Thoughts and Tips on Getting Started in House Sitting
Note – When we say house sitting 95% or more of the listing you will find will have a pet or two. If you are not interested in pet sitting you may want to look into house swaps or home exchanges.
There are many house sitting websites. (See list at the end of this article.) On most websites you can take a look at some of their listing. This will help you see what the interface is like. If you are looking for a specific city or country to house sit, check the various sites to see who has the most listings for that area. Remember listings change all the time, so you may want to come back and revisit your searches repeatedly. Once you have found a website you like you will need to pay, in most cases, a fee to join.
The next step is to fill out your profile. It is important to have as complete a profile as possible. Being new you should add one or two character references from friends, work associates or if you have pet sat for friends or family have them write you a reference. Be sure to add photos that show you with animals/pets that are fun and inviting.
Applying for a sit is like applying for a job. You will write what I equate to a cover letter. Include an introduction about yourself, talk about why you are a good candidate and what your experience is. You can include things like pets you have had, prior knowledge of the area, have house sat for friends or know about their particular dog breed.
Start small and local to see if this is something you will enjoy doing. Test the waters by starting local. I would start with a weeklong sit; a weekend is not really long enough to get a good feel of what is expected. I would only apply for international sits when you have completed at least four or five sits with excellent reviews. The goal is to accumulate positive five star reviews to establish your credibility.
It is important to read the ENTIRE listing; especially paying attention to how many animals there are, any special needs, in addition to the typical requirements such as walking the dogs and cleaning cats trays. Are those things you are okay with?
Something I highly recommend is arriving the day before the owners are leaving. This is not always possible, but when it is I think it is highly benefical. It will give you a chance to get to know the pets while their owner is still there – this really helps in the transition to their leaving. Coming early will allow you to see the feeding ritual and provide time for a casual walk through the home. If there are dogs, go with them on their walk so you see in person where to take them. It also helps make the host feel more comfortable with you.
We have been housesitting continuously for over a year and a half. In Europe, we visited 11 countries, house sat in 6 of them and we are looking forward to many more sits next year. (1)
House sitting sites
We have used Trusted Housesitters and Normador. The other sites we have not used because we have not needed to.
Using our link for Trusted Housesitters, you will receive a 20% discount on joining.
(1) Foot note – When traveling internationally be sure to know what the travel restrictions are. For example, in the Schengen zone (most of Europe) you can only stay up to 90 days out of 180 days (3 months out of 6 months). When traveling it is your responsibility to learn the rules.