Home > Pet Sitting > So you want to hire a pet sitter…

So you want to hire a pet sitter…

I think one of the hardest things about starting a pet sitting business is educating people on what a pet sitter is and what a pet sitter does. Some of these things can be answered in my previous blog posting: Going On Vacation? What To Do With Your Pet.

For the owner who is looking for a pet sitter, the hardest part is knowing who to trust with your pet. You want to find one that fits both the needs of you and your pet. Not every pet is the same or has the same needs. Likewise, not every pet sitter is the same or offers the same services.

There are a wide variety of places you can locate a pet sitter, including the following:

1. In Minnesota, there is the Professional Pet Sitters of Minnesota (PPSMN) website. PPSMN is an “association of pet sitting business owners dedicated to promoting the welfare of all animals and raising the standards of the pet sitting industry through example, education and cooperation.” Their website provides fellow Minnesotans a place to locate a pet sitter near them.
2. Pet Sitters International (PSI) is a global organization that focuses on “promoting, supporting and recognizing quality in pet sitting.” Their Pet Sitter Locator is one of “the most heavily used pet-sitter search tools in the industry, and averages more than 30,000 searches per month.”
3. Another resource is Pet Sitters.biz It provides you another resource for locating pet sitters in your area.

Ok. So now you’ve identified a few pet sitters that you are interested in contacting. What next?

First, make sure that each pet sitter is insured and bonded. This is important for anyone caring for your pet. It protects both you, your pet and the pet sitter.

Second, check to see if they have a website that you can look at to find out more about them, their services and pricing. This may help you in whittling down your list.

Third, interview your pet sitter. Most pet sitters conduct an initial interview where they get a chance to meet your pet. This is also an opportunity for you to get a chance to meet them and see how your pet interacts with them. Personally, I do not take on a new client without conducting this initial interview. As the pet sitter, I need to get to know your pet and find out pertinent information that will help me to care for him or her. Pet Sitters International provides pet owners with a Pet Sitter Interview checklist that can help you in making your decision. I also recommend checking out PPSMN’s “Useful Info” section. It provides you with some great information and tips on preparing your home and pets for a pet sitter and “Recommended Quality Standards” to look for in a pet.

Lastly, if you like your pet sitter and your pet is happy and healthy when you return, don’t forget to pass their name on to someone else. Most pet sitters (and dog walkers) get their business via word-of-mouth. The highest compliment you can give them is a referral.

May your pet sitting experience be a wonderful one!

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  1. March 10, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    Mel, you mentioned that a good pet sitter should be insured AND bonded. It was my impression that bonding was intended for protecting clients/customers from the negative actions of a given business’s employees. Is bonding absolutely necessary for a professional pet sitter if she has no other employees, e.g. if she is a sole proprietor? Thanks!

  2. Mel
    March 11, 2009 at 12:52 AM

    Great question Colleen!

    In most cases, I would say you are right – bonding applies only to employees of a business owner in the case of theft.

    It is not absolutely necessary, but if you are a member of Pet Sitter’s International (PSI) you agree to follow the “Quality Standards” laid out by PSI which says that the “Sitter is bonded and insured”.

    In addition, as a pet sitter associated with PSI, you have access to a unique bonding insurance that includes a special “rider” for PSI members who operate their business as a sole proprietor. Most bonding companies do not extend bonding to include the owner of a business, but in this case, the bonding company has made an exception since most pet sitting businesses are owner-operated.

    I hope that answers your question. 🙂

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