The Importance Of Scaling Your Business
The key to any successful pet sitting or dog walking business is, you guessed it, clients! It is hard to have a thriving business if you are only working with a few clients every month. If you want to take your business from “hobby” or “side job” to a full-time, thriving business that supports all of your financial needs and more, you’ll need to scale.
In addition to the steps listed in our lesson on Getting Your First Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Clients, here are some steps you can take to prepare for, and grow, your client base.
Prepare For A Growing Client Base
More clients means more time spent delivering dog walking and pet sitting services, but it also means more text messages, phone calls, and emails to respond to. It means more time spent on onboarding, scheduling, billing, accounting, and handling all the little things that come along with each and every client. As you get busier, it will become more important than ever to have all of these processes streamlined so that you can bring on new clients efficiently while making as few mistakes as possible. Check out our Academy Article on Pet Sitting Software for more information on how it can help you save time and manage your growing client base.
Network With Other Local Pet Sitting Companies
Getting to know your “competitors” has some advantages, especially if you are still a fresh business with a small client base. It is not uncommon for more established businesses to have more business than their schedules can handle, and they may be eager to find another local business that they can refer clients to when they aren't able to accommodate a service request.
Start by checking Facebook to see if there are any existing groups you can join for professional pet sitters in your area. If there aren’t any, create one! This is a great option for a digital space where local pet sitting companies can refer clients to each other, share business advice, and help each other succeed.
In addition to digital networking, you can plan periodic lunch meetings or get-togethers and invite local business owners. In-person meetings are a great way to build trust and mutually beneficial business relationships.
Get Involved In The Community
The more your name is shared, the more likely it is that clients will call. In addition to word-of-mouth referrals from your existing clients, you can get your name out to the community in a number of ways.
Participate in (or organize!) community events and fundraisers such as sponsored dog walks/runs or pet treat bake sales. Sign up for vendor booths at any local event and offer potential clients a free, on-the-spot meeting where you can introduce yourself and tell them about the services you offer. Giving potential clients a friendly face to associate with your business increases the likelihood they will call when they need the services you offer.
You can also partner with local veterinary offices, groomers, trainers, and animal shelters. Offer to pass their business cards out in exchange for referrals, and consider offering a discount to any referrals coming from these sources. Read our Academy Article on Building Relationships With Pet Care Businesses for more ideas!
Keep Your Clients Engaged
As your client base grows, so will word-of-mouth referrals. Instead of relying on this chatter to happen in the background, you can leverage client referrals and turn what would be just a few into many more. Since it is common for pet sitting businesses to only interact with clients once or twice a year when they take a vacation or business trip, you need to find ways to engage them in between active service times.
An important tool in client engagement is an effective referral program. Read our Academy Article on Creating A Pet Sitting Referral Program to learn how to create a win-win referral program that incentivizes your clients to promote your business on your behalf.
Send periodic newsletters that include valuable information to your clients, such as pet treat recipes, upcoming pet-centric events they can attend, local pets for adoption, and general company updates that they need to know. The more interesting your newsletters are, the more likely clients are to read them. The more clients see and think about your business, the more likely they are to tell their friends and family about it!
Last, but certainly not least, consider holding regular prize giveaways. After all, who doesn’t like free stuff? Put together a basket of dog toys and supplies, or hold a contest for clients to win a free cat tree or dog bed. Ask your clients to like and share your page and contest posts on social media, then watch your followers grow!