We’ve been coming across more and more accounts of negative experiences people are having with non insured non professional pet sitters. This ranges from the non insured hobbyist pet sitter to large online companies that allow anyone to sign up and advertise pet sitting. We highly recommend that whenever you hire anyone to work in your home, you use and insured company that has employees that are registered with the state and are covered by the companies liability insurance, bonding and workers compensation insurance.
What to look for when hiring a Professional Pet Sitting Company.
A Professional Pet Sitting Company has a Professional Website, Facebook Page, and is listed on Yelp and Google with a local business address. Be sure to read through all reviews on Yelp, Google, and FaceBook. Beware of hiring anyone without an online presence. If something goes wrong, you have little to no recourse and will have no place online to review the services.
Make sure your pet sitter is fully insured and bonded. Many people who pet sit or dog walk as a hobby or for some extra cash are not insured or bonded. If something goes wrong you will not be covered.
Make sure the company hires and trains it own Employees. Beware of any company that claims to use independent contractors. The nature of an independent contractor is that they do their work when and how they see fit. Employees on the other hand are subject to the company policies and procedures, they’re fully trained and are held to much hirer standards. Employees are the only individuals who will be fully covered by a companies liability insurance and bonding.
Background Checks: a Professional Pet Sitting company will perform National Background Checks and Motor Vehicle Reports on all prospective employees. Some non professional companies will run a local town or state only check, that will not reveal incidents that have occurred outside of the town/state/county. Also the motor vehicle report is essential because it will reveal things like a DUI, disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana, distracted driving, etc…These minor offense will NOT show up on a regular background check, only on the Motor Vehicle report.
Make sure you have been provided with the companies policies and procedures. Beware of any company or individual that cannot easily provide their policies. If you have no written agreement with a company, you have little to no recourse if something goes wrong. Non professional services without policies and systems in place, may be disorganized and may not have the appropriate procedures in place to ensure consistent care.
Please be sure that NO other people or pets will be allowed at your home. People who are not the owners or employees may not be covered by insurance. You could be liable if they are hurt on your property. The same goes for pets, unknown pets will not be covered by insurances and may harm your pets or bring pathogens into your home.
Beware of the price you are paying. All too often a cheap service will end up being exactly that. Legitimate Pet Sitting companies with employees have a tremendous amount of expenses to cover the cost of having employees and all the required insurances and taxes. It will be a much higher cost service, but having the peace of mind to know your pets and home are safe will be worth the investment.
Availability can be crucial, if you are hire a one or two person business, they may not have the the availability you need. If a one person pet sitter is very good and reliable, they will become fully booked during holidays and the summer months. When any one pet sitter is ‘overbooked’ generally the quality of their service declines. They may also have time when they are unavailable due to personal time off or unforeseen circumstances. If they have a very short notice emergency, they may not be able to get to your pets. We recommend that you look for a company with 5 or more employee pet sitters to ensure that they have the appropriate back up and availability.
Transportation, please make sure your pet sitter has reliable 4WD transportation. A professional company will be able to get to your pets in all weather conditions. Some pets sitters may not have 4WD but the owners of the company should have a newer 4WD vehicles so that they can always get to pets in extreme weather conditions. I cannot tell you how many times our Sarah’s Pet Sitting SUV’s have been the only cars on the roads during a snowstorm.
Online system, payment, and office staff. Convenience is so important, a solo pet sitter or small company may not be able to process your request quickly and may not have secure way of processing payment and keeping client security information safe and secure. We recommend hiring a company with a local office address and regular office staff to assist you should you have a problem, question or emergency. A solo sitter may be very busy completing pet visits all day every day, which does not allow for much time to communicate with clients, process service requests, answer questions and process billing in a way that is timely, organized and secure.