Now that spring is here, there are lots of outdoor events where you could be offering your massage (and other complementary) services to pet owners: rescue group gatherings, agility trials and competitions, conformation shows, local dog group events, etc.
Here is a checklist of things to bring when you’re setting up at an outdoor event:
- Calculator – get one with battery AND solar power
- Cash box with small bills for change
- If you accept credit cards, your card reader and / or other related items
- Gift certificates. Make sure you number your gift certificates and keep track of the ones you’ve sold. I made my own in Illustrator but you can find free templates online
- Sign-up list for your newsletter
- Sign/banner. Even if you don’t order a custom banner, make sure you have a large sign with your business name that is visible from some distance away
- Tent with or without sides
- Table for displaying your marketing materials
- Tablecloth so you can hide crates of stuff under the table. Paper is ok, but I advise investing in one made of fabric. You’ll be glad you did when there is windswept rain on the day of the event
- Weights to keep the tablecloth in place in case it’s windy
- Outdoor rug in case the ground/grass is wet
- Exercise mat or massage table
- Disinfecting wipes to clean the mat/table in between dogs
- Disinfecting hand wipes for yourself
- Towel (always good to have)
- Paper towels
- Promo materials (business cards, brochures, etc.)
- Basket of free treats for dogs. Make sure you get something that is all natural and display the bag or ingredient label so that people with dogs who have food allergies can see if their dog can eat them. One of my favorites is plain freeze dried meat; in my experience, duck, buffalo or venison seems to be ones that most dogs can eat
- Basket of free treats for humans. People tend to stop where there are goodies to be had. Take your chance to talk to them and tell them about your business. Again, make sure it’s something most people are not allergic to (no nuts!)
- Water both for yourself and in a bowl for visiting dogs
- Something for yourself to munch on – it’ll be a long day
- Pen and paper to jot down ideas, etc.
- 2 comfortable outdoor chairs – for you when you need to take a break, and for others to sit on while you work on their dog(s)
- Paper and/or plastic bags. At some events, people hand out a lot of promotional materials and you will see people walking around with their arms full of brochures, samples, etc. Offer them a bag to put everything in (with your logo printed on it, and one of your business cards/brochures inside) and they will be very thankful and remember you.
Pack up all the small items in large plastic crates with lids so that all your belongings are protected if it’s raining. Keep the crates under your table.
Another good thing to bring if you have it is a digital camera (or use the one on your phone). Take pictures of your setup, the dogs, etc., partly so you remember exactly how you set things up the next time, and partly as a promotional tool to use on your blog / website / newsletter and social media.