We talk about how to handle your business like a boss!
How to Bring on Staff and Become a Leader in the Pet Care Industry with Gus Elfving of Pet Peeps
Gus Elfving is the owner of Pet Peeps, one of Washington D.C.’s top pet care companies. Gus started his business in 2006 and has worked tirelessly to raise the standards of professionalism in the pet care industry. He has served on several committees for the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and is the immediate past President and former Vice President of the National Capital Area Professional Pet Sitters Association. He also supports several other communities and organizations.
In this episode you’ll learn:
How Gus went from trial by fire to really digging in and becoming an expert in his field
Clever ways to think about your branding
When it’s time to hire and how to do it
The debate: Employees or contractors?
How to find and keep stellar team members
How to find hires online
How to avoid burnout
How to do business in this new on demand society
How to network with other local small business owners
The rewards that come with owning your own business
EP 301 - The Pros and Cons of Franchising with Grace Steckler
Grace Steckler is literally a saving grace to hundreds of pet owners in Washington, DC. Founded in 2000, Saving Grace Pet Care has grown to be a thriving business with 25 employees and three franchises. In addition to Grace turning her business into one of the most successful pet care companies in Washington, DC, she has also owned a cleaning company and a handyman service. Being an entrepreneur has brought about many challenges, some great accomplishments, and a great sense of personal satisfaction for Grace. It has also allowed her to remain a stay at home mom to her three children, to travel, and to have a freedom that would be difficult to attain otherwise.
Grace has taken a very interesting path in life with several twists and turns. She has combined many different life experiences from living as a nun, to teaching high school science, to traveling abroad, to running her own pet care business. She took lessons she learned from each of these experiences to create a highly successful business. Her teaching background has allowed her to easily keep her furry clients and team on task while others often struggle to stay calm and in control. Her love of travel, new languages, and cultures keeps her motivated to put lots of systems and processes in place to keep her business running efficiently without her. It’s broken down to a science at this point - no pun intended.
In this episode Britt and Grace go into great detail on what it was like for Grace to franchise her business. Saving Grace Pet Care’s key to success is focusing on caring for it’s large team of 25 employees. This includes making sure they all have a healthy work life balance, are compensated very well, and are allowed to thrive on their own terms while still working effectively within the team and the franchise. The name of the game is “Win-Win”. Grace wants each of her employees to feel empowered and part of a larger mission, which has allowed her to keep many team players around for many years. Grace believes that the happier your team is the smoother your business runs. She shows her appreciation in many different ways. For example, randomly during the cold winter months she’ll email each of her team members a Starbucks gift card with a note thanking them for all their hard work.
Franchising is something only a few brave souls ever tackle during their business endeavors. Grace goes into great detail on the pros and cons of franchising, what your business goals need to be in order for the cost of franchising to be worth the investment, and how she targets areas to open new franchises. For Grace, her franchising journey started with a few google inquires, several interviews with many franchise lawyers, and then a lot of pain staking paperwork that took a year to get in order. In the end it was all worth it. She felt that empowering her team not as managers, but as business owners with the most mutually beneficial outcome for both her and each individual business owner. Franchising was the perfect blend of business, teaching, and freedom for the Saving Grace team.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How Grace went from a 12 year career as a nun teaching high schoolers to becoming a business owner
- How she carried over skills from previous career as a teacher to her pet care business
- How to clearly communicate the job’s ins and outs to new hires and what that teaching process looks like
- How allowing her managers to work remotely has caused them to feel empowered and stay with the company long term.
- How implementing a win-win strategy in her company has created long term happy employees
- How to go from a single business to a franchise
- How to find help with hiring through Jazz HR.
- How to know if franchising is a good fit for you
- How changing locations can keep you from burning out.
- How she integrates her business into her family life which allows her job to feel less like work and more like life.
EP 208 - How to Accelerate Growth and Become a Leader with David Levin of Citizen Hound SF
David Levin is the owner and CEO of Citizen Hound - a world class dog walking company located in San Francisco. David started his business in 2011 after working in the fast paced world of copy writing and advertising. Looking for more work/life balance, he decided to start a dog walking business. With his background in marketing and advertising, combined with his love of dogs, people and the great outdoors, David built his business based on creating long term committed relationships with his clients, their pups and his staff. His hard work and dedication has earned Citizen Hound countless awards including - Best Dog Walkers in San Francisco 2017 and 2015 in Bay Woof Magazine. Best Dog Walkers in the Bay Area 2017 in The Bay Area A-List. #2 in the A List 2016 and 2015. #4 in 2014 and 2013. And Best Dog Walker in San Francisco by the SF Examiner 2017. David also cofounded a Dog Walker Certification Course in response to San Francisco requiring a dog walker permit to walk dogs commercially. David is the type of entrepreneur who faces challenges straight on, and fights to find the solutions and answers to overcome his biggest obstacles.
In this episode you’ll learn:
1. How to get your business off the ground and accelerate growth.
2. How important relationships are in a service based business.
3. The pros and cons of buying a client list vs spending the same amount on advertising and sales.
4. Whether or not you should take out a loan in the beginning of your business.
5. Should you buy more client lists in order to expand your service business?
6. The difference between buying a client list and buying a true business.
7. The difference between selling a business and selling a client list.
8. Why systems are key to your business.
9. What if you were in a coma for a month? What if you break your leg? Can your business run itself?
10. How word-of-mouth is a snowball effect and how to get your brand out there
11. Why your website is key to your business’ success. It’s your store front as a mobile service business.
12. Why SEO is key to your business being #1 on Google and why this must be a priority for your mobile service business
Pro tip: Look at the businesses that are on top of Google search pages and how does your website compare?
13. How to develop your leadership skills as you build your team.
14. Why personal development and managing your stress levels are key to being a solid leader.
15. Ways to keep your service very personal even as you scale.
16. How to define your business model. Every pet care business is so different. Some businesses like David’s only offer five day a week dog hikes, others are fill in pet sitters for other pet sitters, some might just do one-on-one pet sit visits. There’s so many ways to model a business and the most important things is to create a business that fits your demographic, goals and vision for your future.
To learn more about Citizen Hound check out citizenhoundsf.com.
EP 207 - How to Start, Grow and SELL Your Pet Care Business with Kristin Morrison
In this episode of Handling Business we interview Kristin Morrison, who is a celebrity in the world of pet sitting and dog walking! Kristin is the creator the Six Figure Pet Business Academy, the author of two books, Six Figure Pet Business and Prosperous Pet Business, a well known speaker, a podcast host and has successfully sold her own large pet sitting business. In the last 18 years Kristin has coached business owners in 49 of the 50 States. She has also produced countless webinars and products that have helped business owners around the world go from being burned out and unprofitable, to becoming business owners who see massive profits and gain more freedom in their lives. Kristin has a new book that she has just released called 30 Days to Start and Grow Your Pet Sitting Business.
What you’ll learn:
- How Kristin sold her own pet sitting business for six figures and how she prepared her business for sale by not just selling a client list, but by putting the processes and systems in place to get a higher valuation.
- Tips for battling burnout and how to work towards freedom from tedious long hours.
- How to hire a great team so that you can take weekends off, achieve a four hour work week and scale your business so that you can travel.
- How to stay inspired and creative when it comes to running your business.
- How to think beyond your service business and become an expert in your field.
- Kristin shares her new book that’s full of step by step instructions for moving your business forward. She also includes tips that her coaching clients have implemented to increase their sales and improve their margins.
- How to implement modern technology with your business so that you don’t lose clients to the big app giants just because they are looking for the ondemand booking and tracking experience.
- How Handlr can take your business to the next level by turning your business into a well-oiled system that can be sold as a viable business instead of just selling your client list for a fraction of the price.
EP 206 - How to Build a Pet Care Business Empire with Courtney DeDi
Courtney DeDi founded DiOGi Pet Services in 2010 to provide exemplary, professional dog walking and pet sitting services to the in-town Atlanta neighborhoods specializing in caring for pets with behavioral issues and special needs. What began as a 2 person company, DiOGi quickly gained the confidence and love of Atlanta's people and pets. Today, with more than 23 employees, DiOGi has become Atlanta's number one resource for professional pet sitting, dog walking and dog training.
Courtney has always had a love of pets and has been working in the pet industry for more than 14 years. She is a PetTECH Pet First Aid and CPR instructor, a member of the ASPCA, has volunteered for many different Humane Societies, organized fundraisers for EARS – (Emergency Animal Rescue Services) during the Hurricane Katrina Rescue Effort, worked as a dog handler and Assistant Manager for Central Bark Doggy Day Care in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and is now the Executive Director of a nonprofit called DiOGi CARES in addition to volunteering with other pet rescue groups. She is a graduate of the National Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program and continues to participate in small business programs to continue shaping DiOGi Pet Services into the best dog walking and pet sitting company possible. This summer, Courtney is opening Club DiOGi, a boutique, high-end daycare and grooming salon. She and her staff are committed to providing the best care for all of Atlanta’s pets when their humans are at work and play.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How to start a pet care business with zero upfront capital
- Whether or not you should go cold turkey and start your business, or have a side gig while you get it started
- How to network like a boss and be a leader in your community
- How to open a boutique dog daycare to complement your dog walking business
- How to know when you should bring on your first team member
- How to create leadership roles within your company and create fun goals to achieve a positive culture
- How Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program inspired Courtney to scale her business and achieve her dream of opening up her boutique dog daycare
- Why finding a niche is key to creating a successful business
- How Handlr has helped DiOGi continue to scale by offering a local and professional option for ondemand scheduling for their clients
- Why it’s important to offer your clients an ondemand app so that they don’t look for the convenience that apps like Wag and Rover offer
- How using Handlr keeps your client list private and protects your business’ assets by providing a three-way chat to give your clients, management and staff a way to streamline communication
- Why it’s better to find a software that works well for your business instead of building it from scratch
- How to create a company culture when you own a mobile service business
- Why Club DiOGi is a whole new type of doggy daycare that is committed to protecting your dog’s mental and physical well being. Club DiOGi provides a calm, safe and fun space for little dogs. By providing small, personalized groups, training games, Zen nap rooms, and even doggy puzzles, Club DiOGi aims to treat their canine members like royalty.
- How to plan and budget for opening up a brick-and-mortar business
- How to be a rockstar entrepreneur
Courtney’s favorite saying:
“I will not be governed by the tranny of immediacy” - unknown
EP 205 - Why Taking Really Good Care of Your Employees is the Key to Success with Adina Silberstein
In this episode, we sit down with Adina Silberstein who is the founder, President and CEO of award-winning, Philadelphia-based professional pet sitting, dog walking and force-free, holistic wellness company, Queenie’s Pets®, one of the largest pet care companies in the city. She is a business and leadership coach and a Certified Canine Massage Therapist. Adina is committed to making the lives of pets and their humans better by supporting her clients & communities in learning and practicing holistic, fear-free, force-free and pain-free care for all companion animals. Adina is an active member of many professional associations, including Pet Sitters International, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, the Pet Professional Guild and more. Adina sits on the Philadelphia Animal Advisory Committee, a team of 10 pet professionals from across the animal disciplines that advises Philadelphia City Council and the city’s Mayor on all matters of the laws governing animals and their management - from companion animals, to the equine police units to wildlife and oversight of the main city shelter.
Adina is a writer for national & local pet-related blogs, including Dogster.com, Catster.com & thephillydog.com. A graduate of American University as well as the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How to take really good care of your employees
- How to take your mobile service business to the next level by creating systems and processes that prioritize efficiency, boundaries and profitability
- The pros and cons of opening up a brick-and-mortar shop for your mobile service business
- The importance of continuous business education in order to be a solid leader
- The benefits of working with a business coach like Adina
- How to get involved in your community to grow your business and give back
Best Pet Business Podcast
This was absolutely my favorite pet business podcast out there. It’s the most informative, straight forward podcast supporting our industry. I wish there were more episodes.
Amazing Pet Care and Business Podcast!
I own a pet care business and these podcasts have been great motivation to keep my business growing. The tips are all easily actionable and the speakers are a lot of fun to listen to! The most helpful question addressed so far was employee v.s. contractor, I was in the middle of that debate at the time that podcast aired. It helped me decide to go the contractor route.