Guest post by Angela “Sittingperfected“ Laws
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If you own a home, are new to the house sitting world and don’t know where to start to find the right sitter for your home and pets, read Angela’s post below.
Many home owners have decided that house sitting is just THE best solution to leaving home and pets safe and secure. I’m a home owner myself who has been house sitting for over five years. I’m sharing my advice on how to get your very own Trustedhousesitter.
In Part I, I spoke about how to list your home, whether or not to have a vehicle available to your sitter and how trust is a priority on both sides when finding your perfect sitter.
These are my tips this week:
If the primary reason for engaging a sitter is pet care, be very specific in your listing. This will pay dividends in terms of saving you time.
If you have dogs, state the age and breed as all dogs are not equal and some are more labor intensive than others. A Springer in its prime will run in all weather for hours and still want more. On the other hand, even though Great Danes are large dogs, they can’t run like this and they won’t. A Goldie requires huge amounts of grooming for that double coat, where a Labradoodle doesn’t even shed!
A sitter who loves animals but isn’t necessarily that active wouldn’t be suitable for our Springer but would be a perfect match for a Shitzu Princess. Being specific will about the breed and required care will make certain that you will get the right sitter applying. Although breed specific information is important with dogs, it’s less so with cats. But again, the details about age, breed, and whether your pet is indoor or outdoor trained are important.
Horses and farm animals are a very specialized remit and should illicit applications only from those sitters with experience. However, it would be prudent to stress the level of expertise you require and expect. Again, be honest with your requirements and – in fairness- be prepared to offer some financial compensation where necessary.
If you don’t already know the costs associated with pet/animal care/boarding, check your local services. You’ll then realize just how much financial savings pet sitters provide. And the savings of stress to your pets’ welfare is immeasurable.
How many applications can I expect?
Depending on time of year, location, type of property, length of sit and the skills you require, the number of applications can vary. House sitting is becoming more popular and the number of sitters is increasing. That being said, most home owners say “normal” is to receive between 10 and 20 applicants.
All emails will be linked to the sitter’s profile. Some people may write just a couple of lines others will write more. You may decide not to pursue some of the messages, but for others you’ll want to read their full profile. At every stage of the process, please inform the applicants regarding the status of their application. Because the website provides a “Reply” link to emails, notifying each person is simple to do without unnecessary hassle or inconvenience.
It’s worth remembering that you, the home owner, are only dealing with one listing. For some sitters, this is a lifestyle choice and they travel many months a year between countries. In order to give you the very best service they can, planning is a vital part of what they do. Knowing whether they are being considered, short listed or rejected is always appreciated and is extremely helpful.
Local or Long Distance Sitter?
This is really your preference.
I would encourage everyone not to dismiss applications from sitters all around the world. Just because they don’t live in your town, or even your country, doesn’t make them less of a potentially perfect match.
Sitters who choose this lifestyle are passionate about travel and giving the very best service to their clients. Long-haul travel is the norm for them. It’s a way to explore a new country, or revisit an old favorite without staying in an impersonal hotel. Or they may wish to be near (not staying with) a loved one or family member.
Your home may just be the perfect solution for both of you.
Make a short list
TrustedHousesitters has the most concise sitter profile information that I have found. This includes references, photographs and some have amateur video introductions. Compile a short list of your favorites, again making the sitters aware that you’re at this point in the selection process. Your choice is very personal at this stage. Perhaps you’ve not done any due diligence such as the checking of references, telephone, email or Skype contact, so it’s really a theoretical exercise based on the personal information that has been given.
Use that all-important gut feeling. I promise you’ll be drawn to like-minded people and to those with whom you want to communicate. Sometimes, you will note immediately that you already have something in common.
Work the short list, make your choice
Now you’re ready to make direct contact with your selected sitters. It’s just like interviewing potential employees or internet dating, except it’s for your home. You’ll have personal contact details, email, telephone, and perhaps Skype contact. Ask for the contact details of references and for permission to contact them directly – either by email, telephone or both. This is the time to do your due diligence.
In verifying references, ask them if they would like to add anything about your potential sitter. Ask any specific questions that might not already be covered. You may find that after one telephone chat, along with the sitter’s profile information, photographs and possible video that you have enough on which to base your decision.
I advise you to feel comfortable about your decision. You don’t need to feel pressure but at the same time, don’t take too long. You may miss the sitter you really want because good ones are always in demand.
You have finally made your choice. It’s the right one, you’ve made a connection, and it even FEELS right. It’s a WIN-WIN relationship!!
Now wasn’t that easy?
The List – 10 Steps to Prepare for your Sitter
Finalize day and time of arrival/departure.
Prepare an info pack on your home, list contact numbers for neighbors, relatives, for yourself, tradesmen you trust, utility companies, vets and local doctor/hospital.
Note days of garbage collections and any idiosyncrasy associated with your home.
Check Insurance for car, add driver’s details.
Leave your home the way you expect to find it – Clean and Tidy.
Clean fridge out and leave fresh milk and some basics. No science lab specimens in the fridge or food cupboards,
Clean bathrooms, towels, fresh soap etc. Make space for the sitter’s toiletries.
Supply fresh and clean bed linen. Empty draws and closet, leave a supply of hangers and bath robes, if possible.
Poop scoop garden if necessary, leave all pets bedding clean and smelling sweet.
Stock up on pet food, treats, medications, flea/tick prevention.
Appreciated but not necessary – have a meet and greet with the neighbors the day before your departure. This familiarizes everyone that you will be leaving and that you will have house sitters in your home.
Wave goodbye, have a brilliant holiday knowing all is well in your home world, thanks to your TrustedHouseSitter
House Sitter Profiles on TrustedHousesitters provide in-depth information including references, experience, availability, location, photographs and even video introductions.