Things to consider when looking for a dog sitter

Things to consider when looking for a dog sitter

Professional Pet Dog Cat SitterAs a founding member of the Gold Coast Network of Professional Pet Carers, I’ve noticed the business of dog sitting has grown considerably! Dog sitters make sure that your beloved pet is walked and fed properly while you are away or at work.  Dog sitters are also known as pet carers, pet sitting, dog minders or dog walkers.

If you’re trying to figure out what to look for in a professional dog sitter, consider the following:

  • What is your budget ?

Whilst using a friend, family member, neighbourhood kid and so forth is the obvious affordable option as they will do it for free I can assure you as a professional pet carer who has “job shared” with family friends or relatives or neighbours, the saying “you get what you pay for” (or in this case do not pay) is true.  These people have their own lives and usually their own animals thus may not put the needs of your animal(s) at the top of their list or even miss visits because they know you have employed the services of a professional dog sitter.

At the same time, using someone who is obviously doing this for some extra side cash or a paying hobby (thus not charging the same price as professional services like us at Gold Coast Pet Sitting) isn’t always the next best option.  No doubt they have a passion/love for animals (and may have plenty of their own) or else they would not have opted to do this for some extra cash or a paying hobby!  Please be very aware that these people are doing this around their current life and jobs.  They will most likely be doing it all by themselves without a support network behind them or even procedures/systems in place for all the situations that can arise or just not have the same professionalism. Since they are not a full time business (only a paying hobby or extra side income), their own lives will come first.  Even the vet nurse working at your vet who is offering dog walking or pet sitting isn’t the best option.  This vet nurse has to be available for any last minute emergencies at her current workplace first and foremost thus may work long hours.  If you work long hours that are emotionally and physically draining (“on your feet”), you know you are not always going to be operating at your best at the end of the day.

  • Does your dog sitter have an Australian Business Number, Company Number and/or Registered Business Name ?

This along with the next point below is the huge point of difference between someone doing this as a hobby or extra income versus a professional dog sitter.  Leaving the care of your beloved animals should be approached just like you would if you were to hire any contractor such as a plumber or electrician.  This shows that the person has determined they want to be different and more professional than the “kid next door”.

Just a note in regards to registered business names: after the first year of having the business name it costs the owner of the name to acquire a current certificate from the Office of Fair Trading. Not all business owners will opt to purchase this certificate + instead will give you their current business name number instead. If you really want to do your research, you’ll have to invest up to $50 to get a “business name extract” from the Office of Fair Trading to receive further details (such as when the business name is due for renewal, if it is a current business name, and so forth.

You can check to see if a business name is currently registered by clicking here and you can check if someone’s ABN is in fact their own ABN by clicking here.  It is illegal for someone to use an ABN that is NOT in their own name.

  • Does the dog sitter have their own public liability insurance ?  Can they show you a copy of the certificate of insurance ?

Do not just take their word that they are insured.  Organisations such as Australian and New Zealand Pet Sitting Organisation will only list businesses who have shown proof of insurance – ask for the same proof when you meet them!  It is easy for anyone to “say” they are insured.  This insurance will also help with your peace of mind.  This person is taking the responsibility of the care of your home and property (which includes your animals as they are legally considered property) seriously. This point alone can separate a lot of people because insurance is costly and some people are not planning to do this for that long.

  • Trust Google versus the Yellow Pages

If the business fails to show within the first or second page of your organic (not paid) search results on Google please do not bother with them as a business.  Anyone can be listed in the Yellow Pages – it doesn’t take any skill, effort or investment to have a basic listing.  Not just anyone can be listed and show up on the first or second page of organic (not paid – ignore the yellow paid listings) search results on Google.  This takes an investment by a person whether their own time, effort and/or skill or hiring someone else to do so.  This also reflects on the quality of the business too.

When searching for professional pet carers to join the Gold Coast Network of Professional Pet Carers, I did use the Yellow Pages online to contact people. The difference between the quality of professionalism with the people I found via Google and the people listed within the Yellow Page astounded me !  It still does to this day.

Along the same lines, check that the website you are visiting is up-to-date!

  • Find an independent website to search for reviews and check references

I encourage this even with my own business.  Anyone can create a testimonials page!

Gold Coast Pet Sitting purposefully became a member of the Ask Erni directory of businesses because it is independent.  The team behind Ask Erni will interview businesses (as they did me) to ensure they are a good fit for the directory.  This ensures you, as the consumer, are only given quality business listing within this resource.

Do not trust reviews you see on Google Maps as these can be created by anyone with an email account. There is no real verification in these reviews.

I hope the above has been of assistance in helping you to find the best dog sitter for you.


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