Shannon’s Pet Sitting starting hiring part time, (independent contractor) pet sitters in 2014. Since then we have gotten a very clear image of just how our job is actually perceived by people who have never done it before. Pet Sitting is not the purrfect job as it seems to appear apparently! Never really thought about it before…. maybe because it is instinctual & we’ve been doing it so long. Shannon the owner, has been pet sitting since 1997! We have to guess that people just don’t realize exactly what’s involved in being a professional pet sitter. Everybody’s time is valuable….so we take measures to avoid wasting our time as well as other people’s when hiring.
Obviously loving animals & pets is a huge requirement but it take a lot more than that. When we hire a “pet sitter” we are very very diligent about the applicants. Why? #1 you are going into & responsible other peoples home & pets. That’s a MASSIVE responsibility! As a home owner, pet owner and the owner of Shannon’s Pet Sitting I have to look at this from a home/pet owners point of view. I have to look out for our clients home security & their pets safety & well being. We can’t just hire anybody off the street & have them coming into people homes & caring for their pets. This is a SPECIAL & IMPORTANT job!
If you are interested in taking a pet sitter job with hopes of making tons of money, seeing what it’s about, trying it out, seasonal work, or doing it until something better comes along, than a pet sitter is NOT the job for you. People who make great pet sitters are the ones who do it because they want to work with the animals, and like the idea of a little extra money coming in. The pets come before the money. Our focus in this business is for the compassion & care of the animals – NOT to become rich & make a ton of money. We do it because we love the animals – that’s the #1 reason. We want people who will commit & stay with our team. Why? Because part of the job is building & developing relationships with our clients & their pets. Pet Sitters build an important bond & relationship with the animals in their care. How do you think those pets feel when suddenly your just not there to care for them anymore? They grow to trust, love & depend on you. You are an important part of their lives!
Most people see our “HELP WANTED” ads & #1 reason they don’t get a response or they get their application rejected is THEY DO NOT READ THE JOB REQUIREMENTS! If you do not take the time to read to job description, still apply & do not meet the requirements, it’s only a bad reflection upon yourself & your attention to detail.
We require our applicants & pet sitters to live within certain towns in our service area. People from all over the Chicagoland apply for the position. Some people live an hour or more away! REALLY!? Or some people live a town or two over. Not going to work. Why do we want our applicants/pet sitters to reside in certain specific towns in our service area? So that in bad weather or in case of an emergency the pet sitter can get to our client homes in a timely manner. If you live 30 minutes away or more, #1 it will take you at least double that in bad weather, #2 You won’t do any good in case of an emergency, #3 you will spend more than what you make in gas money driving to & from your visits! We want our pet sitters to live centrally in our service area to make them time efficient & cover the cost of their gas to & from their visits.
So we get an application & the person meets the general requirements of the position. GREAT! Now lets see just how dedicated & excited they REALLY are about the position. Here is where the “valuable time” comes into play. The 2nd step in our hiring process is to send the applicant a job application, a job questionnaire & a personality questionnaire. These forms are important because it gives us a clear sense of who these people are; what their family or social dynamic are like, how they think or handle situations, how knowledgeable they are on pets & pet care, their opinions on topics, their general level of intelligence, grammar, spelling, and an idea of their personalities. Sadly this is usually where we lose the majority of applicants, and their real interest & dedication are clearly visible. MOST applicants do not want take the time to complete 3 forms & we do not hear back from them. Pet Sitting is not the purrfect job as they had originally thought. Hence saving both us & them valuable time.
For those who do make the grade by completing the forms and providing adequate answers the doors just opened for the next step in the hiring process! Again we do not want to waste anybody’s time including our own. So we send the applicant a DETAILED job description. In this description it gives the applicant a good insight as to what exactly will be expected of them as a pet sitter. What they will be paid, how busy they will be, required hours to work, what their duties will entail etc. Also they must be willing to financially invest in themselves. We require our pet sitters to pay for state criminal background checks ($50 – reimbursed after working 30 days), 1st year of specialized liability insurance ($85) & Pet CPR & First Aid Course($75) within the first few months of employment. Why? It again proves their dedication to working for us. It is a tax write off for them at the end of the calendar year & they usually make the money back within 60 days of working for us. It also avoids turn over! We’ve had pet sitters hired & spend $200+ on these costs to get them up & running. Only to have them quit on us within a matter of months. Then we are out this money & have no pet sitters. When we send the detailed job description we ask the applicants to carefully review it. Should they decide this is not what they are looking for we completely understand! As there is more to it than most people realize & we wish them well on their future endeavors! If they are still with us & willing to continue with the hiring process we offer them a phone interview.
Why a phone & not an in-person interview? Again to save us each valuable time! A phone interview gives us a better sense of who the person is behind the paper. How they are able to communicate, answer questions, and interact with people. As there is some interaction with the pet owners directly. It’s less formal & puts applicants in a more comfortable situation of their own environment & not being face to face.
If we get a good vibe from the phone interview then you are in the home stretch! We will offer you an in-person interview. Shannon the owner & lead pet sitter Becky conduct the in person interviews together. This way its not just the owner conducting the interview but a person who already works for the company & knows what is expected with the position.
Hints – 1) ARRIVE ON TIME OR EARLY. Research where you are going for your interview ahead of time so you will arrive on time. DO NOT ASK the interviewer for directions. Get the address and use Mapquest or GPS System ((DOUBLE HINT – A GPS system is a key pet sitter tool!))
2) Bring a copy of your resume.
3) Have a list of questions you may have about the company or the position
You’d be surprised how many people miss interviews “Oops…I forgot that was today! Can we reschedule?” REALLY!? If you forgot & missed a job interview obviously it wasn’t THAT important to you. Who’s to say you won’t forget or miss a scheduled pet sit? People are also habitually late – texting at the last minute “where is it located?”or “I’m lost”. Again NOT good ways to make an impression for a job that requires scheduled appointments being made & in a timely manner.
So you got the job…. CONGRATS!..now what?? Pet Sitters do on average anywhere from 2-4 visits in upwards to 10+ visits a day depending on how busy & how much demand there is. Orientation is completing a minimum of 12 supervised visits prior to you going out on your own alone to do pet sits. Obviously we want you to finish it as soon as possible and try to have it completed within a 1 or 2 week time period. Surprisingly some people can not handle the Orientation schedule because its more time than what they were willing to invest. If you can’t handle Orientation schedule what are you going to do when we are busy? Again, case in point, obviously Pet Sitting is not the purrfect job for everyone.
Shannon’s Pet Sitting takes hiring our pet sitters VERY SERIOUSLY. That one of the reason our clients love us. We make sure their pet have the best care and the best care providers possible. People who pay attention to detail and notice if things may be wrong with them, who are reliable, will go above & beyond, dependable, on time, and responsible. That’s why we are the ULTIMATE in COMPASSIONATE & Professional Pet Care!