And with that, more and more dog walking businesses are going to pop up all over the country.
Since we are not a regulated industry (yet) everyone can pretty much do as they please.
Some will fail within 2 years and some are going to stay on their mediocre path for a few years.
And then there are the few ones that stand out, rise to the top and are taking over the market.
You have to decide early on, which one of those 3 ways you want to go. Chances are if you are on this website, you want to rise to the top 🙂
1. Have an outstanding looking website
We have all done it, judge a person by its cover.
That raggedy looking man approaching you to ask a question – first thing in your mind:
“What the heck does he want from me?”.
He might be one of those millionaires that don’t care about their appearances or a professor who has been crunching numbers in his apartment for too long.
Either way, they could actually be really nice, competent people.
Same goes for your website for your dog walking business.
You could be the best dog walker or pet sitter around,
but if your appearance
– your website –
does not reflect it, people are most likely just clicking away thinking you don’t know what you are doing talking about.
So get it together and either build one yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
2. Use Technology to your advantage
Two things are important here:
Type of payment accepted and Pet Sitting Software.
Type of payment accepted
In the year 2017 nothing is worse than accepting only cash or check.
Wonder why it should be the standard to accept all major credit cards?
For three reasons:
It might come across as either you are running a front (joke aside, alright) OR
you are not going to pay your taxes (because in all honesty, that’s why my local pizza guy ONLY accepts cash) OR
you don’t take you dog walking business seriously.
ANY major company nowadays accepts Credit Card – boom, that’s the truth and they are seen as the professionals.
How many times do you use your Credit or Debit Card throughout the day?
Chances are you are ONLY using plastic nowadays and that goes for many other people – your potential clients.
People don’t want to have to make that extra trip to the ATM or whip out their check books (seriously America?) everytime it’s time to pay their pet sitter (“oh, she is so 1990s”).
It’s so easy to keep track of incoming electronic payments with wonderful bookkeeping softwares and/or your pet sitting software.
Pet Sitting / Dog Walking Software
You will know if that booked visit was paid yet or not, without you having to make yourself a note.
At the end of the year, you will just click “Report” and you will get all the income, refunds and whatever not consolidated right in front of you – in 5 seconds.
Instead of you looking through your ledger adding up all these numbers you have written in hastily (wait was that a 9 or a 0??) You get the point, right? 😉
There are other two great main reasons to use a industry specific dog walking software:
- You will appear professional to your clients – in their head they think you got your stuff together and will not forget about their pet
- You will be so organized never missing a visit, payment and any information you need from your client and client’s pet
There are many pet sitting softwares to choose from and most of them are starting at a low price/month ~ $15.
Can’t beat that for your peace of mind and for your business to be organized and professional looking.
3. Be as professional as you can be
You are the one that sets the tone in your relationship with your clients.
Sending text and yelling insults at each other is not a professional way of communication.
So when communicating with your client adhere to these simple rules from the beginning:
- Use a Signature in every one of your email including your name, title, contact info, logo and maybe pertinent blog post links or review links
- when a client texts you do not text back – email or call back instead. If you start going down that road, client will text you at 11 pm at night or trying to cancel and book visits – it’s going to get you to forget things and your clients won’t see you as a professional
- Always use a greeting in your emails, even when you are replying back. Stick to the script – it’s professional.
- Take your emotions completely out of it
Even if an unsatisfied client writes you a nasty email.
If it really gets you stirred up emotionally – decide if you want to keep the client or not.
And then – very important – sleep on it overnight.
Then write back an email,
taking out all emotions.
Just sticking to the facts.
The shorter, the better.
As a business owner you should always have to manage to keep your head up high, no matter what. Otherwise it will come back to bite you.
- When receiving email pet sitting requests – use a script to email back
4. Collect reviews
To a big degree, you have the power to control the image/narrative of your company.
Don’t be afraid to self-promote.
That’s why collecting as many great reviews as possible is super important.
It comes with 2 very important side effects:
- Your chances of showing up on top of page 1 are exponentially higher with 5 Star reviews
- According to moz.com (2015) roughly 68% of purchase decision are influenced by online reviews
To read about 5 more important reasons on why to collect reviews, check out my post here.
So here is what to do:
- After 4 weeks of service (and of course giving your very best at all times), send out satisfaction surveys via email to your clients asking how satisfied they are with your services provided and if there is anything you could improve on
- After an additional 2 weeks and some happy responses send out an email asking for a review on google, yelp, Facebook etc. with an easy to access link straight to the review page – the easier the higher the chances you will get a response
- Do that with every new client religiously.
Now lean back and watch the calls come in because by owning a 5 Star rated company you have already cleared a very important “trust hurdle”.
5. Be unique
There are so many ways you can bring your own unique personality into your business and you should!
Here some ways to set you apart:
- Choose a unique business name – spend time on it, it’s important
- Create a logo that reflects your business’ personality
- Same goes for website – it can really reflect what your business stands for
- the uniform you choose to wear – think about it – spaghetti tops vs. polo shirts?!
- The way you conduct yourself in front of clients – in-person, phone and e-mail
Don’t be afraid to be yourself, to care a lot and to go the extra mile.
People don’t hire businesses, but people.