Time To Pet Blog

Tag: Pet Sitting Software (page 1 of 3)

The Costs to Start a Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Business

Starting a new business is an incredibly exciting time but it can be easy to get lost in the dream of being your own boss, growing your company and having the financial freedom you always wanted.  While that’s all possible – it’s important to take it one step at a time.  And one of the very first steps you should take when starting your pet sitting or dog walking business is figuring out how much it will cost.  While this can vary greatly from state to state and even from city to city – we’ve put together a “ruff” guide of the average costs

Costs to Start a Pet Sitting or Dog Walking BusinessLLC or DBA – $5 to $500+

One of the first steps to becoming a business is choosing your legal structure.  Two of the most common structures is a DBA (operating as a sole proprietor or a partnership) or an LLC.  The costs can vary based on the structure you choose and the state you live in.  Legalzoom provides lots of helpful information about both types and can also help you setup your legal structure too.

Bank Account – $0 to varies

It’s a great idea to have a separate bank account for your business.  NerdWallet can help you find some truly free checking accounts.

Business License – Varies

This varies based on the state you live in and you may not be required to obtain a business license at all.  The Small Business Administration can help you understand what licenses are required in your area.

Professional Organizations – $0 to $285

While totally optional, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) and Pet Sitters International (PSI) can be great resources for a new pet sitter.  NAPPS offers a 10-day sneak peak and costs $135 for a year membership.  PSI membership is $140 a year with a $10 application fee for your first year only.

Insurance – $129+

Pet Sitting Insurance is essential for a new business.  It not only protects you but also can protect your clients.  A lot of clients will ask if you have insurance as well.  Check out our Definitive Guide To Pet Sitting Insurance for a full breakdown on what Pet Sitting Insurance includes and a link to some providers.

Website – $15 to $50

Building a website is essential for your pet sitting or dog walking business.  Client’s look for pet sitting services online and they expect to be able to review your website before deciding on your services.  If you are more tech-savvy – you can acquire your domain name (about $10) and create a free pet sitting website using WordPress and only pay for your hosting (around $5/month).  If you need a little more help – there are lots of great tools like Wix and Squarespace that will cost you anywhere from $5 to $50/month.

Marketing Materials – $10+

One of the easiest ways to market your new business is with business cards.  You can hand them out to friends and family and give a few to new clients to share with their neighbors.  Vistaprint is very well known and has lots of templates to use too.  They also have other marketing materials like magnets, flyers, pens and more.

Pet First Aid Class – $50 to $200

Attending a Pet First Aid Class is a great idea for a new pet care business owner.  Not only will you learn lots of valuable lessons but your new clients will really appreciate the fact that you are Pet First Aid and CPR Certified.  Pet Tech is a great resource and you can also find a class near you too.  If you’d like to take an online course – check out PetProHero too!

Supplies – $5 to $10

Next up is supplies.  It’s always a smart idea to have poop bags, a spare leash and maybe a couple treats too.  You can usually pick up all of these supplies from your local pet supplies store.

Pet Sitting Software – 30 Day Free Trial

While you may not need pet sitting software just as you start your business – starting with a great system early can most certainly help.  Not only does it impress your clients, but it makes managing your growing business much easier as well.  Plus – it’s always better to start with software than to try and switch after your business is already big!  Check out Time To Pet on a 30 day free trial to see how it can help your business.

Starting a pet sitting or dog walking company most certainly has the ability to give you the financial freedom you are dreaming of and the startup costs are very manageable.  Most new business owners can start their company with less than $500.  No wonder so many people are starting pet care companies!

What is Pet Sitting Software? Wrap-up

This is the last post in a series on “What is Pet Sitting Software?”
Check out Part 1 on Scheduling, Part 2 on InvoicingPart 3 on Client Management,
Part 4 on Staff Management and Part 5 on Extra Features.
Stay tuned for future series from Time To Pet as well!

What_is_Pet_Sitting_Software-_Part_6_-_Wrap-upAs you may recall – in our introduction to this series, we had mentioned that Pet Sitting Software is really a collection of features and functions that work together to improve your business.  These core features include Scheduling, Invoicing, Client Management and Staff Management.  Well let’s tie them all together.

Picture this scenario – you own a pet care company with 2 staff members.  Business is picking up and it is getting harder to manage the administration of your business.  Clients are texting in requests, you need to put together three Google Calendars each day, invoicing takes you most of the day on Fridays and getting paid is an even bigger hassle.  To top it off, your staff are texting your clients after each event and you are nervous they may say something inappropriate and a client even mentioned that one staff member was going to start their own, competing business.

You get online and look for a better solution and come across Pet Sitting Software.  You sign up for the free trial and get everything loaded into the system.  Checkmark_IconAll of a sudden – things begin to change.  Your clients begin to requests visits from their portal.  You simply approve the events and the visits are scheduled to the right staff member automatically.  Your staff complete the events and send a message that you can review first.  Certain clients who prefer email are emailed their updates and certain clients who prefer text messages receive texts.  Invoices are built automatically and your clients pay you by credit card before you even need to send them their invoice.  Now Friday comes around and you don’t know what to do!  The first Friday – you checked out early and caught happy hour with some friends from college (it’s been years since you were able to do that!) and the next Friday – you did some marketing and signed up 3 new customers!

That is the value of Pet Sitting Software.  It makes managing your business simpler, more efficient and more enjoyable.  All of the time that you spent doing the tasks that are now automated can be spent how you want.  Whether that be marketing your company, hiring new staff, or meeting up with old friends – the choice is yours!

If you’re looking for a pet sitting software system – Time To Pet might be the right choice for you.  Be sure to check out our 30 day free trial and join in on one of our software demonstrations.  And of course – if you have any questions – don’t hesitate to reach out!

Until next time – happy sitting!

What is Pet Sitting Software? Part 5: Extras

This is Part 5 in a series on “What is Pet Sitting Software?”
Check out Part 1 on Scheduling, Part 2 on Invoicing,
Part 3 on Client Management and Part 4 on Staff Management.
Stay tuned for our wrap-up post next week!

What_is_Pet_Sitting_Software-_Part_5_-_ExtrasWhile most Pet Sitting Software systems have many of the core functions – there are lots of other features available!  These are the features that really help take your business to the next level.  Whether that be providing more transparency and accountability or saving you some extra time – these bells and whistles can really set your business apart from the competition.

Think of your Pet Sitting Software as a Swiss Army Knife.  The basic version always comes with a knife, scissors and a toothpick.  While those can most certainly get the job done – sometimes it is helpful to have a bottle opener, a nail file, a screwdriver, pliers, etc.  These “extras” can make the job much easier and it is the same with your Pet Sitting Software!  Having Scheduling, Invoicing, Client Management and Staff Management can get the job done but the extra features takes your company to the next level.  And just like a shiny new Swiss Army Knife can impress your fellow campers – awesome Pet Sitting Software will impress your clients and staff members both!

Texting_IconOne of these extra features is Text Messages!  While most systems support email – the ability to deliver updates to your clients and staff members as a text message is really helpful!  Text messages are how your clients expect to be notified of things.  When they are on vacation – they don’t always want to have to check their email to see how Fido is doing.  Sending a text provides a ton of value by sending a quick note with a smiling face so your clients can easily see what’s going on back home.

A couple other features are Quickbooks Integration and New Client Forms.  Quickbooks is the most popular accounting system for small businesses.  With an integration from your Pet Sitting Software – all invoices, payments, new clients, etc. can be automatically synced to your Quickbooks account.  That means no need to double enter the data so your Accountant is happy!  New Client Forms allow you to quickly and easily collect data about potential new clients.  When a New Client becomes an Active Client – you can simply convert them which means no need to re-enter their data either!

GPS_IconLastly – one of the most common, but most important extra features is GPS Tracking.  GPS Tracking makes sure that you and your team are accountable to your clients.  While GPS doesn’t always need to be shared with your clients – it’s a great idea to have the data just in case.  It is truly verifiable proof that you are where you said you were for the correct amount of time.

While the core feature of Pet Sitting Software are the most important features – extra features can really help your business rise above the crowd!

Last in our series is a wrap-up and a real life use case.  Until then, happy sitting!

What is Pet Sitting Software? Part 4: Staff Management

This is Part 4 in a series on “What is Pet Sitting Software?”
Check out Part 1 on Scheduling, Part 2 on Invoicing and Part 3 of Client Management.
Stay tuned for our future posts in the coming weeks!

What_is_Pet_Sitting_Software-_Part_4_-_Staff_ManagementAs a new pet sitting business – you may not be as concerned about managing your staff as your business is probably just yourself right now.  But as your business grows, hiring a great team is a very important part of building a great business.  Pet Sitting Software can help your manage your staff to make sure they are as productive and successful as possible!

Just like on the Client Management side – pet sitting software will help you keep track all of all of the important information you need to keep on your staff members.  That includes any emergency contact information that you may need.  You should also be able to add a smiling picture of your new staff member too!

So fast forward a bit and you’ve hired some staff, they are in your system.  Now what?  Well the most important piece of staff management for a Pet Sitting or Dog Walking company is managing your staff member’s schedule.  When you schedule an event for a client – you can select which staff member is performing the event.  All of these visits should be easily accessible by your staff member – whether that be an email, a mobile application or a website (or all three!).  Your staff member can then go out into the field and do the visits while marking them “Complete” in real time as well!

Map_IconAnother huge piece of Staff Management is making sure your staff members are compensated.  If you are paying your staff hourly, the process is simple but in the pet sitting world – utilizing Independent Contractors or Employees who are paid a per visit amount (commonly referred to as Piece Work) make this process more complicated.  Pet Sitting Software can help you track how much you owe your staff by calculating how many visits they completed, the rate per visit and the total amount you owe them!

Pet Sitting Software also makes the process of requesting time off easier.  Staff members can log into their system, submit their request and you can review and approve!

Pet Sitting Software helps to organize your business and makes managing your staff a breeze and before you know it – you will have a staff full of walkers and sitters and a growing business!

Up next, we will visit some of the Pet Sitting Software “Extras” that can really take your business to the next level.  Until then, happy sitting!

What is Pet Sitting Software? Part 3: Client Management

This is Part 3 in a series on “What is Pet Sitting Software?”
Check out Part 1 on Scheduling and Part 2 on Invoicing.
Stay tuned for our future posts in the coming weeks!

What_is_Pet_Sitting_Software-_Part_3_-_Client_ManagementOne of the most important features of pet sitting software is the ability to keep track of all of your clients in an organized and efficient way.  This includes information about your human and four-legged clients.  When this information is most important, like when you are actually doing a visit, client data needs to be easily accessible.  Instead of pulling out your notebook and trying to find the page on Fido you wrote last year – you should be able to pull out your cell phone and quickly search for accurate and up to date information.

While there is certain information that every pet sitter needs (like pet name or client address) – each pet care company runs their business a little different.  A dog walker in New York City would be interested in things like Cross Streets or whether or not there is a doorman in their client’s building while a pet sitter in Lexington, KY might have a lot of clients with horses and someone in Seattle might want to know where the umbrella is located.  Flexible Pet Sitting Software gives you the ability to customize which information you need for your business.

So now you know all of the data you need but how do you gather the information about your clients?  And what happens when things change?  Pet Sitting Software gives your clients their very own Client Portal where they can update information and make changes!  If they add a new pet to their family – they can easily add Sparky to their portal!

Dog_IconIn addition to important information about your clients and their pets – pet sitting software also provides you an organized way to see more data about your clients – like all of their events or all of their invoices.  Your clients can view this information as well which means they don’t need to text you and say “Just making sure we are on your schedule for next week”.  Your clients can also view and pay their invoices right from their portal too!

Client Management is about more than just gathering and organizing data about your customers.  It’s about building an experience that is easy, positive and transparent for your clients.  Pet Sitting Software makes this process as simple as possible and the best Pet Sitting Software should wow your customers and leave them thinking “I can’t wait until I use them again!”

Up next in our series is Staff Management.  Until next time – happy sitting!

What is Pet Sitting Software? Part 2: Invoicing

This is Part 2 in a series on “What is Pet Sitting Software?”
Check out Part 1 on Scheduling and stay tuned for our future posts in the coming weeks!

What_is_Pet_Sitting_Software-_Part_2_-_InvoicingThe goal of any for-profit business is to make money.  Without money, a business simply doesn’t exist.  With a Pet Sitting or Dog Walking company, money is made by providing a service to your clients and invoicing them for those services.  Client’s then pay the invoice and Adam Smith (the father of capitalism) rejoices!  Seems simple enough,right?  Not quite.  If you use a standalone invoicing system then I’m sure you are quite familiar with the weekly or monthly process of counting up all of the events and re-entering them into your invoice generator.  What happens if you miss one or count an event twice?  Well, your client pays you the wrong amount unless they catch it and question you about it which is never a good feeling.

One of the major benefits of great Pet Sitting Software is the ability to take your invoicing and automate it.  As we discussed in our last post – scheduling and invoicing should be intrinsically linked in a good software system.  That means whenever you adjust your schedule – you are also adjusting the related invoice.  For example – Suzy Smith usually has 5 visits per week and her bill is always $100.  One week – Suzy has a big project at works and needs you to come for an extra visit.  After you add the extra visit into your schedule – Suzy’s invoice is automatically updated to $120.  No need for you to remember to charge Suzy extra – your Pet Sitting Software has got you covered!

What else should a good Invoicing system have?  How about flexibility.  For one client – you may want to give them a 10% discount but another client might get $5 off.  One customer might need a custom line item because you had to pick up an extra bag of food for them and another might need their invoice due date to be pushed back a week.  Things happen and your invoicing system should give you the ability to be as flexible or as rigid as you need to be.

Money_IconThe last part of the invoice equation is your client paying you.  While getting paid can be a challenge – it’s important to make the process of getting paid as simple as possible.  Think about this.  Say you went to your local book store and they told you the only way to pay is to mail a check.  Do you think they would get a lot of people taking books and not sending the check?  Your invoicing system should also include a really simple and easy way for your clients to pay their invoice.  Even better if you have the option to get paid via Credit Card, e-check, PayPal or traditional cash or check.  Want to sweeten the deal a little more?  Your Invoicing system should make it easy for your clients to leave a tip for a job well done as well!

Our next feature in our “What is Pet Sitting Software” series will highlight Client Management.  Until then – happy sitting!

Friday Feature Focus – Client Naming Convention

This week’s Friday Feature Focus is all about your clients – and specifically what you call them.  What do we mean?  Well – Pet Sitting or Dog Walking is a unique business.  While our “clients” are all the human owners – we tend to know them by their pets!  I’m sure you’ve been there when you can’t quite remember a client’s name.  All you can think of is “Fido’s Mom and Dad”!  That’s actually very common.  Let’s face it – you meet the humans once during the Meet & Greet and then you typically don’t ever see them again (or at least not very often).  You do get to see Fido each and every day though!

Because of this unique arrangement – Time To Pet has created a unique way to label your clients!  This is called our Client Naming Convention.  With the Client Naming Convention – you can create rules for how your client’s names appear in various places throughout Time To Pet.  The three options are “John Doe”, “John Doe (Fido, Rocky)” or “Fido, Rocky (John Doe)”.  Setting the Client Naming Convention to how you know your clients will ensure you never experience one of those “Who the heck is John Doe?” moments!

You can adjust the Client Naming Convention in your Company Settings under the Miscellaneous group:

Client Naming Convention

After setting your Client Naming Convention and saving – search for some pets in the top search bar:

Pet Search with Client Naming Convention

You can also see the changes on your Scheduler:

Event on Scheduler with Client Naming Convention

These are just some of the places the Client Naming Convention will take effect!  Be sure to stay tuned for our next Friday Feature Focus and have a very safe and very successful holiday weekend!

What is Pet Sitting Software? Part 1: Scheduling

This is Part 1 in a series on “What is Pet Sitting Software?”
Stay tuned for our future posts in the coming weeks!

What_is_Pet_Sitting_Software-_Part_1For a pet sitter or dog walker – there is no tool more important than your schedule.  Your schedule is the heartbeat of your business.  Your schedule shows you all of your events and in what order you expect to complete them.  When your clients need more visits – you add them to your schedule and when your clients cancel visits – you take them off.  If you’ve never used Pet Sitting Software before, you probably use Google Calendar or maybe pen and paper to keep track of all of your visits.  While that definitely works – it can be hard to manage your schedule as your business grows.  On top of that – as your business grows, so does the time you spend doing visits, creating invoices, updating your clients, etc.  It truly is a snowball effect that zaps your time and energy.

One of the key features of a great Pet Sitting Software system is the schedule.  The schedule provides an up to date and live view of all of your visits.  You can reorder visits, add new events and cancel or delete services right from your schedule page.  This updates your calendar in real time to make sure you and your team know exactly what they need to be doing.

Perfect – but what makes a great schedule?  Well, to start you should be able to easily view your events how you’d like to whether that be in a day, week or month view.  Your events should give just enough detail about your visits without taking up the whole screen.  If you need more details, you should be able to click the event and view more.  And when you need to make a change – it should be as simple as dragging an event and dropping in somewhere else.

Calendar_IconYou might be saying to yourself – “That’s exactly what Google Calendar does” and you are partially right.  While the core features are similar (and that’s why Google Calendar is an awesome calendar tool) – the power of Pet Sitting Software lies in how the Schedule communicates with other parts of your system.  We’ll talk more about these features in a future post but imagine this.  When your client needs to add visits to your Schedule – instead of texting you or calling you, they login and request services.  You can simply review and approve their request which automatically adds the visits to your schedule and sends your client a confirmation!  Talk about simpler than the dreaded “Can you walk Fido tomorrow?” text while you are out caring for your other clients!

Now to really start to melt that snowball – how about when you approve those events for your client – their invoice is automatically created as well?  Yes please!  Your schedule should be integrated with your invoicing.  Why would you ever want to schedule events and then go back in and re-enter all of those visits on an invoice?  Scheduling and invoicing should be intrinsically linked which means when you add an event to your schedule, the related invoice adds a line item as well.  That type of communication is how you really start to shave off hours and hours of admin work.

Up next in our “What is Pet Sitting Software” series – we will take a closer look at Invoicing.  Until then, happy sitting!

What is Pet Sitting Software?

This is the introductory post in a series on “What is Pet Sitting Software?”
Check out Part 1 on Scheduling and Stay tuned for our future posts in the coming weeks!

laptop-691208_1280So you’ve started your pet sitting or dog walking company, you have a couple of clients and things are going really well!  It’s only a matter of time until you have a team of staff members, 100’s of clients and your business is a well oiled machine.  Except – you’re out walking a dog and one client texts you with their schedule for next week, another needs to cancel tomorrow morning and invoices all need to be created before the end of the day.  At that very moment – you cry out “There has got to be a BETTER way!”  Don’t worry – there is!  It is called Pet Sitting Software and when done right – it will help you manage your company as efficiently as possible giving you the time you need to grow your business, go on vacation, walk your own dogs or whatever you’d like to do.

You’ve probably heard of Pet Sitting Software but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is, what it does and how it helps your business.  We’ll don’t worry – we are here to give you the full run down!  At its very core – Pet Sitting Software is a type of Field Service Management software built specifically for a pet sitting or dog walking business.  By nature – pet sitting and dog walking happen “in the field” which means a great product needs to also go with you where you go – even if that is walking a dog through the field in your town!

forest-path-1032467_1920So Pet Sitting Software is mobile – but what else does is it do?  That’s a great question!  Great Pet Sitting Software is actually a collection of several smaller features and functions that all work together in harmony to increase your efficiency.  While the exact features and function can differ from product to product – there are several core features that should be included in every system.  These include Scheduling, Invoicing, Client Management and Staff Management.  There are lots of other bells and whistles that can help too but the big four are the meat and potatoes of Pet Sitting Software.

Over the next few weeks – we will dig a little deeper into each feature and explore what it is, what it does and why it helps your business.  At the end of this series – we will tie all of the features together and show you exactly how they work together to create Pet Sitting Software!  We will even show you a real-life use case of how pet sitting software can change the way you manage your business!

Until next time – happy sitting!

Friday Feature Focus – Schedule a Trip

Each and every Friday, we are going to highlight a feature in Time To Pet that makes running your pet care company simpler and more enjoyable!  Why you ask?  Well, let’s face it – the goal of any great pet sitting software should be to make your job easier!

Our first Friday Feature Focus is on Scheduling a Trip.  Picture this – your client has called you and up and needs three 30 minute visits per day for a week.  Seems easy enough to schedule.  You can add 21 individual visits or you can add three separate repeating events.  But wait – your client is leaving in the afternoon on the first day and coming home mid-morning on the last day.  Well that’s a little bit more confusing.  And three other clients just called with similar trips?!?  Oh no – now your simple scheduling job could take a lot longer.

Not with Time To Pet!  Our Schedule a Trip tool makes it super easy to schedule these requests.  Simply select the first and last day of your client’s trip, select the primary service they need and the primary staff member, select the times these events will happen and then check which events are needed.  If your client doesn’t need the first two visit of the day #1 – simply uncheck those.

2016-05-30 11_11_13-(10) Scheduling - Time To Pet

Now all of your events are scheduled with just a few clicks!

2016-05-30 11_13_44-(10) Scheduling - Time To Pet

For more information on Scheduling a Trip – check out our Help Article or watch our Help Video!


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