Pet sitting home visits: what's involved
If you’ve recently become a pet sitter, you’ll no doubt be keen to start paying all those lovely pets in your neighbourhood a home visit. But how long should such a visit last? What can pet owners expect from you? And what, exactly, do pets need from their pet sitter?
A home visit typically involves calling on the pet owner’s house once or twice daily, to take care of their pet(s). Pet sitters are often asked to keep an eye on things from a security perspective too (particularly during long absences) and to perform additional tasks such as retrieving mail and storing it somewhere safe, or watering plants. The responsibilities can vary considerably per individual pet and home, so it’s essential that both parties make clear agreements in advance.
Pet sitting home visits: who and when?
House visits are ideal for pets that are extremely attached to their home surroundings and can be left alone for longer periods of time. This includes cats, which tend to find boarding stressful, as well as rabbits and other small pets that prefer to stay at home whilst their owner is away. Since they cannot spend long periods alone, most dogs are unsuited to the home visit arrangement. Their best option is ‘house sitting’, which involves the dog sitter coming to stay in the owner’s own home, or 'home dog boarding' in your home, if this is a service you are able to offer. You might, however, be asked to perform home visits for puppies or younger dogs, which require extra attention during their owner’s working day.
Cleaning the litter box
Depending on the length of the reservation period, pet sitters may also be tasked with cleaning the litter box, cage, tank or other type of pet enclosure. Ask the owner to leave plenty of extra cat litter, straw, gravel or pet bedding for this purpose.
Removing cat hair, cleaning up 'accidents', storing mail, watering plants, emptying the rubbish: these are just some of the additional household chores a pet owner might ask you to perform. After all, returning to a spotless house after a relaxing holiday is far preferable to a kitchen buzzing with fruit flies or an overflowing bin! Discuss in detail what the pet owner expects from you, above and beyond standard pet care duties.
How long does a home visit take?
Owners often ask you to do far more than simply feed, clean and provide fresh water for their pet. You’ll be the animal’s only source of companionship during their absence. Play and cuddle time is therefore factored into the majority of home visits. So, make sure that you spend sufficient quality time with the pets under your care. Some cats miss their owners terribly and yearn to snuggle up on your lap, play with a favourite toy, or have their coat groomed. Don’t disturb shy or anxious cats who prefer giving you the ‘once-over’ from the safety of underneath the sofa. Spend time in the same room and allow them to get used to your presence gradually. On average, a home visit should last about an hour.
How much does a home visit cost?
As a pet sitter, you determine your own rates. The average price of a home visit is approximately $20. Some pet sitters charge more, others less. The price depends on your experience, reviews, additional services, certification, relevant work experience and popularity on Pawshake. Tip: want to get started as a pet sitter at Pawshake? We recommend charging a relatively low fee to begin with, and then slowly increase your rate in line with the number of positive reviews that you receive. If you do this, be sure to communicate with your current clients beforehand.