Depending on the size of your business and your business goals, staffing needs can play a vital role. Servicing your customers should be your top priority. Making sure you are properly staffed, and with the right type of person, is a great way to ensure success. Your team members will require sick days and vacation days. In this line of work, emergencies like flat tires, a sick dog, or a sudden change in scheduling can affect your ability to service your customers. Make sure you are prepared for the known and the unknown challenges of owning a dog walking or pet sitting company by staffing appropriately.
If you have a one-person business and do not plan to grow beyond yourself, you should consider forming alliances with other companies in your area who are in a similar situation. You may be able to cover for each other and not have to incur any added costs. Consider it a barter system where you help each other during the year on an equal basis. One-person businesses should also consider having a trusted friend or family member cover appointments when you are not available. And lastly, a one-person business can hire temporary workers to help as needed.
For businesses with scalable goals, staffing is essential. The overall goal in staffing properly is to make sure all appointments are covered. For larger companies, making sure there is backup staff available in case of emergency is essential. Many companies structure their staff by geography to stay efficient on routes and complete as many appointments as they can in a period of time. Another variable to staffing is time. You may have multiple customers in one geographic location and some of your staff may not have time to fit all of the appointments in. At this point, consider bringing on additional team members to cover the overflow. Also, you can consider taking on the extra work by yourself (depending on your responsibilities).
As your dog walking and pet sitting company continues to grow, so will your staffing needs. Stay a step ahead by anticipating hiring issues in advance. Look to see what areas are leading your growth and prepare to hire staff in those areas before you find yourself short on team members. By hiring the right staff members in advance, they’ll be in the right place at the right time for your growing business. You can consider segmenting a handful of customers in a busy area for a new staff member who will take on new business in that area as it grows over time. This takes the burden off of one dog walker as another comes in to help out, all while growing your business.
Emergency scenarios can be stressful for everyone involved in the dog walking and pet sitting business. Make sure you are staffed properly in the event of an emergency. Think of the worst-case scenario for your business as it related to staffing. What if a walker called in sick? What if two walkers called in sick? What if a walker quits on the spot without any notice? What if a walker got a flat tire? Make sure you have contingency plans in place to cover any scenario. Do you have a substitute or backup walker available? Are you available to cover? A prepared business is a successful business.
Hiring a full-time or part-time manager can be very helpful once your business really starts to grow. You can assign various responsibilities to your manager, including covering all backup appointments or taking on new customers until a new staff member is hired. Bringing in a manager can free up your time to focus on other aspects of the business, such as marketing or networking, which helps build the business even larger.
Turnover is inevitable in all businesses, regardless of the industry. The dog walking and pet sitting industry turnover can be comparable to that of the restaurant industry, as both are service industries with similar pay structures. Dog walking and pet sitting involves being outdoors year-round, and it involves a lot of physical activity, both of which can create staffing challenges. Make sure you communicate these challenges to your staff so they know what to expect and to make sure they are up for the challenge. The weeks leading up to the winter months are a popular time for staff turnover. Spring is another season that can offer staffing challenges. As a precaution, consider placing help wanted ads in local publications or websites during these times of high turnover.
No matter your staffing needs and challenges, pet owners appreciate the visibility and accountability that Pet Check provides. Your customers will receive a real-time email when your staff scans in and scans out of each appointment. They will have access to scan times and walker comments, a GPS map of where the appointment took place, and photos. This level of information provides the accountability pet owners are demanding, and it helps them to feel more at ease that their pets are being taken care of.