We have been asked many times about how we got started house sitting and what it involves. Here’s some information to hopefully answer some of these questions.
What is House Sitting?
House sitting is where you take on the responsibilities of looking after another person’s property, pets, garden, etc whilst they are away. In return for your services you are provided with free accommodation. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement between two parties – the Home Owners (HO) and the House Sitters (HS) and based entirely on trust (even though both parties may have never met before!!).
With this arrangement in place the HO can go away with peace of mind knowing that their pets are keeping their normal routine in their home environment and receiving care and love. Their house is safe and secure and someone is there should an unforseen event occur eg. burst pipe. The house sitter is provided with a place to stay in a homely environment with new ‘friends’ to play with and gets to experience a new location or culture in a totally different way to a traditional holiday. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
Unfortunately, there is a growing trend that is advertising house sitting as a free holiday and way to travel with free accommodation. This is true to a degree but neglects to mention the responsibilities and obligations that come with it. Before embarking on becoming a house sitter you must understand that you are taking on some serious responsibilities. You are solely responsible for the care of someone else’s pets and property and making sure everything runs smoothly in the owners absence.
Of course, if you have the right mind set and are comfortable with the responsibilities you take on then it is a wonderful and rewarding way to travel and experience new places. So much so that we sold most of our possessions and now house sit full-time as a means of exploring the world.
Before getting started in house sitting you initially need to do some critical self assessment to determine if your suited to it. Doing sits in your local area for friends or family is an ideal way to see if you enjoy it. The majority of house sits require some level of pet care whether it be dogs, cats, fish, chickens, horses, etc. So you need to love and be comfortable with animals.
Other areas to assess include:
– Can you react and cope with unexpected situations or emergencies that might occur whilst the home owner is away eg. leaking or burst pipes, injured or sick pet?
– Are you resourceful?
– Are you comfortable staying in a strangers house?
– Can you perform basic gardening chores?
– Are you flexible and adaptable? How would you cope/react if you had no mains water for 3 days (this happened to us).
– Can you make decisions when confronted with a situation?
– Are you well organised?
– Some home owners have maids or gardeners/maintenance staff that attend the property regularly. Are you comfortable with ‘strangers’ being in the house with you. Can you deal with them even if they do not speak English?
– Are you comfortable following routines directed by the home owner even if you don’t agree with them?
Once you’ve decided that House Sitting IS FOR YOU. What’s next??
Create a profile
It’s time to create a profile telling home owners how awesome you are and why they should select you. It is so important to have an outstanding profile highlighting your personal attributes, skills and experience. This will give the homeowners with the peace of mind that their property and pets will be well cared for whilst they’re away on vacation. Your profile is your introduction to the home owner and a way to provide a connection between you. Make sure you include photos of yourself and particularly of you engaging with pets.
Find a House sit
Unless you obtain sits via referrals from friends or family the quickest way to find a house sit is to subscribe and sign up with a house sitting platform. These are websites where home owners advertise their requirements and house sitters, that are registered on that site, can apply. There are a number of these – some regional or country specific and others covering worldwide locations. So your selection of which platform to use will depend upon where you want to sit.
It’s important to note that all the platforms require a payment at registration and can vary quite a bit. We view the ‘cost’ of an annual membership to these sites as money well spent. We have seen some people complain about the cost of membership but our experience shows that it pays for itself. You only need to have one sit, sourced from a platform, and that will more than cover the cost of one nights accommodation when travelling.
We are currently registered with three worldwide sites (as we like to travel globally) and one country specific site. The sites we use are:
Trusted House Sitters – based in the UK and has worldwide sits. Has the largest number of house sitters and getting more competitive. We have sourced the vast majority of sits through this platform. For a 20% discount visit their website via this link Trusted House Sitters
Housecarers – based in Australia and has worldwide coverage however from our experience most sits are in Australia, Europe and the USA. We have had two very successful sits through this site. Visit their website via this link Housecarers
House Sit Match – based in the UK with worldwide coverage however mainly has sits in the UK, Australia, Spain and France. A smaller membership base so less competition and more personalised service. We have only recently joined this site but it looks very promising. Visit their website via this link House Sit Match
Aussie House Sitters – based in Australia (there’s a surprise) and only has Australian sits. We are currently using this site for the first time to locate sits for our 2 months back in Australia in Feb/March 2018. Visit their website via this link Aussie House Sitters
The currency of house sitting is a killer profile and a swag of great references. Of course, like us, when you’re starting out you may have no direct experience. However, you can start with references from friends or neighbours. If you have rented you could get a reference from your landlord or rental manager. Another option is perhaps point to comments about you on websites like Airbnb. You’re just looking for comments from third parties to substantiate that you’re a good and trustworthy human being!!
Our initial references were from a long time friend, a long time work colleague, a neighbour and our Financial adviser. All are still included in the references section of our website (you’ll find them at the bottom of the references page).
To gain experience—and get those all-important first references—you could start by encouraging friends to go away for a weekend and offer to care for their pets. Just think a little outside the box to come up with ways to gain some experience.
We would highly recommend you build a website to point potential home owners to. This is a showcase, or an enhanced profile, and the marketing tool that allows you free rein to show why you would be a fantastic house sitter for someone. It gives you complete independence from any restrictions imposed by the house sitting platforms on your profile. More importantly, it is the hub for storing all of your references!
Over time you will accumulate references from different sources. You may join up with more than one platform or, as time goes on, get personal referrals for house sits. Trying to maintain these across multiple sites is difficult and time consuming. However, with your own website they can all be kept in one place that you can direct home owners to!!
I’m not saying that we have the greatest website in the world. However, many home owners have commented to us that this was one of the reasons they chose us over other applicants.
You can find our website here – The Aussie Lambs
The fastest way to become a successful house sitter
We’ve only scratched the surface on how to get started and be successful in house sitting. The thing that really helped us get started and heading in the right direction was paying for a training course on all the ins and outs of house sitting. We viewed the price as an investment in ourselves and our success in this venture.
We have sourced a fantastic course that has helped hundreds of folk become excellent and sought after sitters. It has been put together by a highly successful and experienced team of sitters – Nat and Jodie. One of the added benefits of this course is that upon completion you gain access to a private network of successful sitters. Within this network you also get notified about referral sits. These are generally sits that the members have done before so they usually have loads of info about them. They become available because the sitters are already booked elsewhere.
If you want to set yourself on the fast track to success then we highly recommend the House Sit Academy course – simply click on the logo below.
The Essential Online Course & Private Referral Network for International House Sitters.