Joette White purchased Park Cities Pet Sitter from its original owner in 2000. Over the last 21 years (!), she has grown PCPSI into one of the largest dog walking and pet sitting companies in the country, and has won just about every major local and national award for her industry.
In this week’s blog, we sat down with Joette to learn about more about her management style, and why she has had so much success in the Dallas dog walking and pet sitting market.
What sets Park Cities Pet Sitter apart from other pet sitting companies?
Experience is probably the biggest differentiator. Not only has Park Cities Pet Sitter been in business for 29 years and counting, but the average employee on our staff has been with us for 5 years. That kind of longevity is pretty unheard of for most Dallas pet sitting companies. And experience really matters in this business. When you have the breadth of experience we have, we literally have seen just about everything that can possibly happen when it comes to taking care of people’s pets and homes. So if some kind of pet, home or even sitter emergency occurs, we have processes and procedures in place to know how to handle them. That gives both our clients and staff a lot of comfort and peace of mind. And peace of mind is what we sell!
Why should pet parents choose pet-sitting over standard boarding?
We believe pet-sitting is an ideal pet care solution for most pet owners because the pet gets to stay in their own home, which is where they feel the most safe and comfortable. We also believe that following the pet’s normal routine gives the pet comfort while their owner is away—so we try to maintain the same walking, feeding and play schedule they are accustomed to. Another great benefit of in-home pet sitting is that we also take care of the client’s home—bringing in mail and packages, rotating lights and blinds and watering plants. We can give the home a lived-in appearance, which is an added security benefit to the owner. Lastly, it is more convenient for the pet to stay in their own home, as the owner doesn’t need to worry about drop-off and pick-up constraints they may have at a boarding facility, and their pet is there at home to greet them upon their return. We are definitely not anti-boarding by any means, we just feel the services are quite different and offer different benefits.
What can people expect from your company?
A great service experience from start to finish is what we strive for throughout the life of every client relationship. That starts with how you are treated when initially inquiring about our services, how you are onboarded once you choose to use our service, the initial meeting with your sitter, and then great service and communication every time you need to use us. We train all of our staff in our company’s core values, stress the importance of maintaining professional relationships at all times with clients and fellow staff members, and we reinforce how good, thorough communication is required every step of the way. There are a lot of moving parts to doing as many pet sitting visits as we do each day, and we strive to do everything as flawlessly as humanly possible. We also realize this is a relationship business, so treating everyone with respect is paramount, particularly if something does not go as planned.
You used to work for the company as a pet sitter before you became the owner — what inspired you to purchase the company and make it your own?
It was really a perfect storm situation. I had been helping the original company founder run the business and enjoyed the operations side of things, because it allowed me to interface with all of the sitters and clients. I had always loved animals and believed in the power of good old-fashioned customer service—so I knew I could grow the business more, if given the chance. When the founder expressed her desire to sell the company, I knew it was a huge opportunity, so I jumped at it. I knew it was a bit of a risk, but I saw the potential in the business, and thought I could grow it into something even bigger and better. Twenty-one years later, I have never regretted the decision to buy Park Cities Pet Sitter. The business is much larger now than it was back in 2000, but the fundamental principles are exactly the same as they were the day I bought it. We take great care of our staff so they will take great care of our clients—it is a formula that works and will not change.
How has COVID-19 impacted Park Cities Pet Sitter?
COVID-19 has definitely impacted our business since so many people are working from home and are not traveling nearly as much. We have been much slower than usual; but we are also quite confident that we will weather this storm and hopefully be here for at least another thirty more years!
How do you feel about receiving the many local Dallas dog walking and pet sitting awards and even a national award for the pet sitting industry?
Incredibly honored and happy, but also very humbled. Park Cities Pet Sitter is a true team made up of amazing individuals, and none of the numerous awards we have received over the years would have been possible without the great staff we have. I thank them for their hard work all of the time, because they are ultimately responsible for every accolade we have received. I am so proud to have the team we have.
What goes into selecting a trustworthy pet sitter? Are they certified/trained?
A lot! Our initial screening and hiring process includes an application, a phone interview, a character assessment, an in-person interview, reference checking, and a background check. Once hired, the new pet sitter shadows an existing sitter to learn what the job is like, then they go through training—all before they ever get assigned their first client. We also certify our pet sitters in pet first aid/CPR, and provide ongoing training on things like pet handling and the use of different tools for the job. Our training regimen is incredibly important, and we are always looking at ways to streamline it, and add to it. This is definitely one of our differentiators—the thoroughness in our hiring and training programs.
We encourage people that are looking for a pet sitter to ask detailed questions about how any service they are considering screens and trains their staff, because there are vast differences between companies in this regard. Just because a company says they have good hiring and screening standards does not mean they actually do. Ask for specifics about how a company finds and hires team members—and if you are comfortable with someone entering your home and caring for your precious pets based on the screening many other companies in our industry do—then, great! But do not be surprised if you are unhappy with the service you receive if you haven’t done your homework about who is coming into your home.
What impression do you want to leave customers with?
That Park Cities Pet Sitter is a group of impressive pet professionals who love animals, communicate well and thrive on providing outstanding customer service. We are setting the bar for service in our industry, and we hope all of our customers recognize that. We also hope customers realize how grateful we are that they have chosen our service, and continue to do so time and time again. We are humbled by the faith and confidence they have placed in us for so many years.
We hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about Park Cities Pet Sitter’s business philosophies, and can see why they have been named the best Dallas dog walking and pet sitting company by many organizations.