Monday, 14 January 2013

Five Tips to Choosing the Right Pet Sitter

1)      Find a Professional Company: 

Celebrating 7 years of excellent service: 2005 - 2012
Loving Paws & House Sitting
celebrates 7 years in business
·       Look for a company that has been in business for at least a few years, and has an established clientele of repeat clients (long standing businesses generally have more established policies in place, and if they have been in business for a few years with a number of repeat clients, you will be more likely to be satisfied with the service provided to you).  
·       Make sure that the company you hire has insurance and is bonded, and be sure to request to see the insurance credentials during your initial meeting with your sitter.
·       Look for a company that abides by a code of conduct and quality assurance. Review their commitment and look for key components such as: Integrity, Caring, Dependability, Emergency Readiness, and Security & Privacy. Also enquire about their satisfaction guarantee! Check out Loving Paws & House Sitting's Quality Assurance & Standard of Excellence.

·       Verify that your sitter has Pet First Aid and CPR training (very important for older pets, and ones with noted health issues).

LP&HS - OHS PAW Monthly Donor Member
Loving Paws & House Sitting
is a pround montly donor of the
Ottawa Humane Society
·       Ask about pet-related Associations (e.g. Humane Society) that the company is affiliated with, or which offer referrals to the company.
·      Ask the company about their hiring protocol and credentials for employed or sub-contracted sitters. Ensure they go through a proper interview process, reference check and that they request a criminal background check.

2)      Testimonials:

·       Ask people that you know and trust for referrals (i.e. friends, neighbours and co-workers), as well as your veterinarian.

·       Ask your sitter or company to provide you with reference letters or client testimonials, and contact the references given.

3)      Transparency:

·       Does the company have an informative website? The more information is provided on the website the more transparent the company is. You should be able to see the Services being offered, About Us, Rates, and Procedures, at the very least.  
·       Make sure that the quote and information you are provided with is detailed, and clearly outlines the cost per day, and any additional charges, as well as the total charges.

·       Be sure to understand the services which are being offered; what is included, and what is not included in the rate.  If you are unsure, ask questions ahead of time, to ensure that your expectations are met.
·        Are the Terms & Conditions of the company/sitter transparent? If not, it's best to choose a company/sitter that has transparent Terms & Conditions.

4)      Compare Cost & Services Offered

·       Compare what the cost is for the level and type of service that you are getting.  A company with more credentials (insurance, First Aid & CPR certified, well outlined Policies & Procedures, etc) will likely be more expensive that other companies, sole-proprietors or "under the table" pet sitters, but paying a bit extra is often worth it for that extra peace of mind and professionalism.

·       Ensure that the company you hire offers the type of service that meets the needs of your pet(s).  Some companies may not offer overnights, or boarding, or may not have staff on their team available for the types medical care that your pet requires or have a backup plan in the event a sitter is unable to care for your pet(s).

5)      Meet & Greet/Contract Signing

·       It is very important for you to spend time meeting with your pet sitter to ensure that you feel comfortable with the individual caring for your most precious belongings; your pet(s) and your home.  A Meet & Greet should generally last at least 30-minutes.

·       Give your sitter and pet time to bond during the meeting to allow your pet to know they are in good hands while you are away.

·       Go over your pet(s)’ needs (personality, routine, feeding schedule, health) and your expectations in detail to avoid any miscommunication.

·       Ask about the company’s Policies & Procedures, as well as Emergency Policies.

·       Make sure your sitter tests the keys you provide them with, as well as your alarm system.

·     Make sure that there is a written contract between you and your sitter which outlines all of the Policies and Procedures of the company. Carefully read the contract before signing it, and be sure to ask your sitter questions about the Policies & Procedures if anything is unclear.

In the end taking these extra steps, you and your pet(s) will benefit from having a Paw'fect experience with a professional pet sitter!