Sometimes having the confidence to say “sayonara” to a job request or a client up front can mean less stress than if you carried out the job. We give you our top tips to help you be a more assertive pet sitter.
1. Avoid guilt trips. Don’t feel pressured by the Pet Owner and remain firm if you feel uncomfortable and politely leave the location promptly. Even if they say they have no other options. They bought the pet in the first place, the pet is their responsibility. Their lack of planning and leaving Meet & Greets until the last minute is not your problem. Refer them back to PetCloud.
2. Stay calm. Breathe normally, look the person in the eye, keep your face relaxed and speak in a normal voice.
3. Let go of feeling guilt. Being assertive can be tough — especially if you’ve been passive or a people pleaser most of your life. The first few times it can feel unnerving. But remember that being assertive is vital to your well-being.
4. Learn to say no. You can try using: “Sorry, but due to my schedule / experience, I don’t think this is a good match.” People worry that saying no is selfish. It’s not. Rather, setting healthy limits is important to having healthy client interactions.
Saying no allows you to offer a better service. Fewer customers means more attention for each pet. You’ll build stronger relationships with the pets and the owners. If you are rushing from one appointment to the next, you will be under constant stress. You might not notice a cut on a dog’s paw. Or you might not notice a cat threw up on the couch. You might even forget to lock a door. However, if you take a smaller number of clients, you will have the time to give each pet the care she deserves. You’ll be relaxed, and you’ll have time to text photos or leave handwritten notes. Your dog walks will be relaxed and enjoyable. You’ll have time to clean muddy paws or cuddle up with a cat on the couch.
5. Think about what you’ll say ahead of time. Plan ahead of time what you might say, and practice saying it. You don’t need an excuse to say no. All you need to say is “No, I am not available at that time. Thank you for contacting me, and I hope to help you out next time.”
6. Remember your priorities. You set high standards because you offer the best service. You are the best pet sitter in your area. People seek you out among the competition for a reason. This allows you, in turn, to select the best customers. That means something different for each pet sitter because we all have our own strengths and specialties.
7. Is the client aligned with the type of clients you want to take on? You might focus on jogging with dogs, so your clients may tend to be mostly medium to large, higher-energy dogs. Or maybe you focus on smaller dogs or cats. Learn the types of breeds and temperaments and pet types you enjoy.
Choosing your customers wisely gives you the opportunity to be happier with your business and to have happier customers. Isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?
8. Recognise you deserve regular time off. If you’ve blocked off a weekend or a week for yourself, you need to stick to it. Everyone deserves a vacation, even if it’s just one full day off. Every time you try to take time off, you will probably receive pet sitting requests. This is a nice problem to have, but you need to politely turn down business in order to give yourself an occasional break. Then return to work refreshed!
Whatever the reason, keep your own safety in mind and say no when you know you should.
Read more: Types of Pet Jobs you should decline