over there. I try to pass on a lot of education, like the pet food recall last month. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me and please accept the attached pfd as a Thank You for stopping by my booth”

Then you add them to your email list.It is important that it look like it is a personal letter to them. Your response rate will be better. If you are one of those pet sitters who never have time for anything, hire one of your staff to type them for you and pay them a flat fee to do the job or by the hour. The point is, you need to do this and be personal!

For your business, you need to figure out what VALUE you have to offer them. Whether it is a gift certificate, a great Facebook community that provides value to the pet parents life, a pdf of recommended pet businesses in the area…SOMETHING.

What is NOT valuable is your monthly email newsletter. No one will read it, it is another chore, and this day in age will prob go right into their spam folder. No one cares about your business like you do and it is your JOB to get them to care! 🙂

Get Interactive!

Another really great idea at your booth is pictures. With Facebook being HUGE… you can offer to take a picture of them and their pet and position them in front of your sign so it is in every picture. You tell them you will post it on Facebook and get their email so you can “email them when it is up”  Having a great Facebook page is a really great partner to having a booth because it is a way you can non threateningly expose people to your brand so they will subconsciously think of you next time they have a need you can meet. This works when you are working with the public and with other businesses as a Business to Business campaign.

Event goers filled out the white board and posed for a picture

See what I mean by looking at the 60 pictures here. By capturing everyone’s pictures I was able to capture about 1/3 of those people onto my Facebook. If I was not interactive and all about giving their pets “virtual shout outs” I would never have had a way to connect with these people again other than one sided. Even a year later after the event I still get calls,  “Hey – I met you at that one event…” Get fun!

TIP: The whiteboard you see in these pictures say:

At the bottom I wrote in info of the event (Networking Phoenix 2011)
I wrote all of the above in permanent marker and gave the people a dry erase marker to write. It becomes very popular and I would recommend having two boards
If you build relationships with people, become interactive, and create a way to continue the relationship after the event, your booth will be a huge success. Gone are the days of “enter my raffle” or “get on my email news list”  People have grown smart to that and EVERY OTHER booth they walk by will be asking that. Stand out. Be different. Be YOU!

Sound off below: What have you done at your booth that has been successful? Unsuccessful? What do you define success at an event?  remember it ISN’T about what you can hand out. It is about creating and building a relationship!



18 replies
  1. Beth Green
    Beth Green says:

    This is a GREAT topic. I often wonder if I’m being wise about my time and money with community events and how to present my business effectively. I have just had a banner printed up, but I do love your ideas about framing pictures, being interactive, not sitting (which I NEVER do) and keeping the handouts to a minimum. This information is REALLY going to help me at my next event…which is THIS SATURDAY! 🙂

    Wags and Whiskers,
    Beth Green

    • Danielle
      Danielle says:

      Thank you Beth!

      It is all about how you can connect in a non passive way. Handing out brochures and business cards says “I HOPE YOU CALL ME” Getting their information guarantees the chance that your relationship will last longer than your initial meeting =)

  2. Lindsey Barksdale
    Lindsey Barksdale says:

    Thank you SO much, Danielle! I will be doing my first event next month and this information is exactly what I need to be successful. I’ve always heard we need to sell Ourselves (not something I’m particularly comfortable doing, but willing to get out of my comfort zone and try!), to connect with another person on a personal level, then follow up. Thank you, thank you, thank you! There are some really wonderful ideas presented here.

  3. Lindsey Barksdale
    Lindsey Barksdale says:

    I recently had my first booth at a local doggy event and followed your wonderful suggestions presented on your webpage….thank you! My concern is that after I followed up with personal emails, along with attaching a free pet sit gift certificate on each, I have not received any response from any of them! Is this normal? Also, I’m concerned about my emails possibly being dumped into their Spam file. Is there anything I can do to avoid that in the future? I have another event next month that I am looking forward to….three days (as opposed to only one afternoon this past time). I have one other person helping me and I’m a little concerned about being able to survive three days of being on my feet, meeting people! Thank you so much for your help!

  4. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    Llindsey, Than you for your comments. Yes! That is expected. Think about it, you are thinking that everyone passing by your booth needed pet sitting services NOW. So, what you want to do now is maybe send them an email every month for the next three months SPECIFICALLY before you dump them into your big list. Create a campaign:

    “Wasn’t that PETAPALOOZA event the greatest? I loved meeting you and all the pets that came by my booth (Holiday) is only (number of days) away and I just wanted to remind you of the gift certificate I sent you…. It is good until Dec 31st and I would LOVE to meet you.

    In the meantime, here are some more fun events coming up in our community. I hope to see you there!

    Don’t forget to join us on Facebook (link) it is a lot of fun offering you (insert value here)

    ….so basically it is ok. The fact is that you now have access to these people and you can follow up however you want 🙂 Weekly tips? Simple invite to join you on FB? Iit is up to you 🙂

    Does this help Lindsey?

  5. Lindsey Barksdale
    Lindsey Barksdale says:

    Thank you! My event this weekend was phenominal! Met lots of people with pets and got lots of contacts that I will be sending gift certificates to via email this week. Thanks so much for your wonderful suggestions.

    Where can I go to find some (simple) instructions for creating a business Facebook page? I am just not that computer-savvy and really need help.

    Thanks again, Danielle…..you are the BEST!

  6. stephanie washington
    stephanie washington says:

    Hey Danielle,
    My business is fairly new to doing tradeshows and I always over think things and spend more money than I need with no ROII so I am so glad I found this post, I was so confused on what I needed for my first vendor show and you cleared everything up. I am super excited now and will be ready and prepared for my event.

  7. Tami Truex
    Tami Truex says:

    I have a couple of questions. Do you have any good advice for outdoor booth set up? I have an event that is downtown central park in my home town that will attract A Lot of people. It is on concrete and some grassy area, not sure where I will be yet.

    Lakeshore PAWS Pup Crawl Event
    • 3rd Annual Dog Walk for adults, teens, children and dogs.
    • 2013 event held in downtown Valparaiso.
    • Participants can walk alone or with their dog.
    • Registration includes a t-shirt, lighted leash and magnet
    per family. Additional t-shirts may be purchased in
    • During and after the walk, there will be music by the
    Crawpuppies band, food and entertainment for kids
    and adults alike; plus pet vendors and precious
    homeless pets to adopt from Lakeshore PAWS.
    • All are welcome to attend.
    For safety, dogs must be on a leash and only one dog per

    Where is a reasonable company to get the banners printed at or should I contact the company that put decals on my Jeep?

    Can I ask my clients to please stop by the booth with their pet(s) to visit and get pix and hang with me to also talk to customers?

    What should the GC have printed on it? I don’t want my established clients using a $50 GC towards pet sitting. This is to get new clients.

    Thanks so much this is so much help. I do not usually do booths due to not doing is correctly and losing money and not getting new clients out of it.

    Head to Tail
    Valpo, IN

    • Danielle
      Danielle says:

      * I woud request the grassy area – bc the paws would be happier!
      * Company to get banners (I recommend one 6 ft horizontal AND vertical) … http://www.brandables.biz to get the product http://www.prepressology.com to design it.
      * YOu can ask your clients, but what is in it for them? “so what?” factor. I would say stop by my booth to receive a FREE VISIT card to use whenever you want (if you want your clients to come by)
      *What gift certificate?

      This is hard to reply on here, so lets start a thread on http://www.facebook.com/jumpconsulting and we can brainstorm there! 😉


  8. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    This is such great information! I am SO looking forward to doing an event after reading this!!

    What sort of things do you recommend having in a brag book? I have some ideas, but would love to see your suggestions. Thanks in advance!!

  9. Sofia-Lynn
    Sofia-Lynn says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I know I’m a few years late, but I stumbled across this just 2 days before my first event that happened today! I used all of your suggestions and made changes last minute from what I initially planned. I received a response from those at the event that was so amazing! Other dog walkers in Facebook groups told me about their bad experiences or how they never received business from it but I really feel like I connected and had deep conversations with so many people in my community. Your page here gave me a new perspective and made the difference.

  10. David Steinberg
    David Steinberg says:

    This post, even 10 years later, is still SUCH A GEM! I searched, “vendor booth dog walking ideas” and this was first. Bella for the SEO win again! What a great article too.

    • Bella
      Bella says:

      Haha Thanks David. It is because I talk about things others don’t. I dedicated a few years to answer every question asked! 🙂 Did you find what you were looking for? – Bella


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