As the CRAZY but fun time of the year charges towards us, I thought “What better time of year then to write about the absolute best way to find a GREAT pet sitter?!” Our pets are number one in hearts BUT even the VERY best pet owner, like yourself gets lost in the shuffle with all of the parties, presents, planning, rushing and travel and then all of a sudden you realize OMG I NEED A PET SITTER!!!
Chill. We got the tips you need (and the sitters too if you’re local!)
Do you find it embarrassing at this point calling your neighbor to babysit your dog while you fly across country to that meeting that can make your career?
Worse, do you feel awful and guilt ridden shuffling your best pal to your “friend’s friend” house that you only have trust because your favors with your neighbor have run out (to the point you cancel your trip)?
Do you work super hard and carry tons of guilt, worry and panic about either having to leave work to walk your dog, or stay at work while your dog is home all day alone?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, it sounds like you need to hire a dog walker and pet care provider…but before you do read these tips below to make sure you hire the right one!
- Choose the Professional Pet Sitting Service rather than a One Man Show
Even though they may be slightly more expensive, trust me, it’s worth the reliability, trust and coverage. Professional Pet Sitting Services have experience, insurance and a client base of references that can all give you peace of mind. These services have stood the test of time, have already gone through the growing pains of a new business and have ironed out any wrinkles of customer dis-satisfaction. These services also have multiple sitters on staff so should your regular or “assigned” sitter get sick or have an emergency, your pets are covered. NOTE ON SITTERS OR WALKERS: Go with a service that places you with one sitter, and one back-up sitter. It’s not good for your pet or home to have a service that sends multiple sitters. Always make sure they are insured.
The PROS of working with a well-established company:
- SAFETY: They’ve had experience in the industry and therefore have learned what systems need to be put in place for the safety of the pets and of the client’s homes.
- LONGEVITY: Well-established businesses are more likely to be around for a long while, which provides the pet owners with the ability to establish a long-term and trusted relationship.
A CON of working with a well-established company:
- May be MORE EXPENSIVE: Well-established, reputable companies that provide a high-level of pet care and service have earned the right to charge more for their services. So, you may have to shell out a little more to use these services. In my opinion, the extra cost is worth the peace of mind and security.
You can probably save some money by contracting the neighborhood kid for a fraction of the cost, but are you certain that he or she is going to show-up and if they do are they taking the best possible care of your home and your pets? I’m going to venture a guess…probably not.
I’m sorry! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but after having been in business so long, I’ve heard too many horror stories. In the end it’s your decision, but I think you get what you pay for. CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR AWESOME SITTERS
- A Website is Key
In this day and age there is no reason that a reputable and professional service doesn’t have a website, in fact, in my opinion it’s unacceptable. A website is a sign that the business owner takes their business seriously, has invested in their business and wants to be authentic and upfront an honest about who they are. A good website should have services and rates, sitters and/or walkers and some testimonials at the very least.
- ALWAYS meet the sitter OR walker BEFORE you hire them and let them in your home alone
A registration meeting or meet and greet allows you to get to know your assigned sitter and their service. Be sure they perform the following tasks: introduce themselves to you and your pet, pick up keys, confirm pertinent information about you and your pet (e.g. vet information, emergency contact, special requests, etc.), and answer any additional questions you may have. And of course give lots of hugs and kisses to your pet! A professional service will provide you with a list of questions about your pet, pet’s routine, any instructions for your home and vet information, at the very least. You want someone to have as much information as possible since they will be acting as a “stand in” for you. Your sitter should treat your pet and home the way you would. If a sitter or walker shows up aloof and cold, chances are that’s how they will be with your pet. Trust your gut…if you EVER feel uneasy go with someone else. Always feel free to ask for references…it’s your right to know the person in your home.
In my opinion, it’s ALWAYS appropriate to ask the owner their “vetting” process for their business. We run background checks on all of our sitters and walkers.
When I started building my business, I contracted a lot of college students. I quickly learned that hiring a college kid is no better than asking the neighborhood kid down the street. College kids did not have a great sense of responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a few wonderful college-aged pet sitters, but as a whole, I decided that the demographic was not the best choice to represent my company; I only wanted the best for my clients.
For the safety of my clients I started running background checks on anyone that I was considering becoming a member of our team. Oh my goodness! I am I happy I did this! You think if someone looks put-together and presents him or herself in a professional manner and they provide glowing references, that they are a sure good fit. WRONG!!!! The stuff that comes up in these background checks would blow your hair back. My suggestion to you would be to make sure of the fact that any company you hire runs full background checks on their staff members. If you decide to hire a solo-act business, I would suggest that you ask them to submit you a background check. Trust me on this! You will be so happy you took the extra step.
The Walkies Screening Process:
- We conduct a face-to-face interviews
- We then conduct a full criminal background check on applicants in consideration.
- We call all professional references.
- We conduct a detailed orientation with each sitter.
- We contract the sitters on a trial-basis and run ongoing evaluations to ensure that our clients are 100% satisfied and that the sitter is living up to Walkies’ standards.
- After they are accepted to the Walkies team, each sitter is required to receive their Pet First Aid and CPR Certification. CLICK HERE TO BECOME A CLIENT
We solicit ongoing feedback on all sitters to make certain that they are living up to the standards of Walkies.
- Say “NO” to a pack walker
If you want your dog to be socialized, send them to daycare once or twice a week…it only cost a little more per day, and will ensure the safety of your dog and your wallet. Not only are pack walks unfair to your dog when what they are missing is human love and interaction, more importantly it is a potentially dangerous situation for them and other dogs to be in. When dogs are in a pack, all it takes is for 2 of them to have an altercation, and the rest of the pack decides who is right and ALL gang up on one. In this case, there is one walker, 2 hands and multiple dogs fighting which clearly is a terrible formula, not to mention if their insurance covers pack walks and ALL of the vet bills accrued. The only pack that should be walked is the one that lives your home together.
- Appreciate your dog walker or pet sitter!
Don’t treat your dog walker or pet sitter like “help.” Be grateful for them. They love your pets and take care of your home when you are unable to, and for not very much money
When you think about what the job responsibility actually is. You trust them with your “baby,” your home and all of your possessions…treat them well, pay them on time and tip them at Christmas.