I’ve had quite a few people ask me over the years if I am a member of PSI (Pet Sitters International) or NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) and I’m NOT. It can be explained in two ways – to a Pet Owner & then also a fellow Pet Sitter.
An Association to me has to have VALUE to either help my business in a way I have not already done so of or have benefit to my clients.
I think PSI & NAPPS have done great things for people NEW to the pet care industry! There is a lot to learn about being a pet sitter. These Associations give them a great starting point. But as a seasoned professional pet sitter they are not the right fit for me & my business. WHY?
Pet Owners Point of View:
You surf the internet looking for a QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL Pet Sitter – Right?
You see a Pet Sitter that is a NAPPS or PSI member what does this tell you?
If you Google “What is a NAPPS pets sitter you get the listing description of the NAPPS website :
NAPPS is the source for everything animal owners need to know about hiring a pet sitter, including an online pet sitter locator
Under PSI the Google Description:
Learn about how you can become a professional pet sitter or find your local pet sitter.
Does it tell you what benefit hiring one of these pet sitters has to you as a pet owner? Not really.
Is their any sort of Guarantee provided by using one of their sitters? Not really.
The PSI description says it will TEACH people how to BECOME a Professional Pet Sitter! Do you really want somebody who doesn’t already know & is learning to be a pet sitter? As a pet owner myself that’s kind of a scare thought!
ANYBODY can pay either of these organizations $140-$160/year to be a member & put the logo on their website! It doesn’t make them any better, worse or qualified as a pet sitter.
Another example of the benefits to you as a pet owner:
If you use a NAPPS or PSI pet sitter & have an issue with them or problem with their service & complain to either of these organizations are they going to do anything about it?
I’ve asked this question to BOTH Organizations on their Facebook pages & the answers I received were:
“Regarding any member-related complaints, NAPPS headquarters would contact the member directly to discuss. As a nonprofit organization, we cannot guarantee services; NAPPS maintains and promotes a pledge of professional conduct, which we ask our members to sign when joining the association.”
“PSI is not a policing organization. However, PSI member sitters do agree to adhere to PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards and Code of Ethics. Pet owners with a complaint about a PSI-member pet sitter can file a complaint with PSI. If you’d like to contact PSI Member Services, they will be glad to walk you through the complaint process.”
A NAPPS or PSI membership is not a VALID, SOLID credential in my book. Its just a membership to an Association it doesn’t show credibility, reliability, or responsibility.
Instead of joining NAPPS or PSI I chose to join the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Yes this cost me a hefty $600/year! But to me it gives a lot of credibility, and shows I’m a established professional business. You have to be in business for at least 2 years to be considered for membership. I am graded on my performance as reported by consumers. $600 is is a hefty bill to pay annually that honestly MOST pet sitters have a hard time paying & justifying.
For Pet Owners PEACE OF MIND! Pet owners have the GUARANTEE that if they have an issue with my care or service they can contact the BBB to get their issue addressed, acknowledged or resolved!
To me the PEACE OF MIND I’m providing my clients is PRICELESS! I don’t need to waste my hard earned money on memberships to associations so I can put a logo on my website.
In 2011 I did join the APSE (Association for Pet Sitting Excellence) because I felt as a pet sitter it offered me benefits (different than PSI or NAPPS) that were helpful to my business. I was able to get my website critiqued, which was HUGE benefit & help to me. I got some helpful tips & insights how to better run my business.
Pet Sitters Point of View:
I actually sat down & broke down the numbers and stats why one time to show other pet sitters.
NAPPS – $160/year
PSI: $130 (plus $10 application fee)
PSI & NAPPS offers Pet Sitters a discount on their Pet Sitters Liability Insurance & bonding.
So ON TOP of your annual membership fees you are paying Business Insurers of the Carolinas, Associated with NAPPS & PSI annually for insurance Note: you must be a member of one of these associations in order to purchase this insurance! When I did their worksheet for basic required insurance coverage I was SHOCKED!!
Basic Liability Rate: $120
Mandatory: CARE CUSTODY & CONTROL Rate:
|Limit Each Occurrence||Limit Aggregate||Flat Rate||(Select One)|
With $75 CCC Rate Subtotal: $285.00
Policy Fee/Taxes: $50.00
Total Annual Premium: $335.00
So between your NAPPS or PSI membership fee & your DISCOUNTED Insurance you’re paying $475 -$495 a year! OUCH!! That’s a BIG hit to the pocket book for a new pet sitter!!
THAT NOT including BONDING!! Which is ~$100/year or any other additional add ons for daycare, grooming, or coverage!
PLUS Some pet sitters join BOTH Associations so they pay 2 Annual membership fees!!
I joinedProfessional United Pet Sitters http://petsits.com/
The Basic Membership option includes everything listed on this page through online access for $29.94. Again, the fee you pay is a one-time fee for lifetime membership *.
I got my insurance through Pet Sitter Associates LLC: http://www.petsitllc.com/
Individual membership : $185
Listing in PetSitFinder.com: $10
TOTAL for Insurance $195/year
Insurance & membership fees: $224.94 a SAVINGS OF OVER $250 or MORE!!
Is it really worth all that money to get your name in an online directory, to put their logo up on your website, and get free forms & advise?
MY ANSWER: I’m sorry but I have better things to spend my hard earned money on! I’ll use other resources!
As I previously stated: An Association to me has to have VALUE to either help my business in a way I have not already done so of or have benefit to my clients.
Since I wrote this article almost 2 years ago I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. There has been one change – I’m NOT BBB Accredited anymore. The main reason – again money & Cost. $600/year in fees wasn’t justified to me anymore. Yes it was great getting the “Complaint Free” award 3 years in a row. But I asked around & got other people’s opinions. The feedback I received was “Shannon you have more than proven yourself as a business own & the high level of customer service you provide. The integrity you operate your business with you don’t need to be ACCREDITED – you already are! You did that by yourself!”
I still stand by the fact of “get what you pay for”. If you are paying in & not really getting anything out of it in return don’t continue to do it! Don’t be paying just to have a link to your website up on another if its not driving business to you. Ask EVERY new customers either in your contact for or on your contract – “How did you hear of me?” Give them a list of options where you are listed: Veterinarian, Referred by current customer, Facebook, Twitter, Angie’s List, Bing/Yahoo, Yelp etc. You’ll start to see what is giving a return value & what isn’t. 😉
Why spend & invest all your hard earned money into methods that aren’t giving you a return or you are not learning anything new from? Invest wisely! We all make investment mistakes – I’ve done it over the years. We aren’t perfect but soon you’l get an idea of what works best for you & your business.