As a pet sitting service we see a lot of different alarm systems & service in clients homes. A home security system has its benefits but it also has it downsides. Home Security Systems & Pet Sitters don’t always mix! It all depends on the system, the pet sitter & the home owner. You either get a good combo or a bad combo.
A HUGE red flag as a pet sitting service is when we get the home owner with the brand new, state of the art, top notch, super expensive alarm system with all the bells whistles & buttons. Why? Because unfortunately those elaborate systems are usually the ones that cause the most issues.
Example: A client had brand new system “GoControl” that just came out on the market. The husband was going to program in a “Guest Code” for us to use that would only be active for the days they would be gone. Therefore they couldn’t show us how the system actually worked while we were there for the consultation. But gave us a “general” lesson. They did not provide us with the alarm system password in case it was set off because he assured us the alarm company would call his cell phone. We could call the husbands phone if we had any issues.
When it came time for us to enter the home for the first time at 6AM in the morning the code we were provided with did not work! The alarm went off. The alarm company came through a speaker on the actual keypad in the house. Asking us if everything was okay & for the password. I explained I was the pet sitter & was not provided the password by the home owner. Meanwhile the alarm keeps going off! I asked them if they could shut off the alarm. I was told no – the only way to shut it off is to enter the alarm code – which I didn’t have! There I am at 6am trying to call the client to get a working pass code to shut off this state of the art security system! Of course the husband isn’t answering his cell phone! I tried the wife’s cell phone & luckily she answered provided me with her working alarm code. The 30 minutes I was supposed to be there taking care of the dogs I was dealing with the alarm system!
Elaborate isn’t always better. But convenience is HUGE! A lot of alarm systems now able to be controlled remotely from a cell phone or computer.
Example: A client had provided us with the wrong alarm code. When the alarm went off it caused an issue with the front door sensor. We had to call the owner who had to get on the phone with her alarm company ADT. The error had to be fixed before the alarm could be activated. The owner was on the phone longer than the time period out pet sitter was supposed to be at the house. I asked the owner that if our sitter left & locked the door could the home owner activate the alarm from her phone or computer remotely? NO she was not able to control the alarm system remotely. Therefore we had to make an extra trip & charge the client to come back later after the issue had been fixed to manually turn on the alarm system.
I love the phrase K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. The same goes with alarm systems. We’ve seen systems where it’s one code to turn it on & a completely different code to turn it off. WHY make things more complicated than they need to be?!?! Because lets face it things go wrong – wrong codes are given, keychain remotes don’t work, senors malfunction etc.
Home Security Systems & Pet Sitters can be a GOOD MIX!! A lot of alarm systems now send you a text message when they are turned on & off. This can tell you when your pet sitter arrives (alarm turned off) & when they leave (Alarm turned back on again). Ensuring your sitter is staying & providing the exact amount of time contracted. Also lets you know if they did or did not show up.
Don’t want to give out your main home security code to your pet sitter? Most systems allow 4-6 additional codes to be programmed. An easy way to pick a code for your pet sitter is using the last 4 digits of their cell phone #. That way it is easy for them to remember. You can change or delete programmed codes at anytime.
Make sure your alarm company is programmed to call your cell phone if the alarm is activated. But just in case give the pet sitter the password to turn off the alarm in case you do not answer your phone, should the alarm company call your house or intercom through the keypad command center.
The home alarm company we personally recommend is Simplisafe. http://simplisafe.com Shannon has personally used & had their system in her own home since July 2013. They have the lowest rates, wireless, cell tower based – No land line needed, battery back up, state of the art system. It’s a self install & build-as-you-go. So you don’t have to purchase all the security features & items all at once. They have Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors linked to the system to notify fire & rescue. Among other nice security features such as Motion Sensor, Glassbreak Sensor, Panic Button, Wireless Freeze Sensor, & Wireless Water Sensor. Try it. Test it. Love it or Return it. If you aren’t 100% delighted, call them within 60 days for a FULL REFUND and let them pay for return shipping.