Operating a dog walking or pet sitting business is hard work. You are required to balance the needs of your customers, pets, staff, and the business itself while trying to earn a profit and grow revenues. On top of all that, you’re working outside every day and battling Mother Nature. While being around dogs all day is very rewarding, it can be very demanding on your business and your resources. Honing in on your business model and the services you offer can make it a little easier to allocate resources, predict staff pay and build your business. But no matter how much planning and structure you create, one of the biggest challenges you face as a business owner is staff turnover.

There are a few factors that can contribute to staff turnover, including the overall economic landscape in your area, your staff hiring procedures and compensation packages, your company’s size and growth and company policies. Unfortunately, there is no magic answer when it comes to staff turnover, and it is often a juggling act between these contributing factors to see which combination works best for your business. And as these factors change over time, so should your practices.

The overall economic landscape in your area is important to consider for a few reasons. When the economy is doing well, some companies will be able to pay a higher wage, offer more flexible hours or additional benefits compared to what you can offer for the same labor pool. See what research you can do to determine what these companies are offering and do your best to be competitive. Try to get creative with how you attract people based on what motivates them to be a dog walker or pet sitter. Some candidates are attracted to the opportunity to work with dogs or cats, a specific pay rate, flexible hours, or even being able to provide overnight care outside of other commitments they may have. Having a good understanding of your marketplace conditions will better prepare you for the different types of challenges you will face when trying to attract and retain your staff. Use this understanding to your advantage and offer the work, pay, hours and benefits you think will work best for your business.

Staff hiring procedures and compensation packages can contribute to attracting and retaining the right fit for your business. When hiring, make sure you are asking the proper questions to best align with your business model and goals. If you need a part-time dog walker or pet sitter, make sure to ask whether the candidate has another source of income in order to earn enough money to support themselves. If you need a full-time staff member make sure to ask whether the salary you provide matches with their income goals. Make sure to be clear on what position requirements you have to find the best match possible.

Your company’s size, growth and polices are important factors when determining hiring needs and pay rates. Company size and growth considerations include how often you need to hire, how much additional work you can provide your staff, and what additional services or jobs you can provide. Policies to consider that can affect staff include night or weekend work, last-minute additions, or holiday work. Making sure you are on the same page as your staff regarding these factors can create a better understanding of expectations, and therefore help to keep staff happy and to minimize turnover.

Running a service business can be challenging. The more open communication you have with your customers and your staff, and the clearer you can be with your policies and procedures, will usually result in a well-run business with happier staff and less turnover. Remember to stay true to your business model and to set realistic growth goals to make sure your customers and staff stay on the same page as you. With everyone on the same page, you should see more growth and more money for everyone.

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