How to Avoid Bad Pet Sitting Clients! Tips from a Pro (2023)


We have all dealt with a less-than-ideal client at some point, and we would all like to minimize this as much as possible. Here are some of the red flags I watch for and how I handle them.

Schedule a Coaching Call with Doug:

Get 50% OFF your first FOUR months of Time to pet using my referral link!

Check out my pet sitting and dog walking business:


Those of us that have been pet sitting and dog walking for a while know that not every client is an ideal client and trust me when I say, the better you get at finding and avoiding these bad clients, the better your life, and your business will be in the long run.

I've been a full-time professional pet sitter in dog walker for over eight years.

And I have dealt with a lot of bad clients in that time.

And I have just recently mastered the art of avoiding these bad clients before it's too late.

So in today's video, I'm going to share some of the red flags that I watch out for for those of you that don't know, I post videos here on youtube every week sharing my experience and any advice that I have about being a full-time professional, pet sitter and dog walker.

So I would love it.

If you smash the subscribe button to stay up to date with that weekly content.

Let me start by saying that everyone's expectations and tolerance level is going to be a little bit different.

So take everything that I say with a grain of salt and make it work for you and your business.

This is all based off of my experience and I'm also not going to touch on any issues related to the pets.

I know, a lot of you will have a reactive, dogs or untrained dogs on your list of red flags, but I'm going to be talking about the human clients, because in my experience 99 of the time it's, the humans that are the problem, never the pets.

I once had a potential new client, call me and tell me they had just fired their last pet sitter and then scoffed when I told them, our prices, how many red flags are in that phone call.

Thankfully, I was able to spot those red flags and tell her.

We were not the right fit for her and refer her to another pet, setting and dog walking company without ever scheduling a service.

There are several things.

You can watch out for just during the sign up process before you ever even go to meet the client for me.

One of these things is if the client is bad at communicating that is a huge red flag.

So for my business, clients start by filling out a sign up form on the website.

And then we contact them either via text message or phone call to get them set up on our scheduling platform and schedule a meet and greet.

And if they suck at communicating throughout this process, if they take forever to reply to your text messages, or if you're having to leave them multiple voicemails, or if they don't fill out that entire intake form, those are all red flags.

And throughout this process, if they start, uh scoffing at your prices or your policies or anything like that, if they start trying to question you on your prices and policies, anything like that red flag, red flag, red flag.

And another thing is throughout this uh sign up process is if they start asking you for super personal information.

And this happens from time to time again, another red flag that you can avoid even scheduling the meet and greet just tell them you're, not the right fit right off the bat.

I once showed up to meet a potential new client, and this old man opened the door in nothing, but his whitey tidies and a beer in hand, a red flag, red flag, red flag.

I mean, hello, I turned right around and said, I would refer him to a different pet sitting company.

Now it's a lot easier to spot red flags once you're, actually in person and in the meet and greet.

But this is where a lot of pet sitters feel that it's too late to back out.

But I completely disagree.

You know, a meet and greet is a chance for them to interview you, and for you to interview them.

And this is your last chance to to back out before the potential booking.

So get good at noticing red flags in meet and greets.

And finding your way out often the best way to get out of the potential booking is just to say that you aren't the right fit and to refer them to someone else.

One thing to watch out for in the meet and greet is clients that don't let you lead the conversation and ask questions, you're there as a pet professional, and you need to be the one leading this meeting and asking the questions that you need to provide the proper care to these pets.

And there are some clients that just won't let you lead.

And those are the exact clients that will give you problems later on down the line.

I remember going to a meet and greet at a hoarder's house, one time.

And it was just overwhelming.

I remember having so much anxiety as we walked through the house.

And when we got to the kitchen, and I saw these pee pads just drenched in pee and poop sitting all over them in the kittens kitchen that's.

When I knew I could not do this client.

It was a ton of red flags.

So I politely said that I would not be the right fit and referred them to someone else.

Another red flag is clients that start asking you to do things that are way outside of the realm of what they initially requested on the phone, how many of us have been to a meet and greet where the client said initially, oh, I just need you to do a 30 minute dog walk.

And then you show up to the meet and greet and there's like four dogs, and they need a litter box changed and all of this other stuff.

You know, that happens all the time that is a red flag.

Another big red flag for me is clients that start asking you super personal questions or start telling you super personal things.

Again, I know we've all been to a meet and greet where clients just start rambling about whatever is going on in their life, or they start asking you about your childhood, or who knows what none of that has anything to do with pet sitting and dog walking and is a red flag.

These are all just a couple of the red flags that I watch out for during the client intake process.

But if you don't catch one of these red flags, and they do under end up becoming a client, there are still other things that you can watch out for.

And there are other ways to get out of providing services, for example, once they become a client, a big red flag could be, uh, they're consistently late on their payments or they're, just giving you or their pet sitter, a hard time about something or uh, they're consistently canceling or changing their request.

You know, there are millions of different things that are a red flag, both before they become a client.

And after they become a client.

These are just a couple of the things that I watch out for.

I would love it.

If you shared some of the red flags that you watch out for down in the comments below so that we can all reap the benefits together, I'm, doug the dog guy with bat of the bone petcare, reminding you to stay positive.


What makes a good pet sitter? ›

They Have a Calming Presence and Bond with Your Pet

Let them meet your pet. Watch their interaction. A truly top-notch pet sitter will also be honest if they do not feel a connection with your pet. Part of the joy of being a pet sitter is spending time with pets that they love.

Should you tip your pet sitter? ›

First, it's really the positive feedback that matters most.

Our pet sitter, Ellen, said, “Tipping 20% in the service industry is standard, but tips aren't required. I am so grateful whenever a client tips, especially new clients! When I get a tip, I know I did a good job for the client and their pets.”

What are the risks of pet sitting? ›

Scratches and bites are risks of the job when pet sitting, but these pet-related injuries are often preventable. Watch your furry clients for signs of fear or aggression. Cowering, fur-raising, tail tucking, and snarling are all signs that you need to back away and leave them be.

How do I promote myself as a pet sitter? ›

No-cost marketing tips
  1. Post on local notice boards. Pop into your local supermarket or general store and it's highly likely they'll have a community notice board. ...
  2. Use social media. ...
  3. Get in touch with like minded businesses. ...
  4. Market yourself. ...
  5. Advertise in local newspaper. ...
  6. Partnerships. ...
  7. Referral discounts. ...
  8. Flyers.
Mar 20, 2020

How do you write a recommendation for a pet sitter? ›

Dear Amy, I am only too happy to recommend your pet care service to anyone who may be interested. Since you and you staff have started pet sitting for me over a year ago, I can only say how please I have always been with the quality of pet sitters, their reliability and the wonderful care my dogs always receive.

How do I ask for more money for pet sitting? ›

Be straight with them. Explain that your rate was set based on a typical one/two dog sitting assignment, but if you're going to take on that much extra responsibility, you're going to have to charge an additional fee If they agree, work with them to come up with a fair rate and adjust the price on the reservation..

What is the difference between pet sitting and pet hosting? ›

Pet Sitting is where the pet is looked after in the pet's own home. This may be preferable for some owners as the pet may find the environment more familiar, friendly and comfortable. Pet Hosting is where the pet is looked after in the pet sitters home.

How can I expand my dog sitting business? ›

  1. Expand Your Range of Services. While some people are still wary of going out, it's a good time to add more services that can help them. ...
  2. Streamline Your Business Administration. ...
  3. Create a Customer Community. ...
  4. Use Personal Marketing Techniques. ...
  5. Keep Your Services Fully Booked.

Do you tip a self employed pet sitter? ›

15–20% is the usual percentage if you feel the need to tip your pet sitter. Again, though, it's not expected.

What is a good tip for a cat sitter? ›

“Always ask upfront when it comes to agreeing on the duties and cost of services of any kind,” said Joy Weaver, etiquette expert and author of “How to Be Socially Savvy in All Situations.” “If you have a pet sitter — someone who does this for a living — agree on a price of services and tip them afterward — 15% if all ...

Can you leave tips on Rover? ›

Other Services: Owners will be given the option to leave no tip, 10%, 15%, 20%, or a custom tip of up to 30% of the service rate for their sitter.

Is dog sitting hard work? ›

Being a great pet sitter requires dedication, but it is also arguably the best job on earth. You can provide love to so many pets and feel that glow when you know those pets love you back.

Why dogs should not be allowed on furniture? ›

There are plenty of reasons not to allow your dog on the furniture — including fear of spreading germs and building bad habits. If you do decide to share your bed or couch with your dog, there are some measures that you can take to reduce the mess and the potential spread of disease.

Can I trust a cat sitter? ›

What qualities should a cat sitter have? See if your cat carer has owned a kitty of their own. Most of the cat sitters that are part of the Cat in a Flat community have personal experience in caring for a kitty. By speaking to them about their background, you will get a good idea of how they will care for your cat.

How much should I pay my friend to watch my dog? ›

“For friends or family doing dog walking, $15 for a half-hour walk is fairly standard in large cities and $50-$70 for overnight stays with your pets are normal,” Bradley said. “If your pet has special needs like medications, multiple or complicated feedings, physical lifting, etc., you should pay more.”

Why you would be the perfect cat sitter? ›

Trustworthiness is the most important part of being a great cat sitter. If you have a reputation for being trustworthy, clients will know you're reliable, mature and honest. "Pet sitting isn't a simple job where you just throw some food and water down, pet the cat a couple times and leave," Allen says.

How do you put pet sitting on a resume? ›

Pet Sitter Resume Examples and Templates
  1. Feed and entertain a variety of pets.
  2. Complete house duties, such as plant watering, as needed.
  3. Walk dogs for exercise and companionship.
  4. Communicate with pet owners to understand their concerns.
  5. Use training techniques to improve pet behavior.
Feb 22, 2023

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated: 01/09/2023

Views: 5339

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.