Ideally, clients will provide everything you need to care for their pet(s). This could include food, leashes, toys and a home litter box.
Ask potential sitters what size dogs they are willing to sit and if they have experience with medically-challenged pets. Also, ask what services they offer. Put up high-quality fliers about your business at local businesses, such as pet stores and dog groomers.
Meet the Pets
As a pet owner, you want to feel comfortable leaving your pet in someone else’s care. A good way to do that is to meet the sitter in person. Ask about their experience and how they will keep your pets safe and happy in their care. You should also find out if they have any special training, such as for watching older pets or addressing separation anxiety.
Some pet sitters provide photo and video updates of your dog while you are away. This may be important to you if your pet is nervous or uneasy about leaving you, as it will give you peace of mind that your dog is enjoying itself while you’re gone.
You can find a pet sitter in many places, including online listings and websites, professional organizations, bulletin boards at stores and veterinarian offices and even on social media. Many people find pet sitters through friends, family members and neighbors who have used them in the past.
Do Your Homework
In the age of apps that match you with dog sitters in minutes, it’s easy to forget that word of mouth is one of the best ways to find pet sitters. Ask friends, neighbors and coworkers if they have any recommendations; then follow up by calling those references.
Be sure to ask the sitter about their fees, policies and insurance. You don’t want to be caught off guard when you’re booking your first assignment, and a reputable company will be upfront with you about all costs associated with their services.
Also, be sure to ask about any additional tasks the sitter may be expected to perform while you’re away. For example, some clients require that their sitter water plants or bring in mail while they’re out of town. And, remember, some pets experience separation anxiety and need extra attention in order to feel safe. So, make sure your client understands if that’s the case with their pet and be prepared to provide them with those extra services if necessary.
Ask for References
Pet owners need to trust their sitters and that starts with external references. They should also be able to see what types of pets the sitter has cared for in the past. Some sitters may only watch cats or dogs, but others may have specialized in different animal groups such as rodents (hamsters and guinea pigs) or reptiles.
If you’re hiring a private pet sitter, look for one with an online profile that lists their contact information, availability and a description of the services they provide. This can be a good way to find a qualified, trustworthy sitter.
In addition to profiles on online pet sitting company websites, you can also check out sitters through bulletin boards at local businesses, veterinarian offices and local humane societies. These profiles typically list their contact information, references and experience level. They might even include photos of the sitter and their home. Character references are usually requested from outside the sitter’s immediate circle and can be people who know the sitter in different aspects of their life, such as work colleagues or neighbours.
Get a Quote
Pet owners can find a professional pet sitter online by searching for “pet sitters” or “dog walkers” in their area. Prices may vary by location, company size and whether services include overnight stays.
It’s important to remember that hobby sitters are usually providing this service as a side hustle and may not be available at the last minute. It’s best to plan ahead and book your pet sit at least a few weeks in advance.
Many professional sitters have websites where they can display their credentials, experience and rates. They will also have a secure online booking system that makes it easy for clients to schedule and pay for their pet care visit.
A small business needs to factor in the cost of labor, insurance, gas, marketing and supplies when calculating their prices. Thimble offers pet sitting liability insurance that covers the unique liabilities of a small pet care business, including lawsuits from pet owners or injuries to pets and staff. Compare multiple quotes from top insurers with one application.