How to Use Schedule Blocks
As we’ve said before - logistics is one of the most important aspects of being a productive (and profitable!) pet sitter or dog walker. Logistics is all about organizing and coordinating a complex operation. For a pet care company - being a logistics expert can improve nearly every aspect of your business but the most obvious way logistics helps is in organizing your daily events.
Let’s do a quick example. Your quickly growing dog walking business covers 100% of a medium sized city. You have a handful of clients on the eastern part of town and just signed up two new customers on the western side (about 20 minutes away). Your customers on the eastern side of town want visits at 11am and 1pm and your clients on the western side need visits at noon and 2pm. Because you just started out - you agreed to those exact times because you didn’t have any other visits and you wanted to make your clients happy.
That means you are driving back and forth every single day wasting gas and lots of time in the car. Let’s say you get another call from a new client on the eastern side who would love a visit at 11:30am. Well unfortunately, with all the driving back and forth you don’t have any additional time. How do you fix this issue?
The answer is Schedule Blocks (your software should make using Schedule Blocks easy). Schedule Blocks are blocks of time that your customers can request visits in. For example - you may have Schedule Blocks of 7am - 9am, 9am - 11am, 11am - 1pm, 1pm - 3pm and so on. With Schedule Blocks - you can organize your visits into the most efficient route possible. Customers understand Schedule Blocks as well. When the cable company comes out to your house - they don’t tell you they will be there at 11am. They give you a window so they can be as efficient as possible (while still trying to respect your needs…. usually). A cable company may be a bad example but you get the idea.
And as a new pet care company - we get it too. You want to provide a great service for your client and they want visits at exact times. When you’re just starting out - it’s easy to say yes but as your business grows - it will be nearly impossible to honor those requests and grow your business how you’d like.
It’s important to set reasonable expectations and hold your clients to them. That doesn’t mean you have two Schedule Blocks all day and your clients need to choose between 7am - 1pm or 1pm and 7pm. That would be unreasonable and you wouldn’t get many new clients with that policy. We’ve seen the most common Schedule Blocks are two or three hour windows. That gives your client peace of mind knowing their pets will be taken care of when they need it and give you the flexibility to squeeze as many visits in as possible.
Remember that every second you are driving, you are spending money on gas and not generating revenue for your business. One of the keys to a highly profitable pet care company is minimizing downtime traveling and maximizing the number of visits you can do in a day.