10 Tips To Be A Successful Pet Sitting Employee

One of the toughest things to do is explain to your new hire what it really takes to be successful as a professional pet sitter. In order to help bridge this gap, I went straight to a former employee of my old pet sitting company and asked her this same question. Below, is an articulate list of what it really takes to be a successful professional pet sitter. It’s so good that I had it in my training manual and suggest that you share it with your staff too.

Take a look…

Bella with her staff.

Bella with her staff.

1. Common sense goes a long way.

If you ask most hiring managers what they look for in potential employees one of the most common responses will be common sense. That means being able to differentiate a situation that is outside your expertise from merely looking around a little extra. Now sometimes clients enjoy us asking questions, it shows we’re taking initiative with the care of their pets, but you need to read the body/text language that you are receiving as responses and think back to how they acted at their consult. You can’t teach common sense, you either have it or you don’t, so if you aren’t able to gauge things on your own or make educated decisions with your own resources then you need to hone those skills.

2. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Hopefully, we all heard this growing up; just as your parents told you growing up, this is a key to gaining new clients and keeping them. To be a good pet sitting employee, you must always treat the clients in the highest standard.

3. Remember that 99% clients look at their pets as children.

In some cases they ARE their children. Your position as a professional pet sitter is that of a  babysitter or nanny; they are not “just” animals. They are left with inheritance, have grooming bills that total more than you spend on your own hair in one year, and much more thrills to make their life comfortable. These pet parents won’t bat an eyelash to spend money on their fur kids.
jump-consulting-initial-consultation

4. Kindness goes a long way.

I go out of my way to do “nice” things for my clients. Making sure that the house is left at least how they left it is vital. Take out your trash and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything-double checking never hurt anyone.

5. Constant Communication!

Talk to your clients. If something cute or funny happened during the day, shoot them an email or a text and be like “so and so did this, I bet they wish you were here to see” or something cutesy that connects the pet to the pet parent and makes them feel appreciated. Check with your own employer’s policies for contacting the clients. Yet again, you know your clients (if you don’t WORK ON IT) and you can tell what is too much communication or not enough. If they text you back “k.” they probably are busy and just do the standard nightly communication. It’s up to you, to work on this and connect with your pet parents.

6. Be friendly yet professional.

It’s not hard to start a friendship with some of your clients, but remember you work for your employer. You are always representing the company first and foremost as a professional pet sitting employee. Don’t let your guard down and become too chummy because you may lose respect or credibility in the client’s eyes. This does not mean be cold or rude if they offer you things they necessarily shouldn’t. Example; one client offered for me to stay during a few of her get-togethers that were wine and cheesecake parties. I declined but still stayed and socialized for a few minutes WHILE doing so I had both dogs in my lap getting attention. Therefore I was doing my job and not being rude by brushing off her invitation. You can work around this and do it in your own style but remember you’re at work, even if you’re having fun.

7. You work for your money.

If this is just a job and you’re not going to put much effort into it then that reflects on the amount of clients you receive and people requesting you. I have had my car for three months and I have put 5300 miles on it. Those are all work miles since I bought this car for work only. There are times I’m working at 5:30 in the morning because that’s what has to be done for the safety of some of the pets walking in the morning (with the heat rising) or because there are more clients then usual so my sleep needs to be sacrificed in order to make sure all clients get quality time.

8. Be sociable and sell yourself.

If you’re at a consult or even a repeat client’s house be friendly. There is nothing worse and unsettling for a parent then someone that is disinterested in your “child”. So ask questions, show interest, relate to them and their pets. You’re doing a consult with a Golden and you grew up with them, “Oh yes I love Golden’s, I grew up with them my whole life and they are the best breed, yadda yadda”. Going along with number six though, we all need to walk that line of being sociable and friendly yet professional. Also try not to ramble during consults!

9. Prepare before hand.

Before every consultation I look over the client’s information so I can remember it. I also have notes and questions prepared so everything is organized for the meeting. OUR CLIENTS LOVE ORGANIZATION.

10. Make sure to always communicate.

With your employer to make sure everyone’s schedules are correct, especially if a client says something about a schedule changing or something that sounds different than what’s in the computer. It’s your responsibility to have them contact your employer and to let them know in general. We’re all adults and need to be responsible for ourselves, no excuses.

If you would like to hear what it feels like to be a pet sitter, I interviewed another pet sitting employee on Bark Soup, a radio show with Josh Cary and I. You find a link to it here and learn more about it here. TIP: Start at the 7 min mark!

Now it is your turn…

What do you think are good tips and tricks for your employees? Comment below and let me know!

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