Differences Between a Professional Pet Sitter and a Hobby Pet Sitter

Differences Between a Professional Pet Sitter and a Hobby Pet Sitter

It seems that everyone is a pet sitter these days from the kid next door to the newly laid off office worker to an app that you can download.  However, not all pet sitters are the same.  There is a difference between a professional pet sitter and a hobby pet sitter.

Pet sitters who contract to care for a client’s pets and home when they are gone are responsible for the health and welfare of that pet’s life. They are the ones who will ensure that the pet’s life goes on in an uninterrupted manner by ensuring he gets food, water, necessary medications, exercise, and that his home stays comfortable and safe. That person is also responsible, in many cases, for all the worldly possessions their client owns in their home.  The chances of anything terribly drastic going wrong are not all that great, but they’re probably greater than you might think. Many pet sitters have had to deal with such issues as illness and injury, death, dogs getting out of a yard, dog fights, and more. When it comes to housing issues, pet sitters have been faced with break-ins, fires, floods, broken water pipes, etc. Taking these responsibilities seriously and knowing how to handle the unexpected in an efficient, professional manner is one thing that sets professional pet sitters apart from hobby sitters.  Here are a few other things that set the two apart:

  • A professional pet sitter will have a business registered in their state.  Most pet sitting business are LLCs, but could be other types.  They will be responsible for paying business taxes to the federal government as well as state and local in some locations.  This is because they have a real business rather than a stopgap in between jobs.  
  • A professional pet sitter will have employees rather than contractors.  Did you know that legally a business can not tell an independent contractor (IC) how to do the job?  That means that if a pet sitting business is using ICs, they have not provided any training for those ICs unless they are doing so illegally.
  • A professional pet sitter will have pet sitting liability insurance to protect you.  If they have employees, they will also have a bond.
  • A professional pet sitter pays for membership in professional pet sitting organizations in order to take advantage of pet care education and training in pet first aid, pet CPR, pet safety, pet behaviors, pet training techniques, and to create a network of professionals to help quickly in an emergency situation.
  • A professional pet sitter has a professional looking website as well as social media pages such as Facebook or Instagram.
  • A professional pet sitter pays for legal advice so that there is a contract in order to protect you and their business. It will explain what services the pet sitter will and will not provide. There will be forms to fill out to give the pet sitter all the information needed to provide the very best care for your pet and your home. There will be authorization forms for various professionals such as your veterinarian to work with us in the event there is a need. There will be policies and backup plans in place.

When looking for a professional pet sitter to care for your pets, there are many factors a pet owner should consider during the research and interview process. Listed below are some of the more important points:

  • Do they have insurance, and are they able to provide proof? Some pet sitters may also be bonded, especially if they have employees.
  • Are they able to offer references?
  • Do they offer an easy way to contact them and receive a response in a timely manner, especially when you are away?
  • Ask about their experience. Have they cared for pets in the past, and if so what types of pets and in what manner?
  • Do they make their services and expectations clear, including payment?
  • Do they have a secure way of storing and coding your keys?
  • They should offer a written contract, and forms that will gather information on your pet’s history and care, emergency vet care, your home, contact numbers for you and emergency contacts.
  • Do they have a backup plan should they become ill or injured during the time your pets are under their care?
  • Look at their website and/or other online material. Do they sound literate and thorough? Someone who has misspellings and poor grammar on their printed material may not pay attention to details, something that is important in the care of your pets and home.
  • Do they belong to any local or national pet sitting organizations? While this is not must, it does show a certain amount of professionalism.
  • Do they have pet first aid training? Not all professional pet sitters go through this training but it is becoming more and more prevalent.

In the last few years, apps have become a common way to find a pet sitter or dog walker.  After all, it is so easy to download the app, put in your information and search for a pet sitter or dog walk.  Be very careful with these apps because most of the pet sitters and dog walkers are not professional.  They are simply looking for a way to make a few extra bucks.  You’ll definitely want to ask a LOT of questions if you’re hiring using one of the popular apps.

The pet care industry is evolving and growing, and because of that, pet sitters, dog walkers, dog runners, and dog daycares who are truly professional are going to raise the bar in the quality of services they offer and in client expectations. Those who are in the pet sitting business simply for the fun of it will either need to take their service to the next level or move onto something that suits their personality better.

There are many excellent pet sitters, dog walkers, dog runners, and dog daycare operators out there who are eager to care for your pets and will do it in a professional and caring manner. They take their career seriously and pride themselves in their professionalism, attention to detail, excellent service, and stellar reputations. With a bit of research pet owners should be able to find someone they feel comfortable with; who suits their needs and those of their pets; and in many cases, exceeds their expectations.

If you need a professional pet sitter or dog walker in the Elk Grove area, be sure to contact Karla’s Pet Care, LLC.




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