House and petsitting is an equal exchange between home-owner and sitter. It is a win-win-win for home and pet owners, sitters and animals.
The home owner provides the sitter with accommodations for the duration of their stay in the particular location. He or she ensures that the sitter has a comfortable room, a safe environment, access to any daily needs for the sitter and all pets (food, etc.), a set of clear instructions, emergency contacts and anything else that would assist the sitter to care for animals, home or garden.
The sitter in return ensures the house is maintained and protected from harm as well as caring for plants and animals. She/he is cognizant of the homeowner's wishes and dependable to meet the needs of all animals.
Thus, the homeowner is secure in the knowledge that his/her home is secure and plants/gardens stay watered or maintained. It is also a benefit for pets who are able to remain in their home and be loved and cared for by a dedicated animal lover.
While there may be some basic care of animals and property (plants, gardens, home care, etc.), this is not a working agreement in that the sitter doesn't work apart from what has already been noted. This means no oversight of a bed and breakfast, agricultural work, animal care that takes hours, etc. If you are seeking that type of help, then you might seek help through Workaway, WOOFing or HelpX. Or you can ask the sitter if they will complete those additional tasks in exchange for monetary compensation.
Just as you have requirements for a sitter, each individual sitter will also have needs or requirements.
Ways to connect with a sitter:
1. Look at their profile. What types of animals have they cared for in the past? Would they be a good fit for your needs?
2. Review their references.
3. Email, call or skype with them to gain information and get a sense of the sitter.
4. Confirm as soon as you're able either way. This helps the sitter to mark the sit on the calendar or to apply for other sits.
5. For the time they're staying at your home: Consider what you'd like to have on arrival (snacks and some drinks or food of some sort, folder with all the important information and numbers, clean sheets and towels for where they'll be staying, favorite spots in town (places to eat, sights, grocer, etc.).
6. Clear requirements of how long animals can be by themselves, eating times, quirks, any health issues, etc.
7. Household "habits." Do you normally turn the porch light on at night? When does the trash and recycling go out? What about mail? Newspapers? Security systems.
8. Any do's and don'ts. If you prefer sitters stay out of certain rooms, let her/him know. This can also include dishes, glasses, etc. If you want them to help themselves to items in the pantry, again, make it known.
9. Let them know how you want to be contacted. Daily updates. More than once a day. Every couple of days. Only in an emergency.
10. Upon returning, write a review as soon as possible. This helps the sitter for future sits.
How to become a sitter:
1. Gain experience. Sit for friends and family.
2. Care for animals. If you do not have your own, volunteer at local rescues.
3. Take classes (online or in-seat) about caring for animals, plants, etc.
4. Put your profile on various housesitting sites. Add pictures and a video along with references, etc.
5. Get a criminal background check.
6. Learn animal (dog and cat primarily) first aid.
7. Apply for sits of interest.
8. Put the word out through social media and other sources.
9. Join housesitting groups on social media like House Sitting World.
10. Go on your first sit!
Unless an individual is sitting for you in an area where she/he will drive their own vehicle, sitters require access to public transportation and/or the use of a vehicle. This is a requirement for stays over a week or in rural areas. It's easy to leave a vehicle with a sitter in the United States as insurance protects the car. The United Kingdom is more difficult due to their insurance requirements. Some sitters may be okay with renting a vehicle for long stays in there is no available public transportation. *Caveat: Depending on the location, this requirement may be waived.
Many sitters work remotely. Therefore, in order for her/him to continue to work, access to the internet is often a requisite. *Caveat: If there is a local cafe, library or other establishment that is within walking distance, this requirement may be waived.
Check out the following platforms:
Trusted Housesitters is a global housesitting platform based in the U.K.
Housesitters and homeowners pay to utilize the site.
Housesits through THS show up as references through the site though many housesitters (like myself) have references outside of THS.
Other housesitting sites: