Why Pet Sitters Are Wasting Their Time Trying To Partner With A Vet

vet-balanceIt sounds like the perfect plan. You become a qualified pet sitter in your area, get business cards printed up and are ready to get some referrals from your local vet, groomer or pet store.

How ideal. You’re a savvy business owner and see the power in partnerships. Naturally, every person walking in and out of any of those places has a pet and is a potential client.

You start making the rounds with business cards in hand and quickly realize not everyone is as excited as you are about leaving your cards on the counter. You are told no and sent on your way.

You walk away confused and defeated. Not to worry, we’re going to get you back on your feet while showing you how to stop wasting your time and actually get your cards displayed on those counters.

So, why don’t vets want your pet sitting business cards around? They’re good people. You’re both looking out for the well-being of all pets. So what’s the problem?!

In order to fully understand why you’re wasting your time…

You must grasp these 3 fundamental concepts:

1) You are competition.

In most, not all, situations you are direct competition with a vet. You both offer pet care options even though one takes place in a home while the other may take place in a cage. Either way, it’s still competition.

Plus, many vet techs and receptionists will play double duty and moonlight as in-home pet care providers themselves.

Allowing you to place business cards in their office cuts into their profits.

“But I’m a dog walker. The vet does not offer such a service,” you say?

Then the other reasons are for you…

2) What’s in it for them?

Good business is about forging good partnerships. Asking to leave your pet sitting business cards on a counter is not a partnership; it’s a favor.

In order to forge a successful partnership with another business owner who can potentially deliver you new clients, you must ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” What are they getting out of the deal? What are you doing to help them and their business?

The more you can bring to the table to help them, the better chance you’ll have seeing your cards glistening on their counter.

(We reveal the 5 things you can bring to the table in an upcoming post.)

3) They don’t know you.

Simply put, why should a vet decide to put out your pet sitting business cards? By displaying your cards, the vet office is suggesting to their clients that you are a reliable, preferred choice for pet care.

As well as you may be, how could the vet be sure? See what I’m saying?

A reliable vet will not in good conscience display any literature that they don’t fully believe in. It’s just not good business practice.

If I ran a vet’s office and you stopped in as an unknown pet sitter asking to place business cards on my counter, I’d be a little uncomfortable vouching for you without fully knowing who you are and how you operate.

If a vet’s client finds your card in their office and something does go wrong with the service you provide, the vet’s client will be outraged at the vet! She will storm into the office stating her case, expecting the vet to help take some sort of action or recourse.

The vet will then have to explain that you were just someone who popped in and… you see where this is going.

I believe this is one of the main reasons vets do not allow pet sitter business cards in their office. It’s too much of a risk.

If, on the other hand, you establish a working and professional relationship with a vet, and your work is vouched for, you may have a better shot at getting your cards placed.

So how then do you develop such a relationship and establish trust?

In our next post, we reveal the 5 things that you can bring to the table to get your pet sitting business cards placed in a vet’s office. The #4 item on that list will actually have the vet’s office looking forward to more cards each month!

Tell us. What sort of experience have you personally had with vets? Please comment below.

Josh Cary

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Josh Cary is a respected and well sought-after speaker and business consultant within the professional pet care industry. Since 2009, having grown his own pet sitting business, Josh provides his industry with the tools, support, and resources to build and maintain a thriving and respected pet business.

With a strong focus on digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and website development, Josh’s one mission is to help you Get Found First through a professional and effective website.

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. I don’t know whether this is your actual experience or your expectation. Logically it sounds reasonable, but in practice I haven’t found it to be true. I’ve owned a pet sitting business in Seattle for 8 years and have never run into this problem. Most vets in my area have a bulletin board where anyone with a thumbtack can post some business cards or brochures.

    It is understood the vet is not endorsing the pet sitter. They’re apparently not bothered by the competetive aspect or they wouldn’t have the bulletin board. In fact, while it may cut into their boarding business, it apparently creates enough customer good will to be worth it, because these vet office bulletin boards are almost universal in my area.

  2. I don’t know whether this is your actual experience or your expectation. Logically it sounds reasonable, but in practice I haven’t found it to be true. I’ve owned a pet sitting business in Seattle for 8 years and have never run into this problem. Most vets in my area have a bulletin board where anyone with a thumbtack can post some business cards or brochures.

    It is understood the vet is not endorsing the pet sitter. They’re apparently not bothered by the competetive aspect or they wouldn’t have the bulletin board. In fact, while it may cut into their boarding business, it apparently creates enough customer good will to be worth it, because these vet office bulletin boards are almost universal in my area.

  3. Hi Vicki,

    Thanks for your comment. Certainly, this may not be the sentiment across the board, but I have spoken to pet sitters and vets alike who mentioned feeling this way.

    Also, I’m laying the ground work and setting the stage for my next article that deals with establishing a strong business relationship with a vet. For example, how can a pet sitter get past the bulletin board and actually have a vet mention your name when a client asks, “Do you know of any good pet sitters?”

    I hope this part is obvious but in this case, ‘vet’ can also refer to groomers, pet store employees or other appropriate business owners.

    In any case, good to hear you have had success in this area.

  4. Hi Vicki,

    Thanks for your comment. Certainly, this may not be the sentiment across the board, but I have spoken to pet sitters and vets alike who mentioned feeling this way.

    Also, I’m laying the ground work and setting the stage for my next article that deals with establishing a strong business relationship with a vet. For example, how can a pet sitter get past the bulletin board and actually have a vet mention your name when a client asks, “Do you know of any good pet sitters?”

    I hope this part is obvious but in this case, ‘vet’ can also refer to groomers, pet store employees or other appropriate business owners.

    In any case, good to hear you have had success in this area.

  5. Nice post Joshua! I’ve tried this myself, leaving cards with a few local vets and have found out that most are willing to help out. A few did ask for references (which is completely understandable). I run a Newport Beach dog walking service and in addition to leaving cards I was able to get prominent placement on a vets website; something that also serves as an additional backlink to my own site. It never hurts to ask I suppose.

    1.  Hey Maria, Great to see you post your comment here!  I’m happy to hear you have had nice success with a vet.  If you can manage it and make the relationship work, then perfect.  Even better if you can get that back link from their website to yours – that may allow you to highlight on your website a “Recommended by local vet [name of practice]!” Let us know how it continues to go for you and your business.

  6. Not true. I get a TON of business from vets that I HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH from dealing with them with client’s animals. “Partner” does not mean stopping by to throw your cards on the table. AND I’ve had several even ask me for them when I went in cold and introduced myself and talked with them awhile.

    My LAST referral came from a vet I know very well and she asked me to take a dog who was biting the caregivers in an older man’s assisted living. It’s a 3x a day job every day of the year. Do the math.

    I don’t think sales are your strong suit. You go in and tell them you need BOARDING backup for several clients who either are new that you have to decline or existing. They appreciate that because they can bridge the clients to their veterinary practice. Or you just say you’re looking for vets to refer new clients to.

    Like one guy I had who’s dog got diabetes and needed supervised care the first week on insulin when he happened to have a cruise booked. I made some calls for him, set it up for a vet that one of my other clients uses who didn’t know me, I stopped in to go over the thing, ask about their overnight care (which they offer) and then had him go in.

    He’s used him ever since for two years now and I just do the cats.

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