To ensure the safety and health of the pets that you care for – you really need to have procedures in place to make sure that clients arrive home safely and on time. Wouldn’t it be terrible if a pet went for days without care because a client did not make it home when they told you they would?
Some of the reasons you need to put a return home policy in place are:
Clients make mistakes. I have had a client who scheduled visits for the wrong dates – they advised us they were getting home on a Tuesday – when they really meant to tell us Wednesday. Luckily my sitter checked by their home on Tuesday, noticed that the client wasn’t home and did extra visits for the pets.
Travel plans get delayed and/or cancelled. Just look at what happened recently with the Iceland volcano ash flight delays. Some of those people stranded at airports may have had no way to get in contact with their pet sitter.
Accidents happen. You have to consider that your clients may be involved in an accident during their vacation or on the way home. If they are involved in a highway wreck, have a medical problem, or another disaster strikes while they are away they may not be able to contact you.
A simple way to ensure that the clients make it home to take over the care of the pets is to ask them to either call or text you or their pet sitter when they reach their home. Make sure to ask clients not to call when they land at the airport (we have had several do this!) because accidents may still happen on the way home.
It’s always good to remind them to call or text by leaving a note for them on your last visit.
You’ll always find some clients who just don’t get in touch. One way to encourage them to get in touch is to put a policy in place that states that if the pet sitter does not hear from them – that they will continue to make visits and that the clients will be charged for all additional visits made (even if the sitter arrives to find the clients home).
Do you have a return home policy? Have you ever had clients who didn’t make it home when they were supposed to?