Policies and Procedures for Pet Owners
Here are the policies and procedures VIPets Limited operates under.
Meet and Greet: Before services are scheduled with VIPets, we must come out to your home to meet with you and your Pets and discuss your needs in detail. This is required prior to reservations for all new Clients. While we can pencil in your dates, we must first meet you and your Pets, to assess your needs before we make a commitment to providing care. Please fill in your and your Pet profiles in our Client Portal prior to our initial consultation.
Bookings: Pet care services are to be scheduled by clicking ‘Request a Service’ in the Client Portal or in person with VIPets’ office manager, either by phone or email. Messages left on our voicemail or sent by text will not be considered confirmation of a booking.
Keys: VIPets will need to obtain two copies of your house key during the initial consultation. One will be used to access your home to provide care, the other will be kept locked up securely in our office. If you are only able to provide us with one key during the Meet and Greet we will have a second cut and the cost will be included in your first invoice. A third key must be placed with an emergency contact should we be unable to reach your home due to extreme weather or natural disaster etc. We will then work with your emergency contacts in emergencies to continue to provide care for your home and Pets.
Rates and fees: All rates and fees can be accessed through our website. These are subject to change from time to time, but we will endeavour to give Clients at least two weeks’ notice.
Pet Visit cancellation policy: Cancellations for Dog Walking Services and Pet Visits are permitted up to 24 hours in advance of service with full credit. Cancellations made within 24 hours of services will be charged in full, however we do permit one free cancellation per calendar month to allow for emergencies.
Pet Sitting cancellation policy: A $150 deposit is required to book a Pet Sitter for overnight stays. Cancellations made up to 30 days in advance will have the deposit refunded in full. To help avoid turning away Clients that really need our services during busy times like school and summer holidays, the deposit will not be refunded for cancellations made less than 30 days in advance.
Payment: An invoice will be generated at the time of booking and emailed to the address listed in the Client portal. Payment for all services are to be paid in full at the time of booking or on the day service commences. Accepted methods of payment are credit card (via the portal), cash or online via Internet banking.
Past Due Accounts: Any fees more than 30 days past due will be sent for collections. The Client is responsible for all costs of collection.
Business Hours: We are officially open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday to schedule services and provide customer service. We can be reached by calling 03 381 0009 at any time, but calls during the day will most likely go to voicemail as we are unable to take calls while caring for Pets. This is especially so during daily walks for safety reasons as full attention must be on the dogs at all times. We check voicemail between visits however so if you have an emergency, we will endeavour to get back to you promptly at all times.
Visit Hours: We provide morning Pet Visits between the hours of 9am – 12pm, lunchtime visits between the hours of 12pm – 3pm and dinner visits between the hours of 5pm – 8pm. We can’t offer exact times for our visits due to the nature of the services we provide, but you are able to choose between these time frames for your visits. Visits must be scheduled no more than 24 hours apart. We will not leave a Pet for longer than 24 hours without a visit. Every other day Pet Visits are not possible.
Equipment: The Client will supply all implements required to provide proper in-home care (pooper scoopers, kitty litter, toys, gardening equipment etc.), also any food and medication your Pets require while they are in the care of VIPets. Leashes and treats will be provided by the dog walker unless otherwise specified by the Client in the portal.
Emergencies: Please provide an emergency contact with a key should the need arise for us to contact them, such as in the event of a natural disaster or extreme weather etc. Please be sure this information is current within the portal and that the designated contact has access to your home to ensure your Pets’ care continues uninterrupted.
Extreme Weather or Natural Disasters: We walk dogs year-round, unless requested otherwise. If there are adverse conditions on the day of their scheduled walk, we have sheltered locations we take dogs to protect them from the weather. If dogs are required to wear protective clothing, please leave this in an obvious location.
There are exceptions for rare instances of extreme weather or natural disasters, i.e. lightning storms, torrential downpours, blizzards, earthquakes etc; or when our wet weather walk routes are made treacherous due to ice or heavy snow.
- Should we be unable to reach your home due to poor weather conditions or in the case of a natural disaster, VIPets Ltd will contact you by phone to let you know of the situation. We will then work together with your emergency contacts to ensure your Pets receive adequate care.
- If we can reach your home in extreme weather or in case of a natural disaster, we will take your Pets out for a brief potty break and spend the remaining time playing indoors.
Medication: While we are happy to administer medication and will make every attempt to do so, it is to be acknowledged we are Pet first aid certified but not veterinarians or vet nurses. Therefore, if your Pet absolutely refuses medication, food or water for any reason, the Client agrees to reimburse the sitter for expenses to transport their Pets to their dedicated vet to have medication and/or food/water administered.
Termination of service: VIPets reserves the right to deny service or terminate service because of safety concerns, financial issues, failure to comply with policy, inappropriate or uncomfortable circumstances.
Please note: Policies and procedures are subject to reasonable changes and amendments, which may be implemented from time to time. VIPets will notify you should this occur.
Terms and Conditions for Pet Owners
DEFINITIONS AND INTERPRETATION
1. In this Agreement, the following rules of interpretation apply unless the contrary intention appears:
- headings are for convenience only and do not affect the interpretation of this Agreement,
- the singular includes the plural and vice versa,
- words that are gender neutral or gender specific include each gender,
- where a word or phrase is given a particular meaning, other parts of speech and grammatical forms of that word or phrase have corresponding meanings,
- the words “such as,” “including,” “particularly” and similar expressions are not used as, nor are intended to be interpreted as, words of limitation.
1.1. A reference to:
- “the Agreement” refers to this contract between the Client and VIPets Ltd which is made up of the ‘Policies and Procedures for Pet Owners’ and ‘Terms and Conditions for Pet Owners’ which constitute this entire Agreement,
- “Terms” refers to all Terms of this entire Agreement,
- “the Client” refers to the person who owns or rents the Premises where the Pet Sitting Assignment is undertaken,
- “the Pet Sitter” refers to the person subcontracted by VIPets Ltd who is authorised by the Client to live in the Premises in order to undertake the Pet Sitting Assignment,
- “Dog Walking Services” are all dog walking services carried out by VIPets Ltd as laid out in clause 4,
- “the Pet Visit” is where VIPets Ltd will call on the Client’s Pet and care for The Pet in the Client’s home for 30 minutes and perform all services as laid out in clause 5,
- “Pet Sitting” refers to the services provided by the Pet Sitter as set out in the Client Portal,
- “the Pet Sitting Assignment” refers to the duration of time the Pet Sitter is scheduled to stay and care for the Client’s Pets in the Client’s Home, where the Pet Sitter is expected to carry out all obligations and duties as set out in the Client Portal,
- “Visitors” refers to the authorised and/or unauthorised invitees of the Pet Sitter,
- “the Home” refers to the dwelling where the Pet Sitting Assignment is undertaken,
- “the Premises” refers to the House, chattels, fixtures and garden where the Pet Sitting Assignment is undertaken,
- “the Pet” refers only to the Pets listed in the Client Portal,
- “the Client Portal” refers to the online scheduling software that all Clients must sign up for in order to book services with VIPets Ltd,
- “Utilities” refers to the expenses incurred during the Pet Sitting Assignment such as power, phone, gas, Internet, water, waste removal, garden maintenance and cleaning services.
- “Meet and Greet” refers to the initial consultation where VIPets Ltd comes to the Client’s home to discuss the needs of the Pets,
- “Public Liability Policy” refers to the public liability insurance VIPets Ltd carries to the value of $1 million. This includes additional Pet cover of up to $10,000 per Pet,
- “You” or “Your” or “I” refers to the Client registered with VIPets Ltd,
- “Them” or “They” refers to the Pet Sitter subcontracted by VIPets Ltd,
- “Us” or “Our” or “We” refers to the business VIPets Ltd.
2.1. This document is an Agreement between VIPets Ltd and the Client for the purpose of providing pet care services for the Client. VIPets agrees to provide pet care services to the Client in a reliable, trustworthy, and caring manner. VIPets will make all attempts to provide the Pet with optimal care and welfare.
2.2. The Client authorises VIPets to perform pet care services as outlined in ‘Policies and Procedures for Pet Owners’ and ‘Terms and Conditions for Pet Owners’ which make up this Agreement. We ask You please read this document carefully as You will electronically sign this Agreement to access Our Client portal and engage Our services. You shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms by electronically signing this Agreement and becoming a member of Our Client Portal.
2.3. VIPets Ltd may vary these Terms at any time. In this case the Client will be notified and asked to resign to accept the new Agreement. Refusal to accept the new Terms and Conditions will result in termination of service.
2.4. These Terms constitute the entire Agreement between VIPets Ltd and the Client, and no other understanding that modifies the Terms hereof shall be binding unless made in writing and signed by an authorised representative of both VIPets Ltd and the Client.
2.5. The Client’s acceptance and allowance of Our services shall constitute the Client’s acceptance of the Terms of this Agreement.
3. CLIENT PORTAL
3.1. For VIPets Ltd to provide the Client’s Pets with the best possible care We must have up to date information at all times. It is for this reason the Client must accept Our invitation to join Our Client Portal and fill in as much of the Client and Pet profiles as possible. This needs to be completed in time for the scheduled Meet and Greet. The Client therefore understands and accepts that:
A). The Client’s information (such as name and address) must be kept up to date at all times. This must include contact details where the Client can be reached in emergencies while the Client is away.
B). the Client must provide two emergency contacts that have been authorised to take responsibility in the event of major problems that may occur, such as veterinary emergencies, property issues, natural disasters etc. One of these emergency contacts must be in possession of a key to the Client’s home.
C). The Pet’s information (especially important information like medication and feeding schedule) must be kept up to date at all times,
4. SCOPE OF DOG WALKING SERVICES
4.1. All dogs walked by VIPets Ltd must be registered and wear their tag at all times. An ID tag with contact details is highly recommended.
4.2. VIPets Ltd will only walk dogs that are calm, relaxed and well socialised, especially with children and other dogs. We are not able to walk dogs who become nervous, fearful, overexcited or aggressive around people or other dogs. VIPets Ltd cannot walk dogs that have issues with aggression or have bitten people or other dogs.
4.3. If the Client agrees (subject to a recall assessment), the dog may be allowed off-leash after a short trial period spent walking on-leash. All dogs will undergo a recall assessment before they can join Our off-leash outings.
4.4. If the dog must remain on-leash due to recall issues, VIPets Ltd is unable to walk dogs who pull excessively (either constant or yo-yo pulling), due to the risk of repetitive strain injury for the walker. It is for this reason dogs must be well leash trained if they are to stay on leash in Our care.
4.5. The Client agrees should their dog become ill with any condition that is contagious (kennel cough, conjunctivitis, etc.), the Client must inform VIPets Ltd immediately. Alternative arrangements will need to be made for the contagious dog until the appropriate incubation period for the condition is up.
5. SCOPE OF PET VISIT SERVICES
5.1. VIPets Ltd provides daily in-home Pet Visits for Client’s Pets. Pet Visits are usually 30 minutes long unless otherwise arranged with the Client during the Meet and Greet. Pet Visits include (but are not limited to) the following services:
- midday potty breaks,
- individual walks of the area,
- cleaning of litter trays, crates and pee pads,
- providing supplied food and liquids,
- administering medication,
- simple grooming.
5.2 Pet Visits include all house sitting services which include (but are not limited to):
- bringing in mail,
- taking messages,
- putting bins out,
- indoor plant care,
- cleaning up messes made by the pets.
6. SCOPE OF PET SITTING SERVICES
6.1. As well as provide daily in-home Pet Visits for Client’s Pets, VIPets Ltd contracts Pet Sitters for overnight care. Pet Sitters will carry out all duties as laid out in clause 5 and anything else set out by the Client in the Client Portal. In order for VIPets Ltd to refer Pet Sitters to the Client, the following conditions apply:
A). the Client must be the current homeowner and have permission from any other co-owners to contract a Pet Sitter,
B). if the Client is renting, the Client must have permission from the landlord to contract a Pet Sitter and the landlord must hold a full replacement insurance policy with a well-respected insurance company.
6.2. Once VIPets Ltd is contracted by the Client to care for their home and Pets, as part of VIPets Ltd’s processes we:
A). ask Clients to accept Our invitation to join Our Client portal and fill in as much information as possible regarding the care of the Client’s home and Pets,
B). meet with Clients in their own home for a Meet and Greet to discuss all aspects of care for the Client’s home and Pets,
C). provide the Pet Sitter access to the Client Portal and all information regarding the care of the Client’s Pets.
6.3. Once We receive an application from a potential Pet Sitter, as part of VIPets Ltd’s processes we:
A). apply for police clearances for the Pet Sitter,
B). obtain copies of the Pet Sitters driver’s license,
C). obtain two written references from the Pet Sitter and call the referees,
D). conduct a search of the Pet Sitter’s social media profiles and if They pass Our background checks;
E). schedule an interview with the Pet Sitter in their own home to finalise their application.
6.4. Once the Pet Sitter has passed Our background checks their profiles (including photos, volunteer history and past pet sitting experience) are added to Our website.
6.5. Once the Client has met with the Pet Sitter, it is the responsibility of the Client to:
A). check and edit the Client Portal containing the Pet care requirements,
B). provide all food, medication and/or payment for any other requirements such as grooming, puppy school etc. and organise how payments will be made for contingencies such as unscheduled vet visits and/or emergencies in their absence.
6.6. In the event of illness or personal emergency with the contracted Pet Sitter, the Client authorises VIPets Ltd to place another Pet Sitter in the home. While the utmost care will be taken to place the most suitable Pet Sitter for the assignment into the home, VIPets Ltd will be held harmless for consequences related to this decision. All Terms of this Agreement will apply to the replacement Pet Sitter.
6.7. In the event of a natural disaster or property emergency rendering the home uninhabitable for the duration of the Pet Sitting Assignment, VIPets Ltd is entrusted to use their best judgement in caring for the Client’s Pets. VIPets Ltd will work with the emergency contacts to ensure seamless care for the rest of the Pet Sitting Assignment. While the utmost care will be taken to ensure the best possible placement for the Client’s Pets, VIPets Ltd will be held harmless for consequences related to these decisions.
6.8. The Pet Sitter will be liable to pay power, phone, gas, Internet, water and cleaning services reasonably deemed to be excessive by VIPets Ltd during the course of the Pet Sitting Assignment. The Client shall make necessary arrangements for recording the readings of all the relevant meters at the start of the Pet Sitting Assignment. The Pet Sitter’s liability for excessive Utilities will be calculated by reading the meters at the completion of the Pet Sitting assignment.
7.1. It is the responsibility of the Client to obtain all necessary insurance for their home, vehicle and Pets while in the care of VIPets Ltd or the Pet Sitter VIPets Ltd refers to the Client. Before the Pet Sitting Assignment commences (either undertaken by VIPets Ltd or by the Pet Sitter We refer to the Client), the Client understands and accepts that:
A). The Client is to hold a current full replacement Home and contents policy for the duration of the Pet Sitting Assignment with a well-respected insurance company,
B). The Client will notify said insurance company prior to the commencement of the Pet Sitting Assignment there will be a full time Pet Sitter caring for their home and Pets,
C). the Pet Sitter has been notified of the Terms of said policy,
D). the Client will pay any excess required for any claim made under the Client’s policy.
7.2 If the Client is renting, full permission must be granted in writing for the Pet Sitter to stay in the home for the duration of the Client’s trip. The homeowner must have a full replacement insurance policy in place and agree to pay the excess on said policy in the event of a claim made while the Pet Sitter is in residence.
It is highly recommended the Client carries full Pet insurance and notifies the insurance company of the agreement between the Client, VIPets Ltd and/or Pet Sitter.
VIPets Public Liability Insurance
While every measure is taken to ensure the integrity, suitability and competence of the Pet Sitters contracted to care for Pet’s in the Client’s Home, to ensure peace of mind VIPets Ltd carries full public liability insurance relative to the services performed for the Client to the value of $1 million. This includes additional Pet cover of up to $10,000 per Pet. The policy contains various exclusions and can be viewed on request.
8. PET SITTING SERVICE REQUESTS AND CHANGES
8.1 For the Client to be protected under this Agreement and Our Public Liability Policy, all bookings, changes and cancellations must be done either through a conversation with VIPets Ltd, or directly through the VIPets Ltd Client Portal. Only then will the reservation be secured through VIPets Ltd’s scheduling system. The Client therefore understand and agrees:
A). all bookings for Pet Sitters registered with VIPets Ltd must be made through the Client Portal or by a phone call or email to VIPets Ltd, not through the Pet Sitter,
B). all changes and/or cancellations to any Pet Sitting Assignment or bookings must be made directly through VIPets Ltd, not through the Pet Sitter,
D). if arrangements are made directly with the Pet Sitter, the Client must also relay that information to VIPets Ltd, either by a phone call or directly through the portal,
E). any arrangement directly with the Pet Sitter will be considered a breach of this Agreement.
8.2 VIPets Ltd reserves the right to terminate services should the Client independently contract the Pet Sitter while the Pet Sitter is contracted by VIPets Ltd.
9. PET SITTING CANCELLATIONS
9.1. The Client may cancel within 30 days of the scheduled Pet Sitting Assignment and the $150 deposit will be refunded in full. The deposit will not be refunded for cancellations made less than 30 days in advance.
9.2. VIPets Ltd may cancel the Pet Sitting Assignment within 48 hours for any of the following reasons:
A). the Client changes the original agreement with the Pet Sitter so that the assignment requires significantly more time and/or resources than first requested,
B). the Client changes their dates and their chosen Pet Sitter is not available.
9.3. VIPets Ltd may immediately cancel the Pet Sitting Assignment for any of the following reasons:
A). the safety of the Pet Sitter is in question for any reason,
B). payment is not made before the Pet Sitting Assignment commences.
10. DOG WALKING AND PET VISIT PRICING AND PAYMENT
10.1. All Dog Walking and Pet Visit fees must be paid in full before service commences.
10.2 VIPets Ltd reserves the right to alter pricing at any time. VIPets Ltd will endeavour to give the Client at least two weeks’ notice of any pricing changes. Changes will be posted on Our website and within the Client portal. It is the responsibility of the Client to check the website and the portal to remain current with pricing.
10.3. Daily Dog Walking fees are as follows:
A). one dog: $29 (including GST) per 60+ minute outing
C). second dog from the same family: $15 (including GST) per 60+ minute outing
10.4. Individual puppy, dog, cat or small animal Pet Visit fees are as follows:
A). $29 (including GST) per daily 30 minute visit
B). $49 (including GST) per 2 x daily 30 minute visits
11. DOG WALKING AND PET VISIT CANCELLATIONS
11.1 Cancellations may be made up to 24 hours in advance of the Client’s scheduled visit. The Client may cancel less than 24 hours in advance of a scheduled visit at no charge once per calendar month to allow for emergencies, otherwise the full price of the visit will be charged. Cancellations due to extreme weather where schools are closed will not be charged.
12. PROPERTY EMERGENCIES
12.1 The Client gives VIPets Ltd permission to authorise emergency work for property repair, if necessary, to prevent damage. The Client will be responsible for full payment of such work.
12.2 The Client gives VIPets Ltd or the Pet Sitter express authority to commission the services of a locksmith at the cost of the Client should the locks malfunction or fail for any reason.
14. VISITOR ACCESS
14.1 The Client’s home and Pet’s safety and security are paramount to VIPets Ltd. Due to the fact third parties entering the Client’s home presents liability concerns, VIPets Ltd cannot ‘job share’ with other Pet Sitters. VIPets Ltd must be booked for the entire duration of the Client’s trip and the property must be vacant for the duration of the Pet Sitting Assignment. VIPets Ltd cannot continue an assignment started by, or hand the assignment over to another sitter.
14.2 No other person should have access to the Client’s Pets or property for the duration of the assignment without prior approval. VIPets Ltd must be notified if visitors (cleaners, pest control services, friends, family, etc.) will have access to the Client’s home during the Client’s absence. All visits will be logged with time, dates and reason for the visit for approval upon the Client’s return.
14.3 The Client must notify anyone with access to the home that VIPets Ltd’s services have been engaged and there will be a Pet Sitter in place for the duration of the Client’s trip.
14.4 VIPets Ltd or the Pet Sitter will not allow entry to any person They have not been made aware of in advance. The police will be called on any intruders or suspicious acts without exception.
14.5 VIPets Ltd and/or the Pet Sitter cannot accept a Pet Sitting Assignment where ‘visiting’ Pets that do not belong to the Client are in the home, where the owner of the visiting pet is not a Client of VIPets Ltd. If there is to be a visiting pet at any stage during the assignment, the owner must book their own Meet and Greet before the assignment starts, accept this Agreement and enter all the visiting pet’s feeding and medication schedule, vet details, emergency contact details etc. into the Client Portal. Each Pet Sitting Assignment is limited to one visiting pet under these conditions.
15. HEALTH AND SAFETY
15.1 The Client will take all reasonable steps to provide a safe environment for VIPets Ltd and the Pet Sitter and shall conform to the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act 2015,’ along with all applicable regulations.
15.2 The Client must discuss any potential hazards with VIPets Ltd and the Pet Sitter and take all steps to mitigate any risk to the Pet Sitter’s health and safety.
15.3 Should the Pet Sitter have an accident in the Client’s home, the Client must inform VIPets Ltd immediately. The Client shall provide all reasonable assistance with any health and safety investigation.
16.1 Should the Client’s Pet cause any damage to personal property or injury to employees and contractors of VIPets Ltd, or to any other person, animal or property, the Client agrees to reimburse any expenses or pay for the damage caused by the Pet.
16.2 The Client agrees to indemnify and hold VIPets Ltd or the Pet Sitter harmless in the event of any claim by any person injured or who have had property damaged or Pets injured or killed by the Pet.
16.3 It is understood that VIPets shall not be held responsible for any damage to the Client’s property caused by Client’s Pet during the period in which the Pet is in VIPets Ltd’s care.
16.4 VIPets will not be liable for the injury, disappearance, death, or fines of any Pet with access to the outdoors. It is the sole responsibility of the Client to ensure the security of the property, such as any and all ‘Pet proofing’ so the Pet may not escape.
16.5 While VIPets will take all reasonable care to enter and leave the property in a safe and responsible manner, ensuring any doors or gates used to access the home are secure on leaving, VIPets Ltd accepts no liability for any breach of security or loss of or damage to the owner’s property caused by a third party.
16.6 VIPets Ltd does not accept liability for breaches of security caused by the Client, such as unsecured windows and doors.
16.7 VIPets Ltd are not liable and are completely indemnified for any and all liability stemming from the act or failure to act of third parties. This includes (but is not limited to) friends, neighbours, relatives or other service persons.
16.8 VIPets Ltd disclaims any liability and responsibility to the fullest extent permitted by law for any claim, damage, injury or loss whatsoever caused as a result of VIPets Ltd’s acts or omissions.
17. VETERINARY CARE
17.1 The Client authorises VIPets to obtain any emergency veterinary care that may be necessary during the time spent with the Pet. Every effort will be made to contact the Client prior to obtaining emergency care with the Pet’s primary veterinarian.
17.2 The Client authorises VIPets to utilise an alternative veterinarian in the event the primary veterinarian is unavailable, or time does not permit the safe passage to that clinic. The Client accepts responsibility for any charges related to this care.
17.3 The Client agrees to reimburse VIPets for any additional fees for any expenses incurred for unexpected visits, transportation, housing, food, or supplies.
17.4 The Client agrees to immediately update veterinary contact information in the Client Portal should it change at any time.
17.5 VIPets reserves the right to utilise the services of the nearest veterinary clinic. If time permits, VIPets will attempt to utilise the Client’s primary veterinary clinic.
17.6 The following veterinary release will be retained on file and will be used to authorise veterinary treatment in the event the Client’s Pets require treatment during the Client’s absence and VIPets Ltd is unable to contact the Client at the time:
Client Veterinary Release:
A). I (the Client) authorise veterinary treatment for my Pets during my absence. I (the Client) understand that VIPets Ltd assumes no responsibility for veterinary care and is released from all liability related to transportation, treatment and expense.
B). I (the Client) have made advance arrangements with my vet’s office to pay all charges and fees that are incurred on my behalf, immediately upon my return. Should VIPets Ltd be unable to contact the emergency contact, I (the Client) authorises VIPets Ltd to engage veterinary services on my behalf to obtain appropriate medical treatment should VIPets Ltd deem it necessary.
Emergency Veterinary Release:
C). I (the Client) have contracted pet care services from VIPets Ltd. I (the Client) authorise VIPets Ltd to transport my Pets to the nearest veterinarian (or to an emergency clinic) and, on my behalf, request emergency veterinary treatment and services when VIPets Ltd deem it necessary. I (the Client) accept full responsibility for charges incurred in the treatment of my Pet, not to exceed the amount stipulated in the Client Portal.