16 questions pet owners should ask when looking to hire a pet sitter
Sometimes pet owners aren't sure what to ask a potential pet sitter. They might think "I need someone to feed and walk my dog. I need a pet sitter.", but they may not know some of the other important questions that should be asked when determining what pet sitter is the best for them and their pets.
You see, pet sitting is a collaborative partnership between a pet sitter and pet owner.
Each person is looking for a good connection for the benefit of all involved resulting in the pet owner hiring a stellar pet sitter, a pet that is loved and the recipient of great care, and the pet sitter earning a living.
The pet sitter wants a positive connection to pet owners who are responsible, communicative, and truly love their pets. Likewise, a pet owner wants a pet sitter who has the same qualities and the pet, well, he/she just wants to be loved, eat well, and have a great time with a new human friend!
From my perspective, the process of hiring a pet sitter happens via two levels. The first is the initial contact which is usually by phone or e-mail. The second is at the in-person Meet and Greet at the client's home where the sitter, pet owner, and pets come together for a gathering of information, for solidifying plans for pet sitting (or not), and an all-around "get to know you" session. As per one of my previous blog posts (https://www.preciouspetsct.com/post/what-s-a-pet-sitting-meet-and-greet-all-about), a Meet and Greet varies in length, but in my experience, it has lasted anywhere between one to one and a half hours.
If the initial contact goes well, then the second contact, the Meet and Greet, will be scheduled. A good professional pet sitter will have plenty of questions to ask clients and should cover just about everything needed to begin pet sitting services.
The potential client should ask some specific questions of the pet sitter if the sitter doesn't bring them up by the end of the Meet and Greet.
In my estimation and experience, these are the basic questions a potential client should ask the pet sitter in order to get all the information they need to choose the pet sitter that is right for their needs:
1. How long have you been in business and why did you start this business?
2. What services do you provide?
3. Do you have insurance (bonding/liability)?
4. How will you be handling, storing, and safeguarding my house key?
5. What is your cancellation policy?
6. Do you have an emergency plan in place?
7. What do you do during a pet visit?
8. How long is a pet visit?
9. What do you charge and how do I pay you?
10. Can you provide me with references?
11. How much in advance do I have to book services with you?
12. Is there an extra fee for short-notice pet sitting requests?
13. Do you charge holiday rates, and for which holidays?
14. What is your experience, training, etc?
15. Will you be my primary pet sitter or will there be different sitters involved?
16. Have you completed a pet sitting certification program?
Usually, a pet sitter will cover all of this but if not, these are the questions I'd recommend to a potential client when looking for a pet sitter! Different pet sitters may add other questions but these are the "biggies" that I believe should be asked.
Wishing all pet sitters, pet owners, and their furry, feathery, and scaly pets alike, a wonderful and long-lasting connection.