Greetings, pet sitter! Today, we will be continuing our case study on how Shelley Beyer started her successful pet sitting business. We’ve already seen how she Quit her 9-5 Job to Start a Pet Sitting Business, how she got her first ten clients, and five things that Shelley wishes she had done differently. In this article, we are highlighting the things she did right when starting a pet sitting business that made a big difference in her business. It can be easy to focus on the negatives, but sometimes we need a list of what to do, not what to avoid. So, read on for a list of tried and tested tricks that have made a positive difference when she was starting! How many are you already doing?
Tracking Mileage and Expenses
Tracking your business expenses and mileage for tax purposes is always a good idea! Shelley learned this lesson, the hard way, in a previous business she had owned. She wanted to get off on the right foot with her pet sitting business. Shelley knew that an easy method was essential in helping her stay on top of her books. She chose Quickbooks Self-Employed since it simplified the process by using the categories straight from Schedule C. Quickbooks Self-Employed was great for her because the application on her phone tracked miles and allowed her to link her bank accounts. She categorizes her business expenses and mileage each day, so she doesn’t forget the details. If you stay on top of it, you won’t have to do anything when it’s time to file your taxes. You’ll be all set to go.
Starting a Pet Sitting Business Website
A Facebook page just doesn’t cut it these days. Sure, you should have one, but without a real website, people are going to struggle to view you as a legitimate business. It’s just the way people gauge things these days. Even if it’s not a great website, you need to have one! You can always improve it later! Shelley ended up majorly reworking hers after about a year, but at least it was there!
Have a Plan When Starting a Pet Sitting Business
Okay, so you’ve created your business and got it rolling. But do you know what you’re going to do with it? How long are you planning on working in the field? Are you planning on bringing on employees? At what point? How many? Are they going to be employees or Independent Contractors? You need to be thinking about the future when you start a business. What is your destination? Shelley knew that she wanted to work in the field for a few months before hiring an employee and continued to work alongside her first employee for a while until she could hire someone to take her place in the field. Make yourself a roadmap, or you may end up in the middle of nowhere!
Service Area Selection
It may be tempting to make your service area as big as possible to open yourself up to as many clients as you can, but you still need to be able to work effectively. Shelley made sure that her service area was manageable. She can get anywhere within her service area within fifteen minutes. When you have ten half-hour appointments to get to in a day, you can’t afford to drive half an hour to get from one side of your range to another. People asked her if she thought it was too small, but having worked in a vet’s office and knowing how many pets there were just on their books, her gut told her there would be plenty. She was right. It makes scheduling a lot easier for everyone and minimizes downtime between appointments, not to mention saves on mileage!
A vehicle wrap may not be a solution for everybody. Some people love car wraps, while others don’t. Shelley’s has made her a neighborhood icon and even helped her get one of her earliest clients. That $400 investment is still paying dividends to her. So, if you’re up for it, and especially if you plan on having a company vehicle, it’s a worthwhile expense. What’s more, it’s static- you don’t have to pay monthly for it!
This one has to do with your services. Shelley offered her clients packages, such as providing 20 visits for purchase at once. Not only does this mean she gets paid upfront, but because she has different price tiers available, she realized that potential clients compared her packages to one another, not to potential competition. It’s simple. When we’re shopping, we like to compare prices. It helps us feel like educated and smart consumers. Giving visitors her service options satisfies that instinct- without them even considering other providers. No matter what package they choose, she comes out as the winner.
There’s a lot of things in businesses that can be automated. Even for those that can’t be, you need to have a system in place. Primarily, an effective method can save you time. It can also protect you in case something goes wrong. For example, if you record every key issued to an employee, then you know exactly where those are. If a client has to change their locks, then you can gather all the keys without having to worry about wondering who has what. Document everything that you can- you never know when it can save you later. Shelley built systems into her plan from day one, and it helped her stay efficient.
Hire an Assistant
By now, you’ve probably realized that a business comes with a lot of little tasks that suck up time like a vacuum cleaner. As an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to burn your day on that. That’s where an assistant comes in! Shelley hired one after being in business for about 2 years. She was able to entrust her assistant to train new employees, and that freed up large amounts of time for her. It let her focus on the important stuff that only she could do.
Influence Not Manage Employees
There’s a fine line between managing your team and stifling your team. Pet sitters already have a high turnover, but when Shelley took a closer look, she was able to find some specific things she could do to cut that down. She realized that she was expecting her employees to be available at all hours of the day, and that became draining for them. So, after assigning blocks of time based on their availability and schedule, turnover dropped.
Another thing she did was make a point to empower her employees by offering them additional work. If they seemed to have talents that would apply to office work, she invited them to help her with that too. Not only did she feel like she was genuinely helping her employees to grow, but it also helped free up more time. It’s another one of those win-wins. She currently has an AWESOME team, and it’s all because she changed her management style.
Seek a Mentor When Starting a Pet Sitting Business
Whatever you think you know, there’s always someone who knows more about a topic. Look to the other experts in the field for advice. Sure, you could learn all your lessons the hard way, but that can be expensive in both time and money. It’s a lot smarter to seek out people who have already blazed a trail and can share what they’ve learned. Shelley sought out a mentor and took it to heart. She was willing to be taught and to apply what she learned. Remember we talked about getting a roadmap earlier? Mentors are the people who sell that map.
The Road Map to Starting a Pet Sitting Business
We’re one of those mentors. Click Here to schedule a 30-minute call for us to speak if you feel stuck in your business.