What’s your top tip for new house sitters?

What have you learned over your time as a house sitter that you can share as a TOP TIP for others just starting out?

What do you know now that you wish someone could have told you back when you were applying for your first house sit?

Reading through your posts we can see you’ve all learned so much that’s helpful from your unique experiences. Between you all there’s a wealth of knowledge to share. So we’d love your help to create a positive topic full of beneficial suggestions and supportive advice that new members will find valuable… from the moment they upload their profile to the point when they apply for their first sits.

The more we can help each other at the outset, the more we can help create the wonderful, happy experiences we all know are possible in our pet loving, travel community.

We look forward to reading your TOP TIPS!

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  1. Start local to get those all important reviews.
  2. Set up the notifications in the app, you better be quick when applying for that dream sit, cimpetition is fierce!
  3. Always insist on a Skype/Whatsapp/Zoom call before agreeing the sit + ask as many questions as possible.
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Get as many pet caring references on your profile as you possibly can. Friends who can vouch for your pet-loving skills, neighbours whose dog you’ve walked or whose cat you’ve fed whilst they’ve been away and maybe whose house you’ve kept an eye on in the process… Include photos which show your varied experience with animals Owners will see you’re a “trusted pet lover” even if you have no THS experience as yet. Don’t be too ambitious with your first applications - short, local sits mean you can meet the HO well ahead of time and maybe walk the dog together or have a cup of tea, pet the cat and show them what a responsible and reliable person you are. Ask questions which demonstrate that the pet(s) and home are your top priority. Once you’ve secured a sit, be a great communicator.

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Thank you @Els and @Diggy for 2 great comments with really good advice. Keep the tips coming everyone… this will make really valuable reading for our new member sitters!

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Great tips.

One I’d suggest is to be sure to clarify the dates on their sit. Some put the dates they are leaving/returning but would like you to arrive earlier and leave later.

We always ask for the date/time they need us to arrive and leave, AND the date/time they are actually leaving and returning themselves.

We’ve had sits where we had a 3 day overlap and we’ve had sits where we never met the home owners. But we always need to know this ahead of time so we can plan our days before and after.

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I agree with all the previous comments, which are excellent tips.
In addition:
Be flexible! Especially in these days and times, when owners travel plans may change at the last minute.
Be clean. Keep the house clean, wash everything you use.
Be respectful of owners belongings and privacy.
Be dependable. Show up at the agreed date and time; follow pet and house sitting instructions.
Be patient: if you don’t get selected for every sit you apply, keep trying, and apply for the not-so dreamy locations and responsibilities. It takes time to build a good reputation and earn good reviews and references.

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Those are great points, succinct and clear!

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I’ll second that @Kelownagurl And Happy weekend!

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Agree with all of this.
Put it on your profile.

We ourselves are sitters and hosts. The number of profiles which have insufficient information is disappointing.

Even if you’re new to sitting, put in your profile what experience you’ve had with what animals. No point in saying “we’ve had many animals at home”, if those were dogs and gerbils, and we want someone who knows cats.

Put in your profile a decent photo of yourself. We want to see who we would be letting into our home (so we recognise them)

Treat your profile as you would a job application, and put in relevant experience.

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Thank you for your feedback @CatStaff … it’s always so insightful to hear from our owner and combined members. Relevant pet/animal experience is a very important part of the profile, I totally agree with you. Love your username btw - we are frequently “cat staff” :joy_cat:

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Don’t be put off by a few declined applications …it will happen!

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Make sure you all know the plan if the pet dies while the owner is away. Most of our sits have been with elderly dogs, 14, 15 and 17, and this has been essential but not the happiest discussion to have. One owner requested taking Lily to the vet to be stored until their return whereas another asked for Jack to be taken to the sister’s farm for a funeral and burial.

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That’s an excellent point @Noelene, we have sadly helped three pets transition and it’s not always age related.

Especially on long sits I have a conversation with owners beginning with… “In the unlikely event of a life threatening emergency” of course I pick the time and the place and put myself in their place (which I have been many times) also asking if their vet knows their wishes and suggest they put it in writing which will make sure their wishes are fulfilled and also helping relieve the sitter from being part of what can be a very difficult decision making process, being the comforter is emotionally difficult enough.

I have had owners who have done this on their own volition and introduced me to the vet also.

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I visited the vets with 3 HO, just to introduce me, and to know where it was.
Japan, Bangkok and Phuket, just in case language was a problem.
Old dogs. Fortunately didn’t need to return. Most HO have an account, but a couple have left me a cash sum “just in case”

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Read the story about Robert the Bruce and the spider …… try, try and try again.

I start with a similar opener, and then try to lighten it a little by saying ‘is your pet a budget or a blank cheque?’ I’ve done a sit for two dogs where the wife said the little one was a blank cheque, and the husband said the big one was $50 (£30) max. Again, it lightened the start of a serious conversation and then we talk details. I’ve never approached the dying part though, and just take it to the point about vets and the financial aspect. Thanks to you and @Noelene for sharing.

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  1. Serve - focus on accommodating the needs of those you wish to serve and serve them well.
  2. Know yourself - what is it you are really wanting to accomplish in doing this?
    What are your preferences with animals, places, people? What experiences do you want to have?
  3. Be respectful, responsible and trustworthy
  4. Believe you can do and go wherever you desire in your ideal place with your ideal pets and homeowners.
  5. Rock it out! :hatching_chick:
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Such excellent advice and put so eloquently, thank you @Amparo

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Not everyone is a good fit for you - and you’re not a good fit for everyone. If you have a bad feeling, it’s ok to decline a sit

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Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get sits right away. Don’t take ‘rejections’ personally. You never know what people are looking for and they all have their preferences–some HO wants single people, some want couples, some want someone local, some want people of a certain age or certain types of experience,etc…

Don’t see it as ‘competitive’ I really don’t–it’s all about finding the right matches.

You really never know what piques people’s interest–you might have a common hobby or job and they feel a connection. I once had a person tell me they picked my husband and I because I had kind eyes–she was a very spiritual person who was all about picking up on people’s vibes and energy.

Our first sit was for four months in Fiji–the people liked our profile and liked us on the interview. We all have to start somewhere.

Don’t let lack of experience get you down too much…I have spoken with HO’s who actually like to give new sitters a chance, and it is a good idea to make a really detailed profile to let people know more about you.

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