Do you get taken advantage of after you book stays?

asked 2015-11-30 23:29:04 -0500

I'm wondering if anyone else gets put in these positions by pet owners.. I have all of my services and charges laid out in my profile.. but I find that all too often during the middle of the stay, while the owner is gone they'll add things or request things of me that I normally charge for. In one situation, I was asked to watch a dog. At the very end, the owner asked if I would refill the cats water ONE TIME while she was gone, as she would leave enough food out to last the cat the whole week. I said yes. The next day I arrived at the house to take care of the dog and the owner had left me instructions to prepare food and feed the cat twice a day.. I didn't know what to do because I didn't want the cat to starve. But that was a whole other animal I had to care for for the entire week. The owner was nice at the meet and greet, and I felt confident but as soon as the stay started, she was very demanding and rude about how she wanted me to care for the dog. Then she left me to take care of her cat for free and proceeded to complain about how much she was paying me in the first place. I went out of my way to accommodate her, drove an hour commute each day to fulfill her demands and she left me a 3 star review...

Another time, I agreed to pick up the dogs I was watching, which was a mistake on my part, because I charge for this. But then when the owners came back I told them they needed to come to my house to get their dogs and they went around and around and changed their plans and wasted several hours of me waiting for them to pick up their dogs before they finally said they were not coming, and I had to meet them somewhere.

How do you deal with situations like this and not get bad reviews? I've started asking very specific questions BEFORE the booking as to what services they will require. I have always been kind and accommodating in order to have good customer service and make the owners feel comfortable with me, but I'm tired of getting taken advantage of.

What are your experiences with this sort of stuff?

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I just had the same situation happened with me about a cat

Manon P.'s profile image Manon P.  ( 2016-05-24 15:55:59 -0500 ) edit

I didn't know my client even owned a cat until after the stay was booked

Manon P.'s profile image Manon P.  ( 2016-05-24 15:56:27 -0500 ) edit

Set your demands. Tell them ASAP as soon as they request that you will charge for this service We all have to remember we are the BOSS. We deserve to be paid for all the work we do, because we all know this job isn't a walk in the park.......well kinda..

Patrick H.'s profile image Patrick H.  ( 2017-04-07 10:34:39 -0500 ) edit

The same thing happened to me too! With a few clients. Why does everyone think they can just sneak their cat in there for free? Is the option to add a cat not shown to the client when they are submitting a request? It really should be made clear that they cannot do that. It's not fair.

Amber R.'s profile image Amber R.  ( 2018-05-30 19:44:25 -0500 ) edit

I believe there is an option to modify the services from your end on Rover so you can add additional services

Denise D.'s profile image Denise D.  ( 2019-04-14 16:35:49 -0500 ) edit

8 Answers

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answered 2015-12-01 19:09:42 -0500

I think you've taken some great steps to prevent problems in the future. In addition, if a client asks for additional services during the stay again, I'd reply with something like "I'll be happy to add those services to your stay. The rate is $X. I'll contact Rover to add this to the stay, so keep an eye out for the new invoice so I can fulfill your request promptly after you confirm!"

In the event they ask for extra animal care, remind them that Rover requires all animals in your care to have profiles on Rover and be included in the booking request to ensure they're covered by Rover's insurance. You can stress that it is against their TOS for you to provide care for animals besides those in the booking.

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Exactly! Will be using that too to remind people if its a issue

Cesar M.'s profile image Cesar M.  ( 2018-09-21 21:33:41 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-12-01 13:21:09 -0500

There will always be people who will try to take advantage of you and your services. That's life. But you can take a more proactive approach to your Rover jobs, which starts with getting all the info about the owner's expectations and needs, while communicating how you operate (e.g., adherence to dropoff and pickup times, animals covered, additional charges and when they will be incurred).

At your M&G, the owner should provide you with a clear description of the job: times, dates, number of animals, and number and length of daily visits (if applicable). When you agree to the job, then both parties should have a clear understanding of what it entails. But you have to make sure the client understands that anything outside of what had been discussed/agreed is subject to additional charges at your discretion. For example, late pickups can incur a daycare charge depending on the amount of time. If a customer hasn't paid for dropoff service, then you are under no obligation to provide it without compensation. If the customer will not or cannot pick up their pet,, then Rover's Terms of Service come into play in the section about abandoned pets.

It appears that you are learning how to deal with the situations and a few hints about extra charges usually motivates an owner to stick to the original plan.

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Thanks for the great comments.. What do I do if I add charges for extra services that are required by the owner in the middle of the stay and they don't want to pay? Take it up with rover?

Ashley G.'s profile image Ashley G.  ( 2015-12-01 19:18:11 -0500 ) edit

The billing is through Rover and, if they do not want to pay, then definitely contact Rover.

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2015-12-01 20:18:37 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-12-01 18:33:03 -0500

I would contact Rover for the situation for the extra cat care. Rover gets a cut of it for the additional service. I am sure they will help you contact the owner and make the payment right. We are sitters here, not running a charity.

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That's a good suggestion to have Rover contact re. the additional cat care. Even if for some reason it's not charged, they can help communicate that should have been included in the booking and to consider in the future.

Deb A.'s profile image Deb A.  ( 2015-12-01 19:03:13 -0500 ) edit

Do you think I should do this now ever though it's been a month? Should I just let them know?

Ashley G.'s profile image Ashley G.  ( 2015-12-01 19:18:46 -0500 ) edit

Yes, I'd still let RoverSupport know. Since the stay was over a month ago, I think they'll advise to not pursue collecting additional fees. Certainly, they can tell the owner there would be some next time. If during a stay, Rover extend a stay function, would keep Rover in the circle to collect$.

Deb A.'s profile image Deb A.  ( 2015-12-01 19:33:06 -0500 ) edit

Yes, I would still give them a call. There is still hope and nothing to lose :)

Mandy W.'s profile image Mandy W.  ( 2015-12-01 19:35:03 -0500 ) edit

I am new at this with a successful first stay last weekend. I have learned so many tips, Rover supports, and a learning curve while reading this. I am sorry for this poor experience Ashley, but by bringing this here you are helping fellow sitters not be in the same situation and to know what to do.

Cathy D.'s profile image Cathy D.  ( 2016-05-11 14:07:45 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-06-15 15:56:22 -0500

I'm pretty sure I've lost out on a couple potential Boarding Stays because the Owner could tell I would not be a pushover. That's fine with me. My favorite is when they Book for say a Friday thru a Monday then say "Oh we are leaving very early on Friday. Would you like us to bring the dog Thursday night instead?" As if they are doing me a favor by having me care for their pet an extra night for free. NOPE! You can fit in bringing the dog very early Friday if you don't want to pay for Thursday night. End of story.

Lots more examples but the point is the minute someone asks me to do something outside the original request I politely say "Sure. I'll add that to your Booking Total. No Problem!"

The way I handle the part about someone complaining about how much they are paying is to call a local boarding place and get a quote for the exact dates the complaining client is asking for and then again politely say "Oh, I did some comparison shopping for you. It would be $XX.XX to board your dogs at _____."

Bottom line: Don't take Customer's behavior personally. Rover is a BUSINESS. Crappy cheapskates will take advantage of good people whenever they can by doing exactly what that Owner did in trying to make you feel bad about your price. Those are HER cats. If she wants then cared for SHE has to pay for it.

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Thanks for the feedback. Just last week I had a client say she wanted to drop off early Wednesday and pick up late night on Friday and wanted to pay for 2 nights so I told her that if she wanted to pick up the pup later than noon, I would charge her for another day. So she said .....

Ashley G.'s profile image Ashley G.  ( 2016-06-15 17:33:53 -0500 ) edit

Fine I won't pick him up until Saturday. I said ok. Then she wanted to rebook for a 2 week trip but couldn't afford my $390 rate for 2 weeks. So she called a boarding place and said they'll do it for $170 but I want him to have one on one care so will you board him for that price?

Ashley G.'s profile image Ashley G.  ( 2016-06-15 17:35:24 -0500 ) edit

I wanted to help her out but I realized that that didn't make any sense because she wanted her dog to stay at the Marriott for the same price as the Howard Johnson... so I told her I would love to watch him but you get what you pay for and Im not going to change my price cuz I'm not changing quality

Ashley G.'s profile image Ashley G.  ( 2016-06-15 17:37:38 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-12-03 20:55:59 -0500

I'd come up with a contract. also agree on times and enforce a late charge after 15mins past the agreed time and after a half hour, they have to reschedule on my time. People will take advantage as much as they can, as I have found they seem to think its not a real job to pet sit. Set times that will control drop off and pick up times, like being open for drop off and pick ups between 9 am & 9 pm, anything after/before that can be considered an additional day!

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I like you policy, I've had dropped off at 6am, picked up at 12 am. I think I am being too nice. May I ask how did owner respond to the 9 to 9 picked up, dropped off policy? Have you lost bookings because of it? Thanks so much!

Mandy W.'s profile image Mandy W.  ( 2015-12-06 13:46:34 -0500 ) edit

I too think this is a good policy. Thanks again to everyone for all the great advice

Ashley G.'s profile image Ashley G.  ( 2015-12-06 22:41:58 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-12-01 11:39:44 -0500

It sounds like you've already made the necessary change that I'd suggest, which is asking a lot of detailed questions before the booking to confirm agreements of the services provided. This includes all services/pets, drop off/pick up locations, dates, and times.

Most of my Rover clients have been really good and not taken advantage of me, with exceptions for the 1 owner that repeatedly canceled with too short notice to re-book (I fixed that by not being so available when I had other inquiries) and the owner that dropped off her ill dogs to go on vacation (solution was not ever being available for her again, provided photo updates while away informing of health status, and minimal conversation at pick-up).

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answered 2017-07-23 00:04:31 -0500

Thank you guys for telling me about the insurance thing. I just had a client change how long I can be gone from the house during my stay. During the M&G I explained I work part time that's why my rates are what they are. They said they both work so being gone from 9-5 pm was normal. I have no intention of being gone that long but I also can't fufill the request. They also installed cameras to watch me after explaining their security system didn't work and no cameras were present at M&G. I have no idea what to do?

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answered 2016-03-17 14:56:37 -0500

My dilemma is very complicated. I agreed to watch a client's dog for almost a month while they are out of the country. Since our first meet and greet they introduced two cats and want me to measure all food on a scale, feed pets four times a day, pick up dog poop in the yard, administer medicine and supplements to dog, clean out cat boxes (3), etc. I did not know what to do because I already agreed to help this client and their bill was substantial since they are going to be gone so long. My regular charge is $29 daily for in home sitting. Each time I met with them to go over more details, they just kept telling me all the other things I need to do. I have all 5 star reviews and I did not want to upset a client but this is really upsetting. I know it is my fault but I definitely feel taken advantage of.

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Cheryl, It sound like you need Rover Support to help you make an adjustment. Your profile shows your house sitting rate is $32 so unless that was changed after this stay was booked, you already appear to be giving them a $3 daily discount (which would be understandable for length of stay.

Deb A.'s profile image Deb A.  ( 2016-03-17 16:17:10 -0500 ) edit

Your profile also lists cat care of $7 day. So, I would think you're entitled to at least $7 (if not $14 per day, but I figure with multiple cats some sitters may discount 2nd.etc.) . I would not charge extra to feed (although four times a day is quite a bit), give meds/supp, or clean up output.

Deb A.'s profile image Deb A.  ( 2016-03-17 16:18:38 -0500 ) edit

It seems that you had an unusual number of meetings before booking. You can always emphasize that you're willing to take care of these needs, but need to adjust the quote (if before booked or if added onto the list after booked) They know expense being away so long, and need someone to do all this.

Deb A.'s profile image Deb A.  ( 2016-03-17 16:26:16 -0500 ) edit

That's rough. It wouldn't be inappropriate at all to request that they pay for the added services. Since they've added extra animals to the household, they need to create profiles for them on Rover and include them in the booking or they aren't covered by Rover's insurance and support. They can create a second booking request to cover the cats, and you can add any extra charges you need to that invoice to make sure you're getting compensated fairly. I know you know it, but agreeing to help with one thing does not obligate you to help with everything else for free. In the future, I'd recommend going over all your included services and letting the clients know that you would be happy to adjust the invoice to cover additional requests if they become necessary. Get the owner's acknowledgement before finalizing the... (more)

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2016-03-17 16:27:02 -0500 ) edit

Thanks to both of you for your response. I did go up on my rates a little after this booking. When I accepted this job, the client had only 1 dog on the booking and they introduced me to the cats afterwards. Now I know I have to tell them to add all animals for insurance purposes. They are very educated people so I know they were aware of this.

Cheryl S.'s profile image Cheryl S.  ( 2016-03-17 16:42:11 -0500 ) edit

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