In his book, The Dog Walker & Pet Sitter Bible, Josh Schermer outlines ways to set up a pet care business in a way that a newcomer can easily follow. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s even thinking about starting up a dog walking or pet sitting business. One thing that you’ll get out of reading this book, is that in addition to being very rewarding, there’s a lot of work involved in operating a pet care business. Josh presents a very real picture of what goes into the start up phase, but also how to shape it into a successful, ethical business as well.
He covers a lot of ground – everything from deciding on what type of business to start all the way to letting employees and/or clients go. Here are just a few of the things he covers:
- Goal setting
- Start up costs & commitment
- Marketing & advertising
- Choosing a business name
- Email etiquette
- Customer service
- How to screen potential clients
- How to handle complaints
- Screening and hiring employees
- Training dog walkers
- How to manage employees
- Tips and tools for effective dog walking
- Setting up an efficient dog walking route
Josh give prospective business owners quite a bit of advice, but I have to point out how much I like this piece:
Don’t fall in love with your clients.
What Josh means by it is to remember that you’re running a business, and your clients are your clients. Pet sitting is a very personal service and pet sitters, in general, are caring people. This combination can make for a very unhappy, and overworked, pet sitter if emotions are allowed to take over. Ignoring this bit of advice can lead pet sitters to do things they really don’t want to do which in turn can create resentment, an unpleasant working relationship with the client, and even loss of revenue. (Believe me – I’ve talked to many pet sitters who have had to deal with this issue.) It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly with your clients, but what it does mean is that where business is concerned, it should be just that – business.
The pet sitting and dog walking industry is growing at a fast pace. And, like any industry, there are all levels of businesses out there – good, bad, and everything in between. The pet care businesses that offer stellar service, are professional, and ethical are the ones that are going to stand out and be successful. The Dog Walker and Pet Sitter Bible is packed with information to help you and your business become one of the success stories.
Josh Schermer is the owner of Downtown Pets in New York City (established in 2002), which is one of the largest dog walking and pet sitting businesses in the city.
The Dog Walker and Pet Sitter Bible can be ordered from Lulu.com.