All posts in How To

14 Mar 2018

10 Habits Top-Earning Pet Gals Use That Dramatically Increase Tips

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.

Photo tips from top-earning Pet Gals

“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 Sam

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.

Update tips from top-earning Pet Gals

“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.

“WOW factor” tips from top-earning Pet Gals

“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 Sam

Pet Gal Kirstie.

20 Feb 2018

Top Industry Secrets That Set Your Puppy Up For Success

Top Secrets To Set Your Puppy Up For Success

Bringing a new puppy into the home is a time of joy, love, and excitement. It is also a foundational period during which the basis of a dog’s behavior, health, and relationship with its owner is established. To ensure the best for your little one, there are a few key do’s and don’ts when it comes to becoming a new pet parent.

secrets to puppy success

PUPPY DO’S

Spend Time With Your Puppy

The transition from litter to a new home can be a stressful time for young dogs. In addition to getting to know their new family, they are acclimating to entirely new surroundings and dealing with the separation from their littermates and mother.

Spend as much time as possible with your fur baby in the first week or two at home to help set a solid foundation for them. Setting up their space in the home, creating a reliable routine, and enjoying quality bonding time together are all helpful practices. The best part of scheduling extra time with your puppy? Ample cuddles and playtime!

Visit Your Vet

Most puppies are sent home to their new families when they reach 6 to 8 weeks of age. They are extremely susceptible to diseases at this time, as they have been weaned and the antibodies provided by their mother’s milk begins to wear off. It is best to schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible to ensure they receive necessary vaccinations. If your pet was weaned too early or was found without a mother, it is even more important that a vet be an active part of your puppy’s early life, as they could already be infected with harmful diseases.

It is also important for the vet to assess their overall health. If there are any chronic health problems present, it is ideal for pet parents to be made aware as early as possible.

Veterinary care is an integral part of a dog’s life. Setting up a good relationship between your puppy and their primary care vet will mean a long, happy life for you to spend together.

Begin Training Day 1

We all want a well-trained and well-behaved dog. The earlier training begins, the easier it will be to ensure your puppy grows up to be just that. For your puppy’s well-being – and your sanity – it is important to begin training immediately and consistently.

The Pet Gal believes in 100% positive reinforcement based training. We don’t support the use of balance training, or alternative collars such as shock, choke, or bark collars. With our professional experience, we know that positive reinforcement training is the best choice for all dogs, as it provides a positive incentive for good behavior and is a stress-free process which solidifies the bond between puppies and their humans.

Provide Structure

Set your puppy up for success by providing structure in their training and their schedule. Puppies learn best by routine. By establishing continuity with a schedule that is repeated each day they are better able to master things like potty training and good behavior.

One of the most important rules of thumb in maintaining structure in training is to make sure all members of the household know the training commands you’ve chosen. If the puppy’s command to stop jumping is, “OFF” then everyone who interacts with your puppy needs to be consistent with that term to prevent confusion.

The Pet Gal understands it can be hard to provide consistency in potty breaks, feeding, and training when you have a full-time job or other commitments. Our pet sitters are happy to help keep your puppy’s schedule on track with our in-home pet sitting services. For a typical work day, we recommend two 15-min pet sits – one visit mid-morning and the other during the afternoon to start. As your puppy grows more active, we suggest longer visits. We know the importance of structure, so our sitters communicate actively with you to ensure all your puppy’s training cues, feeding schedules, and daily routines are reinforced while you’re away.

Give Your Puppy Lots Of Love And Have Fun!

Creating a relationship with your new puppy is the best part of the process. Be sure to stay present and in the moment with your fur baby, because puppyhood doesn’t last long. While it can be stressful at times, be sure to savor the moments of sweet cuddles, affection, and playtime. Give lots of hugs and kisses, take plenty of photos, and give your puppy all the love it deserves.

puppy success secrets

PUPPY DON’TS

Invite Too Many Guests Over

While it’s understandable to want your new puppy to meet all your friends and family, overstimulation can cause anxiety, upset routine, and interfere with training. Loud noises, crowds of people, and confusing training commands can make it difficult for your puppy to acclimate to its new home. In the beginning, introduce your puppy to new people in small doses and be sure that visitors know your training cues.

Punish Your Puppy

While the trials and tribulations of puppyhood can certainly test your patience, punishment is never the answer. Not only are punishments – spanking, yelling, hitting, rubbing a dog’s nose in their accidents, etc. – ineffective, they also generate distrust between owner and puppy.

A puppy needs to know that you are their safe place, their protector, and their family – someone they can trust in all situations. Positive reinforcement training solidifies this bond and is more effective in producing good habits.

Socailize Too Soon

While socialization with other dogs is an important part of the training process, ask your vet when they think the appropriate time for your puppy to begin interacting with other dogs is. Often this depends on the puppy’s age, health, and temperament. Your pet’s vaccination status is a deciding factor on when they can visit places such as dog parks, kennels, and pet stores. Once your puppy is approved for socialization, be sure all first-time interactions with other dogs is done gradually in controlled environments.

Travel Right Away

Schedule, structure, and security are paramount during the first months of a puppy’s acclimation to a new home. Leaving a puppy during this time can cause unease, stress, and throw a wrench in all the hard work you’ve put into training.

If you must leave during this time, the Pet Gal offers a variety of pet sitting services including visits ranging from 15 minutes to an hour, overnight stays, and in-home boarding to provide you with more flexibility during your puppy’s first few months.

Forget To Cherish Every Minute

With that sweet puppy breath and adorable eyes, it can be easy to forget that your tiny bundle of love will soon grow up into a full-sized dog. Allowing a golden retriever puppy to sit on you when it is lap-sized is one thing, but what about when it grows to be 60+ pounds? Chewing on things, pulling on the leash, and jumping on people are all behaviors that seem negligible – even cute – when a tiny pup does them. But before you accept it as commonplace, ask yourself if this is a behavior you want an adult dog doing. It is always easier to train a puppy with fresh behaviors than to train an older dog out of ingrained habits.

Pet Gal Kirstie.

26 Jun 2017

How To Setup Your ShurLok Lock Box

How To Setup Your ShurLok Lock Box

This is a step-by-step guide to help you setup a ShurLok Lock Box. The video will cover everything you need to get started, how to enter the shackle combination, and how to access the key door.

To Get Started You Will Need:

1) A ShurLok Lock Box
2) A Lock Box Setup Card (Found In The Portal)
3) A Paperclip (Do Not Use A Screwdriver)
4) A Pen and Paper (To Write Down Your Combinations)
5) Watch the video below
6) Additional help Shurlok Support


To see the benefits of using a lock box check out an earlier post – Don’t Get Locked Out!.
Pet Gal Susan.

13 Oct 2015

How Do I Turn On My Phone’s GPS?

How Do I Turn On My Phone’s GPS?

Having your phone’s GPS or Location Services enabled is required when doing all visits. This will allow the clients to view dog walk tracking and appointment start/stop location. These two features were the two most requested features by clients to add to the portal software and we want to make sure they are available. Any visit that is completed without Location Services enabled will be treated as an incomplete appointment.

12 Oct 2015

How Do I Track My Pay?

How Do I Track My Pay?

You can track your pay anytime, simply by logging into the portal and clicking My Pay. Access the following tabs by clicking their links in the center of the page.

12