When Do I Need a Pet Sitting Contract?
One of the most frequent questions we hear from new pet-sitting or dog-walking businesses is, "What should I include in my contract?" First and foremost, this is a great question, since having a clear, well-written pet-sitting contract is critical for any pet care business. Second, whenever you produce a legal document (such as your pet-sitting contract), it is critical to have a legal practitioner assist you in preparing and reviewing the agreement. Every pet care provider should have a contract that is unique to them (based on the services you offer, the legal structure of your business, your location, and countless other factors).
Here are the top items that most pet care services should include in their pet-sitting contracts to help you get started.
This agreement is required if you ask someone to care for your pet. Some pets may need specific handling and care. Maybe your dog despises the mailman. If his litter box is not cleaned on a regular basis, your cat may become agitated. Is your pet friendly to other animals? Perhaps your senior cat has arthritis, or your senior dog requires extra care.
A contract protects your income and assets as a pet sitter and gives you something to fall back on if you need to be compensated by a pet owner. This may not seem like a huge concern if all you spent money on was a $5 bag of cat litter, but if you end up at the emergency vet with someone else's pet, you'll need assurance that you'll be compensated for a cost that might run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
A contract also protects the pet owner's interests by ensuring that the pet sitter does not take advantage of the situation and try to get paid more than what was first agreed upon. It allows you to specify your expectations for your pet's care as well as how you want the pet sitter to respond in the case of an emergency or other unforeseen incident. A contract also assures that your pet sitter is committed to the job and will not take the money and leave, leaving you out of town with no pet sitter.
While making a list of the information you'll need from customers is a good first step, remember that your pet-sitting contract is a legal document. As a result, it's vital that the contract you use for your pet-sitting business adheres to state and local laws. When paired with pet-sitter liability insurance, your pet-sitting contract provides the best defense against any legal claims made against your organization. It is worth your time and money to have your pet-sitting contract reviewed by legal advice to ensure that it conforms with local regulations.
The form should answer the following fundamental questions:
Who will be the pet caretaker, and who owns the pet?
Where will the pet sitter keep the pet?
When will the pet sitter be in charge of the pet's care?
What will the pet owner pay for the pet sitter's services?
How should the Pet be fed, and how frequently should the Pet be walked?
These questions must be answered in your form to avoid any confusion and loopholes regarding your stay when rendering your services to the pet owner's place.
What Other Information Should a Pet Sitter Be Provided?
To provide good care for the pets in the home, the pet sitter should be given detailed instructions. It's a good idea to have a meet and greet before the job begins so that the pets can meet the sitter and the sitter can understand the layout of the home and where to find the items they'll need.
It should be emphasized that you should not leave too much information. If you have many pets, do not provide instructions for a pet sitter to simply call the animals by name. Provide descriptions of their breed, color, coat length, or other distinguishing qualities so that the right pet gets the right treatment. Where food is kept, who receives what food, when meals and meds are given, where everyone takes their meals, what to do with uneaten food, precautions regarding which creatures can and cannot go outdoors or be around each other, and anything else you can think of.
Caring for your pets at home is second nature to a pet owner since you know your critters, know where things are, and have a routine. Your pet sitter is unfamiliar with your regular routine! They visit a lot of homes and look after a lot of pets. Specific information can help you avoid mistakes and make your dogs feel more at ease with little modifications to their routine.
The essential document in your pet-sitting contract is the service agreement. This document details all of your terms and rules which clients must accept before becoming customers. All of these terms should be extremely explicit and strongly enforced. The primary goal of the service agreement is to safeguard you, your employees, and your company.
A Pet Care Agreement is a contract between two parties for pet-sitting services: the pet owner and the pet sitter. When a pet owner requires someone to care for his or her pet (dog or cat, for example), this agreement clearly states your pet's typical habits as well as what is expected of the pet sitter.
A pet sitting contract is an agreement between a pet owner and a pet sitter for pet sitting services. When a pet owner needs someone to care for their dog, cat, or other pet, this agreement outlines your pet's daily routines as well as the pet sitter's expectations. If your pet is elderly or has particular requirements, this form can assist pet sitters in providing the necessary medicines or extra care.
Payment terms, late payment fines, cancelation fees, immunization requirements, who is liable for damage or medical expenditures, emergency rules, and many more policies are typical in service agreements. Your agreement should be reviewed by an attorney for legality.
A Pet Care Agreement allows pet owners and pet sitters to discuss minor details so that your pet receives the best possible care while you are away.
The vet release form is intended to provide your company permission to seek medical care for the pets in your care in the event of an emergency. This contract should include certain clauses (similar to those in your service agreement) that clearly describe your emergency procedures. You may also wish to provide your customer the option of indicating a maximum dollar amount of therapy that can be given to the pet.
Having pet-sitting insurance is also essential when starting a new pet care business! If you're planning on starting up your own pet-sitting business, check out our deep dive into the pet-sitter insurance basics for more information!
If you keep keys on file for your pet-sitting or a dog-walking business, you should definitely consider incorporating a key handling form in your pet-sitting contract. Many pet care services no longer keep keys on file. Instead, they use lockboxes that are kept at the client's house. If you decide to employ lockboxes, consider replacing your key handling form with a key lockbox form.
Specific instructions on what happens with a key when services are done are one of the most significant components of the key handling form (or a key lockbox form). Will you save the key for additional benefits? Is there a cost for returning a client's key? These vital information will help you from sticky situations when said occasions arise while handling a pet.
Payment Authorization Form
The payment authorization form is the final important component of your pet-sitting contract. In this form, you should provide your clients with clear instructions on how to pay their invoices. If you need a credit card on file and will be charging that card to the client, you should be very clear in explaining this process to them. With this form, you can rest easy with the payments for your services, since this will also serve as a safety net for your transactions.
Executing the Contract
After working with your attorney to finish your pet-sitting contract, you must now devise a method for your clients to sign the agreement. Time To Pet offers our customers a very straightforward and fast way to upload contracts and collect e-signatures on these agreements. This is known as the Portal Policy, and once enabled and your agreement is included, you may require all new customers to review and e-sign the document. You can also request that all current clients examine and e-sign the document. If you make modifications to the agreement, you may select whether or not to have your consumers re-sign it. If you need to print the contract, you may also download a PDF for each customer who has signed it.
Whatever method you use to collect signatures, the most essential thing is to guarantee that all clients have agreed to your conditions and signed your contract. As a reminder, the pet-sitting contract is a critical component of any dog walking or pet-sitting business. It is intended to help protect you, your staff, and your business in the event of an emergency or other problems that may arise while running your business. Before having clients sign any legal document, seek legal guidance and have an attorney assist you in creating and reviewing it.
Securing your pet-sitting contracts is as important as registering your business for legitimacy, not only it will help keep the pet owner's mind at ease, but it will also keep yours. These are the small things that can also help elevate your business to the next level, since not only do you protect the pet-owner interests, but you also protect your business along with your staff from sudden and unseen events that may cost you a lot of expenses. Here at Scout, we help you automate everything pet-sitting-related. try now for a 30-day trial and see the difference