2020 was a historic year for the pet sitting industry. In California there were 3 major business shutdowns. Many people had to adapt to working from home, and not commuting or leaving the house often. Many customers didn’t need services they once needed and that has impacted the pet sitting industry , just as COVID has affected other industries. Maybe you are like many people, glued to your television, hanging on the media’s every word. What is the best course of action? Use safe health practices. that is all anyone can do.
When it comes to survival in 2021, what are some steps you can take to keep your pet sitting business going ?
There are options for you during the pandemic.
1. Develop other income streams
If you were a pet sitting or dog walking business full time before COVID your clients have likely cut back in 2020. This has happened to many businesses. Taking up a part-time job is an effective way to generate revenue until the pet sitting industry comes back to normal.
2. Apply for a PPP Loan
Recently, the Small Business Administration announced there would be a second round of Paycheck Protection Loans available. The first round of loans were 1% interest but the second round will be tax deductible. To quality you must:
a) be able to show than any quarter of business fell 25% or more from 2019-2020,
b) had business operating before February 2020,
c) business must have 300 employees or fewer.
You can still apply for the new PPP loans even if you took out a loan on the first round of 2020. Check with your bank or financial institution.
3. Use the Pandemic Unemployment to fill the revenue gap
The federal government has extended current unemployment benefits for 11 weeks into 2021, starting on December 27th, 2020. Even if you have no employees, you are likely eligible for unemployment benefits. If you have problems filing, contact your local congressperson. Always Available Pet Sitting was able to utilize this in 2020 as an independent contractor. This special Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is available under the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020. According to EDD,
“With the new extension, PUA includes up to 57 weeks of benefits beginning February 2, 2020. The date you can start collecting benefits depends when you were affected by COVID-19 and the date you filed your PUA claim.”
What if you have gotten another job due to COVID and are looking for part time work?
If your pet sitting income is gone you have options. I suggest starting over and do pet sitting on a part time basis while you keep your original job if possible. It’s a great idea to re-connect with customers as things will change with the economy .As the vaccine rolls out, things will open up and your customers will need you.
Your greatest strength is your customer relationship
Remember no matter what happens, your most valuable asset is the trust your clients have in you. It is hard to build trust with other vendors and once you have earned that trust it is unlikely they will look for another pet sitting company. I keep in touch with my customers with a Constant Contact newsletter offering ideas, discounts and pet tips that will be useful to my customers. They know that I am there for them and their pets.. Historically, pandemics end in about two years, so do what you have to do to stay afloat. Your customers will be there for you if you let them know you haven’t moved on from your pet care business. Things will get back to normal !
Rose Connolly, Owner of Always Available Pet Sitting, Citrus Heights, CA