Yes, the kids next door may be responsible. Yes, I am sure that the kid next door is not a stranger and you feel comfortable with them coming into your home while you are away. And, yes, I am sure that the kid next door is completely capable of feeding, watering and letting the dog out a few times per day.
These are not my concerns!
What is the kid next door going to do when the pipes freeze in the dead of winter? What is the kid next door going to do when the dog has diarrhea for the fifth time on the brand new carpet that you just had put down the week before you left for vacation? What is the kid gonna do if they walk in and the dog is no where to be found?
I can guarantee one thing – a professional pet sitter is going to handle these issues, and any other thrown at them, the way any trained professional should. With poise, care and a great deal of compassion! Keeping the owner in the loop every step of the way – hiding NOTHING!
How can you tell a professional pet sitter from the “kid next door”?
With all of the pet sitter, baby sitter, nanny sites popping up all over the web, this may seem like a very difficult task. It is not!
There are a few essential questions you should ask/look for with any TRUE professional pet sitter before you employ their services. The answers to these questions will immediately tell you if the person is a professional or just “someone who loves animals”.
1. Is the pet sitter Licensed, Insured and Bonded? They absolutely should be! (Licensing will be locally different – some localities don’t require it) but the insurance and bonding should be an absolute must and it must be specific to PET SITTING! General insurance policies don’t usually cover our type of business.
2. Is the pet sitter certified through a reputable professional organization? Certification shows that the pet sitter is interested in not only playing with dogs and cats, but staying on top of the most current topics pertaining to those pets, the business of pet sitting and the industry standards.
3. Does the pet sitter have proof of clean criminal back ground? They should be able to provide this without delay or question and less than one year old.
4. Does the pet sitter have a service agreement or contract in place? Service agreements and service contracts are put in place by professional pet sitters to not only protect themselves, but also to protect their clients. A service agreement should make very clear what the pet sitter will be doing, when they will be doing it and how they will be doing it while you are away.
5. Can you provide references? The best way that a professional pet sitter can demonstrate their level of commitment and their level of professionalism is to use the words of previous or existing clients.
If a pet sitter can’t or won’t answer these questions – bottom line – YOU SHOULD NOT HIRE THEM!