Pet sitting is largely a word of mouth business. We get a lot of referrals from clients but we also get referrals from other pet care professionals such as veterinarians, other pet sitters, dog trainers, groomers, etc. It’s very beneficial to network with these other professionals so we are in the forefront of their mind when someone asks them to recommend a pet sitter. Referrals work both ways and we love being able to refer to other professionals that we know personally and strongly support their work ethic.
Imagine our surprise when one of our team went into a local veterinarian’s office and asked if we could leave some business cards and were told NO. NO!?
When we asked why we were told it was because they offered boarding and it would be a conflict of interest.
We tried to explain that even though they offer boarding some animals don’t do well with the boarding experience, just as some pets don’t do well at home alone with pet sitting. It’s a two way street and we would both benefit by getting to know each other and being able to refer to each other. That did not change their mind. Rather than being able to help their clients when they ask if they can recommend a pet sitter they will not recommend anyone and they will insist the client board their pet. I’m sorry, that just doesn’t set well with me and because of that we will not recommend that particular vet. After all, don’t we all want what is best for the PET not the bottom profit line?
I’m also a member of Capital Area Professional Pet Sitters (CAPPS) which is a network of professional pet sitters covering Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Montgomery counties. We meet monthly to discuss issues, promote pet sitting and continue our education. We invite all new professional pet sitters to our group and are surprised when newbies are hesitant. Personally I JUMPED at the chance when I received the call! Pet sitters are a different breed of business. We don’t typically view each other as competition (even though we sometimes are) but as colleagues. We want to work together to promote pet sitting to the general public. Our network bands together when someone is in need; like if one of our members were to end up in the hospital we offer to cover their pet sits. We also warn each other of hazardous situations to help each other avoid problems.
I couldn’t imagine operating this business without networking. How about you? Is networking beneficial in whatever field you’re in?