Having said all that, I've noticed an unfortunate trend. First let me give you some context: Most pet sitters do not like doing Overnights and Live-Ins. The reasons are varied, but there are some common themes; that being that time is taken away from their own families and homes (especially difficult at holiday times); all chores are put on hold and their own animals get less time from them. Personally, I have changed my OWN vacation dates countless times to accommodate requests. Not to mention that it takes special attention to detail by sitters to fit in the short-visits that other clients book at the same time that the Overnights and Live-Ins are booked.
As a result many pet sitters do not do them, or rather than just coming out and refusing the job...they will charge an extraordinary amount for the service....thinking all along that there will be no takers.
In the last 2 years or so the pet sitters who used to do Overnights and Live-Ins in spite of all these challenges are no longer doing them. Many pet sitters have retired...indeed those folks who pioneered this type of service in the 1980s are now in their 60s and 70s. Many have taken other jobs as a result of the recent economic crash, and others have simply moved away. Still others are just tired of the treatment by some clients that I will explain about shortly.
As a result of this pet sitter shortage I am seeing an uptick in people contacting me and inquiring about Overnight and Live-In service. At the same time established clients are booking that service sooner and sooner in advance. As much as six months in advance in many cases. You see they know they have to get their requests early to get me.
But, since I am a one-woman show that means that I am turning away anyone who inquires about the dates that are already booked...after all I am one person and can't sleep at more than one person's home at a time. Also, these bookings are more often than not made at the peak times for traveling, which are holidays and summer. Which means if someone has booked a Christmas Live-In in July....I am turning people away for SIX months! So when that service is then cancelled even a few weeks before the scheduled sit...I am out that money, as everyone who I turned away has already made other accommodations.
In conclusion; the very reason that clients chose me as their pet sitter...has turned out to be a double-edged sword for me.
As a result I am forced to create a no-exceptions policy regarding Overnights and Live-Ins. That whenever that service is booked, and please be sure about your choice, as now it must be paid for in its entirety at the time of booking....and there is NO refund. And this is even if...and especially if you cancel.
You know when I started pet sitting professionally in 1992, I had one page for client information...just one. Now I've got five. They are full of disclaimers, policies, and a lot of bold capitol letters. I have always been fair and professional in my business practices, and I have a lot of business experience, so it's not paranoia or passive-aggressiveness that has caused this red tape procedure.
I'll just leave you with that thought.