Frequently Asked

Questions

Pet Sitting

Questions

How are you different from other pet sitting services?

We strive to be the best, high-end pet service provider across Arizona.

  • We are multi award-winning, year on year since 2013 through community-voted Best of Mesa Awards for Best Pet Services and Best Home Services
  • We are A+ BBB service provider (Better Business Bureau)
  • We have multiple 5 star reviews on Yelp
  • We have multiple 5 star reviews on Google
  • We have multiple 5 star reviews on our website
  • Although we may start marketing soon, we have got to where we are through word of mouth referrals and repeat business
  • We do not charge out clients hidden fees such as Late Notice Request fees or Cancelation Fees like all other pet sitting providers
  • We answer our phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365(366) days a year
  • No quibble, money- back satisfaction guarantee if we do not address your concerns to your liking

Please try us once, you will not be disappointed.

What areas do your team of pet sitters cover?

We have pet sitters who can cover the East Valley, from Tempe through Mesa and into Apache Junction. We have pet sitters in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale down to Queen Creek, including Gilbert and Chandler. Some sitters are able to cover the East side of Phoenix too.

In the West Valley we currently have pet sitters in Surprise and the surrounding areas.

Contact us if your area is not listed and we will see what we can do for you. We are expanding all the time; it is our aim to one day offer a full service from East to West Valley and cover the whole of Phoenix too.

Should I tip our Pet Sitter?

If you are happy with the service, then yes. It is a service industry and the owners believe that tips should, if at all possible, be awarded to the team. Our sitters keep 100% of the tips and you can add a tip on to the invoice when you pay as an option comes up with how much you would like to add on for your Pet Sitter.

Do I need to give the pet sitter a key to get in to my house?

Yes, your pet sitter will need a key. We actually ask for two so that the office can hold one in the case of an emergency. If your pet sitter cannot make it for any reason (car breakdown, illness, emergency at previous visit) then Liza or Tony can cover the sit. We may also give one of the keys to your secondary sitter should we have to share your schedule.

If you have a keyless, coded lock then please let us know this at the Meet & Greet, if you can set us up our our code then all the better.

Some clients have ‘babysitter’ access codes for their alarm systems and give us those which is fine too.

Please also refer to Why Do You Charge A Ket Collection and Key Return Fee section which explains why we need to charge these fees.

It is important to make sure the keys and codes are tested a number of times, especially if the keys are particularly old and also if they are brand new. We do not want to turn up to your house on the first visit and then realize they do not work!

Can I have a friend or neighbor pop by to help cover some of the schedule?

We much prefer to have complete responsibility for your home and pet whilst you are away. By inviting another person in to your home to share this can cause problems as we do not know who they are, if they are actually turning up and if they may do something which could cause danger to your pet eg leave a door or window open, fail to give medication, leave something out on the floor your dog finds and chews causing illness or injury.

We then have to potentially come in and deal with issues caused.

Then there are the legal concerns around liability. If your pet was injured or ill whilst you are way then you may not be able to point at specifically what caused it and it would be unfair for us to get embroiled in this argument when it is more likely that a professional Pet Sitter is at fault rather than a friend filling in the gaps for you.

If you insist in sharing the schedule then we respectfully as you to compete our Shared Pet Care Liability Release Form, and provide the name, all the contact details, and the time & dates of other visits so that we can liaise with them directly should the need arise.

What is your minimum service level for cats?

Our policy is that we will only accept cat only visits with a maximum of 24 hours between visits. We believe that no pet should go longer than this without human contact.
Some clients ask for a visit every two days, will will reject your request so please don’t ask. We are concerned that if the a/c failed for example just as we left after one visit, 24 hrs is the maximum we want to leave them. We feel 48 hrs is simply too much time not to check something hasn’t gone wrong or your pet hasn’t fallen ill and is in need of emergency care.

How much notice do I have to give to avoid fees?

As much notice as possible please although we do not charge more for late notice requests like most other pet sitters (ALWAYS ask what hidden fees they have – we don’t have any). It is not unusual for our sitters to have schedules in place 6-7 months ahead, especially through busy periods such as holiday dates so we recommend giving us your dates as soon as you know them, even if they are a year or more ahead so we can get them and ensure the service is confirmed for you, even if we work on you request nearer the time to secure your preferred or secondary sitter.

Don’t forget, new clients must activate and complete their Time To Pet profile and also allow time for a Meet & Greet prior to your schedule starting. This gives you a change to meet the sitter, confirm everything that you have entered on Time to Pet (see “What is Time to Pet?”), and give your sitter and pets a chance to meet each other.

How do I request a schedule?

FOR NEW CLIENTS

  • Make contact with us through either calling 480.553.0105, email or online chat
  • We will talk to you about your requirements and address any questions or concerns you may have
  • We will send you an Activation Email for our pet sitting software, Time To Pet
  • You activate your profile and complete all the relevant information for you and your pet(s)
  • You submit a schedule through Time to Pet – any questions, just give us a call or send us a message directly through the Time to Pet app
  • We confirm you schedule via email and work on finding you a wonderful, award-winning pet sitter.
  • We send you a message through Time to Pet to advise you who your pet sitter is
  • Your pet sitter will then contact you directly, through Time to Pet, to organize a time and date for your FREE Meet & Greet
  • Once confirmed, we will send you your invoice. We do not ask for any payment until 7 days before the start of your schedule

FOR EXISTING CLIENTS

  • Log in to Time to Pet through our website and submit a schedule request
  • We will send you an email to confirm the times and dates are correct
  • We will hopefully be able to assign your Primary Sitter
  • We will send you an invoice to confirm your schedule will be honored and that your Primary Sitter can make all the visits for you.

See “What if my Primary Sitter isn’t available for some or all of my schedule?”

  • If we can’t we will assign your secondary sitter (if you have one from a previous schedule)
  • If we cannot assign your primary sitter, secondary sitter, or you do not have a secondary sitter, we will advise you that we will need to introduce you to another fantastic, award-winning sitter
Any issues if I live in a secure building or complex?

We have many clients who live in apartments or complexes where entry isn’t as easy. Just do what you can to make the visit as smooth as possible for us. We understand that you may not have a second key, or that we have to speak reception or at the front gate to gain access.

Mention this on your first contact with us and make sure you bring it up during the Meet & Greet too. We will work with you to ensure nothing goes wrong when we take responsibility for your home and your pet(s)

What if my Primary Sitter isn't available for some or all of my schedule?

We strive to ensure that you and your pet(s) always get the same sitter every time. This is so much better for you as the client, the sitter is familiar with your requests from previous experience and, most importantly, your pet will soon recognize your sitter and instantly be calmer and more relaxed / less stressed than having another stranger in their house.

However, this is not always possible. If we only had one or two sitters this would mean we couldn’t honor your schedule. As we have a team of Pet Sitters we can solve this problem for you. We will select another sitter in your area and they will reach out to complete a FREE Meet & Greet so you and your pet(s) can meet them as well. This Secondary Sitter will now be used in the future when your Primary Sitter is not available, to fill in visits from a single visit to a whole schedule.

We have a large team of sitters who can fill in, often at short notice. We also have Liza and Tony in the office who add further resilience as they can take the office key and fill in at very short notice. That is how we can guarantee we will complete your visits.

If you find yourself having to leave home at short notice, such as business travel or a job that keeps you away for any reason, or a poorly family member you may have to visit last minute, we can meet your needs either on one occasion to on a regular basis.

Always check to see how many levels of resilience other pet sitting service providers have, if any at all. Unlike others, we can give you total peace of mind.

Will I have the same sitter visiting my pet(s)?

See “What if my Primary Sitter isn’t available for some or all of my schedule?”

How can I trust the pet sitters you put in to my home to look after my pet(s)?

We are continuously looking for new sitters to join our team, both to grow in to new territories and also to offer resilience to the existing team as demand for our services grow through repeat bookings and referrals.

We advertise on a number of websites and have an advert for new sitters on our website.

Typically we go through 75 resumes before we offer an interview, and we only take on average one new sitter after 3-5 interviews.

We look for trustworthy, friendly animal-lovers who have some experience in the animal / pet care industries. They represent us in your home, and we serve you with the highest level of integrity – something our pet sitters believe in too.

We have an award-winning team of pet sitters who have won multiple Best of Mesa of awards, year on year, from the East Valley Tribune. This is a community-voted award. We do not add to the team lightly. We believe we are the bets service provider across Arizona so we only work with the best pet sitters.

Of course they are also background checked, they carry insurance and they are fully bonded.

Tony and Liza, the owners of Critter Caretakers, are immensely proud to work with every pet sitter we place in client’s homes. They are ex-police officers having served a combined 45 years with the Metropolitan Police Service in London, England. They take their responsibility incredibly seriously and expect only the highest levels of trust and service from their team.

How can I be sure your Pet Sitters are turning up?

First of all you can trust Critter Caretakers to get the job done. We have a large and expanding team of sitters across Arizona and we guarantee that for every schedule we commit to, every single sit will be honored.

We are not a small, one-person hobbyist, we are not a 14 year old daughter of a friend, we are a trustworthy business with honest owners who genuinely care and a tea of Pet Sitters who are the best of the best.

We have invested heavy in the best Pet Sitting software available. This is Time to Pet. They provide us with the technology to not only record the time your Pet Sitter arrives and leaves, but it also captures their location to. Whist we rarely check up on our Pet Sitters, this information is available should you have any concerns that they are not there.

However, when you consider that your Pet Sitter will be communicating with you during and at the end of each visit through a report, photos and a report card, and you have the ability to send messages in real time to both the sitter and the owners, we know that you will be happy that your Pet Sitters are there when they should be completing the highest level of pet services possible.

What happens to my keys?

You Pet Sitter will collect two keys from you at your Meet & Greet. One of them is held by the Pet Sitter for the duration of your schedule whilst the second is held in a locked safe behind a locked door in the office.

The keys are coded and the codes are held on a stand-alone, password projected computer. We do not put your name or address on the key fob. Even if a key was to be mislaid, there is no way the finder would be able to link your key to your address.

If you do not have a schedule coming up, the second key is returned to the office and held with the first unit you book with us again.

My dog has behavioral issues - can you still help us?

We have a great team of experienced Pet Sitters. If you dog has behavioral issues then that doesn’t;t mean we turn our back on you. We understand animals – often a dog which appears aggressive is just frightened. We know that if introduced by you, the owners, then there is a good chance that by working together we can gain the trust of your dog and complete the schedule.

It is important that you discuss any issues and concerns from the initial conversation prior to booking your first schedule. We will work with you and this is only helped by your honesty. We will accept your schedule and assign a Pet Sitter who will still visit you for a Meet & Greet. During this meeting your concerns can be addressed.

It may be a case that your Pet Sitter will suggest a few Additional Consultations so that a bond can form between Pet Sitter and your dog. It is important to build this trust prior to you leaving. You will be charged for the extra sessions at the same rate for a Regular Visit, and you may need to pay for 1-5 sessions baed on your Pet Sitter’s recommendations.

On the first few sessions you Pet Sitter will just spend time with you and your dog. This will show your pet that your Pet Sitter is accepted by you and therefore no threat to him/her. Then we have to work on your Pet Sitter coming in to and out of the house, with the final exercise being your Pet Sitter coming in to your house by themselves, possibly late evening to replicate a visit, but with you outside the house out of sight, but close enough should you need to intervene.

Please bear in mind that the safety of our Pet Sitters is paramount and if they are not completely confident that they have the trust of your dog, or if they feel that there is a risk of injury through attack for any reason, then we cannot honor your schedule. However, with enough work beforehand, there are a number of clients we could get references from to show that we do take the time to get to know their dogs with some incredible results to show for our efforts.

Why do we charge a Key Return / Key Pick Up Fee?

We do have to charge a Key Collection and Key Return fee if we need to send your pet sitter round to specifically collect or return your keys. Our sitters have a right to be paid for their time and that has to be paid for by the client. This isn’t about Critter Caretakers taking the opportunity to add fees on as some Pet Sitters do for Late Notice Requests or Cancellation Fees (we never charge our clients those fees – we only charge if you get a service completed by us).  If you give us your keys at the Free Meet and Greet we do not charge a collection fee. However, if they are not ready or you can only supply one and the sitter has to return for another, we have to charge for it.

If you have a lockbox, you could we could leave you keys securely in it, and of course then you wouldn’t be charged a fee and you would be able to keep your keys if this is your preference.

If you decide you want your keys back after your schedule then we will have to charge for the Key Return Fee. We cannot and do not allow our sitters to leave keys under mats, in flower pots or left in mailboxes. Whilst you are away and we are responsible for the security of your home and the welfare of your pets, please do not ask us to compromise this by giving anyone the opportunity to find your keys and gain access to your home.

We recommend that you allow us to keep your keys in between schedules to avoid these costs. See ‘Where do you keep my keys between schedules”. This also means that if you need an emergency visit possibly due to severe weather, injury through an accident or the need to be somewhere for someone at very short notice, we can react quickly and get round to your home to look after your pets for you.

Can you administer medication and subcutaneous fluid administration (shots)?

Sure, we do charge for each injection as it is an additional service but it is something we can help you with. Please bear in mind that all such requests must be carefully explained in person to your Pet Sitter during a chargeable Additional Consultation.

How does your pricing structure work - do I get charged extra for more pets?

Yes we do charge more for each pet, but it’s not much. Maybe a dollar or two – far less than many competitors and definitely less money than the major Pet Boarding services.

Please give us a call or refer to the PRICE LIST page via the menu at the top of the page for more specific information.

Why don't you offer a boarding service?

We strongly believe that pet sitting in your home is the best option for your pets. Not only does this help to keep your home protected but it has many other advantages too:

  • Your pets are happiest at home
  • No disruption to their routine
  • Our Pet Sitters will give you daily reports and updates
  • You will have 24/7 contact n the phone with the owners, Tony & Liza
  • No risk of disease or injury from other pets
  • No hidden fees for cuddles or treats

Our prices are often competitive with those offered by boarding services, whilst the level of service and attention we give to your pets is so much better. Why would you want your pet to be locked up in small rooms with hundreds of other dogs when they can relax in their own stress-free home and look forward to visits from their favorite Pet Sitter?

What is the Critter Caretaker Satisfaction Guarantee?

We will honor your sit and you will be more then happy with the service we provide. If you raise a concern and your are not totally happy with how we resolve your issues, we will refund your payment for that visit.

I would like to see a reference, do you have any?

If you would like a reference or two from existing clients who have the same type of circumstances that you have then we will gladly approach them and ask. Don’t forget, we have testimonials coming in all the time so it is always worth looking through them first.

How do you find new sitters?

See “How can I trust the pet sitters you put in to my home to look after my pet(s)?”

What forms of payment do you take and how do I pay?

We accept debit and credits cards including American Express. Once we generate your invoice we will email it to you. You can also find all payable invoices in your Time To Pet profile – on this page you will find a Payment button.

You can also store your payment card(s) on Time to Pet – we do not have access to this information, this is securely stored and encrypted on WePay.

You can also send a check to our Phoenix office, look at the top right hand corner of the invoice, or at the bottom of any page on the website for our address.

Please bear in mind all payments are due 7 days prior to the start of your schedule.

I've never used a Pet Sitter - what is the process?

Once you decide to use our services we give yo u login for Time to Pet, the high-end pet sitting software we have invested in.

You then complete your profile in as much detail as possible. This includes your information, emergency contacts, vet details, house sitting tasks you would like us to complete, and lot of information about your pets. The more you tell us and ask us to do, the more we will do for you.

You then get assigned a Pet Sitter and sent an invoice which is payable 7 days prior to the start of your schedule.

You Pet Sitter will reach out directly to arrange a Meet & Greet at which time your Time To Pet profile will be discussed in detail.

During your schedule your Pet Sitter will send you updates whilst they are there and are contactable through the Time To Pet portal or app.

How long do your Pet Sitting visits last?

Regular visits – 30-45 mins
One hour visits – 60 mins
Regular overnights – 8 or 830pm thru 7 or 730am – 11hrs
Workday Overnights – 630pm thru 730am – 13hrs
Workday Overnight Package – Workday overnight plus 20 min midday potty break

What times are your time-slots for visits?

We visit during the following time-slots:

  • Morning – 7am thru 10am
  • Midday – 10am thru 2pm
  • Afternoon – 2pm thru 5pm
  • Evening – 5pm thru 9pm

We can attend earlier than 7am and later than 9pm but these out of hours visits come with an extra fee.

What do your services include?

Critter Caretakers offer a wide range of services but nothing is too much trouble! Have a look at our Services page to find out more.

We use pet siting software called Time to Pet and you will have your own profile created for you and your pets when you request your first schedule. This includes basic care for you pets such as refreshing water, feeding and lots of cuddles and attention, and a range of home sitting services such as mail in, trash out, checking for mail and rotating lights and blinds to give the appearance of someone being at home.

Enter your requests in Time to Pet and these will be discussed in more details during your free Meet & Greet with your Pet Sitter.

Can I trust you if there is some kind of emergency?

This is where exceptional service providers shine – when you rely on us to take care of you pet and / or your home in the case of an emergency. You do not get this confidence when you ask a single pet sitter, or the 14 year old girl from across the street to take charge.

The regular pet sitting services are one thing, doing right when things are going wrong allows us to show you the extraordinary levels of service we provide you.

All of out sitters drive and have the details of emergency contacts, neighbors and your preferred choice of veterinarian should they be needed. If the a/c goes out we will ensure that the animals are moved to a cooler place. Whatever the emergency, our team of sitters are reliable, sensible and conscientious people who will do right by you and go above and beyond for your home and your pets.

The owners Tony and Liza were police officer with the Metropolitan Police in London, England for a combined 45 years. You can trust them in an emergency.

We will also make sure we do our best to contact you wherever you are to inform you of what is going on and to update you with our actions. 

My pet has special needs, can you still honor a schedule for us?

Generally yes, since Liza and Tony purchased Critter Caretakers in Aug 2018 they have never turned a client away for any reason. Call us with your requirements, make sure they are clearly recorded on Time to Pet and discuss them with your Pet Sitter during your free Meet & Greet.

If we have had a Meet & Greet before, but your then get a new pet with special requirements or you existing pet develops some issues, then we will need to book in a chargeable Additional Consultation for you which your Pet Sitter will reach out and organize directly.

Do you clean up after my pet if they potty inside?

Of course, our Pet Sitters are very conscientious and will do their best to clean any accidents your pet may have. If you ave a longer schedule, more than 2 days, then it may be worth considering extra visits as your pet may need more potty breaks than the visiting times allow.

The last thing we want is for your pets to be unable to potty outside, and then be upset that they have potted inside as they may become stressed or anxious if they know this is wrong.

Please ensure you have cleaning products available and update your profile on Time to Pet with their location before your schedule starts.

How would you discipline my pet?

We do not discipline your pet. We do not use anything other than reward and positive reinforcement. If your pet is acting out, potting inside or generally ‘misbehaving’ there are man possible reasons for this which may include missing you, not enough visits or just that they are getting use to a new schedule.

We will communicate with you through our Time to Pet app so we get your thoughts and feelings on any unusual behavior your pets may be displaying, and be guided by your suggestions where necessary.

Can you get my pet to the veterinarian in the case of an emergency?

Yes. If your Pet Sitter feels that this is an immediate necessity then they will make their way to the vet immediately and inform you as soon as they can.

If the issues is less time-sensitive then your Pet Sitter will endeavor to contact you and discuss the options. You Pet Sitter may also reach out to other emergency contact you leave for us as they may know more about your pets previous medical issues.

Please keep Time To Pet accurate in regards of any medical issues to help us help your pet.

There is a section in Time to Pet for you to submit your vet’s details, please keep this up to date to.

This is another consideration when chosing who will care for your pets. Teenagers generally cannot drive and will not know what to do in an emergency. Time can be vital and any time wasted due to inexperience or lack of confidence, or phoning their parents to see if they can intervene could be vital minute lost and could have a real detrimental effect on the long term health of you pet. Always use a professional and respected service for total peace of mind.

If I run out of food for my pet, can you help me?

This usually only happens when you get called away in an emergency or, as a business person your trip is extended due to circumstances beyond your control.

We can go to the store of your choice and purchase this for you but this trip is chargeable, and the invoice must be paid prior to your Pet Sitter completing this task. 

What contact do I have with my Pet Sitter?

Yes, we have invested heavily to ensure we have the best technology available for you and our Pet Sitters. We use Time to Pet, a leading Pet Sitting Software Package. This provides you with a direct messaging service to your sitter(s) as well as a private messaging service which only the owners Liza and Tony can see.

This messaging service is most effective when you download the Time to Pet app on your cell phone.

Of course, you can always contact the office on 480.553.0105 at any time and Liza or Tony will be happy to help in any way they can, including passing urgent messages on to your Pet Sitter.

Remember, at the end of every visit you will receive a report, a number of photos and a report card describing the visits – this is the best time to reach out to your Pet Sitter.

Do I meet our Pet Sitter during the Meet & Greet or a Field Manager?

Of course, this is a very important part of the process.

Always be wary of businesses who have Field Managers who do all the Meet and Greets and don’t let you meet the sitters who will be covering the visits. It is vital that your pets get to meet the sitter with you present to form an initial bond. You have a Primary Sitter and in some cases a secondary sitter. Some firms just send round a manager and then mix and match the sitters you get to suit them.

We put you and your pets central to our scheduling and ensure that the sitter is the same whenever possible so our schedules a built around suiting you, the client, rather than us.

This initial Meet & Greet is free of charge for any new sitters we have to introduce. During the Meet & Greet you will discuss your Time to Pet Profile and get to ask your Pet Sitter any relevant questions – they will ease any concerns you have and give you complete peace of mind that the person in your home looking after your pets is exactly the kind of person you want.

It is also important to see them and your pet interacting. 

My pet prefers females, can I ask for a female Pet Sitter to be assigned to us?

A number of clients ask for lady-only sitters and we do try our very best to provide a female sitter for this reason – it is vital that we do everything we can to make your pet as comfortable as possible when you are not around.
Rarely are we asked for male sitters.

It just so happens that the majority our team are female so chances are you will be assigned a female sitter anyway but in any case do make sure you mention this when you first contact us, and make sure this request is in your Time to Pet profile.

What insurance cover do you have in place?

All of our Pet Sitter must have the following Pet Sitting insurance in place to work for Critter Caretakers which includes commercial general liability coverage:

  • $1,000,000 per occurrence, up to $2,000,000 annually for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, advertising injury, products, and completed operations
  • $100,000 annually for damage to premises rented to you
  • $15,000 per occurrence, up to $30,000 annually for pets lost, stolen, injured, or killed in your care
  • $1,000 per occurrence, up to $5,000 annually for vet expenses regardless of negligence
  • $2,000 annually for lost keys and re-keying of customers homes
  • $5,000 annually for medical expenses

Critter Caretakers use Pet Sitters Associates who offer membership benefits that include pet business insurance administered by RPS Eau Claire and underwritten by an AM Best rated: A (Excellent) Insurance Company.

What is bonding and what cover do you have in place?

Ideally, our sitters always perform ethically and with serious integrity. However, there may be one who breaks company trust, act unethically and steals from one of our clients

Each sitter pays for their own Employee Theft Bond as a condition of their contract with us. Should we put a sitter in your home who steals from you, we can use this bond to instantly replace the item(s) up to a value of $5000.

Clients feel more comfortable using us as we guarantee to protect their money and property during their visit.

We use Tokio Marine HCC  a trusted, leading specialty insurance group with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland, transacting business in approximately 180 countries and underwriting more than 100 classes of specialty insurance.

Do you carry out criminal background checks on your Pet Sitters?

Yes, we carry out a National Criminal Background Check and Sex Offender Check showing felonies, misdemeanors, sex offenses and more at the state and county level. We also obtain results from OFAC, OIG, and terrorist watch-lists.

We use SentryLink to process these checks who, since 2001, have been leaders in provided background checks and employment screening for companies and consumers around the country.

You sound great! How do I get to submit my first schedule with you?
  • Call us on 480.553.0105 (24/7)
  • Through our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram
  • Use the Quick Contact Form on our Home and Contact Us page
  • Use our Online Chat service
So you have some questions for us?

We think we have covered most things here but we will continuously update with more questions as clients ask them, as well as more sections as the number of services we offer increase.

If you do have any other questions or concerns, call us any time on 480.553.0105, via the Contact Form or use the Online Chat below.

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