Leashtime Part 1: How did we get here? A look back…

One of the reasons I wanted to start blogging more was so that we have a go to place for a plethora of information regarding our business. From pet care to pet care business operations. If you have a question, I want to have a resource right here on our site for you to find what you are looking for. So today we will be discussing one of my favorite changes our business has made in the past year, our online system- LEASHTIME! I have decided to do this in a three part series. The first part is going to be they WHY? Why do you need an online scheduling software? Well here is a little story for you so you understand why WE need a scheduling software so enjoy our story!

 

To give you an idea of our day to day operations lets take it back a little bit. I started this as a solo entrepreneur that wanted to take on the world. And I did take on the pet sitting and dog walking world for many years alone. I had a lot of what you see now but in a simpler form. When people would call, I had a planner and I had files for each person. I would take notes and then put what was scheduled on my planner. You may be one of our dog walking clients or you may be a pet sitting client. They are very different but we do both and I did both alone for many years. Dog walking is Monday thru Friday generally and is for busy professionals that want that potty break or extra exercise for their pups. So Monday thru Friday in what other people call normal business hours, I walk dogs. I go from house to house for my entire day pretty much. Lots of time in the car and with my hands full. Then you have pet sitting which varies but at any given time I may have any number of vacations which range from the basic morning and night visit to the 4 times a day clients. So often I’m up early before my dog walks to start vacation sits and then I am out late as well. Weekends you can pretty much guarantee I am working from early morning to late night. In the car again A LOT. I am rarely at home at the computer as I am now at almost midnight on Halloween night because it’s the first time I’ve had to sit down all day. Think about the planner you have for your life right now. And think about how you would fit in all I just mentioned, 365 days a year. It would be hard right? Well I did it for a long time. I lived on texts and notes in my planner and I think I did pretty well. But that’s because I didn’t know there was this whole world out there I had yet to explore, in pet sitting scheduling software. As soon as my mom joined the company, I realized all this awesome information in my head was of no use. I had to actually share it now that I had another person on board. I had piles of folders with client profiles that were of no use to her unless she picked them each up. We were calling and texting all the time to get the schedule figured out. I had my planner and was running out of room for the stuff I had but now I had to add another person on there to make sure I didn’t miss anything. But for a good few months we did it and somehow managed. Then again it’s my mom and we talk all day every day. We were growing so fast once I added the extra person on board, and we were so very blessed and thankful. I had worked without a break for 3 years straight- weekends, holidays, early mornings, late nights, etc. Now I had backup and some help and was thankful for my parents moving here to do this with me. But if I ever wanted to see my mom again then I knew we were getting to the point, only months after she started, that we would need yet again another person. My little planner was running out of room. My folders of client information needed to be in one place. We created an Excel spreadsheet, thanks to my wonderful father, of all client info. He went through every one of those folders and entered it in. I think he even did it for free but just writing that out, I think I may owe him because who wants to do that? So for a few months we tried to keep up with a spreadsheet through Google Docs so we both could see it. We used shared calendar programs for our scheduling and were venturing into the online world of sharing data. But what I found was, the shared calendars could only give me so much information. Our profiles can be detailed from home to pet information and a phone calendar can’t give all that. It can tell me where to be but not who owes what, where the dog food is, what the alarm code may be, what price this person pays and for what, emergency contacts, etc. These calendars weren’t made for that. So here we were going back and forth between a spreadsheet, our planners, and online calendars. The thought of bringing someone else on with this system we had was enough to scare me to death. Or scare me into not pursuing it and instead continuing to work 7 days a week, long hours and trying to take on the world, with the help of my mom of course.

 

In the meantime if you ever saw me or even see me now, my phone is glued to my hand. By 7am every morning, I have 10-20 text messages all work related. From scheduling requests, to clients we are currently servicing checking in, changes to schedules, questions, additional information sent, etc. My phone doesn’t stop ringing until late at night. There is constantly something on my phone for work. So rewind a little bit and imagine the scenario above: driving from house to house, walking 2-4 dogs at a time multiple times a day, for 12-16 hours each day and then you have enough work on your texts alone to give a secretary a full time job. Not to mention all the other parts of running a business- invoicing, collecting payments, updating a site, advertising, etc. and being gone all day every day. It’s not your typical office job in any way but still comes with quite a bit of office duties. So when you called me a year ago, I had all this going on and I had my phone calendar and paper planner to look at and see if things would work when someone would call or text. Honestly, I don’t know how I even knew if I could make it work, I just couldn’t let anyone down and said yes no matter what. And from there, I added the request to my calendar, prayed I had the updated version of client info in Excel and figured out how to get it done. Sounds great huh?

So this tells me two things here: 1. IT’S TIME FOR SOME HELP and 2. Something has to change. And so my friends, that is what happened. I found something that changed our business for the better and never looked back. I found Leashtime.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 next…

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