Becoming a house sitter: the best job in the world?
It's a fun and adventurous way to discover new places, people and pets: being a house sitter. As a house sitter, you stay in the house of a pet owner when he or she is away. This is great for the pet: he can fully enjoy the company of the pet sitter. And the owner can leave his pet and the house with peace of mind. House sitting seems like the best job in the world! But what should you keep in mind as a house sitter and how do you ensure that everyone is happy in the end?
Preparing the meet & greet
For pet owners, it is a big step to let a pet sitter in the house for a longer period of time. But it is also exciting for the house sitter: where will I stay? In order for the experience to be successful for both parties, it is important that the pet sitter takes the lead beforehand. Therefore, first plan a meet & greet in which you get to know each other and discuss the most important issues. Prior to getting acquainted, write down your most important questions, take your notebook with you to the owner during the meer & greet and make notes during your conversation.
Get to know the pet
During your meet & greet, you will meet the pet that you will be responsible for taking care of. Make sure you get to know as much as possible about the resident pet(s) and ask plenty of questions to the pet owner. Pay attention to stuff like:
- What do you feed the pet, and how often?
- Cleaning the litter box / cage / kennel: what is expected?
- What is the daily routine of the pet? When and how many walks, cuddles, how much play time?
- Where is the pet allowed to be in the house? Where does the pet sleep?
- What are the rules in and around the house for the pet?
- Which cues and commands does the pet know?
- Get an impression of the character of the pet: What is he afraid of, what does he like to do?
Read more about: what to discuss during a meet & greet
The tour: check the house
During your meet & greet, it's important to keep your eyes and ears open. Check out all rooms and ask the pet owner where you are and aren't allowed to be. Remember that you will stay in the house for a while (sometimes weeks, perhaps longer). So it's important that you feel comfortable and safe. Ask where you will be sleeping, check the kitchen and bathroom and ask what you kind of personal belongings you should bring.
In addition, discuss things like locks and keys, alarm systems, thermostat, trash cans, electrics, etc. Ask where you can find useful items such as cleaning products and tools. And find out if you can use a parking space, bikes etc.
What do you need to provide house sitting services?
The owner has certain expectations of you. But as a pet sitter you are also the one who would be clear about what you need to be able to deliver a proper the service. For example: should the house be cleaned before you arrive? What kind of requirements do you impose in terms of hygiene? What do you expect from the place where you will be sleeping? What items do you need to take care of the pets? Are you allignes when it comes to pet care and well-being? Make clear what you expect from the owner and your stay.
Extra services such as housekeeping?
As a house sitter, you are not only responsible for the pet, you're also the ears and eyes that keep the house safe. Perhaps the plants should get water, should the house look 'inhabited' by means of lights and curtains? Some pet owners want you to do extra jobs like cleaning or taking care of the garden. Be clear about what's included in your services and what is not - and be honest about it. And don't forget that all the tasks that you perform are included in your house sitting price. Read more about determining your pet sitting rates
Make an informed decision
Was the meet & greet a success? Congratulations! You can now tell the owner that the reservation can be made. Are you still in doubt? Tell the pet owner that you need some time to think things through. If you don't feel comfortable with the request, you can always decline the reservation at this point. Let the owner know ASAP if the reservation can not go ahead and why.