The biggest red flag for us is the 'extremely needed' client that is over protective of their dog. When the client is requiring more time & attention than the dog you are caring for, you may want to pass on booking them.
The other, is the client that starts taking advantage of the pick-up times after their first booking. We understand traffic delays, flight delays & emergencies happen but when it starts happening every stay and the time frame gets longer it needs to stop. If you have discussed it with the client and it still continues, send them an extension invoice or a new invoice. That usually stops the problem.
What do you mean by this?
"I accomplish this by setting my sitter profile to "repeat clients only" on Wednesday or Thursday of each week. This prevents me from receiving new client requests for which meet & greets would be required over the weekend."
Do you mean that you set your profile to "repeat clients only" for every Wednesday and Thursday you plan to have meet and greets? Or does that mean you set your profile to "repeat clients only" to prevent new customer requests from coming in over the weekend?
Thanks for the subject, it's a great resource, especially with all the replies!
I first check the profile to see how long the dog has been on Rover. My biggest red flag is an owner who has just joined Rover an hour before and needs a sitter that night or the next morning. Their lack of planning generally creates a crisis situation, since they see sitters as a one way service and they expect instant accomodation and often will not be forthcoming about the dog's requirements or issues. I will do that for my good repeat clients who find they suddenly need boarding or daycare, but not someone who just wants to throw their dog at me. I refer them back to Rover because my priority is my own elderly dog and my current clients' well being.
I ask a list of questions regarding barking, separation anxiety, housebreaking, any types of aggression, and how the dog gets along with other dogs, and whether thay have been successfully boarded before. I do meet and greets in my fenced yard. The owner and I have a seat and I'll watch the dog off leash while I ask questions. If the dog is relaxed and inquisitve, and approaches me in a friendly manner for a pat, that's a good start. If the dog is clingy, whines and barks, pees on my furniture, isn't friendly with me and doesn't listen to the owner's recall, that dog is likely not going to work out. If the owner has an extremely defensive attitude with me and their body language is very tense with the dog, they are already unhappy and may take it out on me. So that is also a no go.
My next step if all seems to be going well with the dog is to bring my own dog out. He will quickly tell me how this new dog will fit into my steady rotating pack. My rotating pack all know each other because most have been coming to stay for years now, and I am very selective about introducing any new dogs. My pack's safety and comfort are primary!
Then we take a quick inside tour. How the dog behaves in the house is also important. Instant marking is not cool, but if it's a male dog who is otherwise great, that can be handled with diapering. Often that is a behavior that comes with excitement from dogs who don't see my house as "home" yet, and it won't necessarily continue. I don't take any intact males however. My house has the kitchen and living room gated off when dogs are staying, so any dogs currrently staying will be behind a main gate or in another room, depending on how many and if they are barkers. All of my clients (and my own dog) have been bark trained with tiny squirt guns if necessary, so all are well mannered and calm! Alert or play barking is fine, but barking just to bark is not. Everyone knows or learns the command "SHH!" for quiet now, and "Inside voice" for keep the volume down, and they are good kids!
If the dog seems like a good chill pup, and the owner is high maintenance, I will often take the dog if it's the owner's first time boarding because I understand it's scary for them. I will usually have a decent experience with the dog, and the owner will end up a grateful repeat customer. If however the owner is really neurotic about the dog and ungrateful about all the extra work I have done to help them feel comfortable leaving their dog with me, I won't re-book.
I also have paperwork I hand out and go over with the client regarding any health issues, allergies, medications, vaccine and worm, flea and tick status, personality and behavior quirks etc. and all owner information and contact preferences. Also a vet authorization form and a liability release form. All that needs to be gone over, filled out and signed here, or brought back with the dog.
I have kept all types of dogs with all kinds of quirks. I guess I take things in stride and don't analyze things to the degree of refusing a dog unless they are tearing my house up. I work with the dog's issues and it has always worked for me. However, I do have one owner that I may refuse if she contacts me for a third time. The first contact was for becoming her back-up sitter. This was just a conversation via Rover and we never met. The second was for a Meet & Greet. Her sitter had moved. They were going on vacation. I know Rover clients are told to shop the sitters for a good fit. But this lady led me to believe she was happy and was going to book. She stayed on her cell texting the whole time. During her texts, she looked at her husband and said, "It's just 15 minutes off the highway on the way to the airport." Hmmm....I finally caught on that she was shopping sitters while she was meeting with me! That afternoon I got the message she had chosen another sitter. I would have not thought badly of her if she had not been so bold to shop in my living room. Did she really think I was that dense?!!
I can usually tell just from the message people send me with their boarding request how difficult the client is going to be to work with. Like someone else mentioned, I usually pass on people who just joined Rover that day and need a sitter the next day. I also noticed people who use the term "fur babies" often are more demanding than people who don't. No offense to anyone who refers to their animals that way.
I have had a couple meet and greets where the dog would have done fine, but I could tell from the owner's behavior they are not someone I would be comfortable working with. I just tell them I don't think it would be a good fit.
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