Pet sitting can be a fun and rewarding career but it can have its ups and downs. One hurdle you’re likely to face at some point or another is how to say no to a job.

As a pet sitter, you might care for a pet for the owner’s home or perhaps you offer pet care from your own home. Either way, you should feel safe and at ease.

Of course, as we all know, there are many reasons why you might not feel happy and might be inclined to turn down a potential pet sitting job. The question is: how do you do this without causing offense or damaging your business (i.e. through negative word of mouth)?

5 reasons why you might decline a pet sitting job

There are many reasons why, as a pet sitter, you may feel it necessary to turn down a job. Here are just a few examples.

1. You don’t like the pet

Pet sitters are typically animal lovers but that doesn’t mean you’ll adore every pet you meet — and that’s okay.

For example, you might meet a dog that has chronic anxiety, which causes it to be very destructive. In this case, it might be wise to turn down the job and suggest the owner seek out the help of an animal behaviourist.

Alternatively, you may come into contact with an owner who wants you to look after an aggressive dog, which you might feel is unsafe.

2. You dislike the client

There are myriad reasons why you might dislike a potential client. The key is to be honest with yourself and trust your instinct. For example, you may find a potential client makes you feel uneasy but you can’t explain why. Don’t beat yourself up about this — but do trust your gut. If someone makes you feel on edge or unsafe, the best course of action is to decline the pet sitting job.

3. The home is dirty or unsafe

A pet sitting assignment that requires you to work from a client’s house that you feel is dirty or unsafe is another potential reason to say no to a job.

Most office workers wouldn’t want to spend hours working in a dark, dingy office. Just like most chefs would be opposed to working in an unsafe kitchen. You have the same right to say no to a job because you don’t like the location or the environment.

4. You want some time off

Everyone deserves a break, but that probably doesn’t stop you from feeling guilty when a client asks you to sit for his or her cat or dog.

Unfortunately, it’s just typical that each and every time you pencil in some time off you’ll get an influx of pet sitting requests! This is a good predicament to be in, but it doesn’t make it any easier to say no.

Remind yourself that having time off is good for your health and wellbeing. After all, it’s not beneficial for pets to be around a stressed or anxious pet sitter.

Taking time off will keep you feeling refreshed and help avoid burn out. Ultimately, taking a break now and again is good for the longevity of your business.

5. The client has unfair expectations

Would you continue to work for an employer who expected you to work overtime without any extra pay? What if your employer constantly called you into work with little notice?

Some pet sitting clients forget that pet sitting is a professional service and that you have a business to run and are likely to have multiple clients — not just them.

If a potential client has unfair expectations—for example, they expect you to be able to pet sit at short notice or they expect you to answer their phone calls day or night—it’s reasonable to say no to the job.

How to politely say no to a pet sitting job

As mentioned previously, there are several reasons why you might choose to turn down a pet sitting job, the tricky part is doing it in a way that won’t cause upset.

Without a doubt, most pet sitters are lovely, caring people so the last thing you want to do is let anyone down. However, remember that it’s your prerogative to say no. Here’s some advice on saying no the right way.

  • Remain calm and polite at all times.
  • Start with a positive; so thank the client for their interest in your services.
  • Jot down some of the reasons why you are declining the job and plan what you are going to say to your client.
  • A fairly straightforward and non-confrontational way to decline a job is to advise that unfortunately, you’re not available at the times they require you.
  • Thank the person for getting in touch.

Have you declined a pet sitting job? What was the reason and how did you say no?

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Photo by BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash

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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.

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