The Best Time-Saving Processes for Pet Businesses
Despite my obsession with ALL things organization, automation, and processes, there was something I JUST realized I was doing that was wasting SO much of my time and I wanted to share it with you in the hopes that you can use my mistake to improve your workflow.
So, let me start with the advice, and then I'll give you an example of just ONE of the ways I was going about this all wrong.
Every single time that you do ANY sort of process in your business, whether it's communicating or on-boarding a client or invoicing or doing a pet visit (WHATEVER it is), try and think of just 1 thing that you could do to make it easier on yourself or more efficient. It could be something very small or it could be really big.
As a small example, when I do web designs, I noticed that there was always 1 question on my client questionnaire that clients did not answer in the way that I intended the question to be. And instead of updating the question on the actual questionnaire, I got in touch with each client individually and asked for clarification. But NOW, once I realized that this was a chance to improve my process, I went into the questionnaire and updated it. Extra wasted time - gone!
This is such a small example and one I'm realizing is in every single aspect of my business. Think of how much time I will save if I think through every single process as I do it and think of one small improvement I can make along the way.
What's taking longer than it should?
Why are customers asking this SAME question and how can it be answered before they even ask?
What is annoying you about your day-to-day tasks? Can you refine your system and avoid this?
What could be automated on the backend that I don’t need to tangibly be there to do each time?
Here are some examples of efficient processes applicable to pet businesses:
1. Email Communication → Email Templates
Instead of manually writing emails to clients each time, consider compiling a list of essential email templates for emails that you send often. Not only does this help you save time, but it also helps make sure that you:
Include everything you need to include and not miss anything important
Keep your messaging and copy consistent, no matter who’s pressing send
Get back to clients even faster than you would have because emails will already be mostly written when you pull them up
Remain firm and confident in your policies when unfortunate circumstances happen (like cancellations or refund requests!)
Can convert clients more frequently because everything is professional, branded, well put together, etc.
You can write email templates for sales pitches, partnerships, requests for reviews or referrals, when clients ask for discounts, handling angry clients, cancellation requests, raising rates, initial inquiry responses, welcome emails, and so many more. See some of the most essential email templates I recommend for pet businesses here.
Other related resources for you on emails for pet businesses:
2. Onboarding New Clients
This step is highly underrated and can make a HUGE difference when it comes to truly converting potential clients into loyal fans for your pet business.
Some of the best things you can do to improve this process:
Create a welcome packet or information packet so potential and/or new clients can get to know everything they need to know before working with you. (If you need help creating these, we have welcome packet templates available in the PMU shop categorized by different types of pet businesses like dog walkers & pet sitters, pet photographers, and doggie daycares and boarding facilities (See those here)). Welcome packets are GOLD and we’ve heard so much positive feedback from those who have them, whether you purchase them from our shop or make one your own.
Create a booking process page on your website. This allows potential clients to view what the process is like, see if it works for them, and know what action to take if they decide to move forward. This makes the decision process so much easier and makes these potential clients more likely to book with you.
Add in a scheduler so clients can book the first call with you immediately. It prevents emails from going back and forth and you can simply add the scheduler link to your website, to your welcome packet, or to your email templates. You can use something like Calendly for free and can be a great way to have dedicated time to call potential clients instead of getting voicemails or playing phone-tag, which leads to lost clients as they are probably able to connect with another pet business before getting in direct contact with you.
Other related resources for you on onboarding new clients for pet businesses:
3. Implement a Booking Software
There are so many pet industry coaches out there who explain how important software is. And, I don’t want to repeat them here (we have a blog post on the topic here if you want to read more about this). If you have a pet business and you still haven’t implemented a software, I can pretty much guarantee you’re throwing money in the trash and losing out on more time and more clients.
Other related resources for you on software for pet businesses:
4. Other Practical Business Processes (MISC.)
Some other important things to mention that can help you save time:
Add in a FAQ page to your website. And if you have trouble making sure clients read it, then link to it on your booking process page or add it to your welcome packet or welcome email.
Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for future hires. To do this, simply record your screen while doing mindless or frequent business tasks like scheduling social media posts or doing payroll. While you’re going through these tasks, explain what you’re doing and why. The point of this is so that IF and WHEN you hire someone to take over these tasks, you already have tutorials and videos outlining the steps so the onboarding process can be much easier and your hire can take over the tasks even faster without as much 1:1 training. To record your screen, you can use something like Loom (free for 5-minute videos) or Screenflow (one-time purchase).
If all of this is overwhelming, take a step back. You don’t need to implement these all today. My recommendation is to simply take 2 minutes to look at your business processes as you go through them and ask yourself questions about how you can refine it. This is something you'll do forever, because there can ALWAYS, I repeat, ALWAYS be room for improvement. Over time, refining these procedures will allow you to save so much time and will result in happier customers/clients and a happier you!