Is It Time To Shrink Your Service Area?
Some pet sitters overestimate the size of the area they can reasonably serve or find it too hard to say no to a prospective client who lives too far away. Sometimes a good client moves farther away but really wants to keep you as their pet sitter, or you move and don’t want to give up your clients. It’s easy to end up with too large of a service area if you’re not careful, and while it can be hard to let good clients go, reducing your service area may be what is best for you and your business.
The biggest benefit of a smaller service area is how much less time you spend driving. With the time you save by having a smaller service area, you can do more visits, use the extra time to work on other aspects of your business, or just have more free time for yourself. Less driving also means less money spent on gas and maintenance for your car.
Deciding How Much to Reduce Your Service Area
Once you’ve made the decision to shrink your service area, the next step is deciding exactly where to draw the line for your new smaller service area. It might be helpful to plot all of your existing clients’ addresses on a map and see where most of your visits are concentrated, or you may just want to pick a number of miles or minutes that you are willing to drive from your home. Most pet sitters find that a five to ten mile radius works best. The right size service area for your business will depend a lot on the population density of the area where you live. In a major city, you may be able to have a service area of just a couple miles, while in a rural area, you’ll need a much larger service area in order to have enough clients to sustain your business.
Giving Notice to Clients Who Are Too Far Away
Having to let clients know that you will no longer be able to service them can be the hardest part of shrinking your service area. You know you will miss their pets, and it can feel like you are letting your clients down. If you have another great pet sitter that serves that area to recommend to clients, it can help you feel better about leaving. If you haven’t met any of the other pet sitters in the area, consider reaching out to them and setting up a time to meet or talk on the phone to learn about them and their business so that you can find someone you feel confident about recommending to your clients.
You’ll want to give your clients enough advance notice so that they will have time to find a new pet sitter. One or two months’ notice should be sufficient in most cases. If you have clients who have already booked services beyond that time, it’s probably best to honor those commitments, but not accept any new bookings.
Sending out a mass email can be the easiest way to let these clients know that you will be reducing your service area. In your message, be sure to thank your clients for supporting your business and trusting you with the care of their pets, let them know the last day you will be offering services in their area, and let them know how they can get their keys back if you have them on file. If you have another pet sitter you can recommend, include that as well or include a link to one or more of the professional pet sitter directory sites.
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