Text or Call

(703) 951-7387

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Mon - Fri 8AM - 8PM

Sat-Sun 10AM - 5PM

E-Mail

pets@loudounpetsitting.com

FAQS/POLICIES

Frequently Asked Questions

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What does “bonded and insured” mean?

Your pets are typically insured through your homeowner’s or renter’s policy. However, once they leave your property with one of our caregivers, our insurance kicks in. Our bond protects your home and property against theft and damage by one of our team members. We also perform a national criminal background check on our team members before they start working for us. It’s very important to hire a dog walker or pet sitter that is bonded and insured to protect you, your pet, and your home.

How will you access my home?

We will pick up two keys (or a garage or door access code, and one key) at our consultation when the paperwork is signed. If you only provide one key and we need to make a copy of it, we will add a $10 charge to your next invoice. Alternatively, we (or you) can provide a lockbox with a code for you to install on your house or property somewhere where our caregivers can access, and you can put a key inside. If a garage or keypad code is provided, we still require a key for backup (kept in the office) in case of power loss or low battery. Your keys are stored securely and labeled with only your pet’s name and an ID number assigned by our system as identifiers.

How do you know that a visit has been completed?

We utilize an online system that all of our sitters access through their smartphones. They can use our GPS check in and out options, which enables us to see when they started and finished a visit and the GPS coordinates they were at when they checked in and out. They can also leave internal notes about the visit that we can refer to, and they can leave notes for you if you have opted to receive post visit reports. They mark the visit as completed which is then date and time stamped so we can see when they completed it. Finally, many clients leave a notepad out for the sitter to use to write short notes about the day’s visit – time arrived, time left, and any factoids about the visit that you might be interested in as a pet parent. Our managers check the system throughout the day to ensure that visits are being completed and follow up as necessary.

How do you bill for services?

For recurring services, you will receive an invoice via email once every 2 weeks for services completed during that period. We do not bill in advance in case there are cancellations, additions, or changes. For vacation services or irregular services, we will bill upon completion of the visits. New vacation clients will be asked to provide payment prior to the first visit for the first vacation, then subsequent vacations will be billed at the conclusion of the trip. There is a link to pay via PayPal on the invoice – a PayPal account is not required to pay with a credit card via PayPal. Credit cards also accepted through our client portal. We also accept and prefer checks, and many clients set us up through their bank’s online bill pay system.

Are gratuities for my walker or sitter expected?

Certainly not. Some clients wish to recognize their walker or sitter, but it is not expected by the caregivers. If you wish to give a tip, you can leave cash for the walker, or you can request that it is added to your next invoice. If you pay online through our client portal, you may opt to leave a tip when you pay your invoice. 100% of the gratuities goes directly to the walker or sitter.

My schedule is inconsistent – can you accommodate that?

Absolutely! If you can set up a consistent schedule (ie, M-Th each week, or MWF weekly), then you can take advantage of discounts for recurring services (a minimum of three visits/week for a minimum of 8 weeks). As a recurring client, you will enjoy the consistency of having a primary pet caregiver assigned to most of your schedule, have the ability to cancel at no charge by 8am the day of a visit, and you can add walks as your schedule dictates.

If you are not able to set up a regular schedule, or just don’t need visits that frequently, we would set you up in our system and gather keys, and do introductions with sitters as needed. Then you will be able to book walks as needed at our regular rates.  Once you are signed up as a client, we will work with you to provide services that meet your schedule. We prefer at least a day’s notice to add a visit – the shorter the notice is, the harder it might be to get your preferred walker on the schedule.

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How long do you visit my pet?

We offer visits ranging from 15 minutes (in limited area) to an hour or longer. Regardless of the length of the visit, the time is measured “door to door,” meaning the clock starts when the sitter enters your home and ends when they leave your home. This means if you book a 30 minute dog walk, your dog is not being walked for the entire 30 minutes – it may take a few minutes to greet your dog and get his harness and leash on prior to the walk, then upon returning it may take a few minutes to get the harness off, throw away the poop bags, freshen the water and give a treat.

Do you charge extra for more than one pet?

It depends on the services needed. In general, our rates include 3 pets, but each household is evaluated based on what you need. Multiple dogs that need to be walked separately is entirely different from a house with 1 dog and 1 cat. We will discuss your household’s pets, their needs and your goals for the visit and provide a rate based on that information.

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How many different people will be coming into my home?

For regular midday walk clients, we pair your pet(s) with a primary walker/sitter and one or two backup walkers or sitters depending on the frequency of your visits. Ideally your pet will have the same caregiver every day, but occasionally a backup person is needed. All caregivers are screened, pass a background check, and are bonded and insured. If necessary, depending on your pet, they will have met your pet before entering your home alone.

For vacation schedules, the number of sitters entering your home will depend on the number of visits each day, the time of day of those visits, and the length of your vacation schedule. We try to limit the number of sitters over a vacation schedule to 2 or 3, and will be happy to let you know who is booked for the vacation once we finalize the schedule.

For ad hoc visits, weekend visits, or those booked with very short notice, we will strive to have sitters who know your pets do the visits whenever possible.

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Do you come at an exact time to care for my pets?

We schedule all visits within a 2-3 hour time window to allow the caregivers time to see all of their clients and to plan their most efficient route to account for travel time and traffic. Exceptions to this window are made for puppies and elderly/sick dogs who might need a more frequent daily schedule in which case we book visits within a one-hour window.

Do you offer boarding services?

While we do not offer any type of kennel boarding, a few of our sitters will take dogs into their homes. If your dog is well socialized with other dogs and cats, is completely house trained, not destructive, and likes an adventure, this option may be perfect for him or her. Availability is very limited, and we recommend booking this well in advance.

Most of our pet sitting takes place in your home, which is much less stressful on your pets. If you need care over a vacation, we do offer overnight stays (12 hours) and/or can perform multiple visits during the day. Many clients who travel take advantage of 3-4 visits per day to ensure their pets are fed and get their time outside. We can schedule early morning and late evening visits with a small surcharge. We will work with you to design a visit schedule that works best for your pets.

Do you have any breed restrictions?

No! We love all breeds and are happy to help to take care of them. However, regardless of the breed, your dog must be well behaved on and off leash, willing to walk on leash, be good with new people, and not have a history of biting people or other dogs. We understand that many dogs may have some form of leash aggression, even if very mild, and will keep your dog away from any other dogs, people or animals while they are being walked. You can discuss with us your dog’s needs and behavioral issues and we may be able to accommodate.

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Do you take care of cats?

Yes! Many of our caregivers are cat people (along with being dog people) and are happy to provide care for your kitties. Our sitters will be happy to sit, cuddle and play with your cat (if your cat would like!) during a visit, along with feeding, filling water bowls, and cleaning litter pans. Learn more in our Cat Sitting section.

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What kind of barn/farm care do you provide?

Most of the barn care we provide centers around horses in home barns of up to six horses; we generally are not able to serve larger commercial operations. Our basic barn care includes turn in/turn out, feeding and preparing grain, administering oral medications or supplements at owners’ direction, blanketing in winter, fly sheets/masks/spray in the summer, checking feet for shoes, and picking hooves (if horses are well behaved). Barn cat care is included with any horse care service. We can also clean and set stalls for an additional charge, which includes picking/cleaning, fresh bedding as needed, cleaning and filling water buckets, and fresh hay. We can provide basic grooming services, but we do not provide any services that involve exercising or training the horses such as riding or lunging; and we ask that your horses already have good ground manners if you want us to lead them in or out or work around them in their stalls.  We have also provided care for chickens, ducks, turkeys, peacocks, goats, sheep, the occasional pig, and koi pond fish. Talk to us about care for any other animals you may have on your farm, and review our Horse/Farm Services information. 

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What are your cancelation policies and fees?

We do understand that schedules change, people get sick, and weather can interrupt the best-laid plans for a getaway trip. Our cancellation policies differ for regularly scheduled midday walks, ad hoc services and vacation services and are in place to ensure that your service requests can be accommodated and that our sitters are fairly compensated.

Regularly scheduled midday walks can be canceled by 8am the day of the walk at no charge. After 8am, the sitters have solidified their schedules for the day and are already out and about making their rounds.

Ad hoc services canceled within 24 hours of the services will be charged full price. We often will juggle other services around to ensure that we can fulfill ad hoc requests.

Vacation schedules canceled more than a week from the first visit are canceled at no charge. Vacation schedules canceled less that 48 hours from the first visit are charged for the first 24 hours, and schedules canceled less than 24 hours from the first visit are charged for the first 48 hours. Especially for extended vacations, weekends and overnight schedules, our sitters change their schedules around to ensure that they can complete all the early morning and late night visits, and will turn down other work that conflicts with a vacation, so a cancellation fee is applied.

Our cancellation fees are listed on the Fees page. Our cancellation policies are listed on the Policies section of this page.

Policies

BOOKING POLICIES

Booking requests can be made via the client portal, text or email and should be made well before the first visits are needed.  Late booking fees generally don’t apply to clients with regularly scheduled midday walks. Late booking fees may be applied as follows:

  • Last minute/same day request for ad hoc walk or vacation care to start that day: plus 10% of entire schedule
  • Last minute/emergency request for ad hoc walk or vacation care to start within 4 hours: plus 25% of entire schedule

CANCELLATION POLICIES

Cancellations for regularly scheduled daily walks/visits:

  • Cancellation received before 8 am the day of the service: no charge
  • Cancellation received after 8 am the day of the service: full price for the service

Cancellations for ad hoc/as needed services

  • Cancellation received more than 24 hours before service, no charge
  • Cancellation received less than 24 hours before service, full price for service
  • Ad hoc visits booked, confirmed and canceled on the same day will be charged full price.

Cancellations for vacation/travel schedules:

A vacation or travel schedule is considered to be any schedule that encompasses an overnight visit or late night plus early morning care due to the client being away from home.

  • Cancellation received more than 1 week prior to first visit: $25 booking fee
  • Cancellation received within 1 week to 48 hours of first visit: Full price of first 24 hours of original vacation or service schedule
  • Cancellation received less than 48 from start of service: Full price for the first 48 hours of the original schedule

    FREQUENCY DISCOUNT

    In order to qualify for our best pricing options, regularly scheduled midday walks must be scheduled for a minimum of three days a week for at least 8 consecutive weeks. If a regular schedule is canceled frequently enough that the average of walks for a four week period of time is 2 walks/week or less,  pricing will revert to the higher level of pricing for the next walks.

    INVOICING AND PAYMENT

    First time clients booking a vacation will be asked to pay in advance of the start of the vacation. Subsequent vacations are billed after they are completed.

    Midday walk clients are billed every two weeks.

    Ad hoc clients are billed after services are completed.

    All invoices are due upon receipt. Invoices unpaid after 30 days will have a $25 late fee added to the invoice and ALL FUTURE SERVICES, including regularly scheduled dog walks, WILL BE STOPPED until payment is received. Invoices remaining unpaid will have an additional service charge added each month until full payment is received.  Services may be reinstated once payment is made. Invoices remaining unpaid after six months will be sent to collections.

    KEYS

    Two keys are needed from a client or a garage code or keypad code plus one key. A lockbox may be provided for regularly scheduled midday services or vacation care to ensure a key remains at the client’s home.

    Keys are labeled with a system generated number and pet’s name only; no last names or addresses are used on key tags to ensure security if a key is misplaced.

    Keys will be kept in the company office or destroyed at the conclusion of a service. Keys can be returned to the client for a $10 charge. Company provided lockboxes will be picked up at the conclusion of the service; if the client wishes to purchase the lockbox they can be purchased for $13.

    If a separate trip is needed to pick up additional keys from the client, there will be an additional $5 pick up fee OR the company can make a copy of the key at the owner’s request for $5.

    INCLEMENT WEATHER

    In the event of inclement weather, The Loudoun Pet Sitting Company will not automatically cancel regularly scheduled visits. If schools are canceled or the federal government is closed, we ask that clients proactively cancel for the day and we will also reach out to clients that we haven’t heard from to confirm the walk is canceled. We want to be absolutely sure that someone is home with the pets.

    Our walkers will do their best to safely access clients’ homes during inclement weather. If road conditions become too dangerous and/or local officials advise against road travel, we will contact all impacted clients.

    If an inclement weather situation occurs or is expected to occur during a vacation schedule, we will make plans with clients’ input prior to the start of the vacation. Options may include arranging for a neighbor to access the house if we are unable to get to the house, taking dogs to a boarding kennel or sitter’s home if space available, setting up additional supplies for cats or horses. Regardless, we will do our best to get the client’s home as soon as possible to ensure the welfare of the animals.

    During the winter, clients are asked to keep the access to the house clear of snow and ice to include driveway, front walkway, and any steps/porch and to use and provide pet safe salt and a shovel for the pet sitter to use as needed. Even if the roads are clear, if the sitter cannot safely access the house, we may not be able to perform the service.

    During extreme weather conditions (excessive heat or cold, high winds, heavy rain/thunderstorm or heavy snow), dog walkers and pet sitters will use their judgement to evaluate the pets’ comfort and may reduce the length of the walk/outside time to ensure the pet is able to get the outside time they need, and may either reduce the length of the visit or spend the rest of the visit inside the house giving attention or having playtime.