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Tips for Conducting a Professional Pet Sitter Interview

Pet Sitters International (also known as PSI) was founded in 1994 as the first international association for professional pet sitters. The mission of Pet Sitters International is to foster excellence and continuous learning in the pet-sitting profession by providing the best education and tools of the trade.

1. Does the pet sitter (or agency) keep regular office hours?
PSI Suggests: A Professional pet sitter should have a schedule of office hours. A larger business may have additional personnel to answer phone calls or e-mails. If you left a message inquiring about services, how soon was it returned? All phone calls should be returned within 24 hours.

Home Sweet Home: Even though we care for pets around the clock, the hours we are in the office are Monday-Friday 9a-6pm and Saturday 10a-2p. We return all calls and emails within 24 hours (usually sooner).

2. How much notice does the pet sitter (or agency) need in order to schedule your request for a pet sitter?
PSI Suggests: Most pet sitters request at least two weeks notice, but may be able to accommodate an occasional short-notice assignment. Sometimes there is an additional charge for short-notice assignments.

Home Sweet Hone: Emergencies happen, and we do out best to accommodate all last minute requests. We do prefer 1-2 weeks notice so we have adequate time for the meet & greet, but we understand that life happens.

3. Does the pet sitter (or agency) have established fees they can quote over the phone and/or in literature?
PSI Suggests: A professional pet sitter should have a published list of fees that cover the most common pet-care requests. Fees for special services may be worked out on a case-by-case basis.

Home Sweet Home: Yes, all of our fees out outlined under the services tab. There are no hidden fees . If you need a service we don't list, give us a call and we can quote you right over the phone, everything can be customized.

4. Is the pet sitter bonded and insured?
PSI Suggests: Ask for proof of coverage.

Home Sweet Home: Absolutely, We believe that insurance is just one of the things that makes us a professional. We have both Liability Insurance and bonding on all out staff members through Mourer-Foster Kennel Pro (a pet sitting specific insurance company).

5. Does the pet sitter meet with you and your pet(s) in advance? Is there a charge for this in-home meeting?
PSI Suggests: Initial interviews allow the pet sitter to meet with you in your home, interact with your pets and discuss services and business policies. Some pet sitters offer this service at no charge, while others charge a nominal fee for their time and travel expenses.

Home Sweet Home: We offer free Meet & Greets for all clients booking service.

6. How much experience does the pet sitter have in caring for your particular type of pet?
PSI Suggests: Experience in caring for special needs pets or unusual types of pets is helpful if that is what you need.

Home Sweet Home: each of our staff has plenty of experience in caring for your type of pet. Each staff member is Pet CPR & 1st aid certified and most of our staff have been Vet Techs, Groomers and Trainers. We make sure your pet is always in the best care when with us.

7. Does the pet sitter willingly and happily provide references?
PSI Suggests: that all of its members have a list of references for potential clients to contact.

Home Sweet Home: Of course! just give us a call and we will happily give you a list of references.

8. Does the pet sitter use a service contract that spells out services performed and fees for doing so?
PSI Suggests: A well-written contract outlines the details associated with each service the sitter will provide. This ensures that both you and your sitter have agreed on and understand the level of service being provided in your absence.

Home Sweet Home: Our New Client Packet includes questions about your home and your pet(s) along with a Veterinary Service Agreement and our Contract.

9. What contingency plan does the pet sitter have in the event of inclement weather or natural disaster while caring for your pet(s)?
PSI Suggests: Every professional pet sitter should have a written Disaster Plan that addresses natural or man-made disasters, as well as a contingency plan to provide for your pet's care if anything prevents the sitter from completing the assignment.)

Home Sweet Home: We have a large staff that works as a team to make sure all clients are taken care of. Is something happens to your sitter, we make sure another staff member cares for your pet until your sitter can return or other arrangements are made.

10. What does the pet sitter do if medical care is needed for your pet?
PSI Suggests: Arrangements should be made with your veterinarian and/or local emergency veterinary clinic to allow the sitter to seek medical attention for your pet while you are away.

Home Sweet Home: Part of our New Client Packet includes our Veterinary Service Agreement. This spells out your wishes in the event we cannot get a hold of you and your pet needs medical attention. The moment we suspect there is a problem we will be contacting you as well as your emergency contact.

11. How does the pet sitting agency screen and train their pet sitters?
PSI Suggests: When a pet-sitting business owner uses staff sitters, a careful employment screening process should be used to ensure that any of the company's personnel who care for your pet are trained and equipped to provide the high-quality care you and your pet deserve.

Home Sweet Home: We have an extensive interview process that involves a large application, background check and drug screening plus interviewing by our office and staff members. You have to have that something special to join our staff.

12. How will the pet sitter confirm your safe return home for the care of your pet(s)?
PSI Suggests: Your pet sitter should call to confirm that you have returned home at the expected time or ask that you call to confirm your return.

Home Sweet Home: We leave a visit log in your home documenting each visit and at the top of that form is a message to please give us a call upon your return.

13. Will the pet sitter provide you with an evaluation or rating form of their services?
PSI Suggests: A service rating form is the hallmark of a professional pet sitter who wants to ensure client satisfaction.

Home Sweet Home: From time to time we email out an anonymous online evaluation form so we check how we are doing. All clients are welcome to call or email any question or concerns at any time.

14. What are the payment terms?
PSI Suggests: Some pet sitters require payment in full for first time customers while others require a deposit upon reservation and balance paid at the end of the assignment. There is no industry standard for payment terms, so be sure you understand in advance the terms of the pet sitting business you utilize.

Home Sweet Home: We require either prepayment or a credit card on file when booking service.

15. How much time does the pet sitter spend in your home to care for your pet(s)?

PSI Suggests: The average in-home visit to care for one pet is 30 minutes, but additional time may be required if you request special services such as dog walking, pet grooming, etc. or have a multiple pet household.

Home Sweet Home: you can book whatever length of visit you prefer, but the standard visit is 25-30 minutes.

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