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30 May 2018

Tech VS Pet : Which Business Really Provides Better Care?

Tech VS Pet :

Which Business Really Provides Better Care?

These days there is an online, on-demand service for everything. Whether you want to hail a rideshare, order food from your favorite restaurant or have groceries delivered, customers are turning to online tech companies more often than ever for quick-fix solutions and services.

Recently, the trend of app-based platforms has spread to the world of pet sitting and dog walking, giving pet parents the option to request care for their pets at the press of a button. However, many pet owners are torn on whether to utilize this new technology or hire locally run pet care providers.

The Pet Gal – a professional pet sitting company with nearly 10 years of experience – believes that there is no better choice for your pet than a trained, certified professional from a local company. While new pet care apps emerge every day in the wake of this on-demand boom, local pet sitting is a business model that has stood the test of time, offering a variety of benefits for both pets and their owners.

Building a Relationship with Pets

The Pet Gal believes that finding quality pet sitting and dog walking is as essential to your pet’s overall well-being and behavior as regular veterinary visits and proper training. There is no better way to achieve this than to hire a local pet sitter with whom you can build a solid, trusting relationship with. Online tech companies are less likely to provide this personal, caring relationship than local companies.

Consistent, familiar pet sitters can help your pet maintain good behavior, as sitters will know the family training techniques and can enforce them. It also helps keep your pet in good health – pets do not feel anxious or nervous each time they are visited if they have a relationship with their sitter. In addition, knowing and trusting who is coming into your home can provide priceless peace of mind for you.

As opposed to increasing client base for the sake of making additional profits, local pet sitting companies work hard at building their reputation with clients in their community one pet at a time.

tech vs pet which is best

“Our dog with glaucoma’s ophthalmologist said putting your dog in a kennel can cause eye pressures to go up and cause stress. The added stress is not good for senior pets or pets with health issues. Consistent, trained sitters coming to the house is the best for their health.” – Pet Gal Laura

App Industry vs. Service Industry

The origins and growth of many leading pet care apps are often based in the development of software and expansion of business, rather than a genuine desire to work in the pet industry. For example, the popular on-demand dog walking service Wag! has recently hired a new CEO following a $300 million-dollar investment from SoftBank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate. It is corporate moves like this that give massive corporations, not pet lovers, heavy influence on how the business is run. In comparison, local professionals nearly always start and consistently run their companies because of their true passion for pets.

When looking to hire a pet sitter or dog walker, pet parents should do some research on the company’s owner and any corporations that may have a stake in the business. Do their qualifications speak more to their experience in pet care or software development? Does their business model seem more focused on increasing profits or the personal experience of pet care? Often you will find that local pet care companies offer more reassuring answers to those questions.

Recently, The Pet Gal began utilizing app technology in tandem with personalized services. However, owner Susan Anderson, began her pet sitting journey nearly 10 years ago to fulfill her passion of working with animals and providing the absolute best pet care possible.

“There have been multiple occasions when a prior Wag! or Rover client contacts us looking for quality care after sharing a not so pleasant experience with their sitters. They’re blown away by our level of service. While we use tech daily, our focus is personalized care, love, and attention.” – Susan Anderson, Owner of The Pet Gal

Offering a Path to Careers in Pet Care

While it is true that people with a passion for pets can and do work for online tech platforms, the business model of these companies does not offer pet professionals a path to a long-term career. Local companies offer the chance for pet sitters and dog walkers to grow, not only with the company itself but also in their own journey to a career in the pet industry.

Many of The Pet Gal’s independent contractors have gone on to become employees with us, as well as create successful careers as private pet sitters, trainers, pet photographers, and more.

When pet parents hire a local pet sitting company, they are promised a professional that is committed and has a vested interest in learning and growing in the industry.

Profit Driven vs. Quality Driven

Dog walking and pet sitting apps may offer a quick solution and promise great customer service, but their quick-fix business model is more reflective of their desire to earn a profit rather than their passion for providing excellent pet care. Local pet sitting companies prioritize pet care and service over profits.

A look at the hiring process of leading pet-sitting apps reveals how online tech companies prioritize making money over hiring the best possible candidates. With only a background check and basic information, people can on-board with some of the leading pet care apps in as shorts as 1-5 days. In comparison, The Pet Gal utilizes background checks, references, resumes, and an intensive in-person interview process with every potential contractor we work with. This guarantees that all our Pet Gals are passionate about working with us and committed to their career as a pet professional.

In addition, local pros are more selective on the clients they choose to work with. In their desire to increase profits as much as possible, app-based services will often provide pet care for anyone and everyone. Comparatively, The Pet Gal’s onboarding process for clients ensures that we are the best fit for you and vice versa.

“When we first moved to Austin, I tried Rover. The Sitter was okay, but was always unavailable and never gave me feedback, photos, or updates. I suppose she was there, but without all the wonderful feedback and tools that Pet Gal provides, how do you know? I also used VIP and they sent me text updates, but never cleaned poop and gave our old dog too many treats, causing him to be sick. Then, I found Pet Gal. Joy and Suzy provided great updates, photos, and really understood how to take care of our senior dog. That’s why I applied to work here.” – Pet Gal Laura

Security & Certifications

tech vs pet first aid certifications

Incidents – whether over the safety and security of the pet or the home – for online tech pet services are on the rise. From losing dogs while on walks to violating the trust and privacy of the clients’ homes to simply being negligent, the lack of security provided by some of the leading on-demand pet apps can be alarming.

With local, pet care companies such as The Pet Gal, clients can rest easy knowing that their pet and home are in good hands. They take absolutely every precaution when it comes to ensuring a safe, happy, and secure experience for both pets and their owners.

All independent contractors at The Pet Gal are required to maintain certifications for pet CPR and first aid as well as behavioral training for both cats and dogs. Many also have training and experience beyond that, as they hire pet lovers who are often looking to expand their career in the pet industry. To top it all, every sitter on their team is covered by an insurance policy up to $1,000,000. It is extra-mile steps such as these that truly set local, pet care companies apart from on-demand tech companies.

Additional & Personalized Services

Online tech companies may offer quick solutions, but they pale in comparison to the variety of services and level of personalization local pet care professionals offer. Whether your dog is special needs, your cat needs medication administered, or you need additional services such as pet wedding attendant or pet taxi, local pet companies like The Pet Gal are the best option to not only meet but exceed your expectations.

tech vs pet cat sitting

“If it were me and I had an animal that needed medicines, that would be scary to have a random individual possibly giving it wrong or not at all. Going over it all with a sitter is better and offers peace of mind.”– Pet Gal Kathleen

Give Back to & Supporting the Community

When hiring local pet professionals, you are supporting your neighborhood and community rather than big business. Best of all, local companies can use their status as a locally-owned business to give back to their city by supporting community organizations. For instance, The Pet Gal routinely partners with other local pet professionals throughout the industry to attend and host group events that benefit local rescue groups and give back to the community.

When it comes to providing the best possible care for your pets, the choice is clear. Choose a local professional or company to ensure a personal, quality, safe experience for you and your pet.

Pet Gal Kirstie.

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.

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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.

10 Oct 2015

How Do I File My Pet Gal Taxes?

How Do I File Taxes On My Pet Gal Earnings?

Filing taxes can be confusing, especially if you have additional income sources like payouts from The Pet Gal. When it comes to reporting your income, here are a few things to keep in mind.