How long does it usually take to acquire clients?

asked 2016-07-19 10:27:24 -0500

I currently work full-time but am strongly considering quitting my job and taking care of dogs instead. I'm a musician and am looking for employment that's not quite as time-consuming as my current gig. I get the sense, though, that I won't be able to jump into a full pet-care schedule right away upon leaving my job -- I won't be able to first secure clients and THEN quit -- but instead will have to wait a while before my schedule fills up. My question is, about how long will I have to go without income? If I were to quit my job and have a wide-open schedule, about how long would it take for me to acquire enough clients to earn roughly $400 to $600 per week? I realize that may be a tough question to answer, but I'd like to get as accurate a sense as possible ahead of time of how much I could expect to earn, and how quickly, so that I don't quit my job and then end up homeless! Hope that makes sense!

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I should add that I live in a very central neighborhood in DC, and would offer all services -- dog- walking as well as dog-sitting.

Laurel H.'s profile image Laurel H.  ( 2016-07-19 10:29:28 -0500 ) edit

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answered 2016-07-19 11:24:43 -0500

That's a tough one to answer, as we all have different "start-up stories". From what I've seen, it takes about a month to get your first client or two on average. Then once you get repeat bookings and reviews, things seem to fall in place afterward. Advertising is a HUGE help, and I highly recommend getting business cards (you can get the first 100 for free, just call Rover Support and ask 888-453-7889). Also check out the Rover post cards and other advertising materials. I make up my own tear off ads that I post in local grocery, pet supply stores, and family style restaurants with boards that have gotten me business. It sounds like you are in a good area for pet care business! Be sure to keep your profile and pricing comparable to the other sitters in your area....you will be competing with them for business, so you'll have to make your profile shine and get noticed! Also be sure to be quickly responsive to requests...I highly recommend having the Rover app on your phone. That all being said, summer is the best time of year to start and gain clients and experience. Autumn seems to be slower on average, and then late winter/early spring. I know your goal is the same as mine...to get a steady stream of repeat clients....I've been doing this for 7 months, and I only have a small handful of weekly regular clients for drop-ins & walks. I'm getting new "vacation clients" this summer and hoping to turn them into regular weekly clients. YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE SAME PATH AS ME! I am out at the far edge of where the suburbs meet the countryside, so not so heavily populated. It looks like your profile hasn't been approved yet (at least I can't see it). I recommend looking at the top sitters in your zip code to see how they present their services in their profiles so you have an idea of what people are looking for.

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Thanks so much for your feedback, Mary!

Laurel H.'s profile image Laurel H.  ( 2016-07-19 11:36:43 -0500 ) edit

I've been waiting for awhile to get my first client I didn't even get a word yet

Christopher B.'s profile image Christopher B.  ( 2019-02-25 09:56:40 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-07-19 21:06:55 -0500

Each person has a different story depending on the area where they live, the number of potential clients, the number of existing sitters, and so on. Read everything you can on the Rover website about how to advertise your business and get the word out. Mary has some good suggestions on that.

As for me, I live in a suburb of Dallas, TX, and there are a LOT of Rover sitters in my area. I don't know how many are active, though. It took me about a month before I got my first client, and then my business slowly grew from there. Once I got a few reviews and started advertising more, I got more clients. Most of my friends now know what I do and they will refer their friends and family to me.

Some tips about your profile. Be sure to get some testimonials from friends or family to start out that can speak to your ability to keep pets and your experience. Write as complete a description as possible of your experience and love for dogs and why you want to be a sitter. Paint a picture of what the dog(s) will do at your home or while you visit/walk them. Put yourself in the client's shoes - what would attract someone to my profile and make them want to pick me. Do you have pets? Put up some pictures of them. Also include pictures of your home and areas where you would be walking and playing. Review other profiles to see what your local competition is saying and offering for rates. Price yourself $3-4 cheaper than the average at first. Then when you have some clients, raise your rates a little. I raised mine after 6 months and then 6 months after that. You want to stay competitive but not undervalue your time.

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answered 2016-07-20 07:26:46 -0500

Before you do anything check your local ordinances to find out if you are even allowed to board pets and if so how many. Find out rules about creating traffic in your area and if there are restrictions on what my city calls "Home Occupation"

When you say you want earn $400-$600/week do you mean gross or net? If you mean gross you'll have to factor in:

Rover's percentage - so you'd actually have to be generating $500-$750/week. Which is a minimum of $75/day in bookings if you work 7 days a week. Depending what your prices are this is going to mean boarding 3 dogs at a time every day of the week or maybe boarding one dog and walking/drop-in on 3 or 4 dogs per day. Not sure what the ramifications are of leaving a boarded dog alone long enough every day to go out and walk 3 or 4 other dogs. Just something to consider.

Gas - I had to raise my dog walking prices because I realized the amount of time I spent behind the wheel and the cost of gas meant I was making about $4.50 an hour for walking. You might get lucky enough to have all your dog walking clients be within a 5 mile radius but that limits your client pool.

Household cleaning products - This is an expense I had not planned on when I started. Some people lie when they say their pet is house-trained, or maybe they are house-trained... but only at their Owner's house. I have the convenience of a fenced yard. I've had dogs that I let out 8 times a day and still they pee in the house. Luckily I already owned a steam cleaner but I've had to buy all kinds of other products in an attempt to deal with urine stains. In one area of the house no matter what I do the stains keep re-appearing so I had to buy a big area rug to put down when I have guests so that was another expense.

Taxes - If you earn $400-$600/week you're going to have to pay taxes on that amount. The good news is that any of the expenses I mentioned above should be tax deductible.

On the positive side I can tell you that since the very day my profile went live I've had boarding requests in my email almost every day.

Good Luck whatever you may decide

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answered 2016-07-19 17:19:35 -0500

There are a lot of helpful rover.com groups on Facebook, build your network and contribute. Good luck and welcome to Rover. I'm in Prince William County VA

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