The tragic death of a dog daycare owner over the weekend has had me thinking about how important it is for pet sitters to have backup plans. It’s nothing we want to think about, but the fact is any of us could be gone at any time.
Because of the type of work pet sitters do, it’s crucial to have backup plans in place in case of an emergency. And, although it’s important for any pet sitting business, it is especially crucial for pet sitters who work on their own and don’t have employees or independent contractors.
Here are some ideas to implement into your backup plan:
Keep a copy of your schedule
Keep a hard copy of your schedule on your desk at all times, and let a fellow pet sitter, family member, or friend know where it is and how to read it. If you keep your schedule online, give your login info to someone you trust.
Check in with someone on a regular basis. Whether it’s by email, phone, or text, it’s a good idea to maintain regular contact with someone. Given that pet sitters enter empty homes and apartments, and quite often late at night, this is also a basic safety precaution. Set up a plan for your contact person to implement if they don’t hear from you as planned.
Keep good records
Make sure any notes you write in clients’ files are clear and easy to understand. Write in clear sentences rather than in a shorthand only you can decipher.
Set up a plan
Write up a basic instruction document for anyone who may have to take over for you on a moment’s notice. Include your client key procedure and where you keep them, how to access your email and voice mail, where files are kept, etc. Also be sure to include a list of family/friends who should be called if necessary. Of course, in order for your backup to get to this information, you’ll want them to have a key to your office.
Even if you’re the healtiest person you know, the luckiest, or the most cautious it’s important to remember that things do happen. Even if it’s not due to your own death, there may be a time when you’ll need a backup on moment’s notice – a sudden illness, an accident, or death of a family member. Setting up a backup plan is something you can do that will make getting through the crisis a little easier for your clients, your family, and yourself.
This post is dedicated to Cristal Newell
Cristal Newell, a highly regarded and well known member of the dog daycare industry, lost her life in an auto accident over the weekend. Cristal was the owner of Mile High Mutts in Denver, and the owner of the largest dog daycare group on Yahoo. Through the group, she helped many dog daycare owners get started in the business and provided a place for veterans and newbies alike to help each other. Reading the emails on the daycare group has been enough to bring tears to my eyes – even though most of the people on the list never met her, it’s quite clear that her loss is being felt very deeply.
Cristal was also a member of PetsitUSA for a few years. We talked on the phone a couple times, and although I barely knew her, I could tell she was a very passionate person and a genuine animal lover.
My heart goes out to Cristal’s husband, children, and all who loved her.