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
The next step in getting started in house sitting is 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 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 with you. Make sure you include photos of yourself and, most importantly, 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. There are also Facebook Groups where house sits are advertised. Whilst providing a source for finding sits we don’t recommend using these when you’re starting out. The primary reason being that there is no control or vetting of the home owners or sitters. You could equate it to just meeting someone on the street and agreeing to sit for them. The platforms generally provide vetting and checking of all members so you have some level of comfort that the person is who they say they are. Another benefit is that in many cases you will be able to read reviews from other house sitters that have previously sat for the owner.
The house sitting platforms 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 quickly 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 a couple of country specific sites. The sites we use are:
Housecarers – based in Australia and has worldwide coverage however from our experience most sits are in Australia, Europe and the USA. We have had a number of very successful sits through this site. Visit their website via this link Housecarers
Trusted House Sitters – based in the UK and has worldwide sits. Has the largest number of house sitters and is very competitive. We have sourced a large proportion of sits through this platform (more than 40 sits as at Dec 2020).
For a 25% discount use the following link Trusted House Sitters
Aussie House Sitters – based in Australia (there’s a surprise) and only has Australian sits. We have used this site for finding sits in Australia and had some success using it. You can use the discount code XE9SCR to save $10 on your membership. The website can be found at Aussie House Sitters
Mind a Home – also based in Australia. We have been using this site for finding sits in Australia during 2020 and have secured a few sits using it. Unfortunately, they don’t offer a referral program so we can’t offer any discount for it. The website can be found at Mind a Home
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 met the owner (Lamia) and she is very helpful. To visit their website and get a membership discount use this link House Sit Match
House Sit Mexico – based in the Mexico and lists sits exclusively in Mexico. We have met the owner (Alex) and she also is very helpful. We secured a number of sits in Mexico through this site and can recommend it. To visit their website go to House Sit Mexico
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 a property 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 of these 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.
Create your own Website
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
So that’s our summary of getting started in house sitting.
If house sitting is something that interests and excites you then we suggest you now read our most important guide explaining