Marketing Summary Plan WAGS TO WHISKERS PET SITTING SERVICE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A service such as Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service is very important to people who own animals. Pets are not merely animals to many people, but considered children. Knowing that a pet is being cared for in their own environment is a much sought after relief for many people. Wags to Whiskers offer a variety of services for an owner when it comes to caring for the pet while a person is away from the home. Items such as feed and watering, walking or exercise, and grooming are just a few of the services available. Cost for services will range from $5 to $35 depending upon the service and time frame needed to complete the service.
The services can be used on a daily basis or for an extended amount of time when a person is out of town. Concentration on professionals and senior citizens will be the target audience to begin the Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service. The area of concentration will include the three counties of Northern Kentucky, Boone, Kenton, and Campbell. Because owners feel guilty for leaving their pets alone for long periods, pet sitting services is one of the fastest growing businesses. If Wags to Whiskers has the perseverance, the opportunities are there for the making in the pet sitting business.
This can be accomplished through multiple avenues of advertising, such as newspapers, vet offices, etc. Goals for Wags to Whiskers will consist of making $25, 000 in the first year of business and growing in additional clientele, staff, and revenue over the next three years. PRODUCT DEFINITION Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Services offer clients who are busy working long hours away from home a much-needed peace of mind. It is important to the client to know the animal is well taken care of during their absence. Regardless of the type of pet Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service offer feeding, watering, exercise and / or play, administer of medication, transportation to the vet, massages, and will make air travel arrangements for pets. According to Mary Jean Ball ner who spoke at the NAPPS annual conference in January, 2005, "Benefits (from massages) are the same as for humans (increases blood flow, releases endorphins, soothes) Benefits pet sitters by (accelerates bonding with all animals, aids with 'difficult' pets, relaxes scared animals)." Other services offered include grooming (bathe and brush), car rides, nail clipping, misting of birds and reptiles, cleaning cages or tanks, and monitor the temperature within a reptile's habitat.
Many times as a pet sitter, Wags to Whiskers, will bring pet (s), if compatible and spend half an hour with the client's animals. Sociable animals are in constant need of companionship therefore it is important the client's pets be around other pets, if feasible. Services offered in addition to the care of client's pets include bringing in the mail and paper, water plants, remove animal nose-smudges from windows, and sometimes as an added service to steady clients, leave fresh flowers for their arrival. When the client arrives home Wags to Whiskers also leaves a little something for the owner to present to their pet, usually a small inexpensive toy or treat.
Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitters offer the widest array of services tailored to meet the needs of hard-working people who want their pets to be happy. Beside the normal cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, and fish we will also offer our services to rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, and larger animals such as horses and pygmy goats. To be competitive pricing must be in alignment with other pet sitting services. SERVICE AMOUNT OF TIME COST Water, feed, walk and clean up any messes 1/2 hour $20/ea weekday trip $25/ea weekend trip Water and feed 15 minutes $10/ea weekday trip $15/ea weekend trip Walk dog 1/2 hour $15/ea weekday trip $20/ea weekend trip Transportation to vet or grooming service Unknown $20 round trip $25 round trip Overnight stay with pet in client's home 8-12 hours $30/ea weekday $35/ea weekend Overnight stay with me Unknown $15/ea weekday $20/ea weekend Specially prepared meals 1/2 hr $5 extra per trip Large outdoor animals Unknown Call for a quote Additional Pets n / a $5 extra per pet Discounts: Regular Clients Daily Basis 10% on 2+ trips / day Regular Clients Vacation 10% applied to total bill Senior Citizens Anytime 10% applied to total bill Because of time constraints and traffic, a limit of visiting 8 pets per day is the maximum. This allows Wags to Whiskers to give the time necessary to each pet.
In this day and age, it is important to have a web site so prospects may see testimonies and read about Wags to Whiskers. In addition, the ability to take pictures of pets and send by Internet to the owner who may be on vacation, a business trip, or in the hospital could prove beneficial. ENVIRONMENTAL & COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS Many animals have anxiety attacks when their owners leave for the day because they thrive on human companionship. It can be tough on them to be home alone all day. Recognizing this problem will make Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service one of the fastest growing home-based industries in the country. According to American Demographics, the marketing potential shows that "45% of women 35 to 54 who have been divorced, separated, or widowed own a pet.
Single households make up 28% of total expenditures on pets." Also listed in the American Demographics, "39% of Americans ages 55 to 64, and 25% of those 65+, own a pet." Senior citizens may not physically have the ability to care for pets for extended needs beyond food and watering their pets. Amy D. Shoji is a nationally known authority on pet care and behavior. Amy recently spoke at the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
According to Amy, "84 percent of owners consider their pets as their children... ." (1999-2000 A AHA Survey) and that, "Aging human populations identify with aging pets." To build the business it will be important to market Wags to Whiskers to demographic groups with a high-end income, such as professionals who work long days and travel frequently. In a professional's day-to-day routine, the professional may work long hour's leaving pets alone for long periods each day. High-end income singles may have discretionary income available who are better suited to afford the extra expense for the care of their animals.
Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service will also market to elderly citizens who are on a fixed income. Because they may not have any discretionary income available, prices should be marked at a lower cost to allow them the opportunity to receive qualified care of their pets. The area of concentration will include Boone, Kenton, and Campbell County residences. These three counties make up Northern Kentucky and have the largest population per county. Within these counties our target areas will include professionals who may work long hours at the office or who travel extensively. Such professionals, to name a few, may include doctors, nurses, sales representatives, and executives.
Senior citizens in the same counties will also be target. Other companies who offer the same or similar services are pure competition. Entry into the pet sitter competition will require reducing prices to stay competitive. Competition threats are numerous. Other direct competition includes kennels, pet sitting services, neighbors, and family members.
Neighbors and family members are a personal threat because they usually care for the pets free. According to the local Yellow Pages Neighborhood Directories, there are 7 listings for dog and cat kennels, but no pet sitting services in Campbell County. In Boone County, 9 listings for dog and cat kennels showed up, but again no pet sitting services. Kenton County was the only county that specifically advertised pet sitting services totaling 3. There was also 7 dog and cat kennels listed for Kenton County. Between the dog and cat kennels listed for each county, 4 kennels were listed in all the counties.
Opportunities available in the pet sitting business beside people who work long hours or senior citizens who need help with the care of their pets include health hazards in boarding pets. Many kennels have a constant problem with Bordetella, which is also called "kennel cough." This is contracted when an animal in the kennel contracts a bacteria or virus and spreads it among the other pets also staying there. Using Wags to Whiskers would allow the pet to stay within their own home environment missing the problems associated with kennels. Also allowing the pet to stay within their own surroundings would lessen the guilt the owner may feel by leaving the animals alone all day. One other opportunity to be considered is that the owner does not have to drop and pick up the animal if left at a kennel or pet boarding service.
Have the newspapers do an article on Wags to Whiskers to place in the local section of the newspapers. A large amount of the reader circulation would read and remember the article about Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service the next time they are in need of a pet sitter. Another unique way Wags to Whiskers will advertise is by offering gift certificates as wedding gifts, birthday and anniversaries. Indirect threats to Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service include companies allowing employees to work at home, which would allow the person to care for their own pets. More hotels and motels are allowing pets on the premises, allowing pets to go along on vacation. Because of the economy companies may cut back on staff, in turn making the person cut back on the discretionary spending, such as pet sitting services.
Wags to Whiskers business is able to make our own hours and free to choose the pets we want to pet sit. Wags to Whiskers offer dependable, responsible, and patient services to the owners and pets alike. Owners can be at ease knowing that Wags to Whiskers qualifications include CPR and First Aid training, along with the ability to pamper pets as requested and the knowledge of how to care for animals other than the normal cat and dogs are all important aspects to Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service. The downside to working as a pet sitter is the long hours that must be put in to care for each pet. Knowing the busiest time to pet sit is required on weekends and holidays can damper all activities for yourself and your family. Other areas of concern are the expenses, bad weather and having to deal with picky owners are all disadvantages to working in the pet sitting business.
Barrier entries for Wags to Whiskers could include capital availability, advertising expenditures, product identity, and distribution access. Funding should not be a barrier in Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service since start-up cost is at a minimum, as long as the vehicle is reliable and economically sound on gas. High expenses such as gasoline prices, vehicle maintenance, and repairs could hamper a competitive price in getting to and from clients. Other expenses for Wags to Whiskers include being bonded, having good liability insurance, state and or county business registration fees, membership dues in Pet Sitting International and National Association of Professional Pet Sitting, along with the cost of keeping up first aid and CPR practices.
The liability insurance is the only expensive factor that may cost approximately $1, 200/year. The other expense items range in cost anywhere from $80 to $300 per item. Depending upon how advertising is approached this could be a large expense. The cost of a website, door hanger inserts, advertisement in the local yellow pages, and producing a quarterly newsletter could all be expensive, but necessary advertisement avenues.
From the survey results, there seems to be a low knowledge level about using a pet sitting service. As a new start-up entering the field, Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service will offer discounts, free coupons, and special services to be competitive. Companies could offer the services of Wags to Whiskers as a benefit to employees who travel extensively or professional who work long hours. Pet sitting's regulations are non-existence. Various pet sitting associations are self-regulated, policing themselves. To gain accreditation pet sitters can join these various associations, which have certain criteria that must be met to become or stay a member.
Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting business's trengths lie in its ability to ease the mind of a pet owner. Starting up the Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service is because of the love for animals and the need to apply that love of animals in a needed field, such as pet sitting. If a pet owner leaves a beloved pet in the hands of Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting Service, the owner's mind is at ease leaving the owner to concentrate solely on their current task. Of course, there are always disadvantages to any business. In pet sitting, it is a challenge to make pet owners understand and believe that a pet sitter can give their pet the proper love and attention needed while the pet owner is away for an extended period. Just as in the business world, people do not think anyone else can do their job well enough during their own absence.
Therefore, a pet sitter must give constant reassurances that the pet will be fine in the hands of the qualified pet sitter. The current trend for Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting is that the service is only used when owners leave for a vacation or business trip. One opportunity would be to focus on the elderly who cannot take their pet to a vet or give the pet proper exercise on a routine basis. Another opportunity to target is pet owners who put in very long hours at work. This businessperson may feel a burden was lifted if a pet sitter were able to visit and tend to a pets needs on a daily basis. Our economy could be a threat to a Wags to Whiskers Pet Sitting business since companies are scaling back thereby reducing staff or asking staff to take a pay cut.
When a person takes a pat cut to keep their job, the person may determine daily pet care is a luxury service thereby cutting the service. If a person loses their job, it is important for that person to cut back to the bare minimums until a replacement job is found. Even then, the person may be reluctant to re-instate the service until they feel more secure in the job. In either situation, a person may attempt to find a family, friend, or neighbor who can temporarily care for their pet.
It would be in the best interest for the company to find a way to keep the service going without losing the customer. GOAL & STRATEGIES Goal: 1 st Year Revenue - $25, 000 Strategies: 1. Advertise heavily in all three counties 2. Offer competitive pricing by checking direct and indirect competitors 3.
Provide appropriate and dependable vehicle to transport pet 4. Leave new toy or treat for customer to give their pet upon the customers upon their return 5. 100% satisfaction guarantee Goal: 1 st Year Advertisement Avenues Strategies: 1. Offer free services for a day through mailers and door hangers 2.
Post discount coupons in Pet's Mart stores, vet offices, obedience schools, and local SPCA branches 3. Advertise in each county Community Recorder newspapers 4. Speak with Recorder, Enquirer and Post to write an article highlighting the business Goal: 2 nd Year Increase Clientele by 20 Regular Clients Strategies: 1. Accommodate needs and wants of customers on a short notice 2.
Supply and demand rationale 3. Improve personalization to customer needs 4. Garner free advertisement by current clients telling others by word-of-mouth 5. 100% satisfaction guarantee Goal: 3 rd Year Increase Revenue by 30%Strategies: 1. Offering additional services above the norm or services not currently provided by others such as massages, bathing, and trimming of fur 2. Performance and efficiency 3.
Proven comfort of pets 4. Market to large mass of the elderly at a discount 5. Offer pet sitting for unusual pets that other pet sitters will not handle 6. 100% satisfaction guarantee with an extra one day free Goal: Expand to Hire Staff in 3 rd Year by Increasing Clientele another 20 Regular Clients Strategies: 1. Train at least one to two other staff to ensure customer coverage if I am not available 2. Make sure training covers complete definition of how I want customer service handled 3.
Make sure records of pet owners and pets names are available so that other employees can call clients and pets by name for superior relations. 4. 100% satisfaction guarantee Goal: After 3 Years Offer Other Related Services Strategies: 1. Run a consulting service to help other entrepreneurs 2. Diversification through meeting the needs of clients with unusual pets 3. Stay abreast of new innovations to improve customer service 4.
Certified through PSI and NAPPS to care for exotic animals 5. Quarterly newsletter to clients and others to keep customers informed about services and productsCONTROLSMonitoring Wags to Whiskers marketing plan will be an ongoing task. Advertisement will be important to track to determine who is providing the most new customers to Wags to Whiskers. Advertisements placed in the local newspapers should be checked quarterly to see if they are paying for themselves. If not, it will be necessary to find other avenues of advertising, such as pet magazines and the websites for the top three pet sitting organizations in the United States.
If most of the new business is coming to Wags to Whiskers by word-of-mouth from current clients, it will be important to find a way to show appreciation, such as a free service for every new client received. Service fees could be a concern if business in the first six months is not on target to meet the first year revenue of $25, 000. Improvement in this area may require looking at costs incurred compared to revenue coming in. Changes such as driving routes, time spent in traffic and time spent with pet must be reviewed for better efficiency.