Frequently Asked Questions

Trained, Trusted, and Reliable Staff

Why use a professional service?

While seemingly you may feel any person will be qualified to handle your pets and home, we highly recommend utilizing a professional services business whose only function is to care for your pets. Taking care of your pets properly is the only focus for us. This isn’t a part-time business for us and our staff aren’t doing this for a little extra spending cash. It is their job. Over the years, we have heard literally hundreds of times that a neighbor, friend, colleague, or someone found on a listing website or other independent job listing site, was hired to care for their pets. Frequently, we hear they didn’t show up, did fewer visits than were contracted for, were at my house for only 10 minutes, or worse, sent someone in their place to perform the work. Anyone contracted in this way has absolutely no oversight. 

Why is it so important to have an employee, and not an independent contractor, have access to my home and pets?

Regardless of the company you choose, in order to protect your home, pets, and yourselves, having an employee in your home is highly recommended. It is extremely important that providers are well-chosen, trained, and monitored. (each of these should have links to that section) Our selection process is stringent. See more (link to hiring process). Our employees are trained and monitored. Legally speaking, an independent contractor is not permitted to be trained or monitored. See more (link to blog).

Additionally, while all companies will tell you that they are bonded and insured, only a company with employees can protect you from staff injuries in or around your home or with your pet. That is because employees are covered with Workers’ Compensation insurance. If they slip on your front steps, fall in your home, or are hurt, at any time, while on your property or while working with your pet, we cover their medical expenses and lost pay. They will not be looking to you to pay these costs.

Will I get the same sitter every time?

At Tails on Trails, we work in teams. There are a minimum of two sitters, and one Field Manager, that manage each client. We have found that working in teams provides a multitude of benefits that include checks and balances on care performed, back-up coverage in case one sitter becomes unavailable, quality assurance with care instructions, and shared knowledge base on your pets and animal health and behavior, in general. Through our professional scheduling system, only the sitters working with your home and pets will have access to your personal information. They work together to communicate on any changes.

What if I want to meet the sitters, individually?

Our clients understand that because we work in teams and that sitter availability for specific work is constantly changing, that meeting the sitters, individually, is not always the ideal option. Our clients meet the Field Manager, who is responsible for answering questions and providing support on field issues. If, however, you would like to meet the team currently working in your area, we can set those meetings up, as individual visits.

Caring for Your Pets

How long are mid-day dog walking visits?

Short mid-day visits include a minimum of a 10-minute walk. Regular walks include a minimum of a 20-minute walk. The remainder of the visit time is needed to leash/unleash your pet(s), provide fresh water and a treat, and a note regarding care.

Why do you have a minimum of once-a-day care for cats or other mammals?

Occasionally, clients request every-other-day care for cats or other mammals. We require once-a-day care as less often, is frankly, dangerous for your pets and home. While caring for your pets, we are not only monitoring water, food, and waste, we are monitoring their health. Pets’ health can deteriorate quickly and we want to be able to address any concerns swiftly. Additionally, cats, in particular can be quite adventurous. They can open doors and cabinets, and could potentially, get shut inside. It is for the health and welfare of your pets that we require minimum of once-a-day care.

Why do you have a minimum of three visits per day for care of dogs?

We have found that three visits per day, more closely matches your typical schedule you maintain when you are at home with your dog(s). We find they do much better following this routine. Additionally, pets can get lonely when you are gone. This gives your pets more opportunity to have interaction with the caregivers.

We will come during three-time windows: Morning 8:00 – 9:30 AM, Late Afternoon 3:00 – 5:00 PM, and Late Night 8:30 – 9:30 PM. We do provide an early morning window 6:30 AM – 7:45 AM, for an additional charge, for young, elderly, or other pets that require an early morning visit.

How am I ensured my visits are completed?

We utilize a state-of-the art scheduling and GPS system that shows when our sitters check-in and out of visits. Additionally, the GPS system marks the location of both the check-in and out. Further, the on-call local Field Manager monitors the schedule to make sure we are meeting your expectations, as well as to be able to provide back-up support in the case of questions or field issues. Our pet sitting clients receive an automated e-mail when all visits are completed as well.

What if I have a question about my reservation, care instructions, or need to change my reservation?

During weekday hours, you can call the office and speak directly with the scheduling team for any questions or changes. Evenings, weekends, and holidays, we have a local Field Manager, available, for any changes or emergency needs. Additionally, we have a real-time scheduling system, available 24 hours’ a day, for your convenience to add, cancel, or change any reservations. Our clients love the flexibility of having access to their information when they need it but the ability to always have a manager, locally, that can oversee any situation.

How do I know my care instructions are being followed?

The care teams communicate directly with each other, and the office, on the day-to-day care instructions. Our real-time scheduling system provides all instructions to only the sitters caring for your pets. Additionally, our local Field Managers provide on-site quality checks to ensure your care instructions are being followed, all pets are properly cared for, and that any issues are being addressed.

Billing, Scheduling, and Payments

How does payment and billing work?
  • All billing is performed weekly, usually the Sunday/Monday prior to services being performed
  • We accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover
What is included in the registration fee of $29?
  • Processing client paperwork and set up in our scheduling system
  • Bar coding house keys
  • Phone consultation to discuss care instructions, schedule, and visit specifics
  • Face-to-face consultation with the Field Manager for your area
  • Any needed follow-up meetings between Field Manager and sitters
What are the holidays or holiday periods?

MLK Day, President’s Day, Easter Day only, Memorial Day Weekend (Friday through Monday), 4th of July Day or Weekend (depending on where it falls that year), Labor Day Weekend (Friday through Monday), Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Weekend (Beginning Wednesday), Christmas and New Years’ Holiday – December 21st – January 2nd

Adding or Canceling Visits

What is your cancellation period for pet sitting?

We respectfully request two weeks’ notice cancellation for pet sitting and one month’s notice cancellation for overnight care.

Why you ask? It’s simple. We ask the sitters to be available to work. These visits are their income and typically, this is their only job. In addition, we have a limited number of staff that can perform pet sitting and overnight care. We need enough time to rebook them for other work. We routinely have to turn down overnight care, to new and existing clients, as the overnight care is a large part of our business.

What is your cancellation period for mid-day dog walking?

We respectfully request one business days’ notice for cancellation of mid-day dog walking appointments.

Our sitters plan and commit their time like they would for any other job. Typically, this is our sitters’ only job and they count on this income. Because we make this commitment to our employees, we find we are able to hire and retain a more qualified, dedicated, and capable employee.

When do I need to let you know about adding a mid-day walk to the schedule?

A significant number of our clients are on a recurring schedule for mid-day walks. We can accommodate schedules that change weekly, but we ask for your flexibility on time windows. Typically, these clients are on a weekly reminder list and book the week prior to services. We can add visits, after that time, but because our regular clients will already have visits scheduled, we cannot guarantee availability on time windows.

Key Management System

How many keys do you need?

We require two properly working keys for all new clients. One key is provided to the sitter that is performing the visit. One key remains in the office in cases of unexpected absence or sitter emergency. This is a routine policy that the majority of professional pet sitting companies adhere to.

How does your key system work?

We bar code keys and they are managed by the office. Keys are distributed for use and inventoried on a regular schedule. When a sitter is no longer performing visits for you, we retain them back at the office. The keys remain with the office, until you are no longer a client with Tails on Trails, LLC.

What if I want my keys back, after our trip?

At that time, we have four options for the disposition of your keys:

  • A sitter/Field Manager can drop them at your home, during mid-day hours, for the cost of a short visit
  • Certified mail to your home – $20
  • Keys may be picked up at the office at a pre-arranged time – free
  • Keys can be destroyed – free

We do not allow sitters to leave the key at your home, after visits, as we are responsible for the custody of both keys to your home.

Please note that if you will be using us, again, there will be a pick-up fee, each time you travel, and we will need the keys one week prior to your travel dates.

How will you manage the team, for access to my home, during pet sitting reservations?

We use lock boxes to manage vacation reservations. This is an efficient way for us to manage potential changes in staff. We attach the lock box on your day of departure and remove it upon our last visit. We provide a temporary standard lock box, similar to those used for home sales.

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