Thursday, September 22, 2011

The september pet sitting business slump

Kiva and Guiness needed a vacation too!
The kids are back in school, Labor Day is over, and everyone is settling into their fall routine. As a result, the pet sitting business usually slows down dramatically in September. As you see, I haven’t posted for a few weeks, and that is because I decided to take a vacation. I plan at least a week off every September. This year I traveled for one week and had a very slow week when I got home, with only two clients. This weekend (the 23-25th of Sept) it all starts back up again. Which is fine. I’m ready to make some money.

Couples with no kids often choose September to travel, so I usually have a few clients this month, often taking long trips.

January and February are also slow months. Some dedicated skiers keep me working, and the Martin Luther King and President’s Day holidays always fill up, but overall, it’s a nice break. I usually watch lots of movies.

What do you do during slow periods?
Since our quiet times are somewhat predictable, we can plan ahead to take advantage of the break. I used to panic and consider getting a second job., worried about how I would pay the bills. Now I have learned to set aside a little extra during the busy season to get me through slow times. I’ve also learned that business always picks back up again, so I can enjoy my time off.

Besides taking a vacation, this is a great time to take steps to build your business and get ready for the busy holidays to come:
  • Call regular clients and ask if they are planning holiday trips. They may not know the exact dates, but you can pencil them in and get an idea of how many openings you’ll have for new clients. Now is also a great time to thank your existing customers for their business.
  • Network with other pet sitters. Call, visit, or get together for lunch. Compare notes, exchange ideas and refresh your perspective.
  • Give your website a check up. Is it getting stale? Are the photos current? Is it optimized for search engines? Do a Google search for pet sitters in your area and see who comes up. Does your site show up on the first page of results?
  • Visit other pet businesses in your town. Groomers, kennels, training centers and pet supply stores will be more likely to refer people if they’ve met you and like you. Even your competitors like to have someone to refer clients to when they are full.
  • If you board dogs, now is the time to catch up on repairs and maintenance, especially before the weather gets cold.
  • Get the car tuned up, the tires checked and other maintenance items so you won't have a breakdown at the height of the holidays.
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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.