Sunday, June 13, 2010

Poway pet Care is expanding

School is out this week, and I suddenly find myself fully booked, and then some. I’ve been planning to get some help, and have played around with the idea for the past six months. Finally, the deed is done and I have my first new helper on board!

I had a counseling session with SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives) and while I was discussing my plans, one suggestion stood out. “Just do it. Add one person and get up and running, and gradually you will add more and it will get easier and easier. The first step is the hardest.”

No kidding. I stalled and stalled until I was desperate. In grave danger of burnout, I realized I couldn’t keep doing it all alone. Rob, the counselor, once owned a dog daycare. I was really fortunate to be able to talk to someone who knew the business. The bonus of using SCORE is that their counseling is 100% free. Can’t argue with that!

The plan:
So, in a continuing effort to better serve my clients and provide superior care for their pets, I will be adding additional caregivers (as independent contractors) to my business. These caregivers will be available to board one or two dogs at a time in their homes, providing a quieter environment for dogs that prefer it, and providing backup when I am fully booked.

I will still be boarding dogs in my home too, but now my clients will have a choice of where they would like their dog to stay. I will continue to handle all scheduling, payments, and will keep in regular contact with both clients and caregivers. Dog owners will meet with their chosen caregiver in the caregiver’s home to be sure the arrangement will work for both parties.

The caregiving team will grow slowly but surely. I will be very choosy about who cares for my client’s dogs. I have modeled my business after Pet Vacations, in Seattle. Lynda has been in business almost 20 years, and she has been a tremendous help to me.

Meet my first caregiver:
Judy Maraventano lives here in Poway and has worked for a doggie day care in Carlsbad. She used to work for Rob’s business in Carlsbad, so she comes highly recommended, and also will be filling in here at the house for me occasionally when I have to be away for a few hours. She shares her home with three sweet older dogs, Kiva, Giselle and Ellie May (great name for a bloodhound). 

As time goes by and I add more caregivers, there will be fewer dogs at my house at a time, which gives my guest dogs more attention, especially during the busy season. I won’t fall apart when it gets busy, and I will have time to enjoy the job I love so much.

An outtake-- Ellie May wasn't sure she wanted her picture taken!

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.


Donna said...

I have been enjoying your blog for months now and am in the initial stages of starting an in-home boarding service near Houston, Tx. Can you explain how you pay your caregivers? Thank you very much.

Valerie Pegg said...

Congratulations on your expansion! Good help is hard to find, so hold on tight! :)

Terry Albert said...

The caregivers invoice me. They are independent contractors, and I pay them by the day. It's basically a 75% to the IC and 25% to me. They are responsible for their own expenses and insurance. Each caregiver signs a contract saying they won't try to convert the client away from me. They are welcome to go out and get their own clients, they just can't cut me out of the equation for clients I send them.

I hope this answers you question!