Getting a new client is always a fun adventure! Like all adventures, though, they have a beginning, where everyone meets for the first time. In the pet sitting industry, this event is often called the Meet and Greet. They can be a little scary at first, but once you get the hang of them, they may very well become your favorite part of the job!
Meet and Greet Steps
No matter the situation, each meet and greet will follow a similar path. You’ll show up at a new client’s home. They will show you around, and you’ll meet their fur family. Questions will be asked and then answered. Ideally, everyone will end up on the same page, and it will be the start of a beautiful relationship.
You’ll need to decide in advance if you’ll be the only one who will go to visit them, or if you’ll bring a member of your team with you. It can help establish your company as a team if you come with an employee. Otherwise, a client may be under the impression that you’ll be the only person handling their pets. That can be a problematic impression to shake later!
Complete Paperwork Before the Meet and Greet
Before setting aside time to visit a client in their home, ensure that their paperwork is completed. Otherwise, you won’t know what questions to ask! Paperwork, in this case, includes your Service Agreement, Key Handling Agreement, and Veterinarian Release Form. Please find more information about these client contracts in our video here.
You can save yourself time and a headache during this process by utilizing a Paperless Onboarding System. We show you how to set up that time-saving miracle here!
Review the Welcome Packet Before the Meet and Greet
After you get all that data, always review it before heading to the meeting. To ask for the information before the meeting, then show up without reading it could reflect unprofessionally on you. It can make a client feel like you don’t care enough to read what they sent. That is not a good note to start a relationship on.
Not to mention, it’s better to have a firm grasp on what questions you need to ask. You’ll know what areas you need more details on after you review what they give you. Go in with your eyes open, and you’ll have a much easier time!
Communicate Expectations In Advance
Be sure to explain to the client in advance what to expect. Just as the paperwork gives you a solid understanding of the situation, your client needs to know what will happen during the meet and greet. This is especially true if they’ve never hired a pet sitter before. Give them a basic rundown of what you’d like to see from them and what they should have prepared.
For example, consider the following situation. If your key agreement requires them to provide two copies of the key, and you plan to pick them up at the meet and greet, they need to know that! Pet sitting requires a lot of communication, and you should start on the right foot.
Setting the Tone for the Meet and Greet
It can be a little tricky to find the right balance between professional and friendly. If you’re too formal, your client may feel uncomfortable with you. Too friendly, and you risk not being taken seriously as a professional.
Try to keep the mood firmly professional without being too formal. You can make that easier by ensuring that your appearance is not too casual but not too foreboding. Don’t wear a suit, but also don’t show up in ripped-up jeans. Also, make sure you don’t wear too much makeup. If you have items with your logo on them, try to wear those too. Remember that you are representing your brand here, so do it well!
Also, be sure to arrive on time or about five minutes early. Too early will set people on edge, and late will put your professionalism in question. Once you begin the meeting, don’t rush it. People shouldn’t feel pressured, especially in their own homes. Especially take care when introducing yourself to the animals. Let the animals approach you on their terms.
Ask All Your Questions
When it comes to asking questions, don’t try to get them all out at once. Let them come up organically. If you try to rush all your questions, it can be overwhelming for your client. It may also be harder for you to remember the answers! Be sure that you cover a wide variety of questions. Here are some sample questions to ask.
Food: Where is the food kept? What’s their feeding schedule? Where are the water bowls? Where are their treats? Can we give them our treats?
Sleep: Where does the pet sleep? Do they have a crate, or are they contained in a single room? Can they run free inside the house?
Health: Is the pet on any medications? What are the instructions for those medications? Do they have any health concerns to be aware of (like allergies)?
Cleaning: Where are cleaning supplies? How should we deal with waste disposal? When does the garbage need to go out?
Safety: Where are the temperature controls? Where are the water and electrical shut-offs? Is the backyard secure?
A Meet and Greet Doesn’t Have to Be a Commitment!
Remember that just because you’ve gone through a Meet and Greet and signed some paperwork doesn’t mean you’re locked into this agreement. If you meet with a potential client and don’t feel like this job is a good fit for you, it’s not too late to cancel the contract! You never want to put yourself or your employees in an uncomfortable situation. This is especially true in the case of an unsafe situation like an aggressive dog.
It’s okay to say no to a job if you think it won’t work out. You’re not under any obligation to take every job that comes your way.
Are you looking for more help to manage your pet sitting business clients? PetBrainy can help with that! Inside the PetBrainy Circle, we’ve got all kinds of support for pet sitting business owners just like yourself. For example, we’ve got a whole list of questions for you to ask at the Meet and Greet to help take some of the guesswork out. And that’s just a sample of the valuable resources inside our membership community! Sign up today!