When entering the business of pet care, there are a couple of things no one tells you. There are of course the things you should do but, just as important, there are things you don’t do. Life is Woof has built a successful track record in the pet care industry, and we would like to use our knowledge and experience to make sure that your dog daycare business is starting off with its right paw forward. Maybe you are thinking about starting a pet care business, or you recently opened your doors. Either way, here are five mistakes you should avoid, especially during that pivotal early stage.
Mistake 1: You’re exhausted
It’s easy to get burned out on your work, but there are some time management options we can offer to help you keep your business flowing steadily. When you love animals, you tend to love them more than yourself. That’s a problem for people in pet care. Regular jobs have hours and vacations and breaks but in pet care, your four-legged clients may need 24-hour care, and so you tend to push those boundaries. Many professionals in the pet care industry don’t set aside vacation time for themselves. There is a simple solution to keep yourself and your business in tip-top shape: set hours of operation. Get strict with your schedule and book two vacation weeks a year for self-love.
Mistake 2: Falling behind on your inbound payments
Payment can come from all directions. People may want to use methods such as PayPal, Swipe, Square, and go through your website, in addition to more traditional forms of payment like credit cards, checks, and cash. You can spend hours a week struggling through invoices and bills trying to figure out if you’ve been paid or not. That’s a big time sink and a potentially tough situation for your bank account. You don’t want to realize that someone didn’t pay you six months ago. Chasing down clients for payment seems unprofessional. Virtual bookkeeping programs can solve those problems for you, as can limiting your payment methods so that you only take cash, cards, and PayPal. This will turn hours of bookkeeping into a simplified process.
Mistake 3: Your business doesn’t stand out
If your business looks like every other pet care business in the area, people won’t choose you. Worse, they may even have used your services before but were unable to relocate you for a follow-up visit. Strong branding equals strong value. If you run your business like it’s generic, you’ll stay generic. Consider the branding of stores like Target and K-Mart. These two companies sell similar products, but one thrives while the other struggles. You need to take time and make a logo, a slogan, a clean matching website, and value your business.
Mistake 4: You’re undercutting your own business
Sometimes you charge off of what you ”feel” you need, but is it what your business actually needs? If you can’t break even or are costing your business money, you won’t have long to fix the problem before the financial gap catches up to you. Come up with a pricing structure and strategies. That will allow you to offer regular pricing, as well as discounts, and tiered pricing for different services.
Mistake 5: You’ve made booking mistakes
Sometimes keeping track of everything on your phone calendar just isn’t enough. One day before you know it, you’ll be double booked or triple booked, which can lead to some messy situations. Even worse, it can lead to missing out on visits, making for some very angry clients who are unlikely to give your business another chance in a growing and competitive industry. Remember, you are working with living animals with needs just like your own—and pet parents who hold their four-legged friends in high value. Streamlining your appointment booking will prevent someone from saying “I sent you an email two months ago booking this date, why isn’t this date available now?” One tip: don’t let your clients book through every form of communication known to man. Find a software system that will allow all of your clients to book in one place so it never causes drama.
Want help learning how to avoid these pitfalls or digging yourself out of them? Start by contacting Life Is Woof and let our experience work for you as a consulting service. You can schedule an appointment to get your doghouse in order today at www.lifeiswoof.net.