In this episode, Mak & G are getting excited about starting their own pet sitting service. But, before they begin, I talk with them about a few of the essentials they need to work out first…
Before you start a business you need to think about if you can handle the workload, expenses you may run into, how you’re going to market your company, and much more.
Mak & G are getting excited about the prospect of starting their own pet sitting service so we talk through everything they need to get prepared before starting their business…
“Make your customers happy and build trust.” – G
00:15 – Why we want to start a pet sitting service.
00:45 – How to make sure you can handle your business’s workload.
01:30 – The challenges of running a pet sitting business.
02:08 – How to build a positive reputation for your company.
02:29 – The different things you need to do to look after a pet.
03:36 – How to work out your company’s expenses.
04:15 – The importance of advertising your company and what goes into a good advertisement.
05:15 – Things you need to successfully start a company.
06:23 – How to build a network for your business.
Connect with Ben Jones:
MAK: Hey Dad, Grant and I have been talking a lot and we really want to start a pet sitting service.
GRANT: We’re already really good at taking care of Oreo, and we think we would be great at helping other people care for their pets as well.
MAK: But we’re not really sure how to actually start a company.
DAD: It’s great to see you both so excited about starting your company. A lot of people travel throughout the year for work or holidays and they need someone to look after their pets while they’re gone. Pet sitting is a great way to make money year round.
DAD: Alright kids, one of the first things you should establish is what services your company will offer. For example, you both have a lot of experience caring for dogs, but you might not have the necessary knowledge or skill set to safely care for a horse. Knowing your company’s limitations and planning the services you offer accordingly will prevent you from biting off more than you can chew.
MAK: We definitely can watch cats and dogs.
GRANT: Fish are easy too. All you gotta do is feed them and they keep swimming!
MAK: We could also walk our customer’s dogs while they’re at work, that way we get more money even when people aren’t out of town.
GRANT: But won’t we be at school?
MAK: True, so maybe that’s what you mean Dad with limitations, too?
DAD: Right – that’s a great example. What else do you need to consider?
GRANT: Well, I won’t walk them when it’s cold outside.
MAK: How about this Grant, I’ll walk them in the winter if you do the summer.
GRANT: Deal! And whoever isn’t walking dogs can take care of any other pets our customers may have.
MAK: Yeah, like Mrs. Melburns’ gecko, Pebbles! She’s always asking her students to watch him over the summer.
GRANT: And don’t forget Uncle Andy’s cat. Whiskers always needs a lot of attention when he goes away on business trips. He loves a good petting.
DAD: Sounds like you already have some potential customers in mind. Offering your services to people you know and who trust you can be a great way to build a positive reputation for your company when you’re first starting out.
GRANT: This is gonna be great. We basically get paid to play with their pets!
DAD: I like your enthusiasm G (amused). Play is an important part of caring for a pet, but it’s not everything they need.
MAK: That’s right, we’ll have to give them food and water, and make sure to pick up their poop, too!! Just like their owner would.
DAD: Exactly, you should also speak with the owner about how best to care for their pet. Some pets may be elderly or have a health condition. Remember Aunt Lori’s dog, Bandit, he needs special vitamins, so you need to keep an eye on him and make sure he gets special care. Communicating effectively with your customers and providing for their needs is key to building a successful company.
GRANT: Make your customers happy and build trust, got it!
MAK: You know, I bet we could find more customers for pet sitting if we focus on dog walking this summer.
GRANT: Yeah, if we’re already working with them regularly they’ll see they can rely on us all year long.
DAD: That’s great thinking kids! Many pet owners feel anxious leaving their pets behind when they head out of town.
MAK: But Dad, how do we actually make our idea into a company?
GRANT: Ya! We want to start making money!
DAD: Hold your horses G.
GRANT: You mean dogs.
DAD: Ok, hold your dogs. Before you can start making money you need to consider what expenses your company may have. You might need to first purchase materials or spend money on other expenses to perform your company’s work.
GRANT: But won’t the owners already have everything their pet needs?
DAD: Most likely yes, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Many cities have regulations and laws about cleaning up after your pet, so it’s a good idea to keep plastic bags on hand or a spare leash when walking a dog, just in case the owner doesn’t supply them. Or having treats is good too!
MAK: So there are a few things to think about. Anything else?
GRANT: So when do we actually start making money?
DAD: Well – you also need to start advertising what you are offering and how much customers should expect to pay. This is important because if no one knows your company exists, no one will hire you, and you won’t make any money.
GRANT: Oh, we definitely need to advertise then.
MAK: Agreed, but what goes into a good advertisement?
DAD: You’ll want to include the basics for certain. Be sure to include information like what your service is, how much it costs, and most importantly, how potential customers should contact you. So, how do you two want to go about advertising your company?
MAK: Maybe we could make fliers for the library?
GRANT: Or post an ad online?
DAD: Both are great ideas. How about this, you two work on designing a flier to print off at the library, and I’ll help you post an ad online.
MAK: That sounds great!
GRANT: Thanks, Dad!
Ben’s 2 Cents:
Mak & G have a lot of enthusiasm and are always so excited that they want to jump right in. That passion can really help them get their company off to a good start, so long as they remember to plan carefully before they get going. Mak and G will need to channel that energy into efforts that will really help them grow their company and build trusting relationships with their customers.
Advertising is key for attracting paying customers, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Work your network by talking to friends, neighbors, and family members about your company.
Ask them to recommend you to anyone who might need your products or services. These are called referrals (these kids are great).
Make yourself some simple business cards so that customers know what you are offering and how to contact you.
For Mak & G, trust will play a big role in the success of their business. Owners like to know that their pets will be well cared for while they’re away, so a recommendation from someone they trust can go a long way.
I feel like we need to have some “bigger” lesson that fits into finances for a family.
Well, that’s it for now! Stay tuned just a minute longer for a preview of next week’s episode…