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How do you interview a pet sitting service?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We are planning for spring break and I need a little help, please. We usually take the cats to the vet when we leave town. They have a little room that all three of them can share. They'd have to stay for seven nights and seven nights multipled by $33.00 a night is, well. . . Let's just say I'm investigating other options at the moment.

There are several pet sitting services listed in our yellow pages. What I need from everyone are interview-type questions that I should ask when I call. One service is a member of the Better Business Bureau as well as Pet Sitters International. A couple say they're bonded and insured. I know that's important.

I just need someone come by every other day and scoop the poop and freshen the kibble. Not to mention the joy of NOT having to cart all three cats (3 sets of teeth + 12 sets of claws) up and get them to the vet. The only other time we did that I thought it would have been easier just to stay home!

Thanks for your help and input. Again, I'm just looking for good interview questions and any other advise you have on how to select a pet sitting service. You guys are the greatest!
post #2 of 7
One of the best things to do is to interview the petsitters in person, ideally the same person who will be coming to your house. It's always better to do it this way, because you get to see how the sitter interacts with your cats and vice versa. Not to mention you want to meet the person who's going to have the keys to your house!

Some basic questions that come to mind are:

How long have you been in business? (preferably,you want someone with experience)

Which vets are you familiar with in the area? (it's usually a good sign if a vet recommends a petsitting service - petsitting businesses that have been operating awhile will be familiar with at least a few local vets. Also, you should tell your vet that the sitter has permission to bring your cats in for medical treatment if necessary, in your absence. Leave a carrier, in case).

How many other clients will you have at the time you'll be sitting for my cats? (if they have lots of clients, they'll be spread pretty thin. They may not have much time to spend with your cats which leads to the next question...)

Approximately how much time will you spend with my cats? (you want someone who is going to do more than rush in the door, throw down some food and leave. They should take a good look at each cat, even if they're under the bed, to make sure they seem ok. If possible, they should have at least 15-20 minutes of playtime, too).

Do they have any medical background with animals, for example, were they a vet tech at one time? You don't have to rule out someone who doesn't have medical experience, but they should be familiar with potential signs of illness in cats.

Ask about their own animals - they should have some and speak as lovingly about them as you would about yours!

References: Ask for them and don't settle for one name. Get the names of at least 3 satisfied clients.

BTW, I know you mentioned having the sitter come every other day, but I would urge you to have them come at least once each day (mine comes twice - I worry a lot!). They should turn lights on and off as needed, and leave a radio playing soft music.

A lot can happen in 24 hours - they could get sick, hurt, the pipes could burst, the heat go off, you get the idea. Once a day is the minimum you want your babies checked on.

Don't forget to leave a contact # where you can be easily reached. Also request a phone# for the sitter and set up at least 2 times when you will call to see how the cats are doing.
post #3 of 7
When I was researching for this article I interviewed over a dozen pet sitters. Very few would even allow a future client to come into their home, preferring instead to go to theirs.

Here is the article, you should find tips inside to help you

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, KTLynn. I knew there would be a few things I wouldn't think of.

Mary Ann, the article was right on the money. Thank you very much for leading me to it.
post #5 of 7
holy cow, how did i miss this thread! I know it's past time now, but I would have watched the crew for free! Seriously. I was thinking that when you PM'ed me, but you said you already had a friend doing it. Honestly though, if you ever need someone to watch the babies, you know I am here for ya. After all, you did so much for me by giving Grace a wonderful, loving home. I owe you big time!!!
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I know I can count on you, Lacey! It was a great help just to know you were on stand-by while we were gone. I really didn't worry about the cats at all.

And, of course, the same goes for me if you ever need help with Juicy or Destin or Noodles. I've never met a ferret, but I'd certainly do whatever I could.
post #7 of 7
Also ask about play time..

I did pet sitting as a kid ( age 9-16) and still do for freinds...

I usually went three times a day ...
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