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Discussion Starter #1
I was outside walking a dog and talking to Adam, our head receptionist. I'll admit, he's not always my favorite person and I complain about him a lot... but I love him now!

He mentioned that he'd be pet sitting for a client tomorrow night and since for some reason or other the two pet sitters we refer clients to are no longer petsitting, we've had quite a few people looking for a new sitter. I told him I'd be really interested and he agreed! Said I was the kind of person he'd trust to refer people to :)

I think one visit is $13, two $22 and three $33 (per day). Something like $5 for each additional pet. Not too shabby for making some extra cash on the side since I only work about 30 hours a week and don't make a heck of a lot of money.

I'm available almost every day except Wednesday (class, lab, and work) and Thursday (my all day working day) but could drop by before work or school (around 7:30-8:00ish), and around lunch time (either on my way from lab to work, or on my lunch breadk at work) and I get off around 6:30, so after work is no problem. I also have Saturday and Sunday off from now on :)

He's had some interest in overnight stays, but since I've got my own furbabies I don't think I'd be too keen on doing that... unless it was well worth my while (I GUESS I could let Addison sleep with my mom now and then :roll: ).

So what do you think? Sounds great doesn't it? :)
 

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Yeah go for it. You never know what will happen, it might be something you might want to go somewhere with.
 

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Couple of the pet sitting businesses here charge $60 for an over night.. one woman I was talking to who owns the business says she pays college students $30 of the $60 to get there around 6 or 7 PM.. walk the dog, check the mail etc and stay the night. Walk the dog before they leave at 6 or 7 AM in the morning.

Good luck on this new venture! Youd be perfect for this.
 

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Sounds good. This would be perfect for some extra cash on the side and it wouldn't take up too much time out of the day :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I gave Adam my number tonight and he's going to print up some flyers... and I even get my own business cards :) hehe... I'm a dork
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I got the pamplet advertising thing he made for me today... and with a few minor changes to better suit me I thin its great!! A lot of things on it were some I'd never think to include without someone else asking for them...

what do you think?

Front page:
[email protected]
Pet Sitting and Much More
"Happy dogs stay home!"
with my name and number on the bottom

Page 1
"When you have to be away from home for a vacation, emergency or perhapse just due to a hectic work schedule, questions often arise about who will care for your pet. Whether it's for a day or a month [email protected] Pet Sitting can help!

Having your pet cared for at home has many advantages. Your pet gets to stay in an environment it knows, has the same diet and routine, and doesn't have to remain in an unfamiliar place with other animals. In addition, you get the assurance that a trained person who won't forget is taking care of your pet and that friends and neighbors aren't being imposed upon. As a side benefit, we can also bring in the newspaper and mail, water houseplants, and turn on lights in teh evening so the house look occupied.

[email protected] puts your mind at ease and allows you to carry on with life. Remember, a happy dog stays at home... and with [email protected] your pet will be very happy!"

Page 2
Fees and Services
1 visit per day - $13
2 visits per day $23
3 visits per day -$33
additional dog - $5 per day
additional cat - $3 per day

Holidays are an additional $5 per day:
Thanksgiving, Chrismas Eve and day, New Years Eve and day

Small animals - ask your petsitter
Feeding fish - no charge

and he had "outsdie regular route area - $5 per day" but I had him make a note to change it to something about a limited area and number of customers (to stress making reservations) because I have school 2 mornings a week and work 1 morning a week... and I'm fine going to houses early in the morning but don't want to do more than a few and won't drive all over town.

Page 3
Other Services Offered
Teeth brushed (willing pets) - $5
Nail trim - $10 (he had $9, but its a weird number, lol)
Brush (dog or cat) - no charge (he had ask your sitter, but I wouldn't charge for something like that)
Last minute reservation (less than 3 day notice) - $10
Cancellation (less than 48 hour notice) - $10
*no refund after services have begun
Vacuum last visit = $5 and up
Pick up mail/packages - no charge
take in newspaper - no charge
put out trash/recyclables - no charge
water small number of plants - no charge
water large number of plants - ask your sitter
water lawn - ask your sitter
adjust lighting/thermostat - no charge

He also had a $5 charge for each key pick up and drop off, but I told him to leave it off... since I'd need a key to get in I have no problem coming to pick it up
and also had $5 and up for pool maintenance... but I don't do pools! so he's taking that off also.

Back cover:
About Us
[email protected] consists of people who love animals and care about their well-being. We are committed to you and your pet and will give you the best care possible. Our job is to make your time away as stress free as possible for your pet and we will do our best to accomplish this goal! Call today for your reservation and make your dog a happy dog!


Now here's my only issue... I didn't ask him at work tonight, but will when I give him my list of changes... he said he had made the original brochure because his mother was thinking of doing something like this, so he was doing all sorts of research and getting prepared to help her, then she decided not to do it. So this whole "[email protected]" thing... I don't think it actually exists as a true business. I need to ask more details. I was thinking he just meant that if a client came to him asking about petsitters he'd mention me... I didn't realize it was SO MUCH information being given to clients... I just can't handle more than a few at a time.

But assuming I can do as few as I'd like and under my own guidelines and all... does all the pricing and whatnot seem ok? Anything else I should consider adding?

He also said something about paperwork the client would have to fill out... he had it all already. Hm... lots of questions to be answered :)
 

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Our "dog walker" does require paperwork to be filled out at first. Even when we got our new dog they came over to meet her and took down some information for her the weekend before they started walking her. They also had us let them come in and out of the door a few times to let her know it was "okay". You may want to put a note about initial visit being required before services begin.

I personally, don't think that a "last minute" visit is 3 days in advance. We can add on or cancel up until the day of. I realize our pet sitters may be a bit leanient, however, I personally think 24 hours is more suitable.

The typos don't matter because you were probably just reading off the sheet and typing it on here, right? Or did you copy and paste it - if so, let me know and i'll point out the ones i found.

I think the concept is great, he did a lot of research and it shows. In my opinion the wording could be a condensed or some descriptives, etc. could be eliminated/reworded. For example, this paragraph:

When you have to be away from home for a vacation, emergency or perhapse just due to a hectic work schedule, questions often arise about who will care for your pet. Whether it's for a day or a month [email protected] Pet Sitting can help!

Maybe more effect if it read more along the lines of this:

When away from home due to a vacation, emergency or hectic work schedule, concerns often arise about the care of your pet. Whether your trip lasts a day or a month, [email protected] Pet Sitting can help.

Of course, I'm not suggesting it say exactly that, but that would be my suggestion. Something that is VERY important to me when I am reading a pamphlet about services is that it comes across professional and buttoned up. Especially if I'm going to be trusting these people in my home! *ducking bullets*

First page/cover, second paragrah:
Having your pet cared for at home has many advantages. Your pet gets to stay in an environment it knows, has the same diet and routine, and doesn't have to remain in an unfamiliar place with other animals.

Same suggestion above, but also, he brings up all the key advantages to having your pet stay at home, however, how about marketing this toward them being able to do something *nice* for their pet. I know that sounds stupid the way I worded it, but right now it looks as though you are trying to convince them of the reason to use a pet sitter rather than board, etc. - while we all know that IS the purpose you can put a spin on it that may be more appealing. Such as:

"Allowing your pet the opportunity to receive care at home......."

With this wording, they feel like they are making the decision and they are the ones who are deciding that it's better to have someone come to their home and they aren't doing it just because you are telling them to.



Um, about that key thing....if you guys really run with this...I know many pet sitter services do provide a lockout service. Not sure if you are interested in that or not, but if you have regulars and one of them locks their keys in the house, they'd be able to call you and for like 25 bucks or something, they can call you and you can let them in. It's cheaper than a locksmith, is a comforting service to offer to people and frankly, it doesn't happen that often.

On the back cover, he also refers to you guys as "people". You may want to consider rewording that to something along the lines of "staff", "trained animal enthusiasts" - whatever, but not just "people".

*dodging more bullets.....and I think that last one was a tomato* ;)

Seriously, I think it's great - he DID a lot of research. And, that's a good point about whether "Happy @Home" is a real business or not. You may not want your name attached to something like this only to find out there already is a business with this name....YIKES

Another thing to think about...do you really want YOUR name and number on these flyers? If this is his thing and you were only thinking of kinda signing on as needed, you may not want all these people calling you because chances are people will call and request timeframes that are not condusive to your schedule. Perhaps he should get the calls and filter the appointments first? Just a thought.

Good luck. This sounds like so much fun. I'm jealous!

[/i]
 

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AddFran I want you to help me when I set up
a business! Those were all great suggestions.
I will be needing a dog sitter in the future so
it was interesting to hear the services and
how they handled it.
 

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Too bad you are not here , I am going to need someone later in the year. :wink:

Actually I have a good friend down the street that has animals and we trade off watching each others furbabies when needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
AddFran... have I told you lately that I love you? :)

Ok, the typos were my fault... I was looking and typing and caught a few, but wasn't paying too much attention. The only thing I found on the actual flyer was "call today for your reservation today and make your dog a happy dog" but I fixed that before I typed it...

I agree its worded kinda funny and I think I'll try to spruce it up a bit. I also thought the reservation of 3 days seemed a bit weird, but I may only bring it down to two days just because I'd like a little bit of time to plan out where I'm going, when I'm going, and if I have nothing I'd like to make plans to go out or something.

As far as I know, the flyer will be specifically for me. Business cards as well. He'd love to do something like this, but with school, work, and church (he does all sorts of speakings all over the place) he just doesn't have the time. Like I said, this was originally for his mother but she doesn't want to do it anymore. I'm a little learly of keeping the name of a "business" on the flyer if it wasn't really a business to begin with, and I even did a search but didn't come up with anything that was specifically called "Happy[email protected]"

I think its MY turn for research now... I've got all weekend to change this thing around to where I'm happy with it.

One last thing. My schedule is pretty set for the next few months (hoping work stays the same anyway) and its pretty much:
Monday - school 9:30-10:05
work 1:00-6:30ish
Tuesday - work 1:00-6:30ish
Wednesday - school 9:30-1:10(usually get out sooner)
work 1:00-6:30ish
(straight from school, but can go in later if I need to since they know about school... so one or two afternoon visits are ok)
Thursday - work 8:30-6:30ish (hour lunch break somewhere in there)
Friday - work 1:00-6:30ish
Saturday and Sunday - free all day

Should I make some sort of note about when I'm available for visits or do you think it'd be better to wait and talk about it to the clients? Its really just Wed and Thurs that might be a problem, but I'm fine going before school/work and on my breaks if I need to?

Thanks so much for all the great advice!
 

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I think you should wait and talk to potential clients and see how it pans out. I'd be afraid that you'd deter people from contacting you in the first place if you put restrictions on the literature, ya know?

It seems like your schedule does allow a morning, afternoon and evening walk availability for the most part, so there's no reason to print it on there.

If you need any more help let me know. I love this type of stuff. I'd also love to start an animal related business that would allow me to spend more time at home with my son and schedule my own hours. In the last few months I've really been considering it, I've been doing a lot of research. Just got to take the plunge eventually I guess. Not until I save enough money though! 8O
 

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AddFran where do you live? Id hire you in a nano second! You be great at this too. You seem to have attention to detail. Are either one of you in the Tucson area???
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, so I decided to redo everything so its all my own. I'm going to call it Creature Comfort Pet Sitting, and nobody around has the name so I think I'm safe on that one. But I could only find a few area sitters with prices on their website and they were the same (or cheaper) than what I had planned, AND they were all members of Pet Sitters International, insured, etc.

So I dropped the prices a little. I still need to find a really cute way to decorate that flyers before I print any out... but here's the basics:

Front page - NO CLUE!

Inside cover -
Why Choose a Pet Sitter?

For your pet:
*Reduced Stress. Your pet stays in its own familiar secure environment where all the sights, smells and sounds say “Home!”
*Diet and Exercise. Your diet and exercise routines are followed, with no interruption to upset your pet.
*No “Travel Trauma.” Travel in a vehicle to boarding facility or kennel may upset your pet.
*Health Concerns. With a pet sitter, there is minimal exposure to illness of other animals.
*TLC. Most importantly, your pet receives love and personal attention while you are away.

For you:
*Travel. You won’t be inconvenienced or upset by transporting your pet.
*No Imposition. You don’t have to impose on a friend, neighbor or relative to care for your pet, but instead rely on a sitter who will put you pet’s needs first.
*Security. Your home is more secure with a sitter than left unattended.
*Peace of Mind. While you’re away, you can feel confident your pet is in capable, caring hands.
*Special Services. Watering plants, bringing in the mail and many more!

Middle -

Out of Town / Vacation

$18 per day includes:
*Two 30-45 minute visits
AM between 7:00-8:30
PM between 6:30-8:00
Dogs: Walks/outdoor time
Cats: Clean litter boxes
*Feeding and fresh water
*Playtime and companionship
*Brining in mail, packages, and newspaper
*Taking trash/recyclables to curb
*Watering houseplants
*Adjusting lights and thermostat
To your specifications

$25 per day includes:
*Three 30-45 minute visits
AM between 7:00-8:30
Noon between 11:00-2:00
PM between 6:30-8:00
Everything included above, with the addition of an afternoon walk and/or playtime.


Afternoon Visits

$8 per day includes:
*One 20-30 minute afternoon visit
between 11:00-2:00
Dogs: Walks/outdoor time
Cats: Clean litter boxes
*Playtime and companionship



Third page -
Optional Services and Additional Fees

Additional Pet(s) $3 each per day
Medication $2 per day, per pet
Teeth brushed $5
Nails trimmed $10

Small animal care $5 per day and up
*Birds, fish, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc.



Holidays
$5 extra for the following:

Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
New Years Eve
New Years Day



Note: There is no charge for basic grooming. Your pets will be clean and happy when you arrive home. No muddy paws, guaranteed! Complimentary brushing is offered to all willing pets as well.

Full baths may be available, time permitting. Ask for details!


Back Cover -

Additional Information

An initial visit is required before any services will be performed. This is done at no cost to you.

This visit is to go over any questions and concerns you may have, as well as to get to know your pets. We will discuss your normal daily routine, feeding, medication, any health or behavioral issues to be addressed, etc.

This visit is also important to establish a relationship with your pet. This will help to put your pet at ease before you are gone.


Contact Information

Name
Phone:

If unavailable, leave a brief message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

E-mail:
[email protected]


Due to limited availability and service area, a reservation is required – the sooner the better, so call today!
 

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Looks pretty good! I wish you were around here...I had to pay $10 for one visit with one sitter and $14 for the other sitter. (Second sitter was a better...stayed longer and played with them more).
One thing I did encounter was the ones I used did not charge extra if you had 2 pets...only after you got more than 2 did they charge more. But of course that's up to you!
Our second petsitter had a sheet that she left after each visit where she left notes about how the cats had been...she put if she brushed them, how she played with them, what kind of mood they were in, or whatever. I really liked it because it gave me a little more insight about how they were doing when we were gone and it made me feel better about leaving them.
If you would like links to the websites of the petsitters I used (just for ideas) then I will PM them to you.
By the way, I like the name of your business. :D Good luck and keep us updated on how everything is going.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks :) I've been trying to get a good idea of how to do things by looking at others, but don't want to just copy off someone else (especially anyone in my area... but other states might be ok :wink: )

Right now I can't for the life of me get it all lined up right in Microsoft Word. I've got the three columns just fine, but I can't get it so I can fold it into three sections without one getting cut off!!

Also, any idea how much color copies usually run at places like Staples or Kinkos? I have a feeling it'll be a lot more than I want to pay, but will probably end up cheaper than printing them out on my computer (uses a ton of ink).

I gave up on the clip art. I can't find any that fit together really well... but I did each section (page) with a border and its shaded in with really pale pastel colors... really cute :)
 

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If you know how to use powerpoint it may be a lot more helpful. Especially since you can do individual borders and make it easily more pamphlet style if you want.

Good job with the research and lowering the prices a bit to stay competitive with the others that may be licensed and insured, etc.

There is a local publication that is distributed free here in the city and every year they take a viewers choice awards survey. People vote on the best vet practice, pet sitters, dog walkers, pet stores, etc. I copied and pasted the info. on the best pet sitters in chicago, thought maybe you could scroll htrough their info. and it may help you.

Best In-Home Petcare Service
Pet & Plant Care
(312) 266-8689, www.PetAndPlant.com
1st Runner Up: Leader of the Pack
(773) 338-4082, www.LeaderOfThePack.info
2nd Runner Up: UrbanTailz
(773) 510-1812, www.UrbanTailz.com


Best Dog Walking Service
Chicago Dog Walkers
(773) 394-9961, www.Chicago-DogWalkers.com
1st Runner Up: Watchdogs
(847) 877-3004, www.WatchDoggies.com
2nd Runner Up: Pet & Plant Care
(312) 266-8689, www.PetAndPlant.com
 
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