If you have the name of a potential pet sitter, step one is to invite them over for an interview. You wouldn’t hire someone at your place of business without doing a thorough interview first, would you? The same applies for hiring a pet sitter. The interview helps you to figure out whether you and the pet sitter are compatible and you’ll be able to determine how well the two of you can communicate.
An interview will also give you a chance to see how the pet sitter interacts with your dog. Does he or she genuinely like your dog and does your dog like the pet sitter? Is your normally friendly dog acting reserved or aggressive around the pet sitter?
When interviewing a pet sitter,cover these important areas:
1. Ask about experience and background. How long has this person been a pet sitter and has he or she ever taken care of a dog like yours? Will they share references from previous clients? Call the references and ask about the pet sitter’s reliability and trustworthiness. Ask about professional organizations they may belong to such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
2. Find out if the pet sitter is insured. Some pet sitters are very part time (or are your neighbors) and don’t have insurance. Whether or not to hire them is a decision you have to make. Take a look at what your own insurance may cover. Professional pet sitters should be covered by insurance.
3. Find out how they handle emergencies. Do they have time built into their schedule so they can stay longer with a sick pet? Do they know where your vet’s office is and can they take your pet there in an emergency? Do they have back ups to cover for them in case of their own personal emergencies?
4. Find out how busy their schedule is. Pet sitting is a job. Do they pack their day so full of pet sits that they end up shortening their stays just to get to all of them? Or are they so busy that your scheduled visit sometime between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm becomes a 10:30 am or 2:00 pm visit? Also, are they so busy that they’re heading for burnout?
Interviewing a pet sitter before you hire them is an important step and one you won’t regret taking the time to do. The goal is to find someone you and your pets are happy with as it could be the start of a great long-term relationship for all of you.