Just Starting a Pet Sitting Business? Two Amazing Tips From a Pro!

This is a guest post written by Lori Mendelsohn Thomas, Owner of Wisconsin Pet Care, LLC. The company offers dog walking and pet sitting services in the greater Milwaukee, WI area. You can learn more about Lori and Wisconsin Pet Care, LLC on the company website.

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Are you a pet sitter just starting out and eager to get new clients and build your business?

Hello. I’m Lori Mendelsohn Thomas, owner of Wisconsin Pet Care LLC, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I started my business after a corporate downsize in early 2009 and have grown to it to a multiple six figure business with 13 sitters who are independent contractors. I am looking to add my first employee in the next month.

When I first started my business, I was eager to build up my clientele list and serve as many clients as possible. I soon realized that many of these clients were “One Hit Wonders” and many were too far to drive for me to be profitable.

I instigated a policy my second year in business regarding mileage. If they were over the 10 mile limit, I either declined (when I was still sitting by myself) or refer them to another pet sitting company. Partnering with other local pet sitting businesses is smart business because small companies can only handle so many visits and the same for your business. The day will come when Mr. New Client calls and you are booked, and the same will hold true for them. Partner with others early on-there should be plenty of business for everyone to go around. Meet for coffee and get to know each other and refer when you can. I did it for many years and got loads of clients from their overflow.

Driving over no mans land will not only NOT be profitable for you, but exhausting. If your figure the US Government estimates each mile we drive at .55 per mile, and you charge $10 per visit and you’ve driven 40 miles round trip….do the math! Have faith that you will be successful and spend the time that you would be driving by partnering with local businesses that are mutually beneficial to both of you. Examples are vets, groomers, Pet food stores, trainers, hair salons, nail salons, etc. Eventually you will have so many partners that you will become the “go to person” when you get a new client who just moved to the area. You can refer from doctors to lawyers to Indian Chiefs!

The second policy I instigated was to charge a minimum charge amount equivalent to 5 visits. I figured with my time, trouble, investment in meet and greet materials, overhead I would break even with a designated amount of capital coming in. This also worked wonderfully in weeding out the lookie loos from the serious potential clients in need of services. I have this policy good for one year; inasmuch that they pay up front and the sits are usable for one calendar year from the date of the first payment. It gives the serious clients credence and the One Hit Wonders the option to back out without you having to make up a story that you are unavailable. Trust in yourself and know that with hard work, marketing, marketing and more marketing, the jobs will come in.