Contracts and other forms: Your pet sitter should have paperwork for you to complete, including a contract, information about your pet and home, your travel dates, emergency contacts, and a veterinary release form. It may seem like a lot of work to fill all these out, but it's essential that you get everything in writing. It gives you and your pet sitter a clear idea of what services will be rendered and the expectations you have of each other.
Insurance and possibly bonding: Ideally a sole proprietor will be insured, and services that employ pet sitters will be insured and their sitters will be bonded. This will not prevent accidents but may give you some protection if something unexpected does happen which is caused by pet sitter negligence.
Medical emergency plans: Your pet sitter should discuss with you how to care for your pet in case of an emergency. You will probably be asked to complete a form authorizing care and a dollar amount in case you're not able to be reached. Make sure your pet sitter has your veterinarian's name, location, and hours. And, in case of after hours emergencies, your pet sitter will need to know the location of the nearest emergency clinic.
Pet sitter emergencies: Ask what measures will be taken if your pet sitter becomes ill and is unable to care for your pets, if he or she is unable to get to your home due to inclement weather, or in the event of a natural disaster.
Key security: Your keys should never have your name or address on them, and should be kept in a secured place when not in use, preferably a locked safe. Most pet sitting business will offer to keep your keys for future pet sitting assignments, which makes storage of utmost importance.