A “Get Acquainted” visit is simply the opportunity to get to know your potential (human and canine) clients and determine if they are a good fit for you and you for them. Here’s what you need to know about Get Acquainted visits so you can continue to accept jobs and work for clients that are a good fit for you.
Call Right Away
When you request to be assigned a job, scheduling a Get Acquainted visit right away shows your enthusiasm to meet the client and their pets and your willingness to make sure you meet their expectations. Meeting your clients personally also builds their trust in you and your capabilities —after all, you’re caring for a precious member of their family. Schedule a “Get Acquainted” visit for every new client that is assigned to you AND any client who hasn’t met you yet – like ones you are filling in for other sitters for, etc. This way, you can get to know the pets and owner before providing service to them —and the pets and owner can get to know you too.
Location, Location, Location
Get Acquainted visits should take place at the home where the services are being provided. You should feel comfortable calling your client, introducing yourself and collaborating on a time to meet.
It may seem obvious, but getting to your Get Acquainted visit on time is a huge key to creating trust with any client. If you are partnering with another sitter, or if another family member or friend will be caring for the pets (which we don’t suggest), it’s a good idea to ask the owner if they can be there too so everyone is on the same page.
What, Where, When & How
Make sure that you know where pet food is, preferred cleaning supplies, litter, toys, etc are kept. Make sure you understand specific instructions for each scenario, including spills, accidents, feeding locations, times, litterbox scoops, etc. If you are providing overnight services you should also ask where you are expected to sleep, if the pets can/should sleep with you and any other expectations like gathering mail, setting out trash, watering plants, etc.
Walking In The Door
When you meet, first introduce yourself to the person, then introduce yourself to their pet(s). How you greet a calm, serene fur-kid should be different from how you react to a high-energy fur-kid. Do your homework on dog/cat body language and even the different breeds you know you will be caring for.
Treats & Tricks
Sometimes treats in your pockets can go a long way toward making a good first impression, especially with canines. But make sure to ask the owner permission first. Every pet parent wants to show off their pet’s skills. Ask to see their dog’s tricks and cues so you can learn how the owner rewards and corrects their dog’s behavior. See how an owner gets a dog to come, use the bathroom, and drop or leave objects. Then, practice giving those cues in front of the owner. Make sure you reward and correct the dog the same way their owner does: this will ensure a better time for everyone.
Practice Walking the Dog
Ask your client to accompany you on a short walk around the block with their dog. Make sure that you can feasibly handle the dog (is it REALLY leash-trained?) , whether their dog likes to pick up things on the ground when they are walking, what their potty habits are, and how they react to other dogs and people.
Muumah, Please Don’t Go!
Some pets experience anxiety when their pet-parents go away. Ask the pet parent about how their pet reacts to them being gone for an extended period of time. This can help you understand the level of separation anxiety the that may happen. Some level of separation anxiety is normal, but more you know, the better you can prepare for it.
I Have A Question (Or 20…)
Use the Get Acquainted visit to ask everything you need to know to feel comfortable caring for their pets. By the end of the Get Acquainted Visit, hopefully you have a good idea of whether or not it’s a good fit. Make sure to involve your client and ask them if they have any questions for YOU.
This Job Isn’t For Me
Taking on a job that you feel uncomfortable with is a disservice to both you and the client. If you don’t feel like the job you are interviewing for at your Get Acquainted visit is a good fit for you, thank them for taking the time to meet with you, tell them it’s important to you that every pet have the best possible experience regarding private pet sitting services and let them know that you feel like this isn’t a good fit for you. You can be honest with them and let them know that your personal pet sitting experience has helped you develop a sense of whether it’s a good fit. It’s better to be honest up front than have or provide a bad experience later.
We do our best to guide our clients on payment protocol on the front end (when they first call) but sometimes new clients will offer to pay or book with you directly. If this happens explain to the owner that it’s our policy for clients to book and pay for every stay and walk through our client software management system, LeashTime or directly through Paws Pet Care by calling 502-802-5052 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, contracting with clients outside of Paws Pet Care is a direct violation of the contract that you signed when becoming a sitter and that the client signs when they become a client. Additionally, Paws Pet Care offers liability insurance, support, and automatic payments to ensure maximum safety and security—and allows you to focus on what you do best: pet sitting and dog walking.
Every Client is Different
No matter how many pets you have cared for in your experience, you know that every client is different. Taking the time to set up a Get Acquainted Visit and communicating with the pet parent will only help you succeed at being a pet sitter with Paws Pet Care.