Choosing A Pet Sitter
Size of Company:
First, you will need to decide the ‘size’ of the company you want to become part of your lives! By that I mean, there are basically three sizes of pet sitting companies. My company would represent the second type.
Single Person Company: No employees. You always have the same person in your house but they have no one to help in a personal matter, travel or emergency situation arose unless they enlist the help of a neighbor or friend. If they do that, the ‘friend’ is most likely not experienced or even more importantly, insured! Last minute needs may be an issue to do only being a one person company!
Small company with 2-3 employees: THAT’S US!!! You always have the same 1 to 2 pet sitters in your home and don’t have to worry if a personal matter, travel or emergency comes up. Your pets and your home will always be covered due to a 100 % back up plan. Very low turnover which results in ‘seasoned’ pet sitters! Last minute needs are not a problem at all.
Big company with 5 to 25 employees: You are not guaranteed the same pet sitter in your house. You may be given the option to pay a higher fee to insure you get 1 of the same 5 people most of the time. Often they have higher turnover then the small company resulting in inexperienced pet sitters. Last minute needs may or may not be covered.
Questions to Ask:
How many employees do you have?
Do you have decals, magnets or advertising of any kind for your company on your vehicles?
(If they answer yes, RED FLAG should be going up! These magnets and decals are advertising to neighbors and potential burglars that they are a pet sitter – indicating you are out of town! They might as well walk down the street saying “Hi, I’m watching their house and pets while they are gone, feel free to come on in!!!!”) Often times the pet sitters reply to this question will be 1 of 3 things.
“No I don’t, I believe discreet visits are highly important for your home and pet safety as well as my own.”
“Yes, I do have magnets but I only have them on when I go out in the town to do my shopping.” (FALSE! I see them on their cars parked in front of houses all the time!)
“Yes, I do have permanent decals on my car but I can park down the street a few houses if that makes you feel better.”
Answers B and C are VERY dangerous. If the insurance company’s knew they were doing that, they wouldn’t even be covered if something were to happen.
Are you Insured?
Do you have some references I may call? (CALL THEM!)
What are your rates?
I know everyone needs to find something they are comfortable with paying but more importantly someone they are comfortable with watching their most prized possessions! Most of the companies you call in your area will be within a dollar or two of each other so what it boils down to is who you get the best feeling from!
Interviews / Initial Consultation:
At this point you should have enough information about who you would like to work with. If not, you can ask if they are willing to do an “interview.” Generally pet sitters don’t do interviews. This is why, pet sitters do “initial consultations” for free on the basis that they have the job! An Initial consultation generally takes about an hour, you meet and go over all pertinent information they would need to take the best possible care of your babies and your home! If you want to interview numerous companies then you need to make the pet sitter aware of that on the phone. They will say 1 of 2 things.
No, I don’t do interviews, is there anything I could answer over the phone to make you feel more comfortable. Or…
Yes, I do. I just have to charge for my time. (It’s generally around $20)
Your next step is to pick the best pet sitter for your family! Once you’ve done that, give them a call and you’re on your way to a worry free vacation/work trip! The “Getting Started!” option will prepare you for the initial consultation and help you be prepared and have the right information handy. But first you should visit the FAQ page to answer most of your questions.