Supplies and Preparedness

Pet sitting is an interesting business to be in! As Valley Pet Sitting grows, and gets more new business each day, we learn a little bit more with every visit.

We’re professionals, make no mistake. But who would have thought we needed to clarify so much? Every day is a learning experience! When we first drafted our “New Client Survey,” some were a little overwhelmed. “Why do they need to know the temperature range my house should be?” “What does my WI-FI network and password have anything to do with watching my animals?”

Everything we ask in our new client survey has a very specific intention behind it, and I’d love to break that down for you!

I will say, it’s extremely important we have ALL care instructions¬† in writing, sent to us here in the office ahead of time. Meet and greets are great, you get to show your sitter around, but understand that without a written document to refer to, things get forgotten. One time, I was asked to medicate “Monkey,” and the only description I had was that he was a short haired cat (and they had several short haired cats) . I had met them 3 weeks prior to the first visit, and we ended up needing to call the clients in Hawaii to hear them tell me what color Monkey was. Another time, dogs were crated when we arrived, so we crated them again when we left (as we train all of our petsitters to do). Apparently, this was incorrect and they should have been left free-range after our visit, but without any note made to our office, it was lost in translation and there was no way of knowing.
These are the kinds of instances we are hoping to avoid entirely with our survey.

First, we ask you to write out your full name, address, phone number, and email address. We ask these things over the phone, but the survey helps to make sure we spelled everything correctly, numbers are correct, no errors on our side. Descriptions of each animal (color, breed, markings) are helpful so we know who is who… One time I was asked to medicate the black cat with white chest tuft. There were 3 black cats, one of which has the white chest tuft!

We need to know about injuries, health conditions, or concerns. How are we supposed to know it’s normal for Fifi to have bloody poops if you don’t tell us? LOL I know it’s gross…. you see a lot of yucky things as a petsitter, I’m a little immune to being grossed out. Gross-ness aside, please tell us all the nitty gritty. We’d like to know if anything unusual comes up versus if something is totally normal and routine.

The home details are very important! We asked for location of cleaning supplies so that if there is a mess to clean up, if someone throws up or has an accident, we can take care of it while we’re there. We want to know entry details, so if you have a special door we need to enter around back, be specific. We need to know your alarm code if you have one. So often, our client will tell us their system will be unarmed, but then their husband arms it on the way out. Security rushes over, it becomes a big thing! We suggest you have a special VPS specific code programmed so that we’re prepared if needed.

Temperature is important! We live in the Valley. It can get gross and brutally hot, and without knowing it’s okay to turn on your A/C if the temp goes above 80, we want to respect your utility bill. Of course, if it seems uncomfortable we will always ask you again if we should adjust the temperature. It’s best when a client notes a range of temperature: Ex: House should be no colder than 65 on cold days, and no hotter than 80 on hot days. We want to make sure your animals are comfortable!! Give us details… if you don’t want the AC ever used, tell us where the fans are, what windows to open, etc.

Tell us how many litter boxes you have, and let us know where bags are to dispose of scooped litter. For that matter, let us know about all poop disposal!! If you have dogs and they are in the backyard, where is your scooper/bag/bin? If they go on walks, where are your poop bags? If you have a cat with an automatic litter box, explain to us in writing what you need from us. If you have a litter genie, make sure it is good to go with proper bags installed.

Tell us about your food situation. Where is it stored? How often do they eat? Is anyone a picky eater? Please, it’s very important to be FULLY stocked with food for our visits. If you run out of food in the middle of a 3 week trip, we will have to set you up with a Supply Run, which could cost anywhere from 20-25$ depending on the location of your pet supply store and what kind of food you need. Same thing goes for litter…. please make sure you are stocked and ready for us! Supply runs are doable, of course, we are more than happy to help, but they take time, money, and energy, and it’s better for everyone if everything is taken care of before we start.

WiFi is a controversial topic! Some people worry that we will have access to personal information. Wifi passwords are needed to improve cellular service. Sometime a sitter is in a bad reception area of Topanga, but if they have WiFi information, they can send us an email or other message if they have a problem. Likewise, we need WiFi for all overnight jobs! A lot of our sitters are also students, and overnights help them to make some extra money while being able to do their homework in a peaceful environment. Don’t be shy about your Wifi info, it will only be used to access the internet in these circumstances.

Lastly, if there are specific routines you want us to follow, please be sure you are emailing said routines to us ahead of time. If there is a routine with their kennels, crates, and playpens, let us know what you would do! If your pups need to walk a certain direction, to avoid a certain neighborhood dog that makes yours go off the rails, let us know (again, in writing!)

Understand that while we will always treat you as though you are our only client, our sitters meet dozens of clients, and may not necessarily remember every last detail from your meet and greet. This is why we ask that everyone be prepared all the way around, with completed paperwork, details, and routines emailed.

If you’re a low maintenance client that doesn’t care what happens when you’re away, you just want your cat fed, fresh water, clean litter, and some play time…. that’s cool too!! Just answer all the questions we ask in our survey as simply as possible. Likewise, if you know that your routine is has a lot of steps and specifics, keep in mind we will do the best we can with the time booked. If you have 5 litter boxes, or need the dogs separated on their walks, or anything else that’s a little extra, it’s in everyone’s best interest that you book a 45 or 60 minute visit instead of 3o minutes. We want to do the best we can, but if our visit ends in 30 minutes, we’re going to need to be out of there at 30 minutes, barring an emergency or something unexpected.

PHEW! I think that’s about all I have for you guys today! In short: be prepared. The best clients I have ever worked with have a place for everything, sent a detailed but succinct client survey, and were fully prepared with extra food, poop bags, and litter. Our jobs are 10 times easier when we have the tools necessary to do an awesome job!Hope you guys have a great week as it starts to warm up outside!!

Bird the Cat!!

Bird the Cat!!

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