10 Habits That Dramatically Increase Tips
Whether working full-time or part-time as an independent contractor with The Pet Gal, there are steps you can take to grow your income. Along with advertising and building a solid client base, you can increase your personal revenue by upping your level of service to earn additional tips. We spoke with The Pet Gal’s top tip earners to create a comprehensive list of proven techniques they practice to earn tips.
1. Take Great Photos
Photos are the single best way to show your client that their pet is happy, healthy, and doing great while they’re gone. If the pet is happy the client is happy, and reassured, satisfied clients, are more likely to tip.
Always prioritize taking quality, clear photos of pets with happy expressions. Avoid sending clients photos of dogs with signs of stress (pinned ears, tucked tail, lip licking, yawning, etc.) Be sure to capture the pet’s unique personality and get creative with your photos. Know the animal’s unique expressions and funny habits and be prepared to snap a photo at any time.
For every visit, make it a goal to get at least one clear, good photo of each animal. If that is not possible due to unforeseen circumstances such as limited time, nervous/hyper animals, weather, etc. then try to send photos of the animal doing something fun like jumping for a toy or running for a ball.
Photo tips from top-earning Pet Gals include:
Get low to the ground or on the pet’s level.
Use portrait mode if your phone has one.
Edit/crop photos as needed.
Think of what kind of photos you’d like to see your pets.
“During Christmas time I took an adorable photo of my client’s dog with some beautiful Christmas decorations we came across on our walk. The client said she was going to use it as her next Christmas card photo!” – Pet Gal Kirstie
“I took some photos [for a client] … at night with my phone. I sent them to her and she practically started crying because she has been so worried about him… She never leaves him and I had captured a photo of him SMILING. She said she has never gotten a clear photo of him smiling in his life and couldn’t believe he was smiling. #gamechanger” – Pet Gal Jen
2. Prompt Communication
While the Pet Gal office staff is available to help answer client questions, it makes a great impression if you respond promptly to messages yourself whenever possible. Addressing issues quickly and personally lets the client know you genuinely care about their needs. In addition, communicate promptly with clients if you are running late or have questions about their pets.
3. Be Detailed in Updates
Nothing is more comforting for clients than detailed updates. Reassuring your clients of the exact details of your visit helps to ease their mind and give them confidence in you. While a long visit series or regular, daily walks can be repetitive for you, remember our photos and updates are the only connection pet parents have with their fur babies while they are away. Make a point to be creative and original in every update by avoiding “fluff” and repetitive lists.
Update tips from top-earning Pet Gals include:
Describe the pet’s personality and your special relationship with them in great detail.
Be especially detailed on the first visit in a series and with new clients.
Point out things the client wouldn’t expect.
“Give them great updates that tell them exactly what was done at the visit and always shows the pet owner their fur babies got the best care possible.” – Pet Gal Becca
“Make them understand that you had a wonderful time with their animals and saw their personality shine… I have noticed that clients LOVE to hear about their cat acting like a diva, their dog showering me with love or giving some silly grin in a photo. That shows we are building a relationship with their animal. I have seen clients breathe sighs of relief more times than I could count because of these things.” – Pet Gal Jen
4. Show Your Personality
Just like every pet is unique, so is every Pet Gal. In each interaction with clients – whether at a meet and greet, through photos, or in updates – be friendly, happy and upbeat. Most importantly, be yourself! Allow clients to get to know you. This way, they will feel that a trusted friend is caring for their pets.
5. Follow Pet Gal Policies
All the Pet Gal policies are in place for the well-being of the pets we care for. Following these policies is paramount to providing Pet Gal quality care. If your tips are slipping, refer to the various documents provided in the “Time To Pet” portal and refresh yourself on our policies. You might find that there are ways you can improve your level of care.
6. Create a Relationship
For the best experience possible for both pets and owners, create a meaningful relationship with the family. Use your meet and greet to get to know the clients and their pets. Let your updates be personal and conversational. Care for each pet as if they were your own. Invite clients to come to Pet Gal meetups and events. By finding ways such as these to connect and build a solid relationship, clients and pets alike will trust you more.
7. Communicate with Other Pet Gals
When it comes to their pets’ care, clients sincerely appreciate consistency. They want to be assured that when they use the Pet Gal, they will receive the same quality of thoughtful care and extraordinary service every time, regardless who their sitter is.
The best way to ensure this happens is for Pet Gals to communicate with one another via private messages in the portal. Always communicate helpful advice, quick tips, and anything of importance with your fellow Pet Gals and be sure to read other sitters’ visit updates. Failure to work as a team can result in mistakes and overlooked details that could negatively affect your tips in the long run.
8. Use Positive Language
Pet parents can understandably be on edge when they are away from their babies. Our goal is to reassure them every step of the way. When it comes to sending updates – language choice matters. Always use positive phrases such as, “My pleasure!”, “Certainly!” or “Absolutely!” as opposed to negative wording like, “No problem.” or “Not an issue!” When describing a pet’s behavior, focus on the positive. For example, instead of saying their dog hates the rain, focus on how much the dog loved coming back inside for extra cuddle time.
9. Thank Clients When They Tip
Tips display in your “Time To Pet” portal under the “My Pay” section. Whenever you receive an invoice, refer to that section to see which clients tipped you. Send a quick message through the portal to thank them personally for their generosity. Appreciating a client’s tips can make a big difference in whether or not they tip again in the future.
10. Special Touches
Clients who tip generally do so because they feel that their Pet Gal went above and beyond. Going the extra mile whenever possible helps to impress clients and motivates them to tip.
“WOW factor” tips from top-earning Pet Gals include:
Mail or leave handwritten “Thank You” notes using Pet Gal cards.
Print or email photos of the pet to the client.
Stack mail and packages neatly.
Wipe nose/paw prints off glass.
Vacuum around litter boxes.
Leave pet gal swag like magnets, flyers, frisbees, etc.
“Taking them for a longer walk… checking mail, pulling trash bins back to where they go. All and all it shows they are loved. They appreciate it.” – Pet Gal Becca
“One of my regular clients’ dog, Daisy, passed away. When I heard, I had a few great photos of Daisy printed at Walgreens, spent $5 on a bouquet of daisies at HEB and messaged the client to see if I could stop by. The client said yes and when she saw me at the door with daisies she was so moved she cried. I sat with her and her husband for about half an hour and they both really appreciated having someone to talk to about their pet. I continued to have visits with their other dog after that and noticed one day that they had framed one of the photos of Daisy I gave them. And the next holiday season they left me a gift and a tip even though I wasn’t their holiday sitter at the time.” – Pet Gal Kirstie
“Collect the best photos over time, print them and leave it at their house… I gave all my regular clients a bag of homemade human cookies and a framed photo of each of their pets last Christmas… It does cost money, but think about the tips that could possibly be generated based on this investment… When people start giving you $100 tips it adds up quickly. I promise you, if you do this it WILL be worth it. Clients LOVE it and the photos remind them of you.” – Pet Gal Jen