Starting our Pet Sitting Business is one of the best things myself and my husband ever did. It’s fun and gives us the freedom of working for ourselves and we get to work with pets.
And with more than 12 years of running a fully booked Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business, we’ve learned the mistakes to avoid!
And I’m sharing them with you here today so you can make your Pet Sitting or Dog Walking business a success from the start!
Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Business
#1. Not Enough (or CONSISTENT ENOUGH) Marketing
Once you have a few regular customers, it can be tempting to let marketing slide.
I mean, you’ll be so busy Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, and do you even NEED to keep marketing if you’re busy?!
YES! You do.
Inconsistent marketing is a recipe for Feast or Famine in your business.
It’s stressful and with the cashflow issues that creates it’s probably the number one cause of failure for Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Businesses.
Set aside an hour or so each week to plan, create and schedule your marketing so you continue to stay fully booked.
I have a Marketing Planner and Membership that can help with this!
#2. Lack of Systems
You don’t need lots of complicated systems to get started, but a booking system will make life easier for you and your clients.
You’ll get more bookings for a start because it’s easy for your clients to book.
And you’ll avoid scheduling errors as it’s all automated.
So take a moment to get one set up before you start!
#3. Trying to be the Cheapest
There’s a marketing phrase ‘When you compete on price it’s a race to the bottom!’
And it’s true! And it doesn’t serve you or your customers (or their pets!)
It can be easy to look at businesses before you start and think ‘I can do it cheaper!’ But when you start to understand the costs associated with running a business sustainably and making enough of a profit for the hard work you put in, you start to understand why these services cost what they do.
Take the time to cost everything you’ll need to keep your business going in the medium to long term.
- Hiring other Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters – you’ll need to pay competitively to get good reliable people.
- Time to market your business and do admin – if you’re not paying yourself for this, you’ll run out of money for your personal costs and burn out.
You won’t last the distance if you don’t consider these things and then you’ll let yourself, your customers and their pets down!
When you’re starting out, it can be easy to think you have nothing else to offer but low prices.
But don’t undervalue yourself!
- Think about what sort of business owner you want to be.
- What are your personal values you want to represent in your business?
- How else will you deliver value for your customers?
Consider all of these things and charge a fair price for your offer.
#4. Accepting The Wrong Clients
Yes! There really is such a thing as the wrong clients!
Like ones who only shop on price and are always looking for discounts. Or who want you to do things their way when it doesn’t work for your business.
Because rather than ‘The customer is always right’ – actually, you are the expert in your business and customers actually WANT you to lead them through the process of using your services.
It builds trust and makes customers see you as an established, reliable business.
- Set out your offers clearly and explain how they work.
- Have an onboarding process for new customers.
- Talk about it in your blogs and social media and even consider having an eBook that educates your customers on your services. This is one of the best ways of attracting more of the right customers and weeding out enquiries that take time and go nowhere. Check out my blog on eBooks to find out more.
I hope this blog has helped you and you manage to avoid these mistakes and set yourself up for a successful business!