Understanding Pet Sitter Consultation Fees
Charging a fee for registration meetings and consultations is becoming more and more common in the pet sitting industry. Today, we want to break down the top reasons behind the fees. Our hope is that understanding pet sitter consultation fees will help pet parents feel more at ease when hiring a pet sitter who assesses these initial/set-up charges.
Pet Sitter Consultations are a Service
First and foremost, an initial consultation or registration meeting is a service that is provided by an owner, manager, contractor, or employee of a professional pet sitting business.
By service, I mean that your consultation is scheduled prior to our arrival. As a service, your pet and your home are covered by a professional pet sitter's insurance while we are conducting the consultation or registration meeting. Should your dog jump up and knock our employee over during the meeting, our worker's compensation coverage will take care of them if they are injured. If our employee accidentally knocks over your grandmother's crystal vase while in your home, our liability insurance will cover it.
If, heaven forbid, one of our employees is attacked during a consultation, our insurance will cover that too. As professional pet sitters, we recognize that there is an inherent risk to working with unfamiliar animals. We, therefore, work under the assumption that the worst-case scenario is, unfortunately, possible and plan accordingly.
With these risks and related insurance expenses, it's only natural that we'd charge a small fee to cover said service.
Pet Sitter Consultations Take Preparation
The person conducting the meeting will prepare for the appointment by freshening up, reviewing your new client information, and familiarizing themselves with your requested schedule. Those conducting the consultation or meeting will likely have spoken with you on the phone or corresponded with you or their supervisor prior to the meeting.
It is not uncommon for professional pet sitters and their managers to discuss your pet and needs at length before your consultation or registration meeting. It is also not uncommon for your care provider to research your dog's breed, chronic illnesses, and medication before the meeting.
As you can see, your consultation or registration meeting starts long before your pet sitter steps foot in your home. The time and effort spent preparing is considered "work" and, therefore, must be paid.
Pet Sitter Consultations Cost Money
In addition to the time and effort detailed above, there are actual costs involved in having someone come to your home to conduct a consultation or registration meeting.
The Department of Labor expects employees to be paid at least minimum wage for the time they spent driving to and from your home. They must also be paid for conducting the consultation. Plus, some states require mileage reimbursement.
In addition, your pet sitter will use gasoline and put wear and tear on their vehicle when driving to your home to conduct the new client meeting. There's also the risk of a vehicular accident in transit.
Pet Sitter Consultations Set Your Care Team Up for Success
As pet parents ourselves, we advise against trying to find the best deal or simply looking for companies that don't charge an initial fee. Instead, recognize that a professional pet sitter who charges for the consultation is very likely running a business they intend to see thrive for years to come. When you hire a professional pet sitter, you want to hire one you can work with as your pet grows up and ages. Finding a new pet sitter every time you travel is not ideal for anyone and not worth the little bit of money you'd save by avoiding a registration meeting fee.
Also, keep in mind that inexperienced and unestablished pet sitters may waive the initial fee, but it's due to a lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of the risks and costs involved in conducting a consultation. When you're letting someone into your home to access your beloved pet, you don't want to go with the best deal. You want to go with the best, most knowledgeable pet care team you can find.
Pet Sitter Consultations Are Usually Very Reasonable
Fees for intro meetings usually range from $20-$35, which is very reasonable for all involved. Some markets do incur higher fees but that's usually to offset the additional costs involved in driving in heavy traffic or long distances.
At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, we charge a one-time non-refundable fee of $35 to your payment method on file three days before your scheduled Registration Meeting. We also offer 15-minute introductions for $25 for Clients who would like to meet each of their assigned Pet Care Specialist after the initial registration meeting.
Pet Sitter Consultations Put Everyone at Ease
Registration meetings are good for the whole family. They can put everyone involved at ease. Your pet will be more at ease during their first visit, you will have peace of mind having met a representative of the company in person, and your pet sitter will be familiar with your pet and home so that they may provide the best possible service.
If you follow the steps we outlined in our recent post about how to get to know a new pet sitter, you will know which companies are worth interviewing and which are not worth your investment. Once you've narrowed down your options, invest in a couple of interviews to ensure you're choosing the best pet sitter for your family and not settling by trying to avoid a minor fee. If you're confident you found the right sitter, wait until after the consultation to disengage with any other companies you're considering. The consultation is a key part of the interview process.
At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, we look forward to caring for your pets for years to come, which is why we price our services in ways that allows us to operate a thriving business. Our goal is to create a relationship with our clients and our staff in which everyone is treated fairly. Our registration meeting fee is one of the ways we make that happen.
We are grateful that our clients understand our fees and are happy to pay them. We couldn't do this fulfilling work without your loyal support.
To learn more about our in-home dog walking, pet sitting, and home care services, submit a new client questionnaire here. For more information, visit our website or contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868.
Our service areas include Yorktown, Poquoson, Newport News, and Hampton, Virginia.