Establishing a Clientele
Investing in insurance when you establish your business could save you money in the long run.lots of old turkish coins image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com
Buy personal liability insurance to cover yourself while you are in someone else's home. Not only does the insurance protect you in the case of an accident, it also gives your clients peace of mind by showing them you are serious about caring for their pets.
Professional-looking business cards keep your name in your clients' minds.business card image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com
Purchase business cards with your business name and contact information. On the card, include the fact that you are insured. If you have extra start-up money, get magnet business cards so your clients can put your card on their refrigerators for quick reference.
Establish online presence with a website or social-media page.aqua web image by Ruslana Stovner from Fotolia.com
Establish a website or social-networking page to get your name out to the general public; keep the page updated and helpful. Also, purchase Internet advertisements. word-of-mouth advertising is great, but Internet advertising expands your pet-sitting businesses reach. Also place ads in your local newspapers and any other print publications that offer a relatively low-cost way to raise public awareness about your business.
Meeting the Client
Meeting clients for the first time is the same as a job interview; dress accordingly.female in suit on phone image by David Winwood from Fotolia.com
Dress professionally when meeting your clients. Keep in mind you will have access to their homes when they are not there. Establishing trust, with a professional demeanor, is crucial.
Update your notes each time you are scheduled to pet- or house-sit.pen on a notebook image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com
Keep up-to-date records about each client, notes Mike Ice, owner of Friend of a Friend Pet Care, of Lancaster, Pa. Records should include the pet's name, gender and age; client's name, phone number and emergency number; vet's name, number and address; pet's medications, feeding schedule, litter-cleaning schedule and special instructions. Carry the records with you each time you go to the client's home in case contact information or instructions change. When the client sees you are meticulous, you will establish more trust -- and return business.
Taking on extra tasks while the clients take a vacation can increase your marketability.cutting grass image by katja kodba from Fotolia.com
Find out if there are any extras you can do for clients while they are away---bring in mail, water plants, cut grass and shovel snow. Go the extra mile for your client and you will be her No. 1 contact for pet-sitting needs.
Give your clients an estimate of your charges.balancing checkbook image by palms from Fotolia.com
Establish payment guidelines immediately, whether you wish to be paid per visit, per day, per week and whether premiums are charged for medications or overnight visits. This way, there's no confusion when clients get home and take out their checkbooks -- and it ensures you get paid on time.
If you meet the pets while their owners are home, there will be less anxiety the first time you visit on your own.cats on the sofa image by Natalia Kosyanenko from Fotolia.com
Plan a pre-visit with your clients and pets so you can learn the house layout; see where the pets sleep and eat; and note where leashes, dishes and medications are kept. Get to know the pets while the clients are home, so when you visit the first time on your own, you will not be a stranger.
On the Job
Calling your clients mid-week gives them peace of mind.oval cell phone image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com
Check in with your clients during their time away if you have been instructed to do so. Knowing you are "on the job" while they are away is comforting.
Clients often leave additional instructions before leaving.taking notes image by Charles Jacques from Fotolia.com
Follow the clients' guidelines completely; and respect their privacy and their property. Leave their homes in as good of, or better, shape than when you got there.
Clients like to have their keys back quickly after a vacation.key to success image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com
When your clients return, get their keys back as quickly as possible. It gives you a chance to pick up your payment quickly.