Pet care has become a thriving industry in the US as every year people spend more money on their furry friends. Many pet care providers get started in doggie daycare, dog walking, and in-home boarding through apps like Rover.com, but once they have the trust of pet owners, they might want to start a local business of their own.
If you’re wondering how to take your pet care business to the next level, check out some of the tips below.
Obtain the requisite business licenses and permits
The licenses and permits that you’ll need to make your pet care business more official will depend on the state that you live in. While the federal government regulates businesses like alcohol and ammunition sales, state governments have laws surrounding a greater variety of businesses. Your state’s website will tell you what you need to know about the requirements for your pet care business.
Before you apply for a license, you’ll have to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Luckily, the process is pretty simple. Just go to the IRS website to apply online and get your EIN right away.
Consider getting additional certifications
Maybe you consider yourself an expert pet sitter and you have hundreds or even thousands of hours of experience. You still might find value in getting an official certification. A certification like the Certified Professional Pet Sitter or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters is a good credential to display on your website and in other marketing. When choosing between someone who is certified and someone who is not, most people will choose the certified person.
These certifications often include pet first aid, which is important to know as an owner of a pet care business. The Red Cross also offers a Cat & Dog First Aid course, if you want to specialize just in those animals. It’s worth taking the time to learn or review how to care for people’s pets in emergency situations.
Research business and pet insurance
Protect your new pet care business by investing in the appropriate kinds of insurance. Small business insurance provides relief if your business encounters unfortunate situations such as property damage or lawsuits. To know what kind of insurance is best for you, do some research into the specific risks your business faces.
Pet sitting Insurance increases your level of protection around issues specific to pet service providers. Think of your worst-case pet sitting scenarios. Maybe you’re taking a dog out on a walk and it escapes the leash and harms another person’s pet. Or, a cat that you’re supposed to be keeping out of the bedroom gets in and knocks over an expensive antique vase. Pet sitting insurance is important for both you and your clients.
Ramp up your marketing efforts
If you’ve been involved in pet care jobs for a while as a side gig, you’ve probably mostly been relying on referrals or apps. To ensure your new business’s success, you need to create and carry out a solid marketing plan.
There are many different ways that you can market your business. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Create social media accounts for your business
- Claim your Google My Business listing
- Blog about frequently-asked pet care questions and share your articles online
- Distribute flyers and business cards
- Implement paid ads
Research these different techniques and consider which would resonate best with your target market. Then, choose a few to attract your first new customers.
Keep good track of returning customers, new customers, and leads
Once the customers start coming in, you need to make sure that you have a good system in place to keep track of your growing customer base. A customer relationship management (CRM) system allows you to categorize returning customers, new customers and leads and store all customer information. Make your life easier by keeping details like contact information, pet names, and house rules all in one place. The CRM from ServiceWorks can handle this for you.
Set up your billing and payment system
Billing and payment are other aspects of your pet care business that you want to look professional and organized. With ServiceWorks, you can send invoices and accept payments all through the same intuitive platform.
ServiceWorks’s payment system even allows you to accept payment out in the field and set up automatic billing. So, if you have an ongoing dog walking agreement, you can set up the system to automatically charge your customer once per month.
Keep your schedule organized
Now that you’re taking your pet care business to the next level, you need to carefully organize your schedule of dog walks, pet sitting gigs, meetings with pet parents, and more. ServiceWorks has an instant booking feature that saves you time communicating with clients. Just enable instant booking through the platform and customers will be able to book jobs with you directly.
Another ServiceWorks feature that will save you time and keep appointments on track is SMS automation. Instead of calling to confirm appointments, set up automated appointment confirmation messages. SMS automation can also be used to respond to potential customer inquiries.
You already have experience with pet care services; now it’s time to take your pet care business to the next level. ServiceWorks can be your biggest supporter in this transition. You can try the software for free for 14 days to see how it could work for you.