How often do we as pet sitters get to be a fly on the wall and listen in on an actual gripe from a pet owner?

And how valuable would it be to hear what is currently bothering a client most about her pet sitter?

Well, through a friend of a friend, I got into a conversation with a woman about pet sitting in general and she decided to share this story with me.

Click below to read the transcript of this video.

Click Here to SHOW Transcript

So, what do you make of all this? Have you ever been confronted by a client of yours with something like this? How do you think the client should handle this? Should she ignore it, or does something need to be said?

  • Rani Portalise

    This is great. I needed to hear this because when it is hot or your schedule is tight it is very easy to scribble a note sloppy. It also is hard to come up with something different to say day after day. I forgot the impression my notes leave and will definatley take as much pride in my notes as my active service!!
    Rani of Care 4 Paws LLC

    • Joshua Cary

       Hi Rani,

      Glad this resonated with you.  I understand that it could be challenging to come up with different things to write each time, so would a solution be to print up some forms with check boxes on it and a small space for additional comments, like the client suggested in the video?

      That way you can check the appropriate boxes and leave an additional thought or two on the day’s event.  Your clients are not looking for a new novel each day.  They simply want to know that all went as planned and things are on track.

      • Petsrme

        Josh – WOW light bulb moment – I always leave notes for the most part on my own forms i make up but over the last year or so i have found that if client gone for more than 10 days or so i don’t – just a summery at the end etc  – with occasional e-mail to them while away

        I recently had a very OCD cat client (wonderful lady and great cats) who always is respectful of me send an e-mail to me after the return of her 2 week trip about me calling her to catch up on how the cats did – i could sense her disappointment in me not leaving the daily notes like usual -and explained to her that my notes are usually sorta boring and didn’t leave due to that because was gone for so long.  I just sent her and e-mail regarding this subject and how it affected me and apologized and told her how it didn’t think about the human client side of this 

        THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU   – after all these years we still continue to learn

  • BerkshirePetPals

    I use a custom daily activity log for each and every visit (complete with my logo and a space for the pet names and the date).  It is basically a table with a list of all the activities on one side and a few columns for the times of the visits (both arrival and departure times).  So, essentially, I check off the activities I’ve performed and write additional notes in the space provided on the bottom.  The good thing about it is that if I make several visits in one day, I can use the same form!  I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it and have revised/updated it so that it reflects the types of visits that I do! 

    • Joshua Cary

       Thanks for sharing your system, Kathy.  It sounds like that approach solves many issues at once.  It makes it easy for the pet sitter to select the appropriate marks, allows a quick way to create your notes, and looks professional to your client.  A win all around.

  • Azcreaturecomforts

    Oh dear, I am guilty of this! I never imagined a client would find my choice to leave a note on the tablet on their counter to be unprofessional. Thank you for sharing this eye-opening lesson!

    • Joshua Cary

       Exactly, who knew?!  Everything we do inside a client’s home is being observed on some level.  Glad this helped you out.

  • Julie Fredrick

    Thanks Josh! I will share this with a few of my sitters. We text clients. One sitter, in particular, texts messages such as, “Cats fed. All is well.” I’ve told her time and time again not to do this…it makes it sound like she throws the food down and leaves. She replied that the cats are boring and she has a hard time coming up with things to say. I’m sorry, but whenever I do a pet sit, something newsworthy always happens within the half hour that I’m there. Here ultra brief texts also flagged me to suspect her. I started checking her work. Long story short, I will not be using her. She is an IC, so there’s nothing I can say…just no work for her. Finding and keeping good clients is my number one goal. I don’t need a bad sitter screwing things up and ruining my business. It’s also not fair to my sitters who do a great job.

  • Julie Fredrick

    One other comment….I believe every neighborhood has a Mrs. Kravitz (nosey neighbor who is the self appointed neighborhood watch person). Neighbors watch and tell. If you suspect a sitter is not staying the contracted amount of time, you need to sit down with them and talk about it.

  • Dedi

    My clients prefer text messages over paper notes or even a pic/video of their pet(s).  They do not want more paper to deal with.  

    • Joshua Cary

       Hey Dedi,

      Do you suggest text/pic over paper notes, or do your clients decide which they prefer?

    • Julie Fredrick

      Mine do, too, but the same message goes for texts. If you just text, “Box cleaned, cat fed and water changed,” it sounds like you were there 5 minutes. This is what I like to see in a text: “Good morning, all. Everyone here is missing you. All cats want to be outside on this fantastic fall morning. Being housebound, Miss Bug took to the carrier right after breakfast where she can’t see sunshine endlessly ricocheting. She purrs as long as I sit on the floor and pet her; then she goes back to sleep. Miles had a good walk and a few seconds of free ranging when I unhooked the leash. Don’t fret too much. The entire campus is asleep like Bug. “

  • Shannonspetsitting

    I leave my clients notes on my company note paper or on a visit report sheet I made up on the computer. I also. send text messages & picture texts.
    But I have aweful handwriting. so this brought to my attention that I have to do my best to write as neatly as possible.

  • Pam

    WOW!!! This could not have come for me at a better time.  As hard as I think we all try to do our best..I am humbled to say I have fallen into a place I had promised myself I would not go when I started my business.  This has caused me pause and to stop and take a deep breath and I thank you Josh for that.

    All the things/little and big that have made me what I am and have stood me out from other petsitters I can see myself slowly compromise as my business grows in an attempt to keep up with the growth.  Even something as what would seem small….my clients notes….I can remember taking my time and writing stories about my time with Fido…now I rush through that part….

    Yesterday, I stopped each time I wrote my note….took a deep breath..exhaled and reminded myself why my clients love me and why I stand out from others…is it worth rushing to lose all that I have worked for….I even found myself enjoying my visits more…. Thank you…thank you…thank you…..

    • Joshua Cary

       Hey there Pam,  It’s always a pleasure to see you stop by!  And I’m happy to know this resonated with you and you were able to “go back to basics.”  Continue to do what sets you apart.  You are very welcome.

  • Joshua Cary

     Sheetal, That notebook sounds amazing.  I’d love to get a look at it.  Can you take a picture of it for us?  Also, if there are some hand-written testimonials on the pages, it would look great to take a clear picture of them and post on your website as a testimonial (with the owner’s permission).

    Hand-written notes like that look great on a website!  Thanks for sharing.

    • Sheetal

      Hi Josh. You’re welcome! The notebook is a simple notebook from Staples. I take a color
      printout with all my business logo and info. and paste it on the outside. I do have some really nice testimonials on Holiday cards from clients. Thanks for the great idea!

      I’m sharing a picture I just took of the front cover.Thanks!

      • Joshua Cary

         Love it!  What a great concept.  So if I understand correctly, this notebook is used for just one of your clients?  And do you have other notebooks for additional clients, or is this the only one you do it with?  Then this notebook is full with notes and updates back and forth between you and client.  Really cool.  I personally would love to be a client of yours just so I could have that memoir.  You should totally promote this on your website for new clients!

        • Sheetal

          Thanks Josh! It is a huge compliment coming from you. Yes, I do use individual notebooks for each client and they remain with the client once I finish a notebook. I do mention on my website that I write daily dog walking journals at each visit, but never realized until now that it is a huge selling point. Thanks for the fantastic advise!

          • Joshua Cary

             My pleasure.  Go get ’em with your new marketing point!

      • Julie Fredrick

        very cute! Classy.

  • Sarahrichpetsitting

    We also use a notebook for every client. We record the date, the day,  the time we arrive & leave and  detailed notes. We keep the clients paperwork and any other written directions in the notebook. I also will put our business cards in the notebook pocket.  Both myself and any IC’s visiting also read all the paper work & notes and check off and write our names on each page. We also leave notes and reminders for each other in the notebook so nothing is forgotten & the client can see we are communicating. We also mark visits complete and write a short note in Leash Time, our pet sitting program. Lastly, I send a welcome home letter to each client. I think I will add something in the welcome home letter so people feel comfortable letting us know of any concerns they may have.  Thank you!

  • Mary Jo

    I was just wondering how clients feel about leaving a notebook at their house. I have often thought about making everyone their own notebook instead of using the report cards each visit. I just wasn’t sure how clients would feel about having a notebook laying around.
    I loved this article and sent a copy of it to all of our ICs. I never thought much about it before and I’m guilty of writing rushed notes myself not thinking about how it looks. I’ve always thought about how important the report card is to leave but never the actual note that I’m leaving and it seems so obvious! Thank you for the article it was a reall eye opener and we will not be leaving rushed notes anymore.

    • Joshua Cary

      Hi Mary Jo, I would imagine that if you ask your clients if they would mind a notebook left in their house as a way to communicate each day, they would be thrilled to have it. The ones that don’t want it would let you know (“Thanks but no thanks). My point is simply this: In order to find out how clients would feel about leaving a notebook behind, just ASK them! Most, I’m quite sure, will love the idea! Let us know.

  • Sue Clynes

    Now that I’m getting busier, this is a very apt wake up call for me! Thanks Josh :)

    • Joshua Cary

      Busy is good, Sue! But of course with busy comes more responsibility. Keep me posted on your wonderful progress.

  • Julie Fredrick

    I agree! I actually include this in my training. Short texts are unacceptable. Texts should give the accurate impression that we were happily interacting with the pets in a relaxed manner. Not rushed!

  • Julie Fredrick

    This is also a reason why I switched to many employees covering small territories….quality vs. quantity. No burn out.

  • Julie Fredrick

    One more comment….one of my clients has a notebook. The sitter on this job has beautiful handwriting and leaves long, detailed, descriptive notes. The client loves Mary, even though she really is no better than the other sitters. I’ve also noticed a correlation between happy, long texts and nice photos and TIPS!

  • David Connelly

    Wonderful! Thanks for making me remember what is important and to never neglect the small but vital details.

    • Joshua Cary

      Happy to help, David! Often times, it’s the little things we overlook. PS: How is business overall going for you these days? Thanks for stopping by.


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