How to get the word out about your business.
In 2014, the American Pet Products Association found that Americans spent more than $55 billion on their pets including food, supplies, veterinary care and pet services.
Pet services includes grooming and boarding, but also includes other pet care services such as sitting and exercise. That’s a near $5 billion annual slice of the overall market, something you can tap by advertising your services.
The following are some ways you can promote your pet care business:
Word of mouth. The people you know are those that understand your love for animals. They’ll also be the ones more likely to trust you to care for their pets and enter their homes when you’re not around. Mention your availability and ask everyone you know to spread the word.
Print up fliers and business cards. Every time that you tell someone about your pet care service you need to give them a helpful reminder. The best reminder is a business card with your name, phone number and an email address on it as well as a list of your services. You can also print up fliers and distribute these at apartment complexes, post them to supermarket bulletin boards, and hand them out at public events.
Take out an ad. For improved reach, you need to reach people where they’re at. A local pet publication may have ad space. If so, talk with the publisher about your ad options including display ads and text ads. Consider Craigslist and freebie ad sites too. However, beware that you may get spammed!
Create publicity. One way to get the word out is to create some publicity. Typically, you need to have a story idea and tie that in with your business. That might include raising money for a local animal shelter and inviting the press to cover the story. If you are interviewed you can explain who you are and what you do, for a clever tie in to your fund-raising efforts.
Put up a website. You’re not particularly web savvy, are you? Don’t let that stop you from starting a website. There are numerous services that offer a “free website builder” in exchange for a small, monthly hosting fee. All the tools of making that website are included — you can launch and optimize your site in just one day.
It is critically important that you please your customers. It is also important that these same happy customers offer positive feedback for your service, so ask people to leave a review about your service such as Yelp. You should know that such services are a double-edged sword as reviewers can leave negative reviews behind as well as positive ones.
Once your business gets to a certain size, such as where you can quit your other job, then go ahead and formalize the business structure. An accountant can discuss with you those options and help you submit the proper documents.
See Also — The Value of Do-it-Yourself Lawn Care
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