Is there something I've missed? Is there a special long weekend coming up?
The amount of requests we have received this weekend is incredible! Our request page is full of overnights and cat visits and they continue to roll in. I love to see how many people want to use our services, and that they want us to care for their furry family members while gone. It makes my heart warm up. There will be quite a bit of work today for us to make sure everyone's requests are accommodated and that they get their preferred sitter.
As per what is going on with our staff.. Ella's knee is still hurting.. I'm not sure yet how that will affect her schedule next week but I'll probably know today so that we can get her walks covered again. I still need to hear from Michelle in regards to her concussion, I hope she is feeling better!
Elisha & Maddy, the two new young woman on the team started with their first few dog walks and cat visits this week and they are doing great! They both also had the chance to experience their first meet&greet as well!! Yay!
Have a great weekend EVERYONE!!!
It's been a few days since I last wrote anything. It's been quite the crazy week! Poor Ella on our team fell on her knee last Thursday on the way to a walk a dog and hurt herself pretty bad. She had to Uber herself to the doctor and I had to step in and cover the rest of her walks. I think my pedometer reached 15miles that day.
We tried to get most of her walks covered that Friday but with such late notice many of the sitters on our team were not available so I covered the majority that day too.
Ella has worked this week however we were able to get many of walks covered by other team members to alleviate her knee.
On top of Ella's injury, our sitter Michelle had a light concussion which has not gone away so she has taken this week to rest it off.
Now these are very unusual circumstances for us. The reason being is that the sitters on our team barely ever have emergency situations of this nature.. I think a big reason for this is due to my hiring process and finding individuals who are organized in such a way that prevents these type of situations to a large degree.... As we all know, most mistakes happen when we are rushed, stressed or disorganized...But I guess it's how they say: when it rains it pours!
Our procedures in finding great sitters is as follows:
I should start by mentioning that I only post sitter inquiries on Columbia College's career website so all sitters on our team are Columbia students. This has created a great culture in which they are all in similar life situations and they can support one another.
I'm very attentive to how the perspective employee/ sitter approaches me. How professional are they in their email inquiry? How much time did they take in putting together their resume and letter of interest? If they call me, how do they introduce themselves?
Considering this job is in the customer service realm it's important to me that they are able to communicate with others in a good way.
Besides asking what their availability is, I'll often send them some open ended questions to see how they respond. Some of the questions I will send are as follows:
1. What are your current aspirations?
2. How does this job fit within those goals?
3. What are your short term goals?
I'm also very interested in how quickly they respond. I need quick turn around as part of the job outside of caring for the pets is communication. We need excellent communication from staff.
If the potential sitter has come this far and I still like them I'll set up a time to meet them in person. Interviews are held at Subway (sandwich place) under Marina City (as that's where I live). Even though I barely buy sandwiches at Subway, I'm there so often, buying a lemonade during the interview that the staff recognizes me now! Lol.
For the interview it's important to me that they come early. Preferably they are already waiting for me when I arrive. Although we have one or two sitters on the team that were late for the interview it is very unlikely that I would hire anyone who was not on time.
During the interview I'm interested again in their personality. Many aspects of the jobs can be taught BUT NOT your personality. I want someone who has friendly facial features, a good posture and a positive attitude. They should be relatively calm in their demeanor.
A big part of this job as well is writing email updates to clients after the pet visit and taking pictures of the pet. That's why I will invite the potential sitters whom I like to a second more hands on interview where we walk a dog together. Again, timeliness is a must!
Tracey & Dennis, a client of ours lets us borrow Billy&Shiloh for these interviews. They are great dogs for this because they are big dogs yet friendly. They can pull but will walk nicely next to you if you know how to communicate with them.
Before the interview walk I send out instructions on how to
Write the email updates. I then ask that the potential sitters sends me an email update after the walk as if I were the client. It's really important that he/ she puts in a real effort and writes a nice email update. If I can tell they did not put an effort into it I will not hire them.
We do the usual security checks and reference calls but normally if they got this far in the interview process everything else checks out. 🤓
Once the sitter is hired and paperwork filled out the training proceeds. I will normally do one cat visit and one dog visit with the sitter to talk them through how C_UP does things, but the training continues via phone/ texts and emails as I monitor their work until I feel that they are well situated.
That's all from me today!!
Tonight I would like to share with you the processes we have in place inorder to effectively care for everyone's pet in a customized fashion.
Chicago Urban Pets uses a great software called PetSitter Plus. It is a software that integrates accounting with admin, scheduling and client relations all together.
All Clients have online access to their own login page. Here they can manage invoices, add information and pictures of their pet as well as schedule and cancel walks. When a client schedules or cancels a walk we receive an email immediately notifying us.
The sitters have their own login as well. Here they can see their schedule, their compensations as well as requests days off. Sitters also have access to all client information except for billing. Every morning when the sitter wakes up they go into their schedule for the day and press a green "Awcknowledge" button. That tells me that they have looked at their schedule for the day and we are all on the same page. After every walk they press a "Completed" button which tells me they are done with that specific walk.
There is a desktop version and a mobile version of the software. Via this software sitters can access all the pets routine information just by a click of their phone!
Below is a picture of what the schedule looks like in the mobile version.
The admin portion of the software has access to everything.
We can see everyone's schedule, add and cancel visits, raise invoices and submit payment. The admin portion records all our expenses and revenue as well as sitter pay which varies based on how long the sitter has been with the team.
So this is it. This is the core to our organization. It's amazing and we would not be able to cover as many walks as we do if it wasn't for this software.
Obviously it takes more than a good software to run a good business. You also need good people.
More on that tomorrow!
Good Evening Everyone,
I missed last night's blog because I was up looking at the 140th Annual Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show. If you missed it the winner this year was German shorthaired pointer named C.J.
Following is a short news cast and interview with the handler.
This video is about the new breed additions to the dog show. Don't be fooled by the name though- some of these breeds have been around since the time of the emperors!
Personally I really like the Bergamasco. Not only is he unique looking but my family comes from Bergamo (Italy) too. 😊🇮🇹
That's it from tonight.
Tomorrow we will get personal as I share C_UP's procedures to staying organized and ensuring high quality care!
Happy Monday everyone!
I hope you had a nice Valentine's weekend. I went to celebrate at one of my favorite Italian Restaurants in Old Town. It's called Topo Gigio and if you haven't been there yet I highly recommend it! http://www.topogigiochicago.com
Today I got to walk an old client of ours, Bella&Wilma. I was excited when Bill and DeAnna asked me to come walk the girls today and tomorrow due to Bill be gone for work.
Bella is the golden retriever and is a real sweetheart. She can however go into what I like to call "donkey mode" where she will sit down and not move. Her sweet demeanor makes it impossible to get mad at her though.
Wilma is a big beautiful Great Dane. She's a big teddy bear although often pedestrians are scared of her. Wilma can be rambunctious at times so you definitely need to be alert when walking her.
Today went smoothly. We had 24 visits we did and about 10 sitters working (including myself). We had a few requests come in for later this week. Clients of ours have access to their personal online portal with which they can requests visits with us online. It's a very convenient and quick way to get your pooch on our schedule!
Later this week I am meeting with two new team members to fill out paperwork before they start. I'm excited to get them onboard and continue their training with me as employees.
One last thing that I am really excited about is our Newsletter! We will be coming out with monthly newsletters giving you a look into what's going on with C_UP.
I'm excited to get that out to our clients. I will also post them on our social media for you who currently don't use our services.
Have a nice evening