Hiring Pet Sitters: Tips and Best Practices

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Hiring pet sitters is a challenge every growing pet sitting business will face. I remember the day I decided to hire someone to help me grow my pet sitting business. I dreaded it. Not only didn't I know where to look for aspiring sitters, but I also had no idea what to ask them when I found them. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Many of us have been on the receiving end of the interview process, but it's different when you're on the other side. Choosing someone to represent you is stressful. Thankfully, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure you're hiring the best pet sitters for the job.

Advertise the position

Once you have identified the need to hire a new pet sitter, placing an advertisement will help you bring in leads. This is just another type of online marketing. Look to the outlets your staff members are likely to visit. I have had a lot of success using paid job listings on craigslist. I like to be as specific as possible in order to attract candidates that are a good fit. Breaking with tradition, I like to get right to the point and put the hours and wage information right in the ad. I'm not trying to waste valuable time fitting a square peg into a round hole.

Prepare Interview Questions

It's important to be prepared as the interviewer, especially if you want to set a tone of professionalism. Having a pre-made list of questions will help move the interview along in an organized fashion. The next time you have a pet sitting appointment, think about things you do, in detail. Here are some example questions to help get the juices flowing.

  1. What kind of experience do you have handling animals?
  2. Do you have reliable transportation?
  3. What you think the typical pet sitting job might be like?
  4. Are you comfortable with dogs of all sizes?
  5. How would you handle a dog that pulls?
  6. Are you available on short notice?

Do a Background Check

Background checks can be relatively expensive, but they are well worth the investment. Remember, we are sending staff members into people's homes. There are a number of reputable companies. I like checkr.com and find the pricing to be competitive. I use their Tasker Pro product. Regardless of the company you choose, there are minimum checks you should run including:

  • Identity Verification
  • Sex Offender Registry Check
  • Global Watchlist Check
  • National Criminal Records Check
  • County Criminal Records Check

Use a Trial Period

The pet sitting business is all about trust. Your clients are trusting you to provide services in a kind, reliable and trustworthy manner. It's important you trust your new pet sitter before allowing them to represent your company. I find a two week shadowing period to be effective. This is different than training. During our shadowing period, new sitters spend the day with an experienced staff member. A new person is much more likely to open up to a co-worker than a manager. If something seems... not right, your staff can alert you before any real issues arise. This is also a good opportunity to see if they are reliable, show up on time, and take the job seriously.

Growing a company that relies heavily on staffing can be a real challenge. These are just a few best practices to help you get started. Do you have any suggestions for hiring new pet sitters? Please share them with the community in the comments.

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