Saturday, January 19, 2013

Trying To Keep Up In The Pet Sitting World

I started pet sitting, because I could no longer teach, so I needed to find something else that would bring me as much joy and fulfillment as teaching children to read.  I found my answer fairly quickly after working in a veterinarian's office for a short time.  I saw the need for quality pet care in people's homes.  I was asked if I would come over for a weekend stay with a client or two.  I have always had my own pets, and I loved what I was doing at the vet's office, working as the receptionist.  I had full client and patient contact all day long.  Although there were sad times when someone had to make the hard to decision to let their pet cross over the Rainbow Bridge, it was mostly a great place to work, with a very caring and compassionate staff that I felt proud to be a part of. 

Once I was settled in this area, I decided to post an ad on craigslist to see what kind of response I would get.  I didn't have to wait long to hear from someone.  Since I was going to be staying in my prospective client's home, they did a background check on me, because I was not bonded or insured.  I still am not.  I believe in old fashioned things called trust and honesty, and integrity.  No amount of money can buy those.  So I started with one client.  I kept posting my ad and before you knew it, I had more clients.  I learned all kinds of things about being a good pet sitter along the way, and I learned how to choose the right pets to watch.  Not everyone is a match for you, and you are not a match for everyone.  There are all kinds of reasons, but it comes down to matching personalities, and whether you feel you will be able to satisfy the client.  Once I started boarding at home, this is where it became even more important to me and the client to be a match.  If a client decides not to use me for their pet sitter, I really do not know why they didn't choose me.  Maybe they didn't like my fee, or maybe they didn't like my house.  I did live where some dogs who are groomed regularly would enjoy playing, but their owners would not enjoy them getting dirty in the country.  I felt sorry for those little dogs.  They wanted to play in the dirt the same as any other dog, but they had to stay all clean with every hair in its place.

Now that I can no longer board pets, my client list has dwindled significantly, while, at the same time,  the number of people getting into the pet sitting business has boomed.  A lot of people decided that pet sitting was an easy way to make money.  I wish they would find something else to do.  Very few of these people stay around long.  After a client uses them one time, and they want to use them again, the people are no longer in business, and the client has to start all over to find a pet sitter again.  I have been around since 2007.  I don't plan on going anywhere soon.  I am here for you around the clock, every day, all year long. 

There are more and more pet sitting brokers, as I call them, out there to make a buck off of pet owners who do not know how to sift through the mountains of potential sitters.  They want to help match a client to a pet sitter.  There is a fee involved, of course, for both sides, and the broker does not want a person bypassing their services and hiring the pet sitter directly.  They try to scare the client by telling them that if they think for themselves the worst possible scenario might occur, and they will not be able to help them if it does.

I have a clientele who are out there wating for me to be able to board at home again. Why not go to their homes?   Not everyone wants a pet sitter coming into their private space.  I do not blame them.  It does take a lot of trust to let a stranger come into your home.  I am a pet sitter, and I do not know if I would allow a stranger in my own home.  I have discussed this before.  It is hard to trust that the pet sitter is not a snoop, or a thief, or just won't do the job they  were hired to do, or maybe the client feels like they have to clean their home up for the pet sitter, and they just don't have the time or energy to do this.    I was almost able to board pets again, but I did not get the place I wanted to rent.  The realtor would not budge on their rule that I had to prove I made 3 times the rent.  I couldn't prove that, so they refused to rent to me.  I was really sad, because it was almost right by where I lived before, only this time I would have been on the top of the hill in the sun and in the middle of an apple orchard.  I would get to see Mt. Saint Helena out of my window, and, once again, walk into Ragle Park through the back way.  I guess it wasn't meant to be.

In the meantime, it really bothers me that people have found a way to scare potential clients from thinking for themselves just so they can make money off of them.  I have pet sat for people I have never met, because the people could tell just from talking to me on the phone that I love poochie woochies and kitty cats so much that I would never mistreat them, or let anything bad happen to them.  I may not get as many clients, but I am not going to play the broker game that makes people afraid to think for themselves like they used to be able to do in the old days.  I know we live in a different world, but I still believe in my old fashioned ways of good Christian values that I was raised on.  So, if you want a good, reliable pet sitter who will come to your home to take care of your four legged children and your home, contact me.  I will always be here for you at no extra fee.  I am open to all questions, background checks, reference checks, or whatever you need to make you see that I am the best pet sitter for you.  NO MIDDLEMAN NECESSARY.  I believe you are still smart enough to make your own decisions about your pets and their needs, no matter how much our world has changed, or how busy you have become.

Good Day To You All.  Punkie