In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

All kinds of dog talk here!
Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:57 pm

To sum it up, I'm getting divorced, taking classes so I can get a job to support myself after being home with my kids for 7 years, and moving from the house I thought I'd live in until I die.

And suddenly, kind of out of nowhere, I thought "You know, with only having the kids 50% of the nights and not having to check in with anyone else's schedule in the evenings, I could do in home dog training." I can't teach classes through my old facility because of the placement schedule we agreed on - I'd have one night a week "on" and the next week "off". And I wasn't totally happy with my boss there. I have a private client for the next month or so and it's through the old facility because they have insurance and my luck hasn't been hot lately. But I forgot how much I love watching a dog understand what the humans have been trying to say and the humans figure out how to communicate with their dog.

Going to someone's house minimizes my overhead costs - I'd need insurance, a reliable car (which so far I have, knock on wood), and advertising of some kind. I wouldn't be doing work with aggressive dogs. It's over my head and I'd happily refer them to my old place because the behaviorist there is really good. The income would be welcome - I'm totally dependent on my ex until I finish my certificate and get a job, which will be at least a year from now because it's cheaper for me to take care of the kids myself than to find a job that pays enough to make putting the kids in childcare worth it. And if Havana needs surgery or even intensive acupuncture/laser treatments, money would be good.

On the other hand, I'm already juggling my kids' activity schedule, the placement schedule, and my own stuff. Adding professional commitments might not be a good addition. The market in my suburb and Madison is pretty saturated, but in the town 5 miles west and the other 10 miles north is not as saturated. However, living where I do, my travel fees would be less to those places than trainers who are in Madison.

Talk me into this or out of this. I wouldn't do anything until probably September at the earliest.

User avatar
maxs_mommy
Yes, I do have a life!
Posts: 2524
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:29 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby maxs_mommy » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:47 pm

Wow, that's a lot going on in your life right now. If you started doing this I'd do it very very slowly, like 1 or 2 clients on the side until you know how hectic your life will be. If the market is better and the travel ins't as big of a concern, I'd go outside of town. Word of mouth will spread your name to some degree too so if you know old clients, maybe do a referral bonus of some sort. That said, I don't know how the insurance thing works. Are you talking business liability insurance or personal health insurance in case of a dog bite or accident? I don't know if it's cost effective to buy insurance for only one or two clients. Maybe someone who owns their own business can help you out there.
Max "the ninja"-American Cocker Spaniel G-day 3/2009
Charlie "the middle child"- Orange Tabby G-day 7/2005
Sadie - Grey Tabby 9/1996-8/4/2012 RIP

Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:55 pm

When I owned my dog walking business, I believe business liability was only about $325/year. So if I had 9 clients do sixty minute lessons at $40/hr, I'd make that back and then a little more. But would I? I'll have personal health insurance one way or the other, so that will be covered no matter what.

connie
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 11207
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:53 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby connie » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:00 am

I say 'do it.' The logistics would be specific to your location, so I don't have input on that, but I think the in-home training is a *great* idea.

Something else to consider: outdoor classes in public parks. On Sundays, I take Alex and Dee to a Manners class at Canis Sapiens, which is a one-woman training business in a Chicago neighborhood that is by the University of Chicago. The business owner, Jane, is a terrific trainer and very much in the style that you train, Jill: she uses Sophia Yin, Leslie Nelson, etc. The class meets in a big park, and it's on-leash (for obvious reasons), but we work on a LOT of micro-level things and being outdoors is great for distraction work. We don't meet when the temps are below 30, so it's obviously a seasonal thing -- she has access to a local church basement for indoor classes in the winter -- but there is a shifting group of people and their dogs who attend.

I would love to see more good, common-sense dog training made available to the 'mom and dad and buddy and sis' dog owners, not just those of us who hang out in training centers and do dog sports, etc. In your situation, you could custom-design your workload to your lifestyle demands at the time. It might take some time to set up, of course. Jane's been around for a while, and I'm not suggesting going from 0 to 60 in two months. :wink:

This is the Canis Sapiens website. Jane has 'assistants' who take classes and work with the students, but she's really the whole show. She does a lot of work with reactive dogs and their owners, which is a growing segment of the population, I think.
http://www.canissapiens.com/

I hope this change in direction in your life turns out to benefit everybody involved! Sending you tons of good wishes.

User avatar
SherriA
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 14059
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:52 am
Location: Bethel, CT

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby SherriA » Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:30 am

I don't know how the market works where you are, but where I live it takes literally YEARS to get established enough to have to worry about having a busy training schedule. There are so many trainers alraedy, who already have established clients and references, and whose names/businesses are known that someone starting up has no choice but to go slow, because that's all the market allows, even for people who are well known in various dog communities (sports, activities, rescue, etc). So, here at least, I wouldn't be particularly worried about finding time for the professional commitments, since they'd start off small enough that it should be pretty manageable.

The community would be lucky to have you. I think you should give it a shot, and if it turns out to be too much, then no one says you have to keep doing it, right?
Image

EllaBella
No, I don't have a life!
Posts: 6054
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:44 am
Location: raleigh, NC
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby EllaBella » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:00 am

I totally think you should give it a shot. It's a very low overhead thing to start up, and the sort of thing you could always do some as 'extra' even after you were to get a FT job when the youngest kid is in school.

I know you taught a preparing dog for baby class, maybe offering people private lessons and evaluations in that might be an extra 'niche' for you that other trainers might not have? I wish I had some Doula friends in Madison who could refer people to you for that....

Kathleen
No, I don't have a life!
Posts: 7467
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 3:55 pm
Location: California

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Kathleen » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:42 am

I do quite a bit of in home training. In some ways I prefer it. The dogs are much more receptive to learning and the results are pretty quick in coming. Some others at the training center hate them. They feel weird going into someone elses house and just awkward about the whole thing.
It is a bit of feast and famine. I always consider it bonus income and not something I rely on. If you get a good relationship with another local trainer you can refer to each other when schedules get tight. We do a lot of that here and it is helpful.

UpwardDog
No, I don't have a life!
Posts: 6524
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:46 pm
Location: Canada

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:15 am

I don't think you have much to lose? What certificate are you doing?

I've been moving at a snail's pace towards that same direction. I am a bit weirded out about in home training while people aren't there but I think there is a market for it and I am not keen to do board'n'train anymore because of the age of my dogs. I have also thought about specifically marketing towards new puppy services for people who work, so their pups are alone all day and I can train some basics as well as have them meet some healthy, polite adult dogs (mine) etc.

User avatar
Jen
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 14310
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 8:34 pm
Location: Portland-ish, OR

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Jen » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:19 pm

I think it's a great idea and there's very little risk, it seems. At least among my friends, a bringing home baby in home training would have been very welcome, so that could be a way to distinguish yourself from the competition.

User avatar
Bari
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 10619
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:32 am
Location: LA

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Bari » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:53 pm

I think it's a great idea and you are savvy enough to be successful
Image

User avatar
Amanda
Permanent Resident
Posts: 8127
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: California

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Amanda » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:18 pm

Ditto all of the above. You'd be great. And it'll be fulfilling work too.

Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:45 am

I made enough money with my dog walking business to pay for hobbies and travel. I could have made more but I chose to keep my business small and not do much overnight care. Once I have my own house and I'm not renting, I've toyed with the idea of doing in home boarding on a limited basis. And the fact that Bug's best friend's mom owns a busy grooming salon won't hurt my referrals.

Heather - I'm working on a certificate in Microsoft Office Suite. Not exciting, but it will help me land a stable job with benefits. I may take a professional trainer exam again in the next few years, but I need to spend my education dollars on my full time job. Real life sucks!

User avatar
Jen
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 14310
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 8:34 pm
Location: Portland-ish, OR

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Jen » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:19 am

Ten years ago, we paid $70/night for in-home boarding until we (Bella) got kicked out. And we're cheap. I can only imagine how much people with money would pay these days!

User avatar
maxs_mommy
Yes, I do have a life!
Posts: 2524
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:29 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby maxs_mommy » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:05 pm

Good grief! I pay $30 a night for my sitter to come stay here! That said, she's a 20 y/o juco student who's great with them. I know my Bro and SIL pay $30/night for their goldendoodle to go on overnight play dates in a private home while they're out of town.
Max "the ninja"-American Cocker Spaniel G-day 3/2009
Charlie "the middle child"- Orange Tabby G-day 7/2005
Sadie - Grey Tabby 9/1996-8/4/2012 RIP

Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:08 am

Ok, so I am crazy, but I think getting some kind of job is a necessity and it looks like In Home dog training will be my best bet for the next year at least. So I need a name. Alissa helped me figure out a niche - helping families teach their kids how to act appropriately with the family dog. I'll do other things as well, but that will be my focus.

So I need a name. My top one is currently Dogs in Your Home Dog Training. Other brainstormed ideas:
- Dogs and Families Dog Training
- Train U Dog Training (I picture this one's logo as a train with a person driving it and a couple of dogs in the cars. But I have a train-crazy kid so it may not be as good of an idea as I think it is.)
- Jill's In Home Dog Training (super original)


I'm still going to advertise teaching basic manners and problem solving and that I will refer out cases that would benefit from a behaviorist, but there are so many families that want to have their dog as a family member and just don't know how, or the kids won't listen to mom and dad the way they might to someone else.

EllaBella
No, I don't have a life!
Posts: 6054
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:44 am
Location: raleigh, NC
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby EllaBella » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:29 am

I kind of like Dogs and Families dog training. It's really simple but would be clear on your niche?

Also, I'm stealing this idea from my friend's therapy business, but I love the word "connections" for family-bond improvement type stuff. So in case you need more branding ideas, there's another random word for you.

Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:31 am

Dogs and Family Connections - I like it!

User avatar
Trademarkbark
No, I don't have a life!
Posts: 7705
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 7:06 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Trademarkbark » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:08 am

Doggy and Me? lol
CA UFGRCH USCH GRCH "Spud" TT FDC CA CGC TKN
CAX UFGRCH USCH GRCH "OE" TT CA TKN FDC BCAT CGC
USCH UFCH GRCH GCH "Grytz" TT CGCU TKN FDC
CH "Doozy" FDC CGC TKN

UpwardDog
No, I don't have a life!
Posts: 6524
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:46 pm
Location: Canada

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby UpwardDog » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:25 pm

Good luck finding a name. I worked on that for eons and still hate everything I could come up with that wasn't already taken in .com or .ca .

User avatar
maxs_mommy
Yes, I do have a life!
Posts: 2524
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:29 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby maxs_mommy » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:06 pm

Happy Hound In-Home training? (I know they're not all hounds) but alliteration is where my brain is today.
Max "the ninja"-American Cocker Spaniel G-day 3/2009
Charlie "the middle child"- Orange Tabby G-day 7/2005
Sadie - Grey Tabby 9/1996-8/4/2012 RIP

User avatar
Amanda
Permanent Resident
Posts: 8127
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 12:51 pm
Location: California

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Amanda » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:44 pm

Not crazy at all!! I think it's a fabulous idea. Dogs and Families In-Home Training? Your tagline could have the connection thing in it.

User avatar
maxs_mommy
Yes, I do have a life!
Posts: 2524
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:29 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby maxs_mommy » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:16 pm

Dogs are family in-home training? Just bouncing ideas
Max "the ninja"-American Cocker Spaniel G-day 3/2009
Charlie "the middle child"- Orange Tabby G-day 7/2005
Sadie - Grey Tabby 9/1996-8/4/2012 RIP

Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:36 pm

Here is the website I've come up with. I stink at websites apparently .http://www.dogsandfamiliestraining.com/

I've proofread it a couple of times, but if you notice any grammatical errors, please let me know. Is the content clear and the website fairly easy to navigate?

My next step is to go around personally to vet clinics and whatever boarding kennels don't already offer classes and give out cards and a letter introducing myself.

UpwardDog
No, I don't have a life!
Posts: 6524
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:46 pm
Location: Canada

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby UpwardDog » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:50 pm

Looks good. I didn't read the whole site, but I skimmed, and didn't see any typos.
The two things that jumped out at me were how incredibly low your rate is and that as a potential client I would prefer a more streamlined or simplified 'services' section. I have the attention span of a gnat,but I think many others do too, and I don't want to read through several paragraphs with different descriptions of in-home training :crazy: Dog tec has some good free articles on that topic actually

Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:32 am

Good point on the pricing page. I will re-work that. I can have links to what each service is and just the price on the page. Or have prices the top and descriptions at the bottom.

I'm struggling with pricing. On the one hand it's in line with what I charged when I worked for my former employer. But many other people charge close to twice as much, but they are either behaviorists and/or I wouldn't trust them with my stuffed dog. I will take another look, but I'm targeting a more rural area, so "city" prices aren't going to fly.

What I need is to somehow make one of my former clients aware that I'm on my own. The woman is a force to be re-conned with and I'm moving to her town. But I can't come out and solicit her out of professional courtesy to my old boss, so I have to hope to run into her somewhere.

User avatar
maxs_mommy
Yes, I do have a life!
Posts: 2524
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:29 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby maxs_mommy » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:56 pm

I looked at this on my phone. The subtitle is hard to read from my phone. Maybe change it to white with a dropshadow or something to help it stand out? My other suggestion was the the "about me" section. You're actual bio doesn't come until you've tried to convince the client why they should train their dog, which doesn't seem like the right place for the top of that section. You might move the bio to the top for credentials. I didn't find any typos either. :thumbup: It did feel like there was a lot of words saying the same things in different ways or phrasings, ex: "some dogs have jobs, we can help" on the front page and on the training page how training can help and touching on it at the "about" page. Maybe you're reinforcing that idea or working with folks who don't have basic ideas of dog jobs? It felt redundant in some places but maybe that's just my tl:dr focus range. Not trying to pee on your tires, I hate trying to find unique content for web pages that should be fairly straightforward, these were just thoughts as I was reading. Overall I think it works for what you need but there are tweaks that could happen so take my comments fwiw. The pic below is a screenshot of the front page from my phone.
IMG_20151004_1573.jpg
front page on mobile
IMG_20151004_1573.jpg (32.49 KiB) Viewed 5391 times
Max "the ninja"-American Cocker Spaniel G-day 3/2009
Charlie "the middle child"- Orange Tabby G-day 7/2005
Sadie - Grey Tabby 9/1996-8/4/2012 RIP

Calypso
Built-in Forum Feature
Posts: 12535
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Wisconsin
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby Calypso » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:52 pm

May I pick brains regarding the letter I plan to hand out to businesses in my target area? Feel free to point out grammar issues, awkward wording, unclear information, unnecessary information, etc.
My name is Jill Heczko Miller and I am the owner and operator of Dogs and Families Training, an in-home training business based in . While the business is new, I have been professionally teaching dog training classes since 2002. I began teaching at what is now Dogs Welcome and have experience in puppy and adolescent off leash socialization classes, manners classes for adult dogs, tricks and games, and flyball. My dogs and I have competed in Obedience, Rally, Flyball and Lure Coursing and we have trained in Agility, Herding, and Barn Hunt. All of our training and titles would not mean very much to me, though, if I was not able to enjoy having my dogs as full members of my family!

Dogs and Families Training can work with dogs and their families on a variety of training issues to help people enjoy living with their dogs even more. My primary focus is on helping dogs and children interact safely, whether it is a dog who is welcoming a new baby or a family with children welcoming a new dog. I can also help families teach or brush up on manners, work on nuisance behaviors, and problem-solve boredom buster activities. The only type of behavior issues I do not work with are aggression and serious separation anxiety.

I am a big believer in well-taught group classes for dogs, especially puppies, but not every dog or person enjoys or is able to attend group class. Dogs and Families Training comes to the family, so it is ideal if there are mobility issues or disabilities, difficulty arranging childcare, scheduling conflicts, shy or nervous dog (or person!), or a family just wants to make sure they are ready for class in order to get the most out of it.

If you have any clients who are looking for additional training, I would very much appreciate your referral. Please visit my website at www.DogsAndFamiliesTraining.com. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about my training methods or background, or if you would simply feel better meeting me face to face before giving my name to clients. I am also offering 10% off the first training session to any of your staff who schedule an appointment with Dogs and Families Training.

Thank you very much for considering Dogs and Families Training and I hope to be able to work with you,

User avatar
maxs_mommy
Yes, I do have a life!
Posts: 2524
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:29 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Re: In Home Training...How Crazy Am I?

Postby maxs_mommy » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:53 pm

I assume these are going to pet oriented businesses and not the neighborhood dentists so the info makes sense. That's a lot of info in a pitch, (though I realize the phone makes it look like a lot more text than it is on paper). If you were going for the neighborhood non-dog businesses I might shorten it to salient points.

I like the first sentence, the whole second paragraph, the third para minus the last sentence (that's for you to decide in the consult not the referrer, plus you make contact with pet owners even if you can't help them this time), the second sentence in the 4th para and the last para and closing "thank you", if I had to trim it down

If you're doing something on a community bulletin board or something, I might trim it even further to a tag line and maybe just the second para with the web site and/phone #.

I don't feel like you have to defend in home training vs. group classes, just state your benefits. I also don't know that it's necessary to tell them this is a new business, just that you have credentials. It feels almost like an apology and you rock so why put that "oh my god it's new, wonder if it's any good" vibe out there?

I like the referral discount and word of mouth is huge for driving business so this could be awesome! Just my 2¢. Good luck with it.
Eta, grammar and spelling are great!
Max "the ninja"-American Cocker Spaniel G-day 3/2009
Charlie "the middle child"- Orange Tabby G-day 7/2005
Sadie - Grey Tabby 9/1996-8/4/2012 RIP


Return to “Our Dogs Online General Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests