Facts & Fictions of Pet Care
It never fails to amaze me the stories I hear and the requests I personally get as a pet sitter – the Facts & Fictions of Pet Care. I’m really amazed at times by the way people in general view the pet care industry. With social media in its glory one would think that knowledge is power & the knowledge would be increasing. I look at the reviews I see online & some are perfect examples!
This article is on general ideas & impressions people tend to have about the pet care industry. I’ll try to put these “Myths”, “Ideas” & “View” into a better perspective. Some are quite humorous while others are quite frightening.
1) Pet Sitters are just sitting around eating bon-bons with nothing to do. We have no lives & nothing to do but sit around & wait for the phone to ring.
NOT TRUE!! Sad but people really don’t take pet sitting as a serious, professional business. It very much so is. We have overhead to pay (website hosting, insurance cost, programming/software costs) employees to pay, legal fees, licensing costs, invoicing to do, scheduling, book keeping, Mileage logs, and contracts that need to be done on top of taking care of the pets & meeting with new potential clients. Add a family, friends & social life to the mix, we are just as busy as anybody else!
2) Pet Sitter don’t need to be bonded & insured.
NOT TRUE!! When you hire a service provider you really don’t know who it is that is coming into your home. Pet Sitters are different types of service providers than Landscapers, or snow removal companies in that they come into and are allowed entrance into your home. They are given access to your possessions, including your pets safety & well being. Items can go missing or stolen, property damaged etc. Having a Bonded & Insured person coming into your home is a bit of a safety net & reassurance that your home, pets & possessions in safe hands. For the person who is the uninsured & un-bonded pet sitter – what if something goes wrong on your sit? A pet causes damage to the home, or another person or their property while in your care? You are liable! How are you going to pay for it if sued or taken to court?
3) I can get a pet sitter with a few days notice.
NOT TRUE!! For a couple of reasons:
a) A GOOD pet sitter will be booked 30 days or more in advance. Why? Because they are in high demand.
b) A pet sitter has to set up a “Consultation” or “Meet & Greet” with the pet owner. A GOOD pet sitter wont just get handed or left a key or code & go blindly into a home. A pet sitter may not have a consultation appointment available for 3-5 days. Consultations can book a week or more out depending on the pet sitters schedule.
4) I only need somebody to pop in real quick to take care of my pets therefore don’t need and won’t pay for a full length visit.
How far away does the pet sitter live from you? They have travel time & gas costs ROUND TRIP to come take care of your pets. Why doesn’t the pet deserve or NEED to have a person stick around for 20-30 minutes to take care of them, give them some TLC & Attention? A quick “In & Out” just confuses or scares the pets to be honest. Pet sitter visits are usually 20-30 minutes in length and can vary in price from $15-$10/visit. That cost covers their gas & travel time ROUND TRIP. It also gives your pets quality interaction & time for attention. Its more than just feeding the pets & letting them out to go to the bathroom.
5) If the pet sitter says they will be there for the full length visit (20-30 minutes) I just have to take their word for it.
NOT TRUE. I saw an Angie’s List review of a pet sitting service & I had to laugh when I saw it. Because the pet owner was 100% correct.
“Visits were supposed to be 20 minutes long, and we were assured that we’d receive regular updates. The pet sitter did not stay for the 20 minute time allotment during her visits. I can tell this because I get record of when the alarm system is turned off (her arrival) and turned back on ( when she left). Although her tracking sheet she filled out by hand indicated she stayed for exactly 20 minutes per visit, I have record of visits as short as 13 minutes on more than one day.”
I ALWAYS tell my pet sitters act like you are under surveillance, video & Audio at all times. I do actually own a Pet surveillance camera and it’s super useful. There are nosy neighbors, alarms systems that send text message to the home owners phone alerting them it has been turned on & off, there are video monitors with audio etc. I do not solely rely on my pet sitters time sheets. If a pet sitter leaves early its only the pets who suffer. 🙁
6) They don’t want my business therefore that’s why they aren’t answering the phone. So I wont bother to leave a message.
Honest question – Do you always answer your phone when somebody calls you & it rings? If a pet sitter is in the middle of caring for another person’s pets they will not answer the phone most of the time. With the new driving laws a lot of people will not answer the phone or talk on the phone while driving.
We do want your business! Its just that we can’t answer the phone at that very moment. I know I am usually not able to answer or return calls until later in the evening. A GOOD Pet sitter will return calls & emails within 24 hours. So give them a change to get back to you. 😉
7) They got a bad review – therefore they must be awful!
NOT TRUE! Look up the service on several different sights – Angie’s List, Yelp, Google, etc. Some sites allow ANYBODY to post a review. Sadly pet sitters don’t always play nice with each other in the litter box so to speak. 😉 Pet Sitters will SOMETIMES leave bad reviews online about other pet sitters to discourage pet owner from using them. My business is the perfect example! If you go on Angie’s List we are the most rated & top rates pet sitting service in Chicago’s NW Suburbs. But you go on Yelp & we look like the worst with 4 bad reviews. The truth is we have several good reviews on Yelp but because of their filtering they don’t show up. If you look at the reviews they are from people who don’t even live on our service area! They are put up there by people I don’t know & have never heard of!
Pet Sitting is a REAL, LEGITIMATE & PROFESSIONAL industry that needs to be take more seriously. Our time, gas, and costs need to be taken into consideration out of respect.
And although Bon Bons can be delicious, we really have a TON of other things are are doing! Like loving on somebody’s fur baby!!