When you first start your pet sitting business, you’re strictly thinking about building it, and that means taking almost every job that comes along.
Your client’s will get used to your dependability, and will often give you last-minute bookings, knowing you’ll accommodate them.
This is good for your business, and for building solid customer relationships, but at some point, every pet-sitter reaches burn out.
Working 7 days a week, 365 days a years doesn’t sound too appealing to anyone, but that can be your fate if you don’t draw the lines so you can have personal time to keep a balance.
As pet-sitters we are always on call for everyone else’s vacations, holidays and weekend getaways. This can breed resentment if we don’t allow for some fun for ourselves. Here’s some tips on how to do just that:
- Hire some help: the biggest concern for a pet sitter taking time off is losing money. We don’t get the luxury of paid vacations, so the thought of spending and losing money is stressful. If you have a helper, you’ll have to pay them of course, but you won’t be losing clients in the process, which stings a lot more. Advertise at local universities or retirement communities. Or better yet, see if a local vet tech would like some extra income. Now should you hire an employee or an independent contractor? This is an important decision, and I’ll have an upcoming post dedicated to how to make that decision.
- Network with another pet-sitter. This is a great option if you have a fellow sitter that you know is trustworthy and dependable. The nice thing about this reciprocal relationship is you can’t take turns helping each other out while vacationing, which will bring you both peace of mind that your clients aren’t left in the lurch.
- Give your client’s PLENTY of advance notice; Get an email client list and send out several reminders of dates you’ll be away for. And make sure that whatever contingency plan you have in place is explained thoroughly.
- Expect last-minute calls: It never fails. Whenever I decide on my travel dates, it seems like every client calls! It can be downright uncanny. Make sure that whoever you have on hand to help, is prepared for last-minute assignments. This is super important given the nature of our work.
- Set your Auto-reply Emails and Voicemail: Give a detailed message explaining the exact dates you’ll be away and who’ll be covering for you in your absence, complete with their contact information so the client’s can reach them directly.
- The hardest part of taking time off? Enjoying it. I find this job is a hard one to let go of. I’m such a control freak that I worry about how my assistant sitter is doing, but at you just have to trust them. And make sure they have all the emergency contact #’s while you’re gone! The last thing you want is a call from your sitter and you don’t have your client’s contact info hand. Not fun!
Pick off-season Travel times:
Taking time off during peak seasons is difficult. You don’t want to lose business at the most profitable time of year. Plan trips during the off-season; go right before summer, or in the fall. Not only will you have fewer clients to worry over, but your travel and hotel fare will be cheaper too since you’re going in non-peak times. It’s a win-win! And if you have family you’d like to see over the holidays, try setting a date before or after the rush that you can visit.
I hope these tips are helpful. I’d love to hear how you plan out your time off while juggling your pet-sitting schedule.