Thank you for your interest in taking a StudentCo pet sitter into your service!

Hereby a list of frequently asked questions:


How are pet sitters approved?

Various factors are taken into consideration. These include past experience with animals - both at home as well as elsewhere. Examples include work at veterinary clinics or involvement at shelters. 

A candidate’s past house sitting experience is also considered. 

Each candidate’s status as a student is verified, and references are contacted. 

Furthermore, every StudenCo pet sitter must pass a test about proper pet sitting procedure and recognising veterinary emergencies. The pass mark for this test is 80%. 

When you enquire with us, we will send you a complete pet sitter profile detailing an available, suitable pet sitter's experience.

Why not have a look at pet sitter profiles in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Centurion now?

Yay!
What is the meet-and-greet?

The meet-and-greet is a quick meeting for your potential sitter to meet the family at home. This is arranged in order for you to ensure that you are at ease with your sitter, and also to see how he/she gets along with the pets. The meet-and-greet further allows your sitter to make sure that he/she feels safe and comfortable at your home.

This is the perfect time to discuss your rules and expectations.

To assist with this, you will be asked to complete a "Pet Parent Instruction Sheet" – this document serves as a one-stop rule sheet about everything your sitter needs to know. Should you not have a chance to complete it, don’t fret. We will ask your sitter to bring along a copy and you can complete it during the meet-and-greet .

The meet-and-greet is completely obligation-free and is a complimentary service – should you not feel comfortable with a sitter, you are free not to proceed any further. Similarly, we do not expect sitters to accept assignments at homes where they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Should this be the case, we will try our best to send another suitable sitter to meet you.

How do I confirm my booking and how does payment work?

After meeting your sitter, we will get in touch to find out if you would like to proceed with a booking. 

If so, there are 2 steps to confirm your booking:

1. Completion of your Pet Parent Instruction sheet and acceptance of our Ts and Cs

2. Payment as follows:

  • Should your enquiry have been submitted more 30 days prior to your holiday, a 50% deposit is needed to secure service. The balance will be payable on the Monday before your departure. 
  • Should your enquiry have been submitted less than 30 days prior to your holiday, payment in full is required to secure your booking.

  • Worried about paying upfront? Don't be - this has been our policy for years and you are protected as follows: Upon your return, you will receive a feedback form. This is sent the Monday after you have returned home. Sitter payments only take place on Fridays, so this gives you 4 full days in which to air any grievances you may have. In this time your money is safely in the StudentCo account and in the rare event that a sitter did not complete his/her duties according to the agreement, you will be refunded and the sitter removed from our team.

    What are sitters typically expected to do?

    The job of the pet sitter is to take care of your home and pets.

    Duties thus typically include:

    1. Feeding pets according to your specifications
    2. Ensuring the presence of clean water
    3. Giving lots of love, attention and play-time
    4. Grooming pets according to your specifications (if requested)
    5. Taking dogs for a daily walk (if requested)
    6. Cleaning litter boxes
    7. Cleaning of cages / tanks according to your specifications
    8. Completing any additional but reasonable pet-care duties required
    9. Completing any household chores required. This may include but is not limited to pool maintenance, post collection and watering of the garden
    How long do sitters spend at my home each day?

    Sitters visiting homes will typically stay about one hour per visit – thus up to 2 hours a day depending on the service.

    Stay-over sitters are encouraged to make themselves at home, spending the time they would otherwise be at their own home, at your home :). At a minimum, they are expected to be at your home during evenings (arriving no later than 7pm) and early mornings, sleeping over every night. They are furthermore always expected to be present for any particular tasks (e.g. opening the home for the domestic worker). Stay-over sitters may also spend time at your home during the day, coming and going.

    On the day of your departure, your sitter will be home in time for your furkids' dinner routine; on the day of your return, they may leave after breakfast and arrange to return keys at a later, suitable time, or may stay until your return - whichever is easiest for everyone involved.

    Sitters log their locations with StudentCo every time they arrive and every time they leave your home. These records may be requested from StudentCo should you wish to verify time spent at your home.

    Are sitters allowed to have visitors?

    We recommend that once and twice daily visits are done alone.

    Regarding stay-over sitters – it is up to you.

    We have a few general rules regarding visitors, but you are free to not allow visitors at all. The number one rule of pet sitting is to always follow the client’s instructions. 

    Our general rules:

    • A stay-over sitter is allowed to have ONE person accompany him/her for the assignment. This means that we generally allow ONE friend to stay with the sitter. Sitters know to discuss this with you at the meet-and-greet. Please know that you are free to decline this request. Should you be happy with it, please feel free to ask to meet this friend before proceeding with booking. We want you to be 100% comfortable with your pet sitting arrangement.
    • A stay-over sitter is allowed to have no more than TWO friends visit him/her at any given time. No parties are allowed whatsoever. Appropriate activities include dinners, games nights and group study sessions. Again – please discuss this with your sitter at the meet-and-greet.

    The above are but general rules – please openly discuss your rules and requirements with your sitter and feel free to limit the above rules as you see fit. 

    Allowing visitors has a positive effect on how much time is spent at your home – we recommend that clear instructions about what activities are allowed is given, and to give sitters freedom to invite guests as described above.

    How can I be sure that my property will be respected?

    Sitters are contractually bound to the following code of conduct:

    1. Never smoking indoors
    2. Using household appliances as instructed
    3. Only consuming food left for their use
    4. Never hosting parties of any kind
    5. Maintaining your home at the same level of neatness and cleanliness at which you presented it
    6. Respecting your particular requests and rules

    Sitters are aware that they will personally be held responsible should their guests break any rules.

    Am I supposed to provide food and other items for the stay-over sitter?

    Food is entirely at your discretion. Please clearly communicate to your stay-over sitter what foodstuffs (if any) are for his/her use. 

    You need not provide any food if you have booked once or twice a day visits – sitters may just have a cup of tea or so while spending time with the pets.

    Please always provide adequate toilet paper, cleaning materials and other household items.

    Am I supposed to provide clean bedding for the stay-over sitter?
    Yes, please
    What if there's an emergency/problem or I can't get hold of my sitter?

    Emergencies

    Please remember to provide the sitter with emergency contact details – there is a space for these on the “Pet Parent Instruction Sheet".

    If an emergency relating to your home or pets occurs, you will be contacted and the situation dealt with as per your instructions. Should you not be available, another emergency contact will be contacted.

    In case of veterinary emergencies, sitters will first contact your veterinarian. Should he/she be unavailable, a 24-hour veterinarian will be contacted. 

    If an emergency occurs that prevents the sitter from continuing with his duties (e.g. a serious illness or injury), your sitter will contact StudentCo and we will send a replacement sitter as soon as possible. Note that there may be a short period during which your sitter will put you in touch with a representative (in most cases, one of the sitter's parents) who will take over from them until they can return / until StudentCo can confirm and send another sitter.

    Note that the stay-over service may be swapped for visits should the sitter’s representative / new sitter be unable to stay at your home.

    What if I can't get hold of my sitter?

    Please contact StudentCo if you are struggling to get hold of your sitter - sitters know to return your calls/texts as soon as possible and to also send you daily updates, so if you have not heard from your sitter it is important for us to check in and make sure everything is okay. Simply send us an email or send an sms or Whatsapp to 081 800 7957 (no calls please - you will go to a voicemail server that is faulty - this is a text-only number) and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Please remember that this is a small business and not a multinational corporation - your sms may not be seen immediately, but rest assured that you will be contacted as soon as it is.

    Who pays for veterinary costs?

    You will be held liable for all veterinary costs. 

    Please ensure that you tell your vet about the fact that you will be away and that you will settle all accounts upon your return should your sitter have to pay him a visit. 

    Do I pay for my pet sitter's petrol?

    In most cases, a fuel charge will not apply at all as we aim to place sitters who live close-by.

    Fuel is calculated at a rate of R3.50/km for distances in excess of 10km in each direction (20 km in total) between your home and the sitter’s home. The maximum amount that may be charged for fuel is R300 per booking.

    The following drives are considered:

    • Meet-and-greet (no service fee – only a fuel fee. This is not charged should you decide not to use the service)
    • Key collection
    • Booking drives – once a day for sitters visiting once a day or staying over; twice a day for sitters visiting two times per day.

    Why is there a fuel charge for drives during a stay-over booking?

    This is to be fair to sitters - they are not expected to spend 24 hours a day at the house, and may need to go to their own house or to campus. As such, a single drive is calculated for every day during the booking. Again - this is not applicable in most cases. Only where the sitter's home is more than 10km from yours.

    What if my sitter incurs unexpected household/pet expenses?

    It is strongly recommended that a cash amount of R1000 is left with sitters in case of emergency or necessary household expenses. 

    The recommended amount is quite high to make provision for a possible visit to an after-hours veterinarian. It will likely not cover the cost, but will be enough for a deposit of sorts with the vet. You will be responsible for the account upon your return. 

    The money can also be used for items like dog food or cleaning materials. 

    Sitters are to keep accurate record of expenditure and provide the remaining amount + all receipts to you upon your return. 

    Please reimburse your sitter in cash if he/she personally had to pay for any unexpected expenses.

    Our gardener comes on Saturdays. Will the sitter let him in?

    Please inform your sitter of when anyone is expected at the house so he/she can make sure that the person is let in. 

    As with all household rules, please be thorough about the sitter’s duties in this regard.

    We decided to extend our holiday. Can the sitter stay longer?

    This cannot be guaranteed as your sitter may be booked with another family, but in most instances assignments are not quite back-to-back. Feel free to contact your sitter to arrange for the extra days.

    Your sitter will inform us and an account for the additional days will be sent upon your return.

    Will the pet sitter clean up?

    Sitters are expected to do the following:

    • Always wash dishes and clean counters after cooking
    • Not move your things around
    • Never leave dirty towels, linen or clothes lying around
    • Tidy up the areas they use
    • Clean litter boxes
    • Make sure the bath and toilet are clean
    • Make up the bed
    • Remember to take out the garbage
    • Sweep and wash the floors once a week

    We do not expect sitters to double-up as spring cleaners, but we do expect them to treat your property with respect.


    Sitters may not be asked to mow the lawn but may of course be asked to water the garden. 

    Visiting sitters will clean litter trays, tanks and cages.

    They will also take care of any mess the pets may have made.

    What if there is an incident of crime at my house while I am away?

    Please ensure that the sitter is equipped with all alarm codes, contact details and instructions to keep safe. 

    If an incident of crime occurs during a stay-over, please note that we will not expect the sitter to continue staying on the property but will instead change the service to daily visits. Should additional fuel reimbursements be payable as a result hereof, you will be invoiced for it upon your return. Should you have booked visits, the visits will continue as booked. 

    Your sitter will contact the police in order to complete a report and will of course inform you. He/she will them proceed as per your instructions.

    What is your cancellation policy?
    Cancellation more than 30 days before departure: Full refund (less R150 administration fee). 

    Cancellation less than 30 days before departure: 70% of your total due will be refunded to you (less R150 administration fee).
    Do sitters expect an additional gratuity or “tip” from me?
    Nope – this is not necessary and is not expected.
    What if I was unhappy with the service I received?
    We are genuinely aggrieved by any negative experience and take all complaints and concerns very seriously. 

    Shortly after your return, you will be asked to complete a quick questionnaire about the service you received. Please use this platform to air any grievances you may have.

    Each case is dealt with individually to assess whether a sitter has violated general StudentCo guidelines and/or specific client instructions. 

    If so, StudentCo will assist clients to rectify the matter. Depending on individual circumstances, remedies may include refunding money spent and the removal of the student in question from StudentCo.

    Important Note: Pet sitter payments take place every Friday. Please send your feedback before Friday morning in order to qualify for a full/partial refund in case of a violation of StudentCo rules.

    How long does it take for StudentCo to recommend a suitable sitter to me?

    StudentCo will get back to you as soon as possible! In most cases, it will take about 3 working days but we do try our best to help last-minute families as well :).

    For December/Easter/similar bookings, please note that it may take a bit longer for us to recommend a suitable sitter.

    What if I came home earlier?

    If you come home earlier than planned and thus paid for services you did not use, you have 3 options:

  • The extra amount paid can be refunded to you
  • The extra amount paid can be kept as StudentCo credits to use for future bookings
  • The extra amount can be paid over to your sitter as a gratuity
  • In what areas does StudentCo operate?

    StudentCo operates throughout Johannesburg (Randburg, Sandton, Midrand, etc), Centurion and Pretoria.


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