Dallas-based Park Cities Pet Sitter Details How Technology Has Changed the Pet Sitting Industry and Their Business

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Hosted Voice Mail Systems, development of Pet Sitting Industry-Specific Software, and now smart phones with RFID technology allow pet sitting companies to streamline and differentiate themselves.

Park Cities Pet Sitter, Inc.

I really wanted to grow my pet sitting business, but the lack of industry-specific software kept me from being able to easily manage my company’s growth. - Shannon Centola, Owner, Buckhead Pet Pals

Many industries have experienced significant changes due to the introduction of new technology, and the pet sitting industry is no different. The pet sitting industry itself did not even exist in most cities until the last 30 or so years. This was due to the fact that many people were lifelong residents of their community, and friends or family members would take care of a pet on their behalf if necessary. With more and more people now having access to affordable travel options, more frequent moves to new cities for job opportunities, and people waiting longer to get married-amongst other cultural changes--the need to hire someone to take care of a pet, at times, was born.

Joette White, President of Park Cities Pet Sitter in Dallas, TX has seen her business—and the industry--change considerably since she first began pet sitting in 1996. When she bought the business from its original owner in 2000, the first technological change Ms. White implemented was a hosted voice mail system, where not only could clients call the main number and leave service and reservation requests, but Ms. White could also communicate with each pet sitter individually and as a group. Having a centralized phone voice mail system allowed for easier communication with sitters, allowed messages from clients to be forwarded to sitter mailboxes with the push of a button, and cut down the number of individual phone calls and retelling of information to sitters down considerably.    

Ms. White says, “Before we implemented the hosted voice mail system, we literally used to spend the entire day on the phone speaking to customers, then turning around and calling our sitters’ land line phones or personal voice mail boxes to relay the same customer reservation and service detail information to them. It was tedious and repetitive, and seriously limited any pet sitting company’s ability to grow.”

In 2007, Park Cities Pet Sitter implemented another technological tool to help streamline its business; an online customer reservation system called Power Pet Sitter. Power Pet Sitter allowed clients to quickly book their own reservations online, and also allowed them to input or update key customer information, like new pet information and changes in a pet’s food or medicine schedules. The software also allowed individual sitters online access to their daily schedules, as well as allowing Park Cities Pet Sitter’s Operations Manager to update pricing, payment and customer contact information in one centralized place.

Shannon Centola, who developed Power Pet Sitter software, created the software from scratch out of pure necessity. Ms. Centola already owned her own pet sitting business “Buckhead Pet Pals” in Atlanta, GA, and was desperate to find a better way to manage all of her business’ day-to-day details. “Pet sitting business-specific software simply did not exist until 5-7 years ago, around the time I began Power Pet Sitter,” says Ms. Centola. “I really wanted to grow my pet sitting business, but the lack of industry-specific software kept me from being able to easily manage my company’s growth. It was simply too difficult and complicated to manage important customer information, reservation information, and pet sitter schedules without a centralized system that understood all of the facets and nuances of a pet sitting business. In my case, necessity was the mother of invention---I worked with software developers to create what is now Power Pet Sitter so that I could grow my business and manage all of the details that were previously overwhelming.”

Joette White of Park Cities Pet Sitter thinks technology will definitely play an important role in her company’s growth and will help set her apart in her service offerings. For that reason, she strives to keep abreast of new technologies that could potentially help improve her service to clients. One such technology that she is currently reviewing is the use of “smart phones” and RFID technology to help monitor length of time of visits and times of visits---all of which can be emailed to clients, along with photos and notes about how a visit went. "I am really interested to see how this smart phone software works, and how well our clients like receiving this type of real-time information," says Ms. White. “I have not decided if I will implement it for Park Cities Pet Sitter yet, but I am excited that there are technologies like this being developed that I can use to increase customer communication and satisfaction levels.”

With the pet industry thriving and projected for continued growth, it appears that technology will continue to be developed for pets, their owners, and the businesses servicing them both.    

Park Cities Pet Sitter, Inc. has served the Dallas area 7 days a week, 365 days a year since 1992. Pet sitting, daily dog walks, pet taxis, overnight sitting, pet supply shopping, litter box cleaning and dog training are all part of the services PCPSI offers. Park Cities Pet Sitter is bonded and insured, and all sitters are employees--not independent contractors. A manager is on-call 24 hours a day to handle any emergencies. Additional information about Park Cities Pet Sitter can be found on their website at http://www.pcpsi.com.

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