Hoping to find a Professional Pet Sitter that will care for your pet, as much as you do, can sometimes feel overwhelming. Here are some great questions to ask when interviewing potential pet sitters.
Insured and bonded - Not only are you trusting someone to give hugs and cuddles to your pet, you’re allowing them access to your home, to your personal belongings. Bonding protects you (the homeowner) if the person you hire decides to steal from you. Liability Insurance protects you if your pet becomes injured or worse injures someone else. Ask your potential pet sitter for a copy of their business insurance coverage. Please note that although booking sites such as Rover and Wag offer group liability insurance, it is limited and is meant to protect them not you. Always read the fine print!
References - Online reviews are nice but ask if your potential pet sitter can provide contact information from existing clients that are willing to be references. Talking to a live person can oftentimes give you a better insight into the level of professionalism of the Pet Sitter you’re looking to hire. Also, ask if they are a member of any pet sitter associations. Associations require a yearly membership fee that is not cheap and those pet sitters that are willing to invest into those associations to network with fellow petsitters, and gain additional training and certification tend to be more professional.
Emergencies - How do they handle emergencies? Are they Pet First Aid/CPR trained? What is their emergency protocol in making decisions regarding care? Did they ask you to provide an emergency backup contact who can make decisions not only about your pet but your home in your absence? Do they have their own transportation? Most importantly, do they have the time available to wait with your pet at the Vet or Emergency Hospital? What about inclement weather, are they equipped to handle all weather situations so that your pet does not get neglected?
Professionalism - I’ve heard so many horror stories over the years of so-called “Pet Sitters” who have not only brought over their own animals to a client’s home, but other client’s animals as well. One story involved several thousand dollars worth of damage to the client’s home because the pet sitter left the extra client’s dog locked up in the bedroom while the sitter left the house! Another story involved the pet sitter inviting friends over and trashing the house. Hiring a person or company directly whose only source of income is providing pet care tends to mean that their reputation is everything to them and as such their level of professionalism is going to be much higher. In any case, it’s always best to be very clear with your pet sitter upfront and in writing about unwanted guests.
Security - How does the Pet Sitter maintain their client’s information? Do they have a secure software to track bookings and accept payments? What about keys to your home, how and where are they stored when not in use? Does their insurance cover the cost of re-keying your home if a key is lost or worse, stolen?
Meet and Greet - A professional pet sitter should always want to to meet with you before you hire them. There are several reasons for this including: reviewing the information you provided about your pet, their feeding schedule, any medication your pet needs, as well as discussing any additional duties needed done throughout the home: taking the garbage out to the curb for pickup, watering plants, alternating lights/curtains/sound equipment to help deter theft, collecting mail, etc. The most important reason for the meet and greet is of course to allow your pet to be introduced to your potential pet sitter while they are in their safe place (their home) with you there. This establishes that you have allowed the pet sitter to come into the home and that they are welcome. Watch the sitter interact with your pet, do they have a gentle demeanor, did they approach your pet calmly, do they listen to your concerns (if any). Go with your gut, if the sitter doesn’t feel like a good fit, then say so and interview a different sitter.