Interview with Kimberly: Owner of FurBabies Home Pet Care, LLC
A few questions answered for you, and a few more that maybe you haven’t thought of…
Why should a pet owner use a pet sitting service?
There are many benefits to keeping your fuzzy-faced, loved ones at home. Many vets believe keeping pets in their own environment keeps stress level to a minimum for their overall wellbeing. Pets are able to stay on their own routine, maintain their own diet, and have one on one attention from their sitters. Not to mention it minimizes the risk of exposure to sick animals and the trauma from transportation.
What services do you offer?
FurBabies Home Pet Care provides in-home pet care. We provide pet sitting, dog walking, and overnight stay service to our clients 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We have established a stellar reputation in this industry because our passion for pets is genuine. We prioritize the health and happiness of all of our “clients,” as well as the owners that love them.
Our sitters travel to the client’s home when they need us the most. Whether this is due to long days at work, holiday travels, working from home but not enough time to walk the dog, medical reasons, the list goes on. You name it, we are there.
We have customized options so our clients can choose the best time frame and duration of the visits based on their pet’s needs. We can also bring in the mail and packages, water plants, adjust lights/blinds - to give that ‘lived in look’.
How does someone become a new client?
The first step is to contact us to confirm availability and discuss your pet and home needs. If we feel we are a great fit for each other we have a very simple registration process that will be explained to them.
Do you board animals or bring them into your home?
Occasional situations arise when Fido & Fluffy are not happy at home and they need special attention. FurBabies understands keeping a pet at home doesn’t always work best for the pet. Noisy, chaotic facilities aren’t the answer either. Private Boarding is offered in my DeBary home on a limited basis. However, we do have pet care providers who can remain at the client’s home. This is our overnight/house sitting service, which is VERY popular, and it’s what I use for my pups when I travel.
What time do the sitters make their rounds and how long do they stay?
Our sitters can visit their clients’ homes up to 4 times per day.
Morning time slot is between 7 - 9 AM
Mid-Day time slot is between 10 - 3 PM
Dinner time slot is between 4 - 6 PM
Bedtime time slot is between 7:30 – 9:30 PM
No longer than 12 hours ever goes in between visits. For example, if your dog is visited at 8pm, the sitter would arrive at your home no later than 8am the following morning.
For traveling clients we offer 20-minute, 30-minute, 45-minute and 60-minute visits. The client chooses the duration of the visits and can mix and match to design the best plan for his or her pet. 15-minute visits are available for drop-in visits for selected families.
For Mid-day Clients (Monday - Friday, 10am - 3pm) we offer 20-minute, 30-minute visits. Due to the Florida heat we can offer 15 minutes to selected families and senior dogs. Contact us about our Puppy Visit Program!
What is the purpose of the Registration Meeting? What can I expect?
We require an in-home Registration Meeting so you have the opportunity to meet with your new pet care providers. This gives us time to meet you, your pets and to review any information necessary so we may provide the best care for your pets and home. Consultations will last about 20-30 minutes. You will be provided via email our forms to complete before the consultation. We do NOT provide service until all forms are filled out and this meeting has taken place.
There is a $25 fee for the registration meeting. This fee covers administrative costs related to their account creation, as well as the sitters’ time.
So, after a client has completed their registration meeting can they schedule service anytime?
Absolutely! All clients are provided with unique login information to their secured FurBabies account. From their portal they are able to schedule service, view/pay their invoices, update their billing information, chat with their sitters and sooo much more. It’s a handy little tool at your fingertips! All scheduling requests are confirmed during our regular business hours, which are 9AM-4PM, Monday through Friday.
So what are your hours of operation?
Our office hours are from 9AM to 5PM, Monday thru Friday. During the work week we aim to respond to each message within a couple of hours. Any requests submitted after 4PM, Monday thru Friday, will be processed the next business day. We can be reached at 407-489-9418 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet sitting starts at 7am. 365 days a year!
Can I make last minute reservations?
We understand that emergencies can happen – we are here to help you when you need it most, even at the last minute. However, we can’t guarantee a sitter is available and do not assume that we have received your last minute request until you have received a confirmation/invoice via e-mail. A $10 fee will apply to reservations made with less than 24 hour notice. Reservation requests that are submitted over a weekend for Monday service will be charged the Late Booking Fee.
Existing client messages are monitored throughout the weekend for emergencies only.
What is the FurBabies Cancellation Policy?
Since I understand what it’s like to have a busy and ever-changing schedule, I have implemented an extremely flexible cancelation policy:
- Mid Day Dog Walks (for those that use us on a weekly, continuous basis): 24 hours notice
- Pet Sitting and Kitty & Small Animal Care: 48 hours notice
- Overnight Care & Private Boarding: 7 days notice
What types of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, Master Card and Discover Card.
So, you don’t accept checks? Can the client leave cash?
No, we do not accept checks. Payments can be made through your secured portal. Payment is due prior to the start of service. Clients may leave a cash gratuity for their sitters if they wish, 100% goes to their sitters.
Is there an extra cost for service over a holiday?
Yes. Sitters are taking time away from their family and friends to care for their fuzzy-faced clients. There is a $5 Holiday Fee added to each visit. This fee goes directly to the sitter. We consider the following as our major holidays: New Years Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas Eve Day, and New Years Eve.
Pet Care Questions
What happens if the primary sitters are not available for a pet sitting request?
We attend the Registration Meeting as a team of two, just in case someone may not be available. However, our sitter roster is chock-full of excellent pet care providers that would love to care for a client’s pet if their primary sitters are unavailable. Since we have all of the client’s pet care information in our secure database it’s really not necessary for the client to meet with an alternate sitter, however; if the client feels more comfortable with having a meeting with the alternate sitter, we are more than happy to schedule a “Pre-Departure Meeting.” The cost of this meeting is $15, which covers the sitter’s time and expense for driving over to the client’s home.
Do you administer medication?
We will administer basic oral medications to willing cats and dogs during our visit while you are away. We will always discuss your pets medical history to ensure we are able to provide assistance when needed.
Will I be able to personalize the care for my pet?
Of course! This is one of the best defining features of FurBabies Home Pet Care. We have state of the art software that is very user friendly for our clients to make updates when needed. We follow your instructions exactly to guarantee your peace of mind while away. If your pet needs anything special at all, simply let us know and we'll be sure to carry it out.
What happens if the pet becomes ill while in your care?
We are always in communication with our clients whether they are at work or play. If we suspect something is wrong/off with your fur baby we will bring it to your attention. If the client believes this is a reason for a vet visit then we will provide transportation and stay with the pet. In the event we cannot reach the client or the emergency contact, we will decide if the veterinarian should see your pet for treatment. You will be billed for any extra time we spend for these services.
Would it be okay to have a friend stop by to see the animals and check mail?
We do not permit 'shared visits' with third party, be it a friend, or even a relative. It's not that we don't like your friends, but we are professionals and we take what we do very seriously. Someone else coming in at times when we aren't there compromises our ability to properly care for your pet. And if someone slips out the door, or something is broken or missing, the question of who is at fault comes to play. Simply put, these are risks we do not wish to take.
About FurBabies Home Pet Care
Kimberly, how did you get started in the pet sitting industry?
Well, in a nutshell, it chose me! After I left Blockbuster I spent years waddling around, not knowing where I was to fit. Fast forward, I found myself unemployed, caring for 2 separate neighbors’ pets when everything just kinda clicked - I just knew in my heart. I ran upstairs (we were living in the condo at the time) and started researching on the internet what I needed to do to start my own pet sitting company. A couple weeks later FurBabies Home Pet Care was born. It took me a few months to realize this was God’s plan all along. Each corporate management job I had, all my childhood experiences lead me to form FurBabies in 2015. To have a business that is thriving has been incredible. I’ve been able to give peace of mind to my clients and put some extra money in my sitters’ pockets.
What does it mean that you’re Bonded & Insured?
FurBabies Home Pet Care is fully bonded and insured through Pet Sitters Associates LLC. We are also a proud member of Pet Sitters International, the largest governing organization in the pet sitting industry, we are required to abide by the highest of standards. What it means to all of our clients is peace of mind. We take responsibility for your pets and possessions when you put them in our care. That means that your property and your pets are fully covered, should anything occur while in our care. Having these policies in place shows a level of professionalism and commitment that you can trust.
What type of clients do you work with?
Our clients may travel for work, or they’re away for long periods of time due to work or they could be taking a well-deserved vacation. We bring peace of mind to residences of Lake Mary and surrounding areas: Sanford, Heathrow, Markham Woods, Sabal Palms areas and Longwood east of I-4.
How are you different from other pet sitting services?
I have put my heart and soul into creating an extraordinary pet care service that truly provides pet owners with peace of mind that their pets and their homes are being well-cared for in their absence. I created The FurBabies Peace of Mind Blueprint to ensure that every one of our clients receives the BEST possible service and overall experience. Each step in our Blueprint is what sets us apart.
The 10 steps are:
- Reasonable and Competitive Rates
- Customized Services
- First Rate Staff
- Experience and Educational Development
- Technology and Convenience
- Unsurpassed Personal Service with Outstanding Education
- Follow Up
- Genuine Love of Animals
All sitters working with FurBabies Home Pet Care sign and abide by our Code of Ethics.
How do you keep track of all your clients’ keys?
The only client keys that we keep are for those that use FurBabies on a continuous, weekly basis. Otherwise, the keys remain in control of the owner. I strongly believe in this and I think it is the safest option.
If you don’t hold on to the clients’ key, how do you gain access into the home?
Many FurBabies clients like their pet care provider to use the front door keyless entry or garage door codes since their pets are used to them entering the home this way. We close the garage door before opening the main door to the house to be sure we don't have any escapees. A hidden key as backup is required to stay outside in case of a power outage (afterall we live in Florida).
We have a few options for key exchange. My personal favorite is using a lockbox. It makes it so easy and is super safe! As I mentioned before, the key remains in control of the client.
If the lockbox isn't a good fit for them, they can also leave a key hidden in a predetermined location or schedule the key pick-up and drop-off service, which is $14 each way.
Most importantly, what kind of results can people expect when working with FurBabies Home Pet Care?
I sound like a broken record, but the greatest result is peace of mind. Our clients can travel, work or leave their homes for whatever reason, guilt-free because they know that their pets and their homes are in the best possible hands. Their pets are going to receive top-notch care; they’re going to be relaxed, comfortable, well exercised, and doted upon. Their houses are going to be safeguarded and kept tidy and neat. They are going to have happy and healthy pets to return home to. See what others have to say about FurBabies.
So you’re happy with the company that you’ve created?
It’s been an amazing journey!! I’m excited for where we are going, for what we have done; the smiles we’ve put on the human faces, the wiggle butts we’ve seen, the purrs we’ve heard. Seeing how FurBabies Home Pet Care has grown since 2015 has been remarkable! I love it! I love every minute of it!
When I worked at Blockbuster for all those years I said I have the best job ever, I talked ‘movies’ all day. Now, as the business owner of FurBabies I get to talk ‘pets’ all day AND I have the greatest clients anyone could ask for…pet lovers! You can’t beat it.