I want to be clear at the beginning that this is an independent review, which the guys at Pet Sitter Plus did not initiate or influence. My enthusiasm for the product is all my own!
Pet Sitter Plus is a superb software package, and by far the most comprehensive that I have come across. I wrestled my way through 18 months of building a pet care business, before my systems became too complex and time consuming to cope with the growth. During that period, I had a 3-part system:
- Pen and paper.
- Quick Books.
- Narps UK software (which, with hindsight, was very basic and far from dynamic).
Even together, they didn’t make up a complete package.
My problems were:
- I wasted large amounts of time duplicating information to two software programmes, neither of which was specific enough for my (typical one-person-pet-care-business) needs.
- There was no mobile optimisation and I relied almost entirely on my hard copy diary when I was out and about.
Most of my client information was stored in hard copy, because I often couldn’t get internet access on my laptop at a booking visit. With no system that was easy to access on a mobile, I recorded all information with pen and paper. To move it over too the database at a later date, just became one more job that I didn’t have time for.
- Nothing ever felt organised. I didn’t feel like I was ‘on top’ of the admin side of my business, probably because critical information was spread over 3 systems, none of which merged together without my input.
- I started working with my first independent contractor, and all of our communication was outside of the software capability, adding another layer of ‘to do’.
- I was very aware that this lack of continuity of information, made it highly probable that a major error was always possible.
- Many admin tasks needed to be processed by me as a human. It all took a great deal of time, and that had two outcomes. Firstly, it took me away from the dogs, and secondly it led to me being permanently working – and stressed.
Tasks I wanted to be able to do electronically
There were a whole lists of tasks that I didn’t have any way of doing, other than painstakingly ‘by hand’. These are only a few of them:
- Processing wages from work completed.
- Interactive scheduling.
- Knowing when work was completed.
- Communicating information to ICs.
- Taking and processing client bookings and cancellations.
- Adjusting invoices for cancellations and refunding accounts if payment had been made.
- Emailing groups of clients.
- Key management (personal nightmare!)
- Allowing clients to manage their own data updates.
I needed help, and couldn’t afford to pay an admin assistant enough hours. So, I started searching for a pet sitting software package that would meet my needs, and after finding some that didn’t seem to good a fit, I bumped into Pet Sitter Plus.
My experience of Pet Sitter Plus
On the website it sounded too good to be true, but there was a free trial for a month, which made it so much easier to take the plunge. I mean, if I didn’t like it I could just move on and find something else. I was still at the stage where a monthly outgoing had to represent great value for money, but the affiliate system at Pet Sitter Plus brought their pricing to a very manageable level. Somewhat excited and hopeful, I embarked on the trial.
I had one coaching session with Richard, who was personable and a great teacher. That was all I needed and I was completely hooked. Suddenly I had one place to keep all client, pet, staff and financial information, with integrated all round business admin capabilities. Over the ensuing 3 and a half years these have been regularly updated and currently (Autumn 2016) include:
- fully integrated accounts;
- capacity to take online payments;
- a co-worker interface (where they can access their jobs, acknowledge them and mark them as completed, see compensation etc.);
- a client interface (so that they can manage their own account);
- excellent mobile functionality, so that admin can be done from anywhere with phone signal;
- client feedback on service provision (by sitter), which generates an email to the client (and admin) and can include photographs;
- a capacity to create reports for wages (compensation), source of client referral, income by service group (e.g. walks, day care, boarding, visits) and tax;
- mass emailing linked to your own email account;
- GPS tracking of staff;
- online payments;
- key management (Yay!)
Particular strengths of Pet Sitter Plus
- A truly exhaustive pet sitting package, which allows complete business management from a single platform.
- Excellent mobile functionality.
- Intuitive to use, so easy to develop confidence in new skills.
- Represents astonishing value for money, saving many hours of admin tasks each week.
- Excellent customer service and support systems.
- Regular improvements and updates that are seamlessly carried out and thoroughly explained.
- Over 99.9% reliability, which means almost no down time, even around software updates and server migration. This is unusually reliable for this industry sector.
Many thanks to Pet Sitter Plus for permission to use their videos.