Today we’re excited to celebrate PSI’s 23rd annual Professional Pet Sitter’s Week! Hurray for professional pet sitters! In recognition of this wonderful week, we’d like to discuss some of the recent trends in the pet-sitting industry. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the large scale “on demand” pet sitting services that have been popping up. These include websites like Rover, DogVacay, Care.com, etc. These sites offer a place for pet sitters to list their services in exchange for a percentage fee that goes towards their liability insurance. And with the rise in these sites, we’ve also seen a rise in pet-sitting horror stories popping up in the news. As a professional, stories like these and this one make me absolutely cringe. I would hate for things like to happen to anyone, let alone one of my clients! In order to avoid finding yourself in a situation similar to these ones, we’d like to offer some tips to make sure that you are hiring a professional pet-sitter who is knowledgeable, and will take loving care of your fur babies – even if its not us!
Check out references: A reputable sitter should be able to provide you with multiple references from prior, or present, clients. You should be able to speak directly with these references who can provide you information regarding their own experience with your potential sitter.
Look at social media: Most businesses have one, or more, social media pages, so check out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, and others. Many times social media sites will also have reviews left by customers that you can read. This can also provide some indication of how active they are in the social media community. If they have photos, you can also see the type of clients they are current servicing, and even get an idea of what kind of services they provide.
Ask about insurance: It is so important that your sitter is properly insured. If they have employees, they may provide them with bonding as well. Bonding is a type of insurance that will replace anything in the home that was lost through theft. If they aren’t clear about their insurance or who they are insured with, ask to see their proof of insurance. This should be readily available for any clients who request it. Even with the utmost care and vigilance, things can and do go wrong. Don’t overlook the importance of insurance!
Ask about employees: Your sitter should always be very clear about who will be in your home. Are their sitters background checked? Do they use back up sitters that they don’t personally employ? Will they notify you if your primary sitter isn’t available on the day you schedule? How will you be able to communicate with your sitter?
Ask about communication: How often will they send you updates? Are they able to send pictures? Can they text or email you?
Remember you get what you pay for: Caring for your pet can be a large investment, but the peace of mind you have knowing that you are hiring someone who is providing top level, reliable, and (insured!) loving care to your furry family member is priceless.
The above points are a great place to start when researching your sitter. But don’t stop there! Do as much research and questioning as you need to feel comfortable hiring your sitter. Get actively involved in your furry friend’s care, and really think about who you are asking to provide care – even if it’s a close friend or acquaintance you feel like you know well. Do they have the knowledge and expertise to care for your fur baby in an emergency? These questions, and others, will help you identify the most qualified care for your furry best friend!