This is the moment you’ve been waiting for - you won your first pet shipment with CitizenShipper. Congratulations on behalf of the entire CitizenShipper team.
Now that your first shipment has been won. It’s time to prepare for your delivery. Please take the time to go through the following list to ensure you have everything you need before you begin. Your first trip also means your first review - so plan ahead to get the best possible result.
1. Adequate Paperwork
- Have a contract written out and signed by all parties involved. You may find our sample agreement handy for this purpose.
- Pro Tip: On the link above, go to File -> Download to download the sample agreement in the format you need. If you have a Gmail account, you can make a copy of the document using File -> Make a Copy.
- Print out the Essential Services Letter and make sure to carry a copy with you at all times. This letter explains that you are working a job deemed ‘essential’ by the relevant authorities.
- Have the customer provide you a copy of all the pet’s health and vaccine records, including paperwork that it is cleared to travel and include it in your travel documentation. Also check if the pet needs any daily medication.
- To avoid any travel interruptions, make sure that your driver’s license, registration, and vehicle insurance are within reach inside the cabin of your vehicle.
If you are a part of a multiple party agreement or have more than one pet with you for this trip, you may also want to consider using the record of the disposition of dogs and cats issued by the USDA as a travel manifest
2. Appropriate Equipment
- Make sure you have a USDA-approved crate at your disposal in the appropriate size. Your customer may want to provide a crate - ensure it meets the relevant safety requirements.
- Pack an extra leash, water bowls, collars, and other useful equipment you might need to comfort or restrain the animal.
- Lay down blankets to cover seat/upholstery surfaces to protect your vehicle and provide comfort or warmth to the animal being transported. Pack cleaning and sanitizing supplies - just in case of accidents.
- Ensure you have a backup phone charger and keep important emergency numbers such as AAA, as well as your customer's information, handy.
- If you will be driving through snowy or inclement weather, pack windshield washer fluid to help against snow and frost and adequate clothing in case you need to be outside for repairs or take the animals to the bathroom.
3. Pre-Travel Interactions/Activities
- At pick-up, spend around 15-20 minutes with the pet to see how it responds to you. Ask the owner about the animal, find out what it likes, its usual mood, and what tactics can keep it calm, happy, and safe throughout the journey.
- Ask about their disposition and general reaction to other dogs - this is especially important if there is more than one animal on the journey.
- It’s essential that you gather as much information as you can about the animal while you have the owner with you. Good things to note include whether the animal likes to be petted, how it responds to strangers, and any specific behaviors it may display when stressed.
- If you are moving multiple animals ask about their ability to eat around other animals. Are they protective of their food, do they need to eat alone? Will they try to eat other animals’ food etc. Knowing this before you leave will save you time and stress once you are on the trip.
- Get the right information about the food the animal will consume before and during the trip. Ensure there is enough supply for the trip and some extra in case you experience a delay.
- Ask if the animal has a favorite toy or comforting object with them. Check with the owner if it’s appropriate for the animal to have this close to them for the entire trip. Stressed or anxious animals may shred and digest their toys that can lead to the animal getting sick or even needing surgery. Be conscious of this and avoid letting the animals have toys or excess blankets until you are very sure they are calm. Monitor the pet closely when they do use a toy or comfort object. For ultimate safety it is best to not let the animals have toys while you are driving and instead only be used to calm or distract when you make stops.
4. Pet Care on the Road
- Make an early first stop to check how the animal is feeling. The body language of the pet will help you figure out its mood and wellbeing. Most importantly, look for signs of motion sickness. This can include vomiting, retching, dizziness, or whimpering. If you do see these signs let the animal rest for as long as possible. Administer anti-nausea remedies IF they have been agreed upon with the owner. Try another position in the vehicle, more or less air or a view, to alleviate the animal’s suffering.
- If the pet is older, obese, or has any pre-existing conditions specified in their paperwork, don’t hesitate to call a veterinarian or the owner to ask for more specific care guidance.
- Taking care of the pet's body temperature and keeping the pet hydrated is especially critical in the warm weather. You can read more about this topic in these articles:
ALWAYS KEEP THE CUSTOMER IN SYNC, DO NOT MAKE ANY DECISIONS BEFORE CONSULTING THEM
- Once you are on the road, stop regularly to take a walk and a potty break. Make sure the animal is leashed at all times when it is out of your vehicle.
- Offer water to the animal during these breaks and observe its general health and mood.
5. Tips for excellent customer service
- Take photos of the animals during your breaks and send them to the customer via the CitizenShipper platform.
- Learn how to share your live location so the customer can know when to expect you.
- Make sure you update the customer if you encounter any delays.
- Ask for feedback when you arrive so you can address any issues with them before they leave their review.
6. Final tips
- Always remember - SAFETY FIRST! Never put yourself or the animal in danger. Better to be late than never.
- Before you begin your trip, give your trip details to a trusted friend or family member, and be sure to check in when safely home.
Follow these steps, and we are sure you will have a successful, safe, and enjoyable first pet shipment.
If you have any doubts, questions or concerns, or have suggestions for the checklist, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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