Interview with Barbie| Pet Travel Tips by Barbie Klapp
2 Paws Up Pet Sitting

Interview with Barbie

 

Q. Barbie, what inspired you to get started in the pet sitting industry?

Well, it all began while I was working on my MBA at Shorter College.  We had to write a traditional thesis paper or a business plan in order to graduate. I started researching on opening a kennel from the ground up but hit a few road blocks in getting information. I could find books, although, I needed hard facts.

While talking to my groomer she suggested Pet Sitting. I could do that, having a passion for animals.  Reflecting on what a professor once told me “You have to do what you love to do as a child and incorporate that into a career path as an adult.” So I went to my professor at Shorter, and he said “Go for it”, and I haven’t looked back!   I never thought I was an entrepreneur at heart until I worked for others.  I thought I was dysfunctional because I didn’t like having a job.  I would get bored so quickly.  After all, my parents, my friends all had regular jobs, wasn’t that the way you were supposed to go through life, working 9 to 5.

So back in 2003, after receiving my MBA, and taking the advice of my professors I opened the doors of 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting. I haven’t looked back!  To be able to follow your passion, be happy and successful. You can’t ask for any more than that!

*You can read more about Barbie’s story on the “My Story” page of the 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting website.

Q. Who are your clients?

Our clients are caring pet owners living in the South Gwinnett area (Lilburn, Snellville, Grayson, Loganville, parts of Stone Mountain and Lawrenceville) who believe in leaving their pet in the hands of caring, qualified and dependable pet sitters. Our clients are those who trust us not only with their pets but their homes too. This allows our client to have peace of mind when leaving their pet for any reason.

Q. Barbie, what makes 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting different from other pet sitting services?

I believe my passion and love for all animals allows me to put my heart and soul into my business.

It is my goal that every pet entrusted to 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting receives extraordinary care. When clients leave their pets in my hands they can have peace of mind knowing their pets are well-cared and will be happy and loved in their absence.  In order to guarantee all my pet-sitters understand the high standard of care I promise at 2 Paws Up Pet Setting, I created the “Peace of Mind Pledge.”  This system is what sets 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting apart from other pet sitting services.

Q. What is the “Peace of Mind Pledge”?

Our unprecedented goal is to provide our clients with the confidence that their pets and home are in the best possible hands. We want our clients to leave their homes confident, knowing their pets are receiving the love, attention and care that they deserve. We accomplish this by following our “Peace of Mind Pledge”.

Our “Peace of Mind Pledge” consists of 9 Steps:

Professionalism

Reasonable and Competitive Rates

Custom-Made Services

Superb Staff

Excellent Safety Record

Ongoing Educational Development

Technology and Convenience

Unequaled Personal Service

Deliver Personal Service with Outstanding Communication

Follow-Up

*You can read all the details about the “Peace of Mind Pledge” on our website.

Q. What process do you use to screen your pet care providers before hiring them?

I use ONLY dedicated pet care professionals. I work with sitters who demonstrate compassion and dependability.   I hire those very special people who understand the bond between pet owners and their pets and are dedicated to strengthening that bond by providing the very best of care to the pets they are entrusted. Also, after a face to face interview, I run reference checks and a full background check. All sitters are then hired on a trial basis.  During this time I work with them to make sure they understand the “Peace of Mind Pledge” system and prove themselves to be the caliber of person I demand on my team. *Read more about the outstanding pet care providers on the “Pet Nannys” page of the 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting web site.

Q. You have several pet sitters on your staff. How is it possible to ensure that they are all keeping up with the standards of 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting?

All 2 Paws Up Pet Sitters are trained to the highest-standards and procedures in our “Peace of Mind Pledge” system.  They are coached one on one and we provide ongoing educational development.

Unlike some pet sitting companies, I do not just work in the office; I am in the field daily working alongside my sitters. We work as a team each covering the other to make sure our clients receive only the best care.  All of our sitters have on the road access to the 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting secure database with up to date information on clients and their pets.

Q. Do you think it’s better to use a pet sitting service as opposed to boarding your pets?

Most pets become stressed when their owners leave. Taking them out of their home and putting them in a kennel can cause more stress. Some pets become so upset they are unable to eat, become depressed, and may become sick. Also, when you have numerous dogs and cats in the same environment there is a greater chance of diseases being spread; using a pet sitter minimizes this exposure. It’s better for your pet to be in their home, where they feel comfortable. With a pet sitter your pet can maintain the same routine, diet, and exercise as well as enjoy the personal one-on-one attention the pet sitter will provide. Another reason to use a pet sitter is having someone checking on your home while you’re gone. We can take out the trash, get the mail, and rotate lights to give the home a lived in look.

Q. What services does 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting offer?

2 Paws Up Pet Sitting provides superior in home pet care. That means a sitter comes to your house to take care of your pets.  We can sit for a day or a month depending on our client’s needs.  Clients use us when they travel, work long hours, have a late meeting, are recovering from surgery, or for any other reason they cannot give their pet the attention they need.  Most of our clients have dogs and cats but we can take care of other pets such as small animals, exotics, and horses.

Q. If someone does not have a pet can you provide “gate-keeping” services?

Yes, we have clients who just need someone to come by and bring in the mail and newspapers, check on their home, turn lights off and on to make the home look lived in. So no, you do not have to have a pet to use our services.

Q. Just so I understand you do not board any animals?

We believe pets should be in their own environment.  We do have pet sitters who can stay at the clients house if that is needed.  We have many clients that like to have overnight/house sitting service. I use this for my two poodles, three cats, and two birds when I travel.

Q. Do you have set times your sitters come by and how long do they stay?

Our sitters can visit their client’s homes up to 4 times per day.

The “Morning” time slot is between 7 & 9 AM.

The “Mid-Day” time slot is between 11 & 3 PM.

The “Evening” time slot is between 4 & 6 PM.

The “Late Night” time slot is between 7& 9PM.

We strive for no than 10 to 13 hours between visits. For example, if your pet was visited at 8pm, the sitter would arrive back at your home no later than 7am to 8am the following morning.

Our sitters stay up to 30 minutes with your pet family.

They can also mix and match the times to design a personal plan for your pets.

We structure our pet sitting to the needs of the pet, not by the time.

Q. Do you have a holiday surcharge?

Yes.  Our sitters work hard and have fun taking care of our client’s pets, and 100% of the holiday fees go directly to our sitters.  If you compare to a service that “starts at $15 to $18″ but then adds for additional pets and then adds for other services, you may find yourself paying more.

With 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting service, your rate stays the SAME, this includes all care for your home, and pets.  It is an ALL-INCLUSIVE service EXCLUSIVE to clients of 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting.

Q. Barbie, what is a “Meet and Greet”?

Every client is scheduled with a “Meet and Greet” so they can get to know the pet sitter, and the sitter can meet the pets they will be responsible for.  During this meeting the sitter spends time with the pet and client. We encourage our sitters to take detailed notes and enter any pertinent information in our secure database to help serve our clients better.  Our sitters use the database to retrieve information like emergency contact numbers, vet information, special request or any special needs the pets may have.  Service will not be provided until this meeting has been completed.

Q. Can a client schedule service any time after their “Meet and Greet”?

Absolutely! We provide all of our clients with an exclusive log-in to their secured Pet Sitting account. They are able to go to 2 Paws UP Pet Sitting website and schedule service, check their personal service calendar, update their password , update pet information, as well as uploading their pet photos.  After scheduling their visit, the client will receive a confirmation email.

Q. Do you take last-minute requests?

Absolutely, this sets us apart from our competitors, because we take last minute pet sitting requests by current clients.

Q. If a client’s principal sitter is not available for a pet sitting, how do you deal with that?

We have a jam-packed roster of exceptional pet sitters that can provide care for our client’s pets if their principal sitter is not available. Because we use a secure database with all of a client’s pertinent information, the alternate sitter can take over in a seamless manner. If a client would like to meet the replacement sitter a “Meet and Greet” can be scheduled before the sitting date.

Q. Do your sitters schedule clients directly?

NO!  All visits must be scheduled through the 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting office or website.  We use scheduling software to ensure all visits are accounted for and assigned a pet sitter. We need all appointments to come into one place so we can schedule sitters and send out confirmation emails to clients. It is very important all clients understand that if they do not receive a confirmation email they are not on our schedule. 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting is not liable for visits scheduled without the office’s knowledge.

Q. With so many clients how do you keep up with all the keys?

Our keys are coded with a four or five digit number so if keys were lost or stolen only 2 Paws Up staff would be able to match the keys to the home.

Q. Are you bonded and insured, what exactly does that mean?

A dishonesty bond lets you know you will be reimbursed if anything is stolen from your home. A liability insurance policy protects our clients from financial loss in the event that we were liable for an accident that occured while caring for your pets. All responsible, professional businesses should carry liability insurance.

We can supply our clients with proof of insurance and our bond by email.

Q. How do your clients make their payments?

By using the On-Line Scheduling Software. They can log in and update their billing information.  They can pay by credit card or e-check.  Very easy!

All payments are due prior to any pet sitting/gate keeping service.

Q. What about a check or cash?

We cannot accept checks or cash for services. Clients can leave cash or checks for gratuity for the sitters if they wish.

Q. How do you handle pets with aggression issues?

If a pet has a history of behaving aggressively or biting we cannot provide service.  That becomes a serous liability issue. We offer referrals to boarding kennels for aggressive pets.   If the pet is just skittish and growls we can try working with the pet to see if we can lessen the stress and provide a safe environment for the pet sitter. In this situation, the client will need to be present for all socialization visits and a normal service fee will be applied.

If at any time our pet sitter or pet owner feels that it is unsafe to perform the service, we reserve the right to discontinue service.

Q. Can you administer medication?

Whenever possible we will administer medications orally or topically. We have an experienced vet tech on staff.  Thus, on a case by case availability, we can administer injections.

Q. If a pet needs discipline how would a pet sitter go about doing that?

Positive reinforcement is the ONLY way we work with pets. We would never hit, spank, slap, yank the leash, yell, shock, or hurt a pet.  If there is a disciplinary problem, we would inform the client and work out a solution.

Q. If a pet becomes ill while under the care of 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting what is your protocol?

If we believe a pet is ill, we would call the client at the emergency phone number provided.  A decision would be determined, with the client, on what the next step will be. If the decision is made that the pet needs to see a veterinarian, we will transport that pet to the vet’s office for treatment. If we cannot reach the client, 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting will make the decision on the course of action. There is no extra trip or visit charge for this service if there is an emergency.  We will not give permission to euthanize a pet.

Q. In the case of a cancellation what is your policy?

We understand your plans change and we are very flexible if notified.  Therefore, if you return home early, please notify us immediately.  If, however, you do not notify 2 Paws Up, Inc. of an early return and if we make a trip and find you home, the regular per visit charge applies. The client is responsible for paying for all services scheduled with 2 Paws Up, Inc unless a 48-hour cancellation notice is given.

Holiday Cancellations

Please understand that pet sitting services receive more requests for reservations than they can handle during holiday time periods and we may have turned away other clients because we have reserved time for you.  If you cancel five (5) days or less prior to a major holiday, you will be charged for half of the visits.  No refund (full payment is required) if you cancel two (2) or less days prior to a major holiday.  Major holidays are New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Q. After a client has made the decision to use 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting service how do they go about getting started, how long does it take, and where do they ask additional questions?

Just call 770-695-3096 or email schedule@2pawsupinc.com with all questions. We have a simple registration process we will walk our new client through. After that they are ready to go. We will set up the “Meet and Greet” and schedule their visits.

Q. When working with 2 Paws up Pet Sitting what can your clients expect?

Our goal is to give every client the peace of mind that their pets are receiving the best care possible. We will safe guard their home, make sure their pets are fed, exercised, and loved.  We will strive to ensure that the client will return home to a happy and well cared for pet.

Q. Barbie, are you happy with 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting?

Of course, 2 Paws Up Pet Sitting has exceeded all my expectations.  I am amazed at all we have achieved since opening in 2003. With every year I have the opportunity to make my business even better for my amazing clients. I love every minute of working with animals, it’s a dream come true. I have great clients, great pet sitters, and a growing business. What more could a girl ask for.

Q. So, you’re happy with the company that you have created?

Absolutely, I believe that doing this work is what I’m called to do in a massive, “call from the Universe” sort of way.  I have watched it evolve from a small pet care company into an ever growing, thriving business. In my experience a well-cared for and well-loved pet brings more than just companionship to a person and a household, I’ve seen that the bond can literally change the dynamics of relationships, inspire the community and lead the way for positive and peaceful change in the world.  As Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Barbie Klapp, is the owner of “2 Paws Up Inc Pet Sitting” a thriving pet care company in the South Gwinnett area.  We are looking in the very near future to expand further into the Gwinnett County area.

Barbie resides in the Snellville, GA area with her husband Michael Linz, and her three poodles, Rocky, Winston, and Misi Beacoupe, as well as her two cats, Charleston,  and Buddy Elson, as well as a Cocketiel and a Finch.

I hope you take the opportunity to read my book because I wanted to share this valuable information with you. The book can be purchased on Amazon. All you have to do is click on the picture. Happy Reading!

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