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Beware! Hiring An Underpriced Pet Sitter Hurts!

Choosing the right pet sitter may seem a bit overwhelming.  Your pet is part of your family and you want to be sure that whoever you choose is going to provide quality care. Reliability and trust are the first qualities to look for in a pet sitter. Many pet owners first look at how much a pet sitter charges.  Beware of hiring an underpriced pet sitter , it can hurt you in the long run.

Underpriced pet sitter

 

Beware! Hiring An Underpriced Pet Sitter Hurts!

Undervalue service and time

Pet sitter’s who do not charge enough for services later become resentful and burn out.  When a pet sitter undervalues their service and time, the quality of care or time provided often suffers. This is because the pet sitter over schedules to compensate or is frustrated for making so little for their time, they cut the timed visits short. Some pet sitters do not consider expenses and travel time when they price their services.  This results in very little profit to the pet sitter. When pet sitters undervalue their service and time, they will start to cut corners or call it quits. 

Not around very long

Underpriced pet sitters usually do not stick around very long. You may have found the most loving, caring person but if they are not making enough to sustain themselves eventually they will look for other opportunities.  There are some who take on pet sitting as a hobby. It seems like an easy way to make some extra money .  This is only a temporary solution and they aren’t going to be in this for the long haul. 

Burnout

Pet sitting is not a service to be undervalued.  Contrary to belief, pet sitting is not an easy job.  Pet sitters work long hours, most nights, weekends, & holidays,and drive endless miles.  There is no paid time off and pet sitter’s can’t just call off sick. This can lead to burn out for many pet sitters, but it is especially true if the service is not valued.

Not insured or bonded

If a pet sitter is not charging enough, then it is likely they are not going to be able to afford liability insurance and bonding.  This is something that should not be ignored. Things happen! The last thing you want to do is have to fork out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a mishap. 

It’s is so often very true, you get what you pay for.  Price absolutely should be a consideration when choosing a pet sitter but not the first. Reliability and trust are most important.  Do you really want to risk that for a few bucks?

 

 

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5 Tips To Find A Reliable Pet Sitter

It’s time to plan a vacation.  Going away should be relaxing and fun.  It’s not a time to worry about your pets. It’s hard to leave them behind, sure, but having a reliable, trustworthy pet sitter makes all the difference.  You don’t have to worry and your pets are comfy and safe at home. 

If you search pet sitters your town, many listings will show.  It may seem overwhelming and confusing.  How do you find a reliable pet sitter in your area ?  How do you know who to trust and will show up?

Find a reliable pet sitter

5 Tips to Find a Reliable Pet Sitter

1.  Ask friends and neighbors 

This is your best source for finding a reliable pet sitter. Friends and neighbors who have used a pet sitter will only provide a name of someone they have used, trust, and highly recommend. 

2.  Veterinarians

Another great way to find a reliable pet sitter is to ask your veterinarian.  Many vets network with other pet professionals. They often times will recommend a professional pet sitter and some vets also have staff that provide pet sitting.

3.  Search online for a professional pet sitter

A professional pet sitter will have an established business.  Since they have worked hard to build their business and reputation, they want to maintain that image by being reliable and trustworthy. Look for these qualifications when hiring a professional pet sitter:

  • Are they insured?  All professional pet sitters are covered by liability insurance.
  • How long have they been in business?  Pet sitters who have been in business for years are likely to be around for the long haul.  
  • What do the reviews say about them? Great sources for pet sitter reviews are Angie’s list, business Facebook page, and Google +.
  • Does the pet sitter have an emergency backup plan?  This is important as you do not want to be on vacation and get a frantic call your pet sitter is in the hospital and can no longer care for your pets.
  • A professional pet sitter will have a service agreement and policies for you to review.  This clearly defines what you can expect of the pet sitter while your pets are under their care.

4.  Meet the pet sitter  

This will tell you a lot about the person caring for your pets. How does the pet sitter interact with the pets?  Are your pets comfortable with this person? Is the pet sitter clear about the services they will provide and when? Do they take notes about the pet’s care? Always go with your gut. If you are still not sure, schedule a trial run for one or two visits before you take a week long vacation.

5.  Avoid fly by night pet sitters 

When choosing a pet sitter, you want someone to build a relationship with. If you are searching sites such as Rover, Sittercity, and Care look for someone who is an established professional.  These sites promote pet sitting as an easy way to make money.  Many sign up but don’t stick around long term.

Hiring a pet sitter doesn’t have to be scary.  Take your time and use the tips above to find the right pet sitter for your needs. Your vacation will be much more relaxed and so will your pets.

Are you looking for a reliable, trustworthy pet sitter?  We can help! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hiring A Dog Walker, What You Need To Know!

If your dog is at home most days for 10 plus hours, it may be time to hire a dog walker. Yes, most dogs can hold it but that results in a very uncomfortable day for your dog.

Since this may be new to you, you may be a little worried.  How do you find a person who will love and care for your dog like you? Will the person you hire be reliable? How do you know they won’t snoop through your house or worse steal something?

 

Hiring a dog walker, what you need to know!

dog walker

Hire a professional dog walker.  

Pet sitters and dog walkers are popping up all over the place.  Sites like Rover and DogVacay promote dog walking and pet sitting as an easy way to make big money.  You will find pages of listings for pet care services on sites such as Rover, DogVacay, Care, and Craigslist.  Anyone can sign up on these sites regardless of their qualifications.  

When you hire a professional dog walker, you can be confident knowing the person caring for and walking your dog has the training and skills necessary to keep your pet safe.  As professional dog walkers, we have encountered some very unpleasant experiences; dogs trying to grab chicken bones tossed on the sidewalk, reactive dogs, and strong pullers.  The scariest encounters, however, are the loose, charging dogs.  Hiring  a person who doesn’t know what to do in these types of situations consequently can result in injury or death to your dog.

Because your pet, home, and privacy are important to you, careful consideration should be given to those you allow to have access to your home and pet. Not only do you want the best for your pet’s care, you also want someone reliable and trustworthy.  Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations.  They will only want to refer someone they have used and trust.

Take time to research dog walking and pet sitting services in your area.  

To help find the right fit for you and your pet, here are some questions to ask.

  • Are you bonded and insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Who will be walking my dog?
  • How do you keep my house keys secure?
  • What happens if my dog walker is sick, injured, has an emergency and can’t get to my dog?

Most importantly when hiring a dog walker, meet them.  How are they with your dog?  Is your dog comfortable with the dog walker? Are you comfortable with the dog walker?  

There are many benefits to hiring a dog walker but the most important is the health and happiness of your dog.

 

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Things Are Going To Change! Pet Sitter’s Life

For the past three weeks, things have been crazy!  Of course we aren’t complaining, we are thankful for the business.  Summer vacations started at the end of May and we jumped full force into June.

Our days have been starting at 6 am, sometimes before if we have to,  and not finishing until 10-11 pm.  If we should happen to be scheduled for overnights, we just keep on going.

This type of schedule is standard for professional pet sitters.  We map out our visits by requested time and location in order to plan our day with the most efficient route.  Sometimes though, no matter how much we plan and prepare, things are going to change.

It’s a pet sitters life and things are going to change!

Things are going to change

 

Our sitters are accustomed to the every changing schedules but geesh these last few weeks have been hard to keep up with. We know to look at our schedules several times a day to be sure nothing is missed and here is why.

  • Work schedules changed for summer so two of our daily Mon – Friday clients no longer needed walks starting in June.
  • Another client who normally uses us two days per week wanted to switch to one day a week. We were able to accomodate but one week into June the client wanted to switch to a different day. Unfortunatley our daily schedule for the day requested was already filled for those time slots so the client decided on a different day.
  • Pet visits scheduled for 14 days in June were cancelled because of a family member was hospitalized.
  • Two seperate clients requested extra visits be added to their weekly schedule
  • A booking over Memorial weekend cancelled because their plans changed.
  • New client scheduled less than 48 hours because their sitter backed out.
  • Client decided to stay home from work and didn’t need us.
  • Another client leaving later for work wanted us to visit later in the day than originally planned.
  • Daily client had plans after work could we add on another visit between 3-4.
  • Client requested 3 mid day visits for the week but less than 24 hour notice.
  • Client called on Thursday to book 3 visits a day starting Fri thru Monday for a last minute weekend trip.
  • Client scheduled visits for 7 days but decided to leave two days earlier than planned and needed hour long visits added for those extra days.

I am pretty sure there are a few I forgot to mention.  While handling a full schedule of pet visits, it’s really tough to keep up with so many changes  Luckily we have a great scheduling system in place. Our clients can schedule, cancel, or change visits online 24/7. It’s also an excellent way to keep track of the changes so nothing gets missed while we are out tending to pets.

It’s life, things are going to change.  We get it.  Sometimes the changes are unpredictable like in the case of a family member suddenly hospitalized.

There are times though,  the changes occur because of poor planning. If you failed to book your pet sitter until the day before you are going on a week long trip but planned your travel arrangements months before, don’t expect your pet sitter to jump thru hoops to get you on the schedule.

To book service, cancel, or change a request, please use our online scheduler.  We receive so many texts and calls each day while we are out pet sitting and are unable to schedule the requests until we are back in the office.  We do not want to miss your request and want to be sure we have all the information necessary.

When you need to schedule, cancel, or change pet service, do so with as much notice as possible.  The more notice you provide, the easier it is to accomodate your request.

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Pet Sitter’s Life: Easy Way To Make Money?

Being a pet sitter is very rewarding.  It can also be very challenging.  For someone who loves and adores pets it can be a great way to earn a living. Professional pet sitting and dog walking is more than a job or career, it really is a lifestyle.  A pet sitter’s life is far from easy.  It can be quite exhausting, stressful, and frustrating.  It can also be fun, relaxing, exciting, and so loving.

Professional pet sitting is not at all how most people perceive it.  When we tell people what we do for a living, almost every single person says “Oh I would love to do that”.  Who wouldn’t right?

After all, almost everyone has done some sort of pet sitting for a family member, friend, or a neighbor. How hard can taking care of pets be? We often hear how great it is that we get to play with puppies and kittens all day. Certainly that is one of the great parts of caring for pets but there is so much more.

When potential candidates apply for a pet sitting or dog walking position with us, they are often shocked by our requirements. They have no concept of what we do on a daily basis. After the interview process, most determine that this is not as easy or as flexible as they thought.

Here is a glimpse into a pet sitter’s life.

Pet sitter’s life, our week of 05/16.

Total visits:  116

Number of dogs visited: 28
Some dogs were visited once per day Monday thru Friday while others were visited 3 or more times per day while their owners were away.

Number of cats visited: 13
Cats were visited once or twice per day while their owners were away.

This week was one of the tougher ones, not so much because of the pets we cared for but events that occurred.

Our days started early visiting pets between 6 am -9 am.  Dogs needed out and fed first thing after a long night. Then on to the cat visits who requested visits 2 times per day.

Pet Sitter's Life: Easy Way To Make MoneyAfter our morning rounds ended, our daily dog walking schedule began.  Weekdays start with a 45 minute run/brisk walk with a super rambunctious pup. He will certainly destroy the house if not able to release his energy.

Usually all goes well during the day with maybe some clean ups here or there but this particular week had some challenges.

Our pet sitter arrived at one of her daily dog walks to the German Shepherd pup crying in pain.  She had Sadie (2)hurt her leg/paw earlier and could not put any weight on it.  The pet sitter immediately called the pups owner and the office to discuss actions to take.  Since the owner could not get home until early afternoon, the pet sitter stayed to comfort and relax the pup. She couldn’t bear to leave her hurting like that. The pup found great comfort with having someone there and fell asleep in her lap. The extra time staying made for a hectic afternoon but certainly worth it. Other dogs were waiting for their walks but our main priority is the safety and well being of the pet. Some times things happen that cause us to be delayed. Our clients are very understanding as they would want the same care for their pets. The pups owner was very grateful that the pet sitter was able to stay a little longer.

Never is it just one situation but often several different events happening on the same day or on our busiest day. Such was the case this week.

Encountering loose dogs while out walking our clients dogs is very frustrating and aggravating. While walking a Doberman and Boxer (no not mine) who get a bit excitable with other dogs, a Jack Russel got away from his owner. The man was walking his dog on a retractable leash and his dog got away from him slipping his collar. The little dog charged at our client’s dogs.  Luckily no one got hurt. The Boxer and Doberman behaved very well considering another dog was going at them.

Champ 2015Wearing barn boots saved the dog walkers foot from being seriously bitten. The Boxer kept nudging her the entire way back home to make sure his dog walker was ok. This is a scary situation and could have turned out very badly.

We are fortunate that we have been walking and caring for these two dogs for aSookie 2015
long time now.  We know them quite well.   A great deal of time and patience went into being able to get them out for daily walks.

Being professional pet sitters/dog walkers, we are always on the alert.  It is our job to pay attention to the dogs in our care as well as to foresee any events that might cause an incidence. These scenarios happen quickly with little time to react. Paying attention to surroundings and changes in the dog’s body language are key.  Our dog walkers are trained on how to avoid these situations and how to handle them if they occur.

The dogs walks finished up between 2-3 pm.  We then started afternoon kitty visits. It was a rainy week. Visiting cats when it’s raining is actually a nice break but not this time.  The pet sitter arrived at a visit of 3 cats and there were two wet spots, one outside the litter box and one by the laundry basin.  Those were cleaned up, however the next morning after a downpour thru the night, the basement had more than a couple wet spots.  The floor was soaked! Of course right by the litter boxes.  All that clay goop was all over.  What a mess! Have you ever had to clean up wet litter off the floor? Not an easy or pleasant task.  The extra time spent cleaning up put a slight delay in the schedule.  Things happen!

Despite the rain, dogs needed out and walked.  We all got soaked but there were no issues.  Lots of wet dog smell and drenched hair and fur but we have towels for that.

Bailey April 2016 (2)

Although we don’t encounter situations like this daily there are some days that can be quite draining. Full schedules, cleaning up accidents, loose dogs charging, crappy weather, working crazy hours 7 days per week are all part of being a pet sitter/dog walker.  You may wonder why we do this.  We do this because even when these things happen, the love of the pets far outweighs the challenges. The happy tails wagging and the kitty purring make it all worth it. Is it an easy way to make money, no.  Is it a rewarding way to make a living, yes.

Cooper 05-04-16 Daisy - May Oliver Ruger 05-03-16

 

 

 

 

 

Do you think pet sitting and dog walking is an easy way to make money?

 

 

 

 

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