Setting yourself apart from other pet sitting businesses
As promised in the last post, today I'm going to share with you a practice I developed that seemed to set me apart from other pet sitters in my area. I didn't think I was doing anything special until clients started pointing it out to me.
Each pet sitter runs his/her business in a way that works for them. Pet sitters, consider your personal qualities and experience when trying to make your pet sitting business unique to you and something that will create a standout experience for the clients.
In addition to pet sitting, I have a long history of experience in the human services field and I'm also a freelance writer. Human services jobs, for those of you who know, are heavy into documentation. These skills seemed to spill over into my pet sitting business and surprisingly, became a real blessing to me.
Naturally, at a meet and greet, pet sitters will be gathering information on the form they've developed (or purchased) to gather all the needed info about the pet(s), home, and pertinent emergency and trip information, before beginning service. Some pet sitters will take the information home, put it in that particular client's file, and use it to provide top-notch service to the client. But why stop there? Sitters, take this practice a little further. It worked for me.
As someone who wanted to be the best professional pet sitter I could be, I would take the information home and type it up. It would no longer be just handwritten notes, but a neatly typewritten document that I could pop in the clients' files and bring it with me on each pet visit.
I also e-mailed the information to the client and would ask them to double-check it to make sure I didn't leave anything out and had all the pertinent information ( phone #'s, etc.) correct. Paws down, clients loved it.
This proved to be a great thing for my business! Clients were impressed with this practice and the one thing I kept hearing from clients throughout my business years was how "thorough" I was. I also heard the word "conscientious" a lot too.
This simple practice only took the click of my computer mouse to send information to the client. Clients were quite pleased that I took the time to do this and it gave them peace of mind from the get-go that I had all the correct information. If I made an error, then they'd let me know, so by the time the first pet visit rolled around everything was in perfect order.
For those clients that didn't have a computer, I'd snail mail it to them. It took a few extra minutes, but it was well worth it for the impact it made on my credibility and my overall business.
Clients started telling me that this was one of the reasons they chose me above other pet sitters they considered. In short, this practice helped me gain clients and helped my business grow.
I offer this idea not only for pet sitters but for clients. If you are considering a pet sitting business, it is imperative that you know they are a professional, conscientious operation, and have the correct information to best serve your pet while you are away.
It is important for clients to find a pet sitter who will mesh nicely with them because it will hopefully be a long-term, special connection that will last a long time.
Some people will want a pet sitter for a "one-shot deal", perhaps one weekend and that is it, but more often than not, clients need services on a more frequent basis. It has been my experience that once clients have a great experience with a pet sitter and have found someone they can trust in their homes and with their precious pets, they will feel confident enough, and perhaps even excited, that they can go away and rest easy, knowing that their pets are in loving and capable hands.
So, my advice to pet sitters is to consider this practice of compiling and sharing the gathered information with your clients. If you aren't already doing this or something similar, I hold this idea out to you to try.
Endnote: Since this is a new blog site, only about a month or so old, I'm still developing my style and content. I decided that, when needed, I'll add a few questions at the bottom of the blog post. If you'd like to give me comments, questions, or suggestions about any current or further blog posts, please e-mail directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. What can you do to make your business stand out?
2. Brainstorm a list of creative ways that you can be the best pet sitter in your area.