Pet Sitting Services
Pet sitting is becoming a popular service, but many pet owners are unsure of just exactly what a pet sitter does. Depending on your needs the sitter will care for your pet(s), watch over your house, check your mail and even water your plants while you’re out of town. Obviously, the benefits of hiring a pet sitter are numerous. I recently had a chat with Ashley owner of Sit Walk Stay Sienna. I wanted to get some information on the benefits of hiring a pet sitter, what qualities to look for in a pet sitter, and how someone can become a pet sitter. Ashley explained that the services pet sitters offer have key benefits over boarding facilities which include:
Pets are happier and less stressed at home
Routines are uninterrupted
Travel time and boarding hours are not an issue
Pet's exposure to illness is minimized
Pet Sitting Is A Professional Career
It is important to understand the term ‘pet sitter’ is often used carelessly to refer to anyone – from a family friend to the neighborhood teenager – who may watch your dog. Ashley's business Sit Walk Stay Sienna has grown year after year and she now has more than 250 clients. She understands that the term "pet sitter" covers a wide range of people. She explained to me that it is important for pet owners to understand the benefits of hiring someone with a solid reputation. It can be a little scary at first letting someone into your house that you do not know. Make sure you hire someone you are comfortable with. Professional pet sitters will be bonded and insured. Because there are more pet sitting options every day owners have to be prudent in their search for pet care. Finding a pet sitter to provide the right pet-care services requires an investment of time—time to do phone interviews, conduct an initial consultation (at the pet owner’s home) and thoroughly check references on those they are considering hiring. Ashley makes a point to bring the sitter responsible for the service to each new consultation. This way the owner and pet(s) will feel comfortable with each other. It is a time to go over any medical or special accommodations your pet may have. She explains that this time is very important for both the sitter and owner to feel comfortable with each other. I asked Ashley what are some things pet owners should do to be ready for a pet sitter:
Keep all supplies in one general and visible area. This includes treats, utensils, food and water bowls, medications, leash, can opener, toys, paper towels, cleaning supplies, garbage bags, litter and scoop, broom and dustpan, watering can for plants.
Be sure to let us know about any unusual habits your pets has i.e., destructive behavior when left alone, change in bowel or eating habits, hiding places, etc.
Let us know if bathrooms or any other household areas are off limits to your pet or our sitters.
If your pet is prone to chew, please leave “chew toys” and take proper precautions to guard your personal items and home furnishings away from pet(s) teeth while you are away.
For the comfort of your pet, adjust your thermostat before leaving on your trip and advise us the range it should be kept at. A closed-up home can get uncomfortably warm in a short time.
Make sure all your toilet lids are down in all accessible bathrooms.
All medications are locked up. The sound of pills rattling in a plastic bottle may entice a pet to chew the bottle open.
Remove candy and nuts from coffee tables or locations where a pet can reach them. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and nuts can be dangerous as well.
Check to see that any hobby supplies, i.e., paints, glue, needles and thread etc., have been placed away form an inquisitive pets reach.
Make sure doors and windows are securely locked before leaving.
Make sure all fence lines are secured and back gate is shut/locked.
If you have friends/trusted neighbors you may want to let them know we will be visiting your house while you are away. This may prevent misunderstandings and confusion when an unfamiliar person is seen coming and going at your home.
Let us know if you would like lights left on, to bring in mail, put out trash etc.
Joining the right association is key.
PSA is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, and they are dedicated to educating professional pet sitters and promoting, supporting and recognizing excellence in pet sitting.
"I choose Pet Sitters Associates for my business as they are able to provide the resources and training that my business needs" - Ashley
The association was established in 1994 and has since helped thousands of dog lovers start and grow their own professional pet-sitting business. They currently have nearly 7,000 professional pet-sitting members. Their member businesses collectively provide pet-care services for more than 720,000 pet-owning households. You can use their directory to find 3,900+ pet care providers listed like pet sitters, pet boarders, pet groomers, dog trainers, dog walkers, and pooper scoopers.
Pet Sitting Services & Pricing
The demand for pet sitting and pet related services varies considerably from company to company. It really depends on the services needed by the owner. For example someone living in suburban areas may want additional services such as home security, bringing in the mail, and altering lighting and window blinds. Some with large yards, may want watering and yard care. Those living in high-rise apartments may want you to water indoor plants or pick up laundry on Tuesday. Ashley explained that each provider is different and may charge different amounts for the same service. She takes a personalized approach when consulting with clients to ensure their needs are addressed and a plan put into place. What works for her is not charging more for multiple animals or Holidays like some of her competitors. She explained she does not like hidden charges and her services are the same price year round. She provided me with a list of services and charges for each.
Start Your Business For The Right Reason
Ashley started SWSS because she saw a need for it and loves working with animals. Here is her mission statement from their website.
Sit.Walk.Stay.Sienna. was built around a diverse group of clients with all different needs. My staff and I are able to meet and maintain these needs while continuing to grow. We have built relationships with our clients that will last for years to come and customers know they can count on us. We are more than just pet sitters we are your neighbors. We strive to be an integral part of our clients and their pet's lives. We offer a wide range of services so your animals and home are taken care of while you are at work or on vacation. We have the experience to take care of your needs both big and small. It is our goal to take care of your furry pal with the best love and care they could ask for. We strive to be the premier pet service provider in the area and gladly provide referrals upon request.
Have the Right Plan
Do you have what it takes to be a professional pet sitter?
Do you love animals? Do you want to be your own boss
Getting Started - Having the right approach
Do you have the time to invest in the company's needs
What services to provide
How much to charge
Getting bonded and insured
Where to get help
Getting the word out
Day to day operations