When I was making pet sitting visits last week, I got to walk the sweetest dog on a short walk in the neighborhood. Because of the storms we had recently a lot of roofs were being replaced or repaired. I was stunned at the number of different roof companies the different neighbors employed. How did they choose from so many? This got me to thinking about the in-home pet sitting industry and what it is like for pet owners to choose pet care for their pets. There are many options today from boarding to in-home pet sitting. In the 20 years we have been in business boarding facilities have made many changes. What was once referred to as “warehouses” for dogs and cats has now become “pet spas and resorts” that pamper your canines and felines.
The same goes for the pet sitting industry. You have those who are trying to make as many visits a day as they can possibly squeeze in. Then there are those who spend time with the pets pampering them and doing what we believe in-home pet care should do… “reduce the stress” on the pets when the pet owner is away.
The largest group of pet sitters is what’s called the “one man show”. This type of structure limits the person on how many clients they can service at a time so when they are booked they have to say no even if you are an existing client. This structure has the pet sitter doing 10-15 visits daily during the busy season and working 7 days a week. You hear the sole proprietor say she does not take a vacation or if they take a vacation they let their clients know that they have to make other arrangements while they are gone. Back up in the event of illness, car wreck, family emergency is usually a family member of the pet sitter.
The second group of companies is the ones who sub contract to other pet sitters to get clients covered. This may mean that the same person is coming into your house or different people depending upon who is available. What happens if the sub contractor pet sitter has one of her own clients call and needs service? The owner of the company can not train or tell the sub contractor how she wants the visit done, nor can she have any control over the number of visits the sub contracting pet sitter can do. The sub contractor has the right to sub contract to another pet sitter. The question is will she be as diligent on checking out the person she sub contracts too?
The third group does have employees. The companies that have employees can fall into two categories:
- Company with employees does not operate much differently than the companies with sub contractors except they have more control over what the pet sitter is doing and the employees can not go outside the company to find coverage for clients.
- Companies that realize how important the employee is to the company’s success (the employee is the one performing the service) will place investing in the employees as a high value of the company. You will see training, team building and systems in place to benefit the employee and empower them to do the job. The company shows concern for the employees. There will be systems that show employees are valued such as not overbooking the employees, ensuring that employees can take vacations, have family time and have the tools and knowledge needed to perform their job. This company structure allows for the employee to enjoy what they do. When someone enjoys what they do and feels appreciated they will perform at a high level giving the type of care and concern we all would want from a service provider.
Guardian Pet Sitters® is structured to benefit the clients and the employees. We want our employees to be knowledgeable, relaxed and engaging on each visit. We offer our employees quarterly meetings, team building and an in-house certification program. We also encourage them to take vacation or to be there for an important family event. We don’t overbook our pet sitters as this is more than a job-it is a vocation. With the team building the pet sitters know who is covering their clients (yes our pet sitters are territorial as they get attached to the pets) and know that when they have their back up covering for them the pets will have the same quality service they provide. Each client has a primary and back up pet sitter. We never want our clients to find themselves without a pet sitter when needed so with our team structure we can offer our clients service 365 days. Our clients ALWAYS know their pets will be taken care of by a trained knowledgeable pet care provider.