What Should I Do When I Arrive To An Overnight With No Supplies and Lots of Poop?
I have a question for you: I recently took my first pet sitting gig. It included 7 days, staying over night, feeding an elderly dog, the cat, changing the litter box, and cleaning up any messes the dog might make. Though I took him out every day, it was clear he suffers from dementia and ended up doing his business in the kitchen, OFTEN. The people were very nice, but when I went to stay, there was nothing there for me, no towel, or food…I didn’t really expect food, but thought that there would be at least a towel for me. So my question is, What should a pet sitter expect when they go to a house sitting gig like this? They also didn’t provide rubber gloves. I know now that I am going to have my own kit and go prepared. The other thing is that the price negotiated, really did NOT include cleaning up all the mess that I had to clean up. I did not try to renegotiate anything. I did let them know that the dog missed them and was confused, and pooped 3x’s a day on their floor. Would you try to ask for a clean up fee after the fact? Or would you have it in part of your agreement as an add on if the animal made messes frequently? Thanks
Here are my thoughts as it pertains to the question. First, congratulations on your first pet sitting gig! That is very exciting and you will always not only remember this day, but the first of many in your business 🙂 Just like a child!
Let’s first address the accommodations. When you are doing overnights, usually it is industry standard for the pet sitters to bring all their own belongings. It isn’t like going to a hotel where the provide you everything. A lot of pet sitters I know bring their own bedding, towels, and food. Perhaps creating a more thorough expectation of what you require for your overnight service might help both parties? Or even if you send the client something like this?
Pet sitting supplies: You will find numerous times throughout your pet sitting career that supplies are a luxury! I can’t tell you how many times I have had to bring my own Spot Bot (including the cleaning liquid) or paper towels etc to a home to clean up messes.
You mentioned “negotiated price” I do not come from the school of thought that your price should be negotiated. Unless of course your pricing strategy has that built in. Does it? For example you state a high price but then, “give people a deal” and it goes lower. Is that what you mean? Or did you have a firm price that you believed your services we worth and this client haggled you down? In any case, if it wasn’t a calculated move on your behalf, chances are high that you will end up feeling unappreciated. I see it happen all the time to pet sitters.
Communication: You mentioned that you “let them know.” I would encourage you to be a little more direct like: “Oh! Fido seems to be thinking he can potty on the floor. I wanted to let you know incase there was something medically wrong with him and I should bring him to the vet?” In other words, this isn’t normal behavior, nor is it acceptable. By you playing “dumb” you open the door for the client to potentially say, “Oh he does that sometimes” and then you can take it any direction you may. For example, “Oh I didn’t realize this. I don’t have any cleaning supplies. Do you have X,Y,Z hidden somewhere in the house or shall I go out and purchase them for $X trip charge plus the cost of the supplies?” Obviously, you say it/ type it in a nicer way.
To answer your question, cleaning would not be an add on for my company. Reason is, I don’t charge by time. I would just do it and include it in their rate. Although my rates account for this. If it was excessive, we would not accept further bookings from the client. Personally, it doesn’t sound like the type of client I would want for my business if they have that much going on with no support and trying to bargain you down. But…. just because they wouldn’t be the type of client I am looking for, doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t love to have them. It is a personal decision. Do you like granny panties or thongs? 🙂 haha. Hope you smiled!
Thanks for the great feed back. I wont go into detail with the price setting as it was thru a site that gets a commission. I don’t know if I would do it again, but I know I would not do it for that price or be unprepared.
Thanks for the insight on how to go to overnights. I had no compass with what to expect, so all of this was a good learning experience and I have JUMP to give me sound advice.
(Somewhere in-between the grannies and the thong…)