Before we started Small World Pet Sitters we had a good friend come and take care of our cats when we went away. Up until the last time, when our friend overslept and was late for work and could not come to feed and give medications to one of our cats, we knew this solution was not ideal.
Years later we now see caring for our pets as well as yours from a whole new lens. You would be amazed at how many last minute requests for services come in, especially around the holidays. The reasons are always the same, “my friend, my next door neighbor or my parents backed out of taking care of our cats, dogs, rabbits and fish”. Unfortunately, we have a process for taking on a new client to the SWPS family and rushing to fit in last minute requests is challenging. If we can do it we will, but sometimes it is not possible for us to schedule a meet and greet in less than 48-hours. If we were in this business for the money alone we would take every inquiry that comes our way, but our goal is to establish a long-standing relationship with you and your pet.
This is our process.
Once a request comes in we email the potential client a pet worksheet. Once we get that back we add the new client and their pets to Time to Pet, the scheduling software we use. Then we make an appointment for the meet and greet. This is the main opportunity for us to get to know each other and start the SWPS relationship. We also pick up the signed contract, emailed ahead and two sets of keys.
We have a small staff and hire employees vs. independent contractors. We made this choice from day one when we decided it was time to expand. The motivating factor in this decision was we wanted to be able to train people for the job. Did you know that an independent contractor can “contract” a pet sit or dog walk out to someone else? An employee cannot. We also carry workers’ compensation and disability insurance.
When you hire a pet sitter, you hire a service that provides care for your pet and your home. You pay for this service. We love the pets we care for, as if they were our own. However, we keep it professional and business like because we are providing a service.
How does one locate and hire a professional pet sitter? Here are a couple of suggestions:
- You can start by going to a pet sitting association such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, where you can put in your zip code to start the search.
- Asking your vet, groomer or dog trainer is also a great way to get a referral.
- Checking in with a neighbor, family member or friend that lives in the same town.
- Posting a query on a local family oriented Google or Yahoo group.
What to look for in a professional pet sitter. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Do the owners of the business live in the area in which they give service? Do they have a manager in place should they be away?
- Can they provide references in addition to having awesome online reviews?
- Do they carry liability insurance and bonding?
- Do they use a customer scheduling software to schedule, invoice and communicate with their staff and clients?
- Do they have policies and procedures in place, ex: do they require you to fill out a client/pet worksheet that provides them with all important information while you are away. Do they use contracts?
- Do they have regular office hours?
As I said earlier, we see caring for pets from a different lens. We are here to build relationships with the owner and the pet. People think we have an easy job, but we take our job very seriously, and a lot more is involved than just feeding your cat or walking your dog. Asking a friend, neighbor, family member or the kid down the street can be less expensive and less dependable.
Why chose us:
- The owners are hands on in the business on a daily basis and live in Brooklyn, our area of service. Not out of state.
- We hire employees, not independent contractors, so that we can train them.
- We thoroughly interview potential staff members in person, not on a video chat.
- We will love your pet as if they were our own.
- We always value communication between SWPS and the client.