As I sit here typing this blog, staring out at a drab grey sky and I am starting to wonder if summer has gone already! Let's hope that this slightly dreary start to the month will give way to a gorgeous August! I thought I'd take a quick breather over a coffee to update you all on what's been going on for us this summer...
Things have been sheer wonderful chaos at Team ForPaws this holiday period. As many of our customers and friends will have noticed, our team has grown from 3 to 9 people! We have been pleased to welcome Charlie Loughlin who is our new House Sitter and a trainee vet nurse (who better to look after your pets whilst you are on holiday!), Natalie Lambert who is covering holidays and ad hoc requests over the summer, autumn and Christmas period (before hopefully travelling next year!) and Alice-Rose Cox, who has joined us to grow the Haslemere, Liphook and Midhurst area for ForPaws. I've previously blogged about how nervous recruitment makes me, but I have been so pleased to find these wonderful new additions to Team ForPaws as they are just the bright, bubbley, reliable and professional people that I want with me looking after your pets.
Of course, one of the reasons we've needed to take on extra staff is that we are once again growing rapidly. I am feeling truly blessed to have a business that I love and that continues to grow and be so well received - thank you for all the recommedations and referrals! With growth comes challenge however, and whilst I would like to think that Team ForPaws has resembled a beautiful swan, gracefully and apparently effortlessly gliding upstream (with it's little feet paddling like the clappers under the surface!) I have to confess reality may have been a little different! My fantastic staff have really excelled themselves at keeping in touch with and taking excellent care of our clients and keeping me up to date on bookings, changes and things I need to be aware of, whilst looking after a wide range of customers and dealing with some very difficult situations - being a fussy recruiter has certainly been well rewarded in having such a hard working and reliable team. In the background of all of their work, I have been trying to keep up with the administration for all of these bookings and new enquiries, which is now a full time job, around which I am also trying to squeeze in my increasingly busy and successful training and behaviour side of the business - something that feels a little like Mission Impossible! Thankfully I made the decision to defer the 2nd year of my behavioural studies this year just to keep up with the demands on my time, but as I will be restarting in September, I've had to admit, we've reached another (much anticipated) milesone... we need an admin person!!!
Thankfully, there was no delay in finding someone to help, as Michelle Bialogrodska who has been with me since 2013, has bravely (or stupidly!?) stepped up and agreed to take on the administration of our cat sitting business, as well as the training class bookings, for which I am extremely grateful! I am also going to be looking at finding additional help to manage new enquiries as they come in, so that I can ensure that I spend my time, focus and energy supporting my team and working with customers who urgently need my training and behaviour expertise.
So once again I would like to thank all of our clients for bearing with us during a somewhat frantic summer period, and being so kind and gracious about some very late replies on my part! With each milestone we are getting ever closer to my vision of being the perfect choice for selective pet owners, looking for reliable, professional, experienced and friendly pet care in this area!
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind all our friends and customers of the best way to get in touch if you need our help:
1. If you are concerned about how best to look after your pets whilst you are away for business or a holiday, please submit a booking form to us in the first instance, available here: http://www.forpaws.net/catfeedbooking.html (cat sitting) and here: http://www.forpaws.net/housesitbooking.html (for house sitting). These forms are now swiftly sent to members of the team, who will get in touch with you as soon as possible to answer all your questions!
2. If you are an existing cat sitting or dog walking client, who would like to request additional bookings, please do so via our online booking request system, within the pet sitter plus programme that you are sent details of in each invoice. This puts your request directly into our system, drastically reducing the time it takes to arrange your booking and increasing the turnaround speed for confirming it.
3. Please do bear in mind that summer is an extremely busy period, so we need plenty of notice to ensure that we have a member of Team ForPaws on hand to help you.
Thank you again to all our wonderful clients and friends for your support and encouragement. We will be marking our 4th Birthday at the beginning of December and I am hoping to have a lovely bash to celebrate and thank you all in person!