Interview with Kelly Denz: Owner of Sitter For Your Critters

Services Questions

Q. What happens if a client’s primary pet sitter is not available for a pet sitting request?

Our sitter roster is chock-full of excellent pet care providers that would love to care for a client’s pet if their primary sitter is unavailable. Since we have all of the client’s pet care information in our secure database it’s really not necessary for the client to meet with the alternate pet sitter, however; if the client feels more comfortable meeting with the alternate pet sitter, we are more than happy to schedule a “Pre-Departure Meeting.” The cost of this meeting is $15, which covers the sitter’s time and expense for driving over to the client’s home.

Q. Why should a pet owner use a pet sitter?

Many veterinarians and pet experts believe keeping pets in their familiar surroundings helps to alleviate the stress imposed when their owners have to leave home. Pets are also able to maintain their diet, exercise routine, and enjoy the personal attention provided by a pet sitter. This also eliminates the trauma of being transported and minimizes their exposure to illnesses of other animals.

Q. What services do you offer?

Sitter For Your Critters provides in-home pet care plain and simple. This means our sitters travel to our client’s homes to care for their pets. We provide service for whatever they need; travel, long work hours; a late meeting, recovering from surgery; working from home but not enough time to walk the dog or don’t trust the kids to care for the animals properly. Whatever the reason, we’ll be there! Our clients are mostly cat and dog owners but we also visit rabbits, birds, frogs, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, iguanas, horses, sheep, chickens etc.

Our clients can customize how long they would like their Sitter to visit with their pets. We will also bring in the mail, take out the trash, rotate the lights and open and close the curtains to give the home a lived-in look. We also offer a variety of premium services our clients can schedule to compliment their pet and house care routines.

Q. Will you provide those “gate-keeping” services even if someone doesn’t have a pet?

Of course! We have many clients who contract Sitter For Your Critters to visit their homes while they travel to do all of those things. This gives them peace of mind that their home is safe while they are out of town. So, no, you do not have to have a pet to use Sitter For Your Critters.

Q. Do you stay overnight at a clients home?

We do have pet care providers who can remain at the client’s home. This is our overnight/house sitting service, which is VERY popular. It’s what I use for my pups when I travel.

Q. What time do the sitters make their rounds and how long do they stay?

Our sitters can visit their client’s homes up to 4 times per day.

 

The “Morning” time slot is between 7 & 9 AM.

 

The “Mid-Day” time slot is between 11 & 3 PM.

 

The “Evening” time slot is between 4 & 6 PM.

 

The “Late Night” time slot is between 7 and 9 PM.

 

No longer than 12 hours ever goes in between visits. For example, if your pooch were visited at 8pm, the pet sitter would arrive at your home no later than 8 am the following morning.

We offer 15-minute, 30-minute, 45-minute and 60-minute visits. The client chooses the duration of the visits and can mix and match to design the best plan for his or her pet.

Q. Do you charge extra for holidays?

We consider the following to be our major annual holidays: New Years Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas Eve Day, and New Years Eve. There is up to a $20 surcharge plus the standard charge for the service being provided on these dates. 100% of these fees are paid to the sitters.

 

*You can read more about their Services and Rates here

Q. What is the registration meeting?

The registration meeting is a visit which allows the client to get to know our service and their assigned pet sitter prior to the start of service. During this visit, their pet care provider will introduce themselves, spend some quality time with the pet, confirm and review the pertinent information about the home and pet care routine (e.g. vet information, emergency contact, special requests, etc.), and answer any additional questions the client may have. We do NOT provide service until this meeting has taken place. There is a fee of $15 fee for the registration meeting. This fee covers all administrative costs related to their account, as well as the sitter’s time.

Q. So, after a client has completed their registration meeting can they schedule service anytime?

Absolutely! All clients are provided with unique login information to their secure Sitter For Your Critters account. From this gateway, they are able to schedule service, check their personal service calendar, update their billing information and update their password. It’s a handy little tool! All scheduling requests are confirmed during our regular business hours, which are 9AM-4PM Monday through Friday.

Q. How about last-minute requests?

We’re more than happy to schedule pet care for last-minute needs, however, we cannot guarantee a sitter is going to be available on short notice, (though 99% of the time it really isn’t a problem). We also only schedule service during our regular business hours (9AM-4PM Monday through Friday). We do charge a $10 late booking charge for visits scheduled without 24-hours notice.

Note: If a client emails on a Saturday for Monday service or Tuesday night for Wednesday service, the $10 fee will apply.

Q. Can your clients schedule directly through their pet sitter?

No!!!!! For the safety of our client’s pets, all visits MUST be scheduled through Sitter For Your Critters office. Sitter For Your Critters will not be held liable for visits scheduled without the office’s knowledge.

Q. How do you handle all of your client’s keys? You must have a ton!

Actually, we don’t. The keys remain in control of the owner. I strongly believe in this. I think it is the safest option.

Note: Sitter For Your Critters will not be held responsible for keys a client asks a sitter to keep on file.

Q. So, if you don’t keep their keys on file how do the sitters access the homes?

We have a few options for key exchange. My personal favorite is using a lock box. It is so easy and very safe! The client can purchase one from the office for $20. (They retail for around $30, so it’s a great deal.) The client leaves the lock box on a door of their choosing. When their sitter arrives they remove the key from the lockbox to open the door. The client can remove the lockbox when they return home. It’s so easy!

If the lock box isn’t a good fit for the client they can also leave a key hidden in a pre-determined location or schedule the key pick-up and drop-off service, which is $12 each way.

Q. What does it mean you are bonded and insured?

A dishonesty bond gives you peace of mind that you will be reimbursed if anything is stolen from your home. Any company which has workers enter their clients home should have a dishonestly bond.

We also carry a liability insurance policy that protects from financial loss in the event we were liable for accidents that occur while caring for our client’s pets. Any responsible, professional business should carry liability insurance.

We are happy to provide our clients with proof of insurance and our bond. We can easily email them a copy or our certificates.

Q. What type of clients do you work with?

We work with pet owners in Chico who are searching for top-quality pet care and true peace of mind while they travel or when they have to leave their pets for long hours due to work or other obligations.

Q. How are you different from other pet sitting services?

I have put my heart and soul into creating an extraordinary pet sitting service that truly provides pet owners with peace of mind that their pets and their homes are being well-cared for in their absence. I created The Sitter For Your Critters Peace of Mind Blueprint to ensure each and every one of our clients receives the BEST possible service and overall experience. Each step in our Blueprint is what sets us apart.

Q. What is” The Sitter For Your Critters Peace of Mind Blueprint?”

Our all-time goal is to provide our clients with the peace of mind that they know their pets and their home are in the best possible hands. We want our clients to leave their homes confident that their pet is receiving the love, attention and exercise that they deserve. We accomplish this by following our Peace of Mind Blueprint.

 

The 10 steps are…

  1. Professionalism
  2. Reasonable and Competitive Rates
  3. Customized Services
  4. Safety
  5. First-Rate Staff
  6. Experience and Educational Development
  7. Technology and Convenience
  8. Unsurpassed Personal Service with Outstanding Communication
  9. Follow-Up
  10. Genuine Love of Animals

Q. Tell me about your hiring process of the pet sitters.

First, we contract ONLY dedicated pet care professionals. Not the college or high school kid trying to make extra cash. We work with pet sitters who have practical experience in the pet care field and view their time with Sitter For Your Critters as part of their career path.

Second, we run an extensive screening process, which includes a face-to-face interview, followed by reference checks, followed by a complete background check. All sitters are hired on a trial basis until we have followed up with enough clients to ensure they are an excellent fit for Sitter For Your Critters.

Q. Do you care for pets that have aggression issues?

If the pet has aggressively bit someone in the past then no, we cannot provide service, that is too much of a liability issue. If the pet is skittish and maybe just growls around those he doesn’t know, we will be happy to work with the client to see if a pet care plan can be designed that works. Our pet sitter will interview the client and the pet to determine if this is possible. If additional visits are necessary to socialize the pet with our pet care provider then the client needs to be present at all visits and pay the normal service fee until socialized. If at any time our pet sitter or the pet owner feels it is unsafe to perform a service, we will reserve the right to discontinue service without notice.

Q. Do you administer medication?

Due to the stress on the animal, we strongly urge you to administer all medications to your pet. However, when that is not possible and your pet needs medicine we will attempt to administer medicine orally, only.

Q. How do the pet care professionals discipline the pets?

Sitter For Your Critters believes in positive reinforcement ONLY for the pets in our care. We will never hit, spank, slap, yank the leash, yell, shock or grab your pet. If there is a disciplinary problem, i.e. toilet training issues, running away, etc., we inform our client of the incident(s) and together we work out a solution.

Q. What happens if a pet becomes ill and the client is out of town or unable to leave work?

If we suspect something is wrong with a pet, we will call you at the emergency phone numbers we have on file. If the client believes the veterinarian should see the pet, we will transport him to the veterinarian’s office for examination and treatment. In the event we cannot reach the client, we will decide if the veterinarian should see your pet. If necessary, we will take your pet for treatment. You will be billed for any extra time we spend for these services.

Q. What is the Sitter For Your Critters cancellation policy?

Since I understand what it’s like to have a busy and ever-changing schedule I have implemented an extremely flexible cancellation policy.

Mid Day Dog Walks (for those that use us on a weekly continuous basis): 24 hours notice
Pet Sitting, Kitty and Small Animal Care: 48 hours notice
Overnight Care: 7 days notice

Q. How does a client go about getting started? How quickly can that happen? What if they have additional questions?

All are welcome to call or email the office with their questions. The office # is 530-774-4995 and the email is info@sitterforyourcritters.com. When they’re ready to get started we have a very simple registration process that will be explained to them. We can get started as soon as the registration meeting has taken place.

Q. Most importantly, what kind of results can people expect when working with Sitter For Your Critters?

I sound like a broken record, but the greatest result is peace of mind. Our clients can travel, work or leave their homes for whatever reason, guilt-free because they know their pets and their homes are in the best possible hands. Their pets are going to receive top-notch care; they’re going to be relaxed, comfortable, well exercised, and doted upon. Their houses are going to be safeguarded as well as kept tidy and neat. They are going to have happy and healthy pets.

Q. So, you’re happy with the company you have created?

It’s amazing!!!! Seeing how Sitter For Your Critters has grown since 2011 is astounding to me! The best part about it is the more successful Sitter For Your Critters becomes, the more opportunities I have to make the service even more extraordinary for my awesome clients. I love it! I love every minute of it! I have the greatest clients any business owner could ask for… pet lovers! You can’t beat it.

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