Initial Contact with a Pet Sitter
Updated: Feb 27
Consider this possible scenario: You rescued two cats a few months ago and now they are a delightful part of your family! Today, your boss informed you that in two weeks you'll have to go on a weekend business trip. Your husband will also be away on that same weekend volunteering on a church retreat and your children live away at college. Your relatives are not local and you don't want to impose on your super busy friends and neighbors. There's no doubt about it - you need a pet sitter!
Since you've already read my post on how to find a pet sitter and you've narrowed your list down to one or two sitters you'd like to check out, you're all set to reach out. You're on your way to a great new connection with a pet sitter who will love your pets as you do and will offer great customer service for years to come.
You reach out to the pet sitter via e-mail or a phone call. I suggest leaving a message such as:
"Hello! My name is ___________ and I'm in need of a pet sitter. I have (number and type of pets) and I'll be away from (dates). I live at (address) and I'd like to talk to you about my pet sitting needs and what type of services you provide. My phone number is _____________ and the best time to reach me is _________________. Again, my name is ___________ and my phone number is ______________. I look forward to speaking with you!"
A message such as this gives the pet sitter a sense of what you need. It isn't necessary to go into detail in your message at this point. Allow a pet sitter about 24 hours to get back to you, however, in my experience, pet sitters will usually call you back within a few hours. Pet sitters typically do their best to get back to someone ASAP. The reason you might get a voice mail instead of a real person answering the phone is that the sitter is probably out taking care of pets. The life of a pet sitter can be very busy - especially if someone is a solo pet sitter because they not only provide all the pet visits, but they are also the secretary, marketer, website manager, and bookkeeper!
You might find some pet sitting services that offer an initial contact via online only and you'll need to follow their website directions on how to make the initial contact. As I've mentioned before, each pet sitter runs things his/her own way. Personally, I think the best is a phone call because it is more "human".
So, you reach the pet sitter, and after a friendly greeting, you re-state the reason for your call. The pet sitter might ask if you are familiar with his/her service, if you've visited the business website (if they have one), and how you came to hear about the service.
Next, a pet sitter will probably ask more questions to assess your needs and usually go into more depth about the services they offer. This initial conversation helps you both decide if an official in-person "meet and greet" should happen. At that time, fees and payment are usually discussed and the pet sitter will answer any further questions you may have.
If you're making initial contacts to a few pet sitters, let the sitter know and mention that you'll be back in touch if you'd like to set up a meet and greet appointment. A pet sitter should be fine with this - most pet sitters I've met are not competitive and are easy-going. I'd be surprised if a pet sitter had difficulty with an honest statement that you want to check out a few before going forward to the next step. After all, you want the best pet sitter match for you and your beloved pets!
If you are both ready to move ahead, the pet sitter will schedule a "meet and greet". This will be a visit at your residence so the pet sitter can gather all the needed information, meet you and your pets, get the house key, etc.... Please see next week's post where I will discuss the details of a meet and greet appointment.
One final word of advice - if possible, don't wait until the last minute to sign up with a pet sitting service. Get connected with a pet sitter way in advance of any needs, so when you do need to go away on vacation, business, or you have to go to the hospital, you'll be all set.