I’ve touched on this topic in another blog post, 5 Ways to Tell if Your Dog Walker or Pet Sitter is Trustworthy. Regulation is something I’ve changed my mind on over the years, and I think the dog walking and pet care industry as a whole needs it.
Julie, the Owner of The Pet Sitter of Boise, LLC, is a dear friend of mine. She mentored me and took me under her wing when I couldn’t find a business coach that I loved. Her pet sitting and dog walking experience and expertise is invaluable, and her business chops are no joke — Julie has a team of thirty employees! It’s my honor to host her guest blog here on a topic we both feel strongly about.
Without further ado, I’ll give the floor to Julie.
Should the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Industry be Regulated?
I am not a big government person, and, like most people, I don’t like a lot of regulation. But, I do feel it is sometimes necessary. I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think the pet sitting and dog walking industry should be regulated.
Some background for my argument:
The Pet Sitter of Boise, LLC was started by me in 2003. I’ve learned a lot over the past 16 years. I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I’ve learned from those mistakes, and the big lesson I’ve learned is to do everything to the highest standards available.
This means I have employees (not independent contractors), the best insurances in the industry, software that tracks the employees and ensures that we don’t miss visits, and on and on.
Our rates are among the highest in our area to maintain this high standard. While we would like to be all things to all people, we understand that we simply cannot lower our standards (and rates). Our clients understand this, and they hire us because they get peace of mind from the way we operate.
Why Do We Need Regulation?
Pet sitting, and dog walking has always been riddled with unscrupulous characters. Some are even well-meaning, but ignorant of the proper care of animals, and their owners. Some don’t show up, short visits, and don’t cover even the basics of caring for a living animal. This breaks my heart.
We hear the horror stories from some of our clients who tried a cheaper route and learned from the experience. We’ve also seen situations where ex-cons enter the field because they have a difficult job finding traditional work.
Furthermore, tech startup companies featuring pet sitting and dog walking apps give attract even more unqualified, uninsured, and sometimes un-background checked independent contractors to the industry.
Consumers are unaware that these are not pet sitting and dog walking companies, but, rather tech companies who created an app. If you have problems while you are away, good luck getting proper help from a call center operator as far away as India! These things need to be exposed.
I believe that basic licensing, training, insurances and background checks are necessary for our field. Anyone entering a client home, unsupervised, and unchecked, is a risk to both client and pets.
Just as home contractors, such as painters, plumbers, carpenters, etc., are required to pass strict licensing requirements, so should pet sitters and dog walkers. Even more so because pet care professionals are caring for living animals. Simple licensing would weed out those unwilling to pay the insurance and other licensing fees.
What You, the Consumer, Can Do:
While I, personally, do not have the means or wherewithal to launch a campaign to try to get this industry regulated, you can minimize your risks by doing the following:
- Check the track record of your pet sitter. How long your pet sitter been in business?
- Does your pet sitter/dog walker carry insurance?
- Has your pet sitter/dog walker been background checked?
- Check the Idaho Repository for criminal records. You will find lots of information here, such as DUI records, court appearances, and other issues. [HERE’S A LIST OF STATEWIDE CRIMINAL HISTORY REPOSITORIES]
- Ask about a back-up plan. What happens if the person you hire gets sick, has car problems, or gets hit by a bus?
- How will the pet sitter or dog walker update you after each visit?
- Are the visits GPS and time stamped at the beginning and end of each visit?
- Will the pet sitter or dog walker bring their children, spouse, etc.? This adds liability and risk to you, personally.
I would recommend installing cameras and having your own backup plan should something go awry.
You can also minimize your risks significantly by hiring us, or a company like ours. We operate in a manner as if we are regulated. We do the right things because we genuinely care about our clients and the pets. We are professionals.
Determine how much risk you are willing to take with your pets, and your home, and you may understand the difference.
I hope this had shed some light on our industry and helps you in your decision-making process regarding hiring a pet sitter or dog walker.
Pets Crave Love™
Professional Dog Walking Services in South Austin. Our service area includes 78747 as well as Ashbrook, Bluff Springs/Frontage Road, Bradshaw Crossing, Carrington Oaks, Chateau at Onion Creek, Colonial Grand at Double Creek, Congress, Courtyards at Onion Creek, Courtyards at Southpark Meadows, Crossing At Onion Creek, Enclave at Estancia, Farmhouse Apartments, Goodnight, Goodnight Ranch, Iron Rock Ranch, Legends Way at Onion Creek, Lennar, Meadows At Double Creek, Old California Apartments, Old San Antonio, Onion Creek, Onion Creek Plantation, Parkside At Slaughter Creek, Quicksilver, River Ridge, RSI Homes, South Grove, Southpark Terraces, Springfield Phase C, Springfield Village, Stablewood At Slaughter Creek, Stonecreek Ranch, Stonegate, Thaxton Place, The Bend At Nuckols Crossing, The Cottages, The Oak at Twin Creeks, Trails at The Park, Weber Hill, Yarrabee Bend and more.
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PO Box 726 Manchaca, TX 78652 | firstname.lastname@example.org | (737) 808-3049