I understand that your home and its contents are some of your most valued possessions. Therefore most of my new clients are referred from existing ones, but regardless I prefer to arrange a face to face meeting a few weeks prior to the sitting.
This provides an opportunity for all (including pets if relevant) of us to ensure we are happy with each other and to discuss any specific requirements. If pet sitting for dogs I also like to accompany you on a dog walk to better get to know your pet before the sitting.
I usually then visit a few days before the sitting commences in order to receive keys and any last minute instructions you may have.