Client gifting & tips to run your pet care business with Jessica Sarcia, owner of Annie’s Woof Pack

by Nicole Gagnon in December 22nd, 2022
Jessica Sarcia and dogs

With the holidays right around the corner, you’re likely buried under tons of requests from new and existing pet parents for pet sitting and dog walking throughout the busy month of December. It can be a grueling time of year for pet sitters as everyone does their best to accommodate clients while balancing time off, preparing for the holidays, and spending time with friends and family.

If you need a few ideas for client gift giving, or just some general tips to help you navigate the holidays, Jessica Sarcia, owner of Annie’s Woof Pack in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, has some great advice. She’s come up with some awesome budget-friendly ideas to say thank you and ways to give back to causes important to you. Jessica has been in the pet care industry for many years, so she’s got the holidays down to a science.

“If you’re looking to grow your pet care business and have some time to yourself, you’re going to need to delegate. Whether it’s hiring a business manager or implementing software to help streamline your business, it’s going to make your life so much easier. We started using PetPocketbook, and it’s made a huge difference in our onboarding process. Before I was carrying around consultation sheets all day and trying to print things out, organize them, and worry if employees would lose them. I don’t think I’ve used my printer in over a year since all new clients enter all their family’s information in PetPocketbook now. It keeps everything all in one place and organized so that if a client decides not to use our services, I can just delete them so there isn’t any unnecessary, private information in our system.”

At the meet & greet, Jessica brings her tablet to review information that the client has added to their profile and make sure everything is accurate. Since they’ve already signed her client waivers in PetPocketbook, they can get right to scheduling and discuss a start date. “I have clients request appointments through their pet parent portal which helps me not miss anything. They essentially do my schedule for me—all I have to do is approve the requests. As a single mom, and especially around the holidays, it’s so helpful. Before I had “scheduling Sundays” where I would text all my clients and spend 4+ hours doing my schedule. Now I’ll just check my email on Sundays and approve requests. It saves me so much time!”

Since the holiday season can be super busy with schedules changing often, Jessica likes to be able to share her schedule with others. “For many years, I was using paper and pen to schedule everything and my family never knew where I was. Now, since my schedule is all online, my family can login to see it, check on how far along in my day I am, and even help me out by taking a visit off my plate so I can get home sooner.”

Once Jessica invites a new client to PetPocketbook, they can add everything from basic contact information to rabies and birthday information so that everything is up-to-date. “It feels like my clients are my employees sometimes since they’re adding all their information themselves. With their rabies information, I love that PetPocketbook tells me when it’s about to expire, so I can have my clients update that information instead of having to do it myself. Since all of the pets’ birthdays are in their profiles too, it’s super easy to keep track of sending birthday cards or a text from me that adds a really nice personal touch that clients love. I look forward to getting the birthday reminder emails at the beginning of each month!”

Jessica Sarcia and dog

Getting involved in the community

“I’m in this industry because I love dogs and humans. I named my business, Annie’s Woof Pack, after my first beagle who got me into dog walking and pet sitting. Naming it after her was a way to let her legacy live on. There’s a sense of community that’s formed in my hometown where my business started. I network with other pet sitters and dog walkers, and we work together to support one another so that our clients end up with the best pet sitter for their pets. It comes down to what every client and dog needs. If I don’t think their dog is a fit or isn’t getting what he needs from me, I’ll recommend another pet care provider in my area who is a better fit. For example, if a dog fails an evaluation with doggie daycare, they’ll refer them to me for solo services and in return, I’ll send a lot of puppies their way so they can get the socialization they need in doggy daycare. It all works out in the end and is really rewarding to see the community we’ve built.”

Annie’s Woof Pack has become well-known in the area so even though Jess and her team are fully booked, have a waiting list, and continue to receive referrals, she’s able to rely on the relationships she’s formed in her network to refer pet parents to others—something that is especially important around the holidays. Having a backup sitter or community of sitters can be beneficial to both you and potential clients and can give pet parents peace of mind.

Outside of her pet sitter and dog walker network, Jessica is also very involved in her local community. “I try to be very involved in things happening around town. Even though I’m fully booked for services, I market like I need the business to help spread the word. I often seek out different events happening around town, I’ll check the town website for upcoming events and different things where I can get involved. My goal is to spread awareness so that pet parents know what kind of services are available to them. For example, I met someone at an event who was super anxious about boarding their dog for a week while they were away. They didn’t even know that in-house pet sitting was an option, let alone available right in town. It makes me feel good that we’re able to help make it a pleasant experience for the dog and the pet parents.”

Giving back

Being involved in the community has always been important to Jessica and through her business, she has created ways to give back to her community and the causes important to her. Earlier this year, one of her clients tragically passed away in a car accident. Each week, in his honor, Jessica donates one family’s paid invoice to, an organization that provides service dogs to disabled veterans, and will continue to do so until each of her clients has donated in his honor.

Fundraiser for Annie's Woof Pack

Throughout the year, she’ll also donate to local shelters in her clients’ names and lets clients know their invoice has been donated. She says the response from her clients has been great, and they love being selected to donate. Around the holidays, Jess will collect donations too. Each thanksgiving she hosts a food drive and allows clients to donate right through their invoice and match up to $500 to the Greater Boston Food Bank. “It gives clients a chance to get involved in what we’re doing. I try to make it as easy as possible for them to donate so they can pay a few extra dollars on their invoice. With how automated and digital everything is today, it’s easier than ever for clients to be able to give back. I used to have to drive all over town collecting donations. Now I can easily do all of that right in PetPocketbook as clients pay their invoices. Then on my end, I just categorize it in QuickBooks so that I’m not paying taxes on their donation. It’s super easy!”

Holiday gifting for your clients

To thank clients for their business and for their generosity throughout the year, Santa Paws spoils her clients with a little something each holiday season. Jessica makes sure all her clients are included, not just weekly clients. She’ll brainstorm throughout the year what this year’s gift will be. In the past, Santa Paws has left toys, gift baskets, framed photos, refrigerator magnets, and photo books. “Since I have a ton of photos of clients already, I like to repurpose them into holiday gifts. My clients look forward to their gifts from Santa Paws every year and love that each gift is personalized. I don’t have to spend a ton of money to find something affordable that everyone will love. It’s just a small way of showing my appreciation.” We can’t wait to see what Santa Paws brings for the families of Annie’s Woof Pack this year!

If you need a little extra help this holiday season, give us a shout. We’d be happy to set you up with a 60-day free trial of PetPocketbook. From all of us at PetPocketbook and Annie’s Woof Pack, happy Howlidays and a very happy new year!

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