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Monday, January 11, 2010

Schedule Changes On Web / Winter Action Plan / Reminders

* view schedule changes on your computer / cell phone: I’m going to start publishing your daily schedules on the internet. Each of your calendars will have their own unique web address:

click the following link to view an example calendar

I’ll continue to send schedule changes directly to you, but viewing your calendar during the day might be easier than going through numerous text messages.

* winter action plan: The Winter Action Plan has started:

1. new business cards are in the mail
2. we’re investing in new services for the company (dog running)
3. we’re doing a census of the entire company – a walker will be joining each of you on your routes to take images and video of your dogs, update your google doc’s, etc.
4. improving scheduling with online schedule calendar

Reminders:

* let me know if you are ever running low on bio bags – don’t use any bags that aren’t biodegradable
* make sure all your keys are tagged
* log onto your google doc’s weekly
* use the calendar on your cell phones to create reminders

Thanks for your time!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Action Plan:

What’s in (for walkers):

1. Business Cards: We’re going to go hard back to pushing business cards to promote the company. I’ve talked about you stopping by your local vet offices and pet stores for months now but we will begin doing so.

2. Saturday Walks / Cat Visits: We are going to give Saturday walks another 3 month trial and for this three month trial I will provide you with a covering schedule. You will all have 1 or 2 few weeks where you are a Saturday cover walker and 1 or 2 weeks where you are a backup walker for emergencies. Because some walkers specifically like and request weekend work you might only be needed once or twice at the most. The cat visits have been picking up and these are very low maintenance.

3. Running: We are going to really concentrate on the running side of our business. Running is so great for anxious, aggressive and over weight dogs. So I’m going to talk with each of you individually about how we want to start promoting our running service to existing clients but also to people you meet on the street. PS: All dogs can run, even Pugs and Bulldogs! Some dogs can’t run far, long or fast but they all can run so many of our clients will qualify for this service. PPS: you will not have to run the dogs – we will have long distance runners perform this service.

What’s in (for the office):

1. custom made leash: I have a leash I made custom for our industry and I am in the process of having it made for all of you to use. It will allow us to leash the dogs in two locations, dramatically increasing safety.

2. improve scheduling: Improving the scheduling process for you, the office and the client is a never ending process for me. I’m always trying to improve things and this will continue. On your part please continue to push clients to the “schedule forms” (please say “schedule forms” to the clients, not “the office”).

3. increase income: We will continue to try and increase income for the company as a whole. Please help me help you make more money. Some times I will ask you to do things that you don’t think are very important, but they very well might put a few extra thousand dollars in your pocket this year (example: continuing to take at least 5 pictures of dogs, vets, dog runs, etc every week).

What’s out:

1. sick day services: This didn’t catch on and doesn’t seem to meld with our business model, as of now at least.

What’s on the bubble:

1. Short-term / Sporadic walks: These walks have been a huge help during the recession to fill gaps but at a certain point as the routes pack up I think we will again move away from them. On top of the liability we assume to walk a dog sparingly there is also the fact short-term dogs can effect us adding a daily long-term client and or effect the time frame of a normal client.

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Dates / Winter Action Plan / Tips:

1. Holiday Dates: Unless we tattoo it on their arms some clients will not remember the dates we’re off so I’m going to have forms for you to drop off with each client and I or someone named Nina will touch base with you tomorrow.

2. Winter Action Plan: I’ve only heard back from one walker on this so far. Please think up some ideas for Wednesday and you can give me them when we do billing.

3. Tips: I’ve been a walker too so I know what it’s like to get weak and or no tips at all, it sucks. But please don’t take it too hard. Some people just flat out don’t tip and others might be hard up. But I do feel you should tip your dog walker. This is also another example of what I’ve discussed in how it’s really us together. Not us vs. the clients, but simply us together and we need to take care of each other because no one else is guaranteed to.

Thanks and hope you have a great holiday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Winter Action Plan / Holiday Work / Google Doc’s:

1. Winter Action Plan: I’d like you all to email me in the next few days some ideas for our Winter Action Plan. Think / look over our past action plans. Your perspective is really important and your ideas could positively impact you and your fellow walkers’ daily lives here.

2. Holiday Work: If any of you haven’t told me already and would like some holiday work / sleepovers please let me know, there’s plenty of requests.

3. Google Doc’s: Please log into your Google Doc’s now and make sure they are current up to an including this week.

Thanks!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Google Doc’s / Winter Action Plan:

1. Google doc’s: I’ve grown to realize that one month is too long in-between updates of our Google Doc’s. So every day, starting today, that you check out the walkers’ post please also check out your Google doc’s. Ideally you should update your Google doc’s every time something significant changes. Many of you can do this directly through your cell phones too.

2. Demystify the Google doc’s: When you write your Google doc’s I think some of you are too reserved. Talk about these dogs like they are your own. What would you want someone to know about your dog? I can quickly think of the following just to start:

* equipment worn
* pulls or not?
* house trained? if not where are wee wee pads kept?
* fed? if so how much and where is food kept?
* aggressive? with who? when? what times? how to avoid?
* uses special commands you should be aware of?
* door lock to apartment – only use top lock or you’ll get locked in, etc
* if using a backup walker make sure clients tell doormen or we wont get in
* key with doorman
* being crated / no longer being crated / crated at start but not at end, etc.

Basically please start giving a full, organic, step by step view of what the walks entail. This information can change weekly (especially with all our short-term clients these days) so please start to check the dog’s weekly.

3. Checking Google Doc’s and Walkers’ App on schedule: I think all of you, this moment, should set calendar reminders (set to weekly reminder) on Monday nights and or Tuesday mornings to update your Google Doc’s and view the walkers’ post. We do these online so you can view them at your own choosing and in the comfort of your home. And we do this as an alternative to making you come and sit down for a weekly meeting. Please don’t abuse this though because if so I’ll need to start having weekly sit downs. That’s how important I feel this information is.

4. Not updating Google doc’s: A walker who was recently sick had not updated their Google doc for a few months and it caused a nightmare morning for them and us. This is their own words”

“….having to repeatedly speak on the phone while sick was excruciating and having to piece mail my dog notes was chaotic for the office because of it.”

We’re most concerned about making sure the dogs are safe and the owners are happy when they have a backup but maybe you can try and also envision having food poising and having to discuss dog notes all morning….not fun );

5. Winter Action Plan: I’m starting to prepare for our Winter Action Plan. Please submit any ideas you might have. As many of you have told me, these Action Plans have really helped create extra cash flow / keep existing clients in place.

Thanks!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stop watch app. / Survey

Hey everyone:

Welcome back and hope you are well rested!

I’ll keep it simple this week so please fill out the survey below where I’m asking you what cell phone make and model you have and also need to schedule a day to sit down with each of you next week. Based on your cell phones I’m going to research and buy all of us stop watch app’s for our phones to time our walks. I think this will relax us more by knowing exactly when we started / how much time we have left, etc. But it will also help us for when clients try and say we’ve cut time. With that said, be extra careful when a client has a house guest staying over. House guests / non-clients don’t know when our times start and stop and can cause us problems so be extra careful and maybe even give me a heads up when their is a house guest. Thanks and please fill out the survey below:

CLICK TO TAKE SURVEY.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pictures / Reminders / Language / Bio Bags

1. pictures: The pictures are going great and most all of you have told me you’re really enjoying this. So please keep emailing pictures to: [email protected] (and please add this email address to your cell phone, right now if you haven’t already, under the name “Blog”)

And please type descriptions of the pictures (before the picture will make it the title and after the image code will make it the description) BUT PLEASE NO NAMES INCLUDED. I don’t yet have consensus from the clients they want their dogs’ pictures and names on the internet. So let’s just be descriptive with the location (neighborhood followed by a comma and then New York City, NYC or Manhattan), breed, and what’s going on (example: Boston Terrier sitting on a corner in the West Village, New York City). Again while this project is fun it will also greatly help get more clients into our company and onto your routes.

Here’s a slide show with some of your pics:

2. reminder again on the results of your surveys / the basics of training here:

* dog’s walked short and on the left (not on the right or walking back and forth across your body)

* no j-walking ever

* never let a dog go up to lamppost

* never let go of the leash

3. wording: I think the wording we use in notes to clients when directing them to the office is very important:

* when regarding scheduling: please always direct them to the schedule forms (not the office / not to call, etc)

* when a client gives you a schedule change in person: “awesome, thanks but would you mind filling out a schedule form too? The office asks us to have all scheduling go through them.” (this can be used in notes too)

* if a client leaves a note about health issues: “Thanks a lot. One note was the office asks if you wouldn’t mind directing health issues to them ahead of time? This way they have time to prepare ahead of time to better serve you, etc.”

Your answers don’t have to be word for word what I’ve written but they are the idea and should help. Directing a client to the “schedule forms” though vs. the office, is key because we want the forms to be second nature to them, thanks!

4. bio bags: While it’s not being mandated that you use the bio bags I’m buying, it is now a company policy to only use biodegradable waste bags. This is now part of who we are as a company. That’s just legal speak though and I just need to make clear you’re not being forced to use my bags but our bio bags are the best of them out there and you are paying the least because I’m contributing half if not more of the price. So I’ll continue to plan to meet each of you once a month to give you bags and grab a $10 contribution. If you don’t want to use ours please contact me directly to discuss, thanks!