Rachel Martin runs Trusted Housesitters alongside her partner Andy. Running a house sitting website gives her a bird’s eye view of the world of house sitting as well as insights into what works and what doesn’t when applying for a housesit. Here’s a few of her top tips.
Tip #1: Sell Yourself
Think of this as a job application. What have you got to offer? Why should a homeowner pick you? Many homeowners will get ten, twenty or maybe even more applications when posting an assignment so you will need to make yourself stand out, particularly with that initial email.
Be relevant. Are you a homeowner yourself? Can you relate to how difficult it is to hand over the keys to someone else? What about pets? Have you had pets before? Do you understand why someone else would use a pet sitter rather than put their animals in a kennel?
In part one of this series we talked about some of the features that make a trustworthy profile, such as references, photos and background checks. Make sure you have them all. Take a look through the profiles of other house sitters and see what they’re saying that you’re not.
Tip #2: Make it Easy for the Homeowner
House sitting is still a relatively new idea and for some homeowners it may be their first time using a website like TrustedHousesitters.com to find a sitter. They’ll want to know as much about you as possible before they’re going to agree to let you stay in their home, so make it easy for them.
Offer to arrange a phone call or Skype; this way you can virtually meet them in advance and get to know them a little. If you live nearby, or are passing the area at any point, offer to pop in. All you’re doing here is putting their mind at rest and assuring them that you’re the right person to look after their home and pets.
Tip #3: Be Flexible
Most homeowner like to have a handover, usually a day or two before they leave. This is an opportunity for them to get to know you a little, show you around the property and to show you how everything works. It’s also a chance for you to get to know any of the pets and to meet any neighbours who may be your emergency contact during the house sitting assignment.
Rather than waiting for them to ask for this, be proactive and suggest it. It shows a level of professionalism that’ll make you stand out from other potential sitters.
Tip #4: A little really does go a long way
At the end of a house sit I not only clean the house and put it back exactly as it was, but I prepare a dinner for the homeowner’s return. I also put the essentials back into the fridge: milk, bread, eggs etc – you’ll get a feel for what these things are after staying in the property for a few days.
These little touches make all the difference and it also ensures that I get excellent references. I obviously want the homeowner to use the site again and it means next time someone else will get an opportunity to housesit there.
Tip #5: Be Ready
Some housesits can go in a matter of hours. Don’t wait until that dream housesit comes up to start putting your profile together; start putting it together now. A police background check normally costs about $10 in most countries and takes around ten days to come through so apply for it now.
Need some motivation? You can view all of the latest housesitting assignments here.