From COVID Chaos to Robust, Profitable Growth
By Laura Laaman
These past few years have been gut wrenching, like a vicious roller coaster that never seems to end. Even before COVID (if we can still remember that far back), we were dealing with staffing challenges, difficult customers and fierce competition. Everything was amplified exponentially with the pandemic, even now that we’re beyond the worst of it…we hope.
But while we were dealing with all of that and much more, this industry never stopped growing and maturing. Many people gained a different perspective—especially when it comes to the care of their furry loved ones. Pet parents expect so much more than ever before. They no longer tolerate kennels that feel like dog warehouses; they expect beautiful rooms and fabulous amenities. In addition, many now want continuous updates and constant assurance.
Meanwhile, staffing costs and challenges have risen dramatically across the country. The effects of COVID accelerated and increased the worker shortage that was already projected to occur. More businesses competing over fewer employees means higher wages and worker expectations.
New pet care facility business owners just getting into this industry are entering smart and driven; they recognize there’s opportunity here. They’re armed with thoughtful business plans and backed by significant funding. With plenty of operating money in the bank, this allows them to create beautiful facilities with high-performing websites and marketing, all while speaking the language of the valuable customers.
We’re all trying to normalize. We want this crazy, chaotic ride to stop. To thrive—or at least survive—you’ll need to dig in your heels and grow your business in smart, strategic ways.
Why is increasing revenue so necessary?
Costs of running a pet care facility have not just crept up, they’ve skyrocketed. Pet care business owners are being forced to take on substantial additional expenses, including the following:
1. Soaring staffing costs. Panic-hiring unqualified employees leads to high turnover and reduced morale. Higher wages and benefits are now required to bring on the right staff members.
2. Building improvements.Although it may sometimes feel like it, time hasn’t stopped, and pet care facilities experience significant wear and tear. With hindered supply chains and elevated material costs, maintaining our buildings costs more than ever.
3. HR Assistance.It seems like a paradox: Understaffed businesses may not have an extra moment to spare, but the current hiring market demands big investments of time and improved expertise. This has led many business owners to hire outside assistance.
The counter to increasing costs is increasing the revenue you bring in—but how?
1. Implement effective systems.Implementing effective systems ensures business can function optimally even in challenging situations. This strengthens your staff without relying too heavily on particular individuals in the company. The training, resources and materials that make up a good system improve consistency among all employees, which means your business can thrive at a lower labor expense.
2. Employee onboarding and training. Ensure new hires have the comprehensive materials they need to help your company succeed.
3. Capitalize on customer phone calls. Make the most of every new sales opportunity with a highly-trained phone team who can respond to and capitalize on new customer phone calls. The results of anyone handling these valuable calls should be tracked.
4. Provide activities to the pets. Deliver consistent care in the safest and most rewarding ways for your guests while maximizing efficiency.
5. Give great facility tours. Have the right manner and information to convince touring prospects to book at your facility. The results of each employee giving tours should be tracked.
6. Dog training. Identify and communicate the ways your training can help a dog and their family.
7. Smooth administration and facility maintenance. Streamline internal operations including everything from check-in/out to cleaning.
8. Better software. A huge key in all the above is excellent software. Strong software can go a long way in developing these systems and creating necessary accountability.
9. Charge appropriately. Weak pricing, including weak pricing models, can lead to business struggles and even failure—especially when tested in times like these. It is important to constantly evaluate prices and make changes when needed, but only with the utmost care. Pricing changes can be tremendously beneficial when handled skillfully, or it can be lethal.
So, what should you be charging?
It’s not possible for brick-and-mortar pet care facilities to charge the lowest rate on the market, especially when competing with pet sitting giants like Rover.com®. Price also directly communicates value. If you’re providing the best care in your area, your fees should communicate that. However, you will need exceptionally-trained staff on the phone and giving tours to explain and defend this new appropriate pricing. If you charge too much or too little, it won’t work in your favor.
Laura Laaman is president of Outstanding Pet Care. Outstanding Pet Care guarantees to substantially increase the revenues of its clients with its proven services. If you’re interested in growing your revenues, schedule an individual consultation with Laura Laaman or one of her team members. Call Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 or go to outstandingpetcare.com/contact.