If you’re considering setting up your own pet sitting or dog walking business you’ll probably have a love of animals and great people skills too. For those that adore exercise, pets, fresh air and the inhabitants of their local community it is an ideal way to make money too. However, it’s because it is usually a local service that involves a caring nature that some overlook the need for a contract between the dog sitter and the owner.
A clear contract is essential as no matter how good your relationship is with your customer, when you become a pet sitter a contract will protect you and them in case of unforeseen events. It is beneficial for both sides and it will also serve as an important document if you ever need to claim on your insurance.
What You Should Include in a Contract
Contracts vary according to the service you aim to deliver, they can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. When you start your dog sitting business you may want to include questions such as “where is the dog food kept” for your own reference or you may keep it to the essentials.
These essentials include:
Unforeseen circumstances occur and although you may empathise with your customer, you still need to make a living so it is good practice to include details of cancellations, such as:
- 24 hours’ notice to be given before cancelling
- Last minute cancellations will still be charged
If you have allocated an entire week to pet siting you may want to include a clause that ensures you still receive 50% of the payment, regardless of the cancellation date.
If you are pet sitting and your customer is late returning you could lose out on some money. Make sure you have a clear clause that states you expect a phone call and every extra hour will incur a charge.
Injuries to the Pet
You need to know that if the pet becomes ill in your care you can take it to the vet without becoming out of pocket. Many dog walking businesses and pet sitting businesses request the owner leaves a credit card on file with the vets for this reason.
You also need the owner’s permission to be able to seek medical attention for their pet as they can sue you if they haven’t agreed beforehand.
Injuries to People
Most pets are well behaved however some may be rescue dogs or may have a slight anxiety around people. Some may have aggressive tendencies. You need to ensure in your contract that if the dog causes injury to another person or their pet, that the owner is responsible, not you.
You also need to state the terms you need in the event that the dog bites you as you may not be able to work or it may alter your perception on your career.
There are other facts to consider such as payment terms (up front or via invoice), allocation of keys and so on, however these are the essentials.
When become a pet sitter, you may feel a little mean presenting this contract to a customer however, although you love the animals you care for, you are a pet sitting or dog walking business after all. Your customer will also feel grateful that there are clear guidelines to follow for both of you, your professionalism will impress them and reassure them that you take the health and care of their pet seriously.
We’ve done the hard work for you!
We understand that you would rather be caring for pets than writing contracts so we have constructed a contract that our members can use which includes everything to keep you and your customers covered. See our member’s benefits page for details.