Top House Sitting tips by Danielle Petch from TrustedHousesitters.com
Looking for a unique way to explore the world and take care of furry friends at the same time? House and pet sitting is a win-win for everyone involved – pet owners get to travel with peace of mind while in-house pet sitters give their fur babies all the love and attention they deserve. If providing free house and pet care in exchange for free accommodation sounds like something you’d be interested in, read on to find out the secrets to becoming a top-notch house sitter, from building a five-star profile to nailing your first house sitting assignment.
The pros and cons of house sitting
What makes house sitting so special?
Make new furry friends
Occasionally a house sit is just a house sit, but more often than not, one of the greatest joys of house sitting is the companionship of a furry friend. House sitters form lifelong bonds with pets and their parents, and sometimes find themselves returning to the same house sit time and time again.
Explore pet parenthood
No matter how much you adore animals, it’s not always possible to have one of your own. House sitting gives animal lovers a taste of pet parenthood and allows them to explore what it would be like to have a fur baby of their own.
The health benefits of spending time with pet pals include lower blood pressure, reduced stress and improved overall wellbeing.
Live like a local
Rather than following the usual travelling routes, house sitting gives you the opportunity to explore the world like a local. Chat to your neighbours and head to the local coffee shop to get a real feel for the place.
Enjoy a money-free exchange
While some house and pet sitting sites provide paid services, TrustedHousesitters.com offers a money-free exchange in which pet owners invite house sitters to stay in their homes in exchange for pet care.
Travel on a budget
Forget stuffy hotel rooms and packed dorms, for less than the price of a few nights’ accommodation you can enjoy a year-long membership with TrustedHousesitters. Read our review of TrustedHousesitters.
House sitting isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, here are some of the downsides…
It’s not your typical holiday
If hours spent sightseeing and snapping photos of touristic spots is your thing, house sitting might not be for you. The unique homes are often found in more residential areas rather than the city centre, and house sitters are encouraged to immerse themselves in the local culture rather than follow the tourist trail.
It can be daunting
We get it, looking after someone else’s fur baby is a BIG responsibility, and it can be stressful making sure you’re doing everything right.
Unexpected responsibilities or occurrences
Whether it’s illness or an unexpected shift in travel plans, sometimes things just don’t go to plan!
Tips on how to get started as a house sitter:
Now you know all the ins and outs of house sitting, how can you get involved? They say getting started is the hardest part, but not with these top tips!
1. Build the perfect profile
First impressions are important, so start out by creating a short, snappy heading that’s going to grab the attention of pet owners and make it hard for them not to choose you. Anyone reading your profile should be able to get a real feel for who you are, so include information about your career, hobbies and anything else that might help you stand out. Be sure to mention any previous house and pet sitting experience you have and think about what pet owners will be looking for in a sitter – whether you’re already a professional dog walker or you grew up with a couple of rescue kitties. It’s not just cats and dogs that need house sitters though, you’ll find just about every pet pal under the sun in this pet-loving community, so no experience with animals is irrelevant.
2. Include animals in your photos
Not only will your photobombing Fido put a smile on everyone’s face, it also shows pet owners you really are the pet person you say you are. The more photos of you and your furry friends you can upload, the better!
3. Don’t forget your references
Adding references gives your profile credibility, but don’t worry if you haven’t got any experience with house sitting yet. Landlords and employers can provide trustworthy references too, just don’t forget to request a reference from the owner once you’ve completed your first sit.
4. Let the search begin!
Once your profile is up and running it’s time to start applying for sits. Try to be as flexible as you can with location and dates – the broader your search the more likely you are to be successful.
Top tip: getting a few local house sits under your belt is a great way to build up reviews on your profile before traveling further afield.
5. Time is of the essence
Once you’ve found a house sit that tickles your fancy, send a message to the pet parents as soon as possible. Many of the most popular listings get snapped up quickly, so it’s a good idea to have a template message you can make some changes to and send off.
6. Keep things personal
While it’s handy to have a template message up your sleeve, it’s really important to personalise your message to the owner. Include the names of their pets, why you want to take care of them, and don’t forget to tell them why you would make the perfect sitter!
7. Stay in touch
Keep up your communication with the pet parents and reply to their messages promptly. It can be a good idea to arrange a phone call or Zoom with the pet parents before accepting the house sit – this is the best way of ensuring fur babies and pet sitters are a good match and will give pet sitters the opportunity to find out information about the sit in advance.
How to prepare for your first house sitting assignment
You’ve followed all our top tips and landed the perfect sit, your bags are all packed but what happens next?
1. Meet the (pet) parents
Whether you sleep over the night before or arrive a couple of hours before their departure, it’s always a good idea to meet the pet parents before starting a house sit. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know your new furry friend and ask any last-minute questions.
2. Get into the swing of things
Get to grips with your new furry friend’s daily routine – what time do they like walking, when’s dinner time, and do they usually get a treat afterwards or are they pulling the wool over your eyes?! From sleep preferences and medication to an unexplainable dislike of the neighbour’s cat, you should have a clear understanding of your new pet pal’s quirks before their parents jet off.
3. Get to know the house
Taking care of your newest pet pal is priority number one, but it’s also important to know how the house works. Check your keys fit in the lock before the owners leave, and make sure you’ve got codes to alarms and emergency contact details too.
If house sitting sounds like it’s right up your street, why not join the loving community of pet people at TrustedHousesitters to take care of pet pals worldwide? Enjoy a year of unlimited sits from just £99!