Are Pets Not As Valuable As We Think? (And 2 Solid New Service Ideas to Offer Your Clients)
Have you ever considered the idea that pets might be a ‘hazard’ to the elderly?
Personally, I have not considered that absurd thought, but one article I recently came across revealed this intriguing fact:
“Over 86,000 people per year have to go to the emergency room because of falls involving their dogs and cats, and these fractures can be devastating for the elderly,” said Judy Stevens, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
I was going to present that as the topic for this blog post, but it got me thinking about something else you will appreciate much more.
Instead of debating the merits of that statistic in this article, I would rather offer you a solid actionable service that you can add to your website today and offer your potential clients to help grow your business.
(Something to help you grow your business is much better than trying to debate the value of pets, right?!)
Steal My Idea, Please!
While I was reading that wacky article above about how pets may be hazardous to the elderly, I thought about an idea pet sitters could use – specifically offering a service geared towards the elderly, retired, or senior community could do wonders.
First of all, what are services, in general? Nothing more than a solution to someone’s problem, yes?
So, what problem might the elderly have when it comes to their pets?
Perhaps they don’t have the strength or energy to walk the dog as often or as long as needed. Perhaps their dog doesn’t get to go running in the park anymore. Perhaps their dog doesn’t get to socialize as often as before.
See where we’re going with this?
Consider adding a page to your site highlighting this brand new service and addressing these issues directly.
It could read something like this:
Example: Having a difficult time walking Fido every time he cries at the door and wants to go for a walk. Is Fido not receiving the same kind of exercise regimen as he once enjoyed? Is Fido becoming less socialized in recent years? Does he desperately miss his friends at the park?
We know that sometimes the elderly, the retired or the senior community can use an extra hand. Allow us to offer that hand and take the stress out of your day by giving Fido some much needed exercise while providing you a wonderful break from that responsibility. We’ll even pick up the mail, bring in your newspaper, and water plants while we are there, if you wish.
And consider this: You can expect non-elderly pet owners to read about your new service and get excited on behalf of their friends, neighbors, loved ones, relatives, etc. (IE. “Oh, this would be PERFECT for my mother. I didn’t even think of it!”)
You can choose to end your service description with this:
“Make someone’s day! Do you know someone near and dear who can use a helping hand with our professional service? Click Here to share this page with them – or Click Here to print this page for them!”
Simply put, you are addressing the solution to someone’s problem.
Steal This Idea, Too! Offer Last Minute Service.
While this may not be appropriate for every pet sitter, on a similar path, plant the seed for pet owners who otherwise would not have a need for a pet sitter, to establish a relationship with you now for any last-minute, or unexpected emergencies in the future.
If a pet owner has a last-minute or unexpected emergency pop up, chances are she will not have the time to establish a relationship with a new pet sitter OR the pet sitter might not be able to accommodate the pet owner on such short notice.
So, what you do now as the pet sitter is offer the opportunity to get set up in your system – with no obligation – to get the ball rolling, to meet, to get forms filled out, so if/when the day arrives she desperately needs you, all it will take is a phone call.
It’s sort of like a built in backup plan, or insurance policy that you can promote this way:
The last thing you need to worry about is walking Fido 3 times a day when you can barely get out of bed or walk to the kitchen.
Get the ball rolling with us today so we can be there at a moment’s notice any time down the road.
That way, when life hits unexpectedly – or calls you away – one quick phone call will have your precious pet cared for, so you can care for yourself.
Get the idea? You might even choose to charge a premium for this “When Life Happens” service.
In my own pet sitting business, we provide a similar “On Call” service and are able to charge a small monthly fee just for the opportunity to be able to call and have us arrive at a moment’s notice. (Look at the way we market our offer on that page.)
Again, if you can find ways to offer solutions to people’s problems, you will continually find yourself serving clients.
Find ways like the suggestions above to be there for your community and get your foot in the door. When someone takes action with you (IE. getting in touch, setting up the meet-n-greet, filling out a service agreement) even if they are not hiring you for a specific service right now, they are more likely to follow through and remain/become a client.
Take these ideas and run with it.
I hope these ideas get you thinking a bit. They are ideas for you to use and make your own. The bottom line is that the more solutions that you provide your potential clients, the more likely they will be to count on you as their lifelong pet sitter.
Are your wheels turning? What do you think? Share with me in the comments below.
I have also thought about marketing to the elderly but just haven’t taken the time to do that yet. Here is another story that I heard about in my town that almost made me cry….an elderly woman was taken to the hospital one night and then passed away. She had a dog and no one around to take care of the animal. After FOUR days the dog was found in the house and was taken to the local shelter. Apparently, the dog was crazed at that point. So very sad. I talked to some people at the local hospital to see if I could put my name on some sort of list of who to call for animals that are left alone in someone’s house. I would go get them and take them to the shelter….I don’t even want to make money doing this….I just want to save those poor animals that may be faced with that situation. Well…I sort of got shut down with that idea because they thought that would be advertising. I need to investigate further.
As far as the emergency service…I love it!! Have you gotten a lot of calls for that? Is it being well received??
Awww, Lanette, that situation is so heart breaking. I’ve heard about things like that, where a pet owner will quietly pass away and nobody is sent to care for the pet left behind. I’d hate to think just how common this situation is.
And the biggest shame is that the hospital wrote it off as “advertising??!” I would try to approach it again perhaps finding a different person in charge to pitch this to, while making clear that you do not need publicity or promotion, as it’s just a humane service you will be offering the pet left behind!
We used to have a relationship with a hospital where we would be called upon if/when a pet owner was unexpectedly sent to the hospital and would care for their pet during the duration.
Again, I would certainly look back in to offering that option to hospital patients that pass away.
We have gotten a good reply to our on-call service. Some pet owners love the option!
I too have thought about marketing to the elderly, but haven’t had the confidence to write out a ad, or invitation. Thank you for your sample, I was able to make it my own. 🙂 I added it cat and small animal care as well.
Hi Joanne, Glad you found us here! And happy to know you made the sample copy your own. Let me know how it works out for you. PS – Can you share the link to your website where you have it? Thanks.