During the initial consultation we always request a key and we test it to make sure it works for us before we leave. We’ve learned the hard way that people sometimes give us the wrong key, new keys don’t work, etc.
Many times we have clients that only want to provide us with a garage door opener, a garage door key pad number or an electronic keypad entry. These are all fine and dandy, but we still want a key as a backup. You just never know when Murphy will visit and the power will go out, batteries die, whatever. If it CAN happen, it WILL or HAS happened to us throughout our almost fifteen years of pet sitting.
Over the holidays I was pet sitting for a client that has the electronic keypad on their door. At the initial interview I asked for a key as backup and they assured me they’ve never had a problem and it would be fine. It was fine for almost two years of pet sitting. New Year’s Eve I arrived at the house and it would not work. OF COURSE it HAD to happen on a major holiday, right?
I searched under every rock, mat, etc. to try and find a hidden key to no avail. They did have a garage door keypad entry but I didn’t have the code for it. I ended up entering obvious numbers like the last four of their phone number, the house number, etc. I finally tried the last four of the client’s cell phone number and VOILA! the door opened. I was SO grateful that the door between the garage and the house was also unlocked so I was able to get in to feed the cat.
What would have happened if I couldn’t get in?
- First, we will try to contact you and/or the emergency contact you provided us with.
- Second, we will assess the situation. Is it a dog who hasn’t been out in 12+ hours? Is a pet on time sensitive medications? This makes gaining entry much more of a priority.
- Third, if we cannot get ahold of you or your emergency contact we will call a locksmith and you will be expected to reimburse us for all costs incurred.
Our contract states:
“In the event that pet sitter is required to employ a locksmith to gain entry into Client’s premises due to a malfunction of the lock or a failure of the Client to leave a key, it shall be the responsibility of the Client to reimburse for all costs incurred. The Client expressly gives Pet Sitter the authority to employ a locksmith on Client’s behalf in the event of the aforementioned occurrences.”
Obviously, if the error is ours; if we lock ourselves out, if we lose the key, etc. we would be responsible for the locksmith fee.
Moral of the story is always provide your pet sitter with a working key and it’s a good idea to leave a backup with someone local in case of emergency. I’m sure you don’t want to be surprised by a several hundred dollar bill from the locksmith when you get home, do you?