Importance of READING your Pet Sitting ContractA pet sitting contract is more than filling out dates of when to care for your pet & how much is charged. It’s a legally binding document agreeing to the terms of your pets care in your home. It is a scary fact that over 50% of pet owners DO NOT actually read their pet sitting contracts! Sadly they usually find out after the fact what the contract actually stated and suffer the consequences the hard way which ends up costing them money in the long run. Professional Pet Sitting Services have contracts in place for the best interest of all parties involved – the pet owner, the pet & the pet sitter.
A contract is not a joke or matter to be taken lightly no matter what it is for. Pet Sitting or Pet Care is no exception. A properly written & signed contract will hold up in a court of law. Shannon’s Pet Sitting has been in the position where a contract was questioned and taken to court regarding money owed for services. What work we had actually done and charged for in regards to what was originally contracted was the matter in question. We won the case because the owner had no documentation to support his allocations other than his verbal word. We had photos of the pet while in our care, estimates, emails and the contract the owner had originally signed. The judge advised me ANYTIME there is the SLIGHTEST change in the contract weather it be dates, times, fees etc. to do a new contract or an amendment to the contract so the change is acknowledged in writing by both parties. I had my contract reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that going forward. All parts of a contract are important but there are a few areas that are a bit more critical and missed the most often.
The number one thing in a pet sitting contract that people seem to be the least aware of is the policies – specifically the cancellation policy. A professional pet sitting company will have a cancellation policy in place and it is usually explained in the contract. Numerous times I have had pet owners cancel. Then be shocked and upset that I enforced the cancellation policy & the fees involved. Either admitting to not reading the contract or just oblivious to the fact there was even a policy in place. Why get upset with the pet sitter & why is it the pet sitters fault if the “Pet Owner” didn’t read the contract? You’d be surprised how many pet owners will quit using a pet sitting service because they got charged a cancellation fee. Even though it wasn’t the pet sitting company’s fault – the pet sitting company only put a policy in place. They made the pet owner aware of the policy and put it in writing which the pet owners acknowledged by signing.
Another very critical part to a pet sitting contract is the waivers. These are critical because it pertains to injury or damages that take place in your home or on your property. Waivers can include: * Pet owner being liable for injuries or damages to other people or their property caused by their pet. * Pet Sitting company is not responsible for damages or loss to your home beyond the pet sitting companies control (i.e. leaks, electrical problems, acts of nature, burglary). * Pet Sitting is not liable for any damage done to the client’s home or personal property by their pet(s). * Should another uninsured party outside of Pet Sitting Company enter the client’s home, the Pet Sitting is released of any and all liability.
As a home owner, pet owner and working over 10 years in the insurance industry I can understand and appreciate the importance of these liability waivers & policies. It’s not just cancellation policies, or liability waivers that are in a contract. There are often fees outlined such as: cancellation fees, rates, key pick up or return fees, additional costs incurred by the pet sitter such as food, litter, medication etc.
Pet Sitting businesses are just like any other service related business you deal with. Unfortunately people do not take professional pet sitting or pet care businesses seriously. Then when something happens they try to play the “I didn’t know” card. A contract voids this excuse by putting it in writing which the pet owners acknowledged by signing.