Part One: The two main things people expect from a pet sitter
Updated: Jan 31
A good pet sitter prepares a variety of services for their clients. However, there are two things that a pet sitter must provide on a regular basis or she/he will eventually acquire a terrible reputation and end up going out of business.
First, pet sitters have to realize exactly what a client is committing to when they say "You can be my pet sitter". New clients are taking a leap of faith. They are giving you the keys to their homes, and sometimes even an alarm code. They are putting themselves in a vulnerable position by giving you access to their homes. Within the walls of their homes are all their earthly possessions and their beloved pets - their furry, feathery and scaley babies - in your care. They are contracting with you to show up when you said you would show up and to do all the tasks you promised to do during the time they are away.
Your clients are getting ready to leave on a trip. Perhaps they are going on an important business trip thousands of miles away, or perhaps they've been saving up for that once in a lifetime trip to some exotic place, or they are in the military and are preparing to leave for several months. Maybe they just might be preparing for a hospital stay due to major surgery and are not only nervous about their surgery but are anxious about leaving their pets. Maybe they work 10 hours a day and need to know that you will show up for a mid-day visit.
Put yourself in your clients' shoes. What is it that YOU would want most of all if you had to leave your pets in a sitter's care? Here's the golden nugget: What clients expect most of all from their pet sitters are TRUST and PEACE OF MIND. If you are a pet sitter, or want to be a pet sitter, you must engrave these things into your mind.
You can't touch "trust" or put "peace of mind" in a box, but you can measure them by the success and satisfaction you will have, and by the positive ongoing relationship that you will develop with your clients. These are things that are felt. These are things of the heart and soul. Truly, if you don't provide trust and peace of mind, you might as well throw in the towel and do something else besides pet sitting.
You'll know you are successfully meeting these expectations when your clients are not only happy with the services (tasks) you provide but when you hear them say things like "I don't have to worry when I go away because you are my pet sitter" or "It is such a relief knowing I'm leaving my pets in your care", or "I wouldn't have gone away and left my pets with anyone else" or "I know I can go away and enjoy myself on vacation and not worry about my pets" or even "Tell me when you are available because I'm going to plan my cruise around your availability".
You can't put a price tag on trust and peace of mind when it comes to pet sitting services because it is truly priceless. In my next post, I will identify some practical ways a pet sitter can build trust and give their clients peace of mind while they are away.