Pet Sitting Startup

5 Simple Tips for Pet Sitting & Dog Walking Business Success


Here are 5 simple steps you can begin TODAY to create more success in your pet sitting and dog walking business:

1) Accumulate business savings no matter how small at first. Even the act of starting with $10/month is progress. Your business savings account will help get you through the lean times, especially when you are first starting out.

2) Create an action plan to ensure that your pet sitting business bookkeeping records are clean, orderly and accurate. Get accounting help if and when you need it. Pay someone to help you learn Quicken or Quickbooks. Knowing how much you make each month will help you set financial goals which will keep you focused and intentional in your business actions.

3) Develop a yearly business plan and create goals and visions for yourself and your business. Review it quarterly and adjust as needed. Having a map will help you get to where you want to go in your business.

4) Budget your time realistically and focus on income-producing activities. Get clear on how many minutes it takes to actually takes to drive to your dog walking/pet sitting jobs. This will help you get clarity about how many clients you can take in a given day and how much time you are spent driving. Setting a timer for those business tasks that are challenging can help keep you on track. Focusing your daily actions on income-producing activities such as marketing and answering the phone directly you will cause you to see your profits to rise.

5) Let go of difficult-to-work-with clients and staff members. Difficult staff and clients can eat up as much as 95% of our energy which leaves only 5% left for the majority of our clients and staff. If you notice your thoughts consumed by a particular client or staff member then it might be time to let them go. Talk it over with someone whose opinion you value and once you get clarity about how challenging they are, be willing to let them go sooner rather than later.

Need more tips? You can find them in in Kristin’s book for pet sitters and dog walkers: Six-Figure Pet Sitting: Catapult Your Pet Sitting Business to Unlimited Success.

Click to get the book IMMEDIATELY: Six-Figure Pet Sitting Ebook version or Click to get the printed version on Amazon: Six-Figure Pet Sitting print edition.

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How to Create a 3-Day Pet Sitting/Dog Walking Workweek!


This teleclass is back by popular demand!

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time: 5:00pm PST / 8:00pm EST

How does class take place? Via a conference call line. Call-in instructions will be given upon signup.

How long is this teleclass? 60-75 minutes (30 minutes will be for Q & A from the audience)

How much: $30 (register by September 24) $40 (register on September 25 or later)

Class description: Whether you want to take one day off a week, have weekends off, or create a 3-day workweek like Kristin has created in her pet sitting business, it’s up to you!

In this class, Kristin will outline the step-by-step method necessary to create time off.

In less than one year, Kristin went from working 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week to working 3 days a week!

If you have an established business and responsible staff members that you trust, you can too!

This teleclass will truly change your life by profoundly transforming the way you relate to your work schedule! You will come away excited and ready to create a work schedule that is beyond your wildest dreams (while being firmly rooted in reality).

Click here to find out more and to sign up for the How to Create a 3-Day Pet Sitting Workweek teleclass.

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Passing the Leash: 5 Tips to Make the Hiring Transition Easier


I got an email today that inspired me to write a blog post.
Thanks Emi!

Here’s the email I received:

Hi Kristin,
I purchased your online product Business Hiring Kit: For Hiring Pet Sitting/Dog Walking Staff ™ two days ago and have been very pleased with the content.

One of my main hurdles is how to tell my current clients, that I have been taking care of myself for the past year, that I am going to transition from being the owner/dog walker/pet sitter to just the owner with hired staff to cover the pet sitting and dog walking.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make this transition smooth and professional?

Sniff and Go Dog Walking and Pet Services

Here’s my response:

Hi Emi,
Nice to hear from you. 🙂

I’m so glad you are happy with the Hiring Kit. I developed it years ago to use in my own pet sitting business and it has helped me hire top-notch pet sitters and dog walkers in my own pet sitting business. I currently have 30 great pet sitters on staff, all of whom I’ve hired through using the Hiring Kit. I have heard from lots of other pet sitters that my Hiring Kit has helped them hire great people too. I love hearing that.

Yes, I do have 5 suggestions for making the transition easier:

1) Share the jobs for awhile with your new staff. If you are hiring dog walkers continue walking on M/W/F and having your new walker walk T/TH.

2) Go to at least 3-5 of the client interviews when your staff meets your clients. After that the staff member should be able to go on his/her own.

3) When clients call about particular sits and you are going to put new staff members in say, “I’d love to help you but unfortunately I’m not available for those dates. I have a wonderful assistant that is. Would you like me to set up a time to have you meet my assistant?” If you are sharing the job say: “I’m available for some of those dates. For the dates I’m not available I have a wonderful assistant.”

4) Have your clients pay you via mailing a check or giving you their credit card information. Don’t have them leave checks for your assistant to pick up. It creates more work for your assistant.

5) Be sure to use a client questionnaire when staff members do sits on their own. Mail it to clients with a self-addressed stamped envelope so they will feel compelled to return it. The Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy sells a client service questionnaire or you can create your own.

Have your questionnaire be simple enough that it will just take clients only a minute or two to fill it out the form and send it back to you with their comments. Having a self-addressed stamped envelope will compel them to mail back the questionnaire! I’ve found the online questionnaires to be less effective for client response so mail the questionnaire to them.

Sending out questionnaires will help you get feedback on how your new staff member is doing. It’s often easier for clients to write out their feedback than pick up the phone to let you know what their experience was like in using your new staff member. Keep it simple for them and for you!

A final note about the questionnaire: share the feedback, both good and bad, with your staff. The positive feedback will keep your staff motivated and the negative feedback will get them back on the right track.

Hope this information helps, Emi!

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How to Set (and Achieve!) Pet Sitting Business Goals for 2010

Businessman drawing Goal word isolated on white background

As I’m sitting here writing this blog post I’m reflecting on just how powerful setting goals has been in my business and personal life.

Writing goals each year has helped me:

~achieve (and often surpass!) the level of income I want to create
~work the kind of schedule I want to work (3-4 days a week)
~hire the right kind of people and the right number of people for my business
~run my business in a outside-the-box way that adds to my happiness, prosperity and well-being

Did you know?
In 1953, researchers surveyed Yale’s graduating seniors to determine how many of them had specific, written goals for their future. The answer: 3%.

Twenty years later, researchers polled the surviving members of the Class of 1953 — and found that the 3% with specific, written goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined.

Do you have specific, written goals for your business?

If not, it is time to start:

Here’s how:

1) State your goals in the present tense.
An example of a goal for hiring would be: “I hire 3 pet sitters” instead of “I will hire 3 pet sitters”. Writing your goals in the present tense, as if those goals are already happening affects our subconscious mind in a positive and powerful way. The subconscious mind only operates in the now. If you create goals in the future tense, your subconscious will never support you in achieving your goals.

The subconscious mind is a powerful force and if it is not supporting us it can sometimes sabotage our success (and lack of success) in life. Get your subconscious in alignment with what you want to create in your business and your life this year–by writing your goals in the present tense so your subconscious can assist you in achieving what you want to achieve this year.

2) Set clear, specific and measurable goals for the year. When setting an income goal you want to be very specific about what that amount will be. If you want to make over six-figures in your pet sitting business this year, write the specific amount you want to make: “I gross $110,000 and I net $60,000” instead of writing “I make six-figures this year” .

Important: many business owners often don’t think about their net income when setting goals. Don’t forget about net! A reminder: your gross is the total amount your business generates and the net amount is the amount your business actually makes after all expenses are tallied. Therefore, your net is the real amount your business makes and it is the one to focus on as your net income is the barometer that enables you to know whether or not your pet sitting business is financially supporting you.

3) Set a date by which you will achieve your specific goal. Let’s go back the hiring goal so I can demonstrate what that will look like when you write your goals. Remember: you want to keep that hiring goal in the present and yet have the date by which it is due be in the future.

Here’s what the hiring goal will look like as a written goal: I hire 3 pet sitters by March 1, 2010. See that? Your goal is still stated in the present (not ‘I will hire’, but simply: ‘I hire’) and it has a specific date by which you are going to achieve that: March 1, 2010.

4) Break your goals into small steps and put those small steps in your calendar now. If you have the goal of hiring 3 pet sitters by March 15, 2010 your simple steps might be:

~my hiring paperwork is organized by February 10, 2010
~I put an ad on Craigslist by February 15, 2010
~I conduct face-to-face interviews between February 21-February 28
~I complete the hiring process by March 5, 2010

Putting small steps in your calendar now is a simple way to break down a daunting or big goal into bite-sized chunks.

5) Keep your goals where you can see them on a daily basis. This step is crucial. I’ve found that when I have my goals in clear view I’m much more apt to do the actions it takes to achieve them.

I’ve worked with hundreds of pet sitting coaching clients from around the country who are amazed at the simple act of power that setting goals in their pet sitting businesses can be. Will you be one of those amazed pet sitters next year?

Write out your business goals this year and let me know at the end of 2010 what you created in your business and your life as a result. I’d love to hear from you!

How to Set (and Achieve!) Pet Sitting Business Goals for 2010 Read More »

ASK ANYTHING! Pet Sitting Biz Q & A with Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy Founder


Save $10 if you sign up by Tuesday, November 3!

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time: 5:00pm PST / 8:00pm EST

How does class take place? Via a conference call line. Call-in instructions will be given upon signup.

How long is this teleclass? 60 minutes of open forum for questions and answers!

How much: $20 (register by November 3) $30 (register November 4 or later)

Class description: In this 60-minute dynamic and interactive open forum, the first 10 pet sitters and dog walkers who sign up will have the opportunity to ask Coach Kristin their most challenging pet sitting questions. If there is time left over then Kristin will open up the line for additional ‘impromptu’ questions.

If your question relates to business or pet sitting-you can ask it! As a pet sitting business owner you are guaranteed to find this Q & A session with Coach Kristin compelling, supportive, and ultra-informative.

How do I get my question answered: The first 10 pet sitters who sign up will be contacted via email about their question and will be instructed on when to ask their question. If you are not contacted within 72 hours of signing up for the class it means you are not one of the first 10 callers. You will still receive valuable business information when you listen and learn from others having their questions answered.

Limited spots available so reserve your spot TODAY!
Click here to find out more and to sign up for the ASK ANYTHING! Pet Sitting Business Q & A Teleclass with the founder of Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy.

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3 Common Pet Sitting Business Challenges (and How to Deal with Them!)


Challenge #1: Your clients are often late in paying their pet sitting or dog walking bills.

Solution A: Get a merchant credit card machine to have control over when they pay. PayPal is great but clients have to do it so you still don’t have control when you get your money.  Costco has incredibly great rates for merchant credit card processing.

Solution B: Have them mail a check prior to departure. “In order to insure your reservation we will need to receive payment 3 days prior to departure. A post-dated check for the final date of service is also fine.” Business owners: the important thing is to get full payment prior to departure!

Challenge #2: You don’t know why but you find that you often attract difficult and ultra-picky clients who are not easy to work with.

Solution A: Get skilled at seeing the signs of impossible clients: “we’ve gone through 3 pet sitters this year”, writing a novel as instructions for their pets, interrogating you in the initial phone call about where you find your people, etc.  Choose NOT to take them on as clients.

Solution B: When you do make a mistake and take on one of these clients be willing to let them go. 95% of stress often comes from 5% of those difficult and ultra-challenging clients–let go of those 5% and you may find you have only 5% stress!

Challenge #3: You often have clients calling for services 1-3 days prior to departure and you have to scramble to meet with them or set up a sitter to meet with them. This leads to you being grumpy and irritable.

Solution A: Charge a $30 last minute fee. Say, “We’d love to help and it’s a lot to scramble to get our staff member Suzie to meet with you so we do charge a $30 last minute fee when you have to meet one of our staff members in less than 72 hours. She’s definitely available. Can I go ahead and get your information so I can set up a meeting?”

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How to Start a Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business-Step #1


STEP ONE: Choose a business name that you LOVE.
Naming a business is as important as naming your kid. Maybe even more important! Why? Because your kid can change his name fairly easily if she/he decides to at some point but trying to change a business name down the road is a very challenging process for both your existing clients and for you.  (I changed my business name after a year so I’m speaking from experience here.)

Pick a name that you like saying and that rolls off your tongue easily. When you get successful and your phone is ringing with client calls you’ll be saying it many times a day so choose carefully.

I also recommend that you pick a name that you really can see yourself using ten or twenty years down the road.

Don’t call your business “Bakerville Pet Sitting” if you have even an inkling of a desire to perhaps expand to surrounding areas down the road.  You’ll be stuck in Bakerville! If you are really clear you want to stay in a specific area then do include your area in your business name.  It’s actually very professional to put the city or town you live in as part of your business name.

Do describe your service in your business name. I don’t recommend pet care—it’s too vague. But pet sitting and dog walking are great to add: Bakerville Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Service. Some may find it’s a little long but, in my opinion better too long than not descriptive enough. This way clients will know exactly what you do.

Make sure you spend some time searching to make sure your business name is not in use already in your county or nearby counties. You don’t want to accidentally ‘take’ another local pet sitting company’s business name.  Check your local phone book and do Internet searches for the name you are interested in.

If you have found that no one in your county is using the name that you want to use then it may be yours to use in your area IF it does not have a federal trademark. You can do a name search to see if the business name has a trademark by going to the  U.S. Patent and Trademark website.

If the name you are interested in does not have a trademark but is used by another business  then you’ll want to contact your local city hall to see what the laws are around name usage.

If you have a list of names and are confused about which one to choose email the list to 5 friends who have good taste (you know who they are!) Have them rate their 1st , 2nd, and 3rd choices. See which ones are first choices and from there you will get clarity.

Once you have named your business you can go on to How to Start a Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business: Step #2 which I will write about in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!

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New Pet Sitters: How to Determine Your Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Rates

2892058635_da341cba5f_mIf you are a new pet sitter here’s the easiest way to determine your pet sitting and dog walking rates:

1) Create a spreadsheet with at least 10 different competitors on the far left.

2) On the columns to the right have each service plus time limits plus extra pet fee. Find your competitors’ rates sheets and enter their totals there.

3) If you can’t find ten competitors in your area then look in the next immediate town until you have ten different pet sitters listed in or near your town.

4) Figure out the medium range by looking at the range of prices for each service from your ten competitors.

I usually recommend that new pet sitters have their rates be in the middle-range of your competitors when you are first starting out.

Here’s how to determine the average middle: Let’s say you create your competitor pricing spreadsheet and you find the range is $12-$20 per 30- minute pet sitting visit. You’ll want to start out with a rate $16 per visit.

Once you develop a stellar reputation as a pet sitter you can (and should) raise your middle-range rates.

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