Whether you’re going away for a weekend break or for a six month backpacking holiday, you’ll want to make sure that your home and pets are safe and sound in your absence. Hiring a house sitter is one of the best ways to do this. Not only do house sitters give your pets the love and attention they deserve, most are also happy to take on household tasks such as gardening.
With more people house sitting than ever before, it’s very important to make sure that you choose the right person for the job. You don’t want to let just anyone into your home, after all.
Step 1: Join a Reputable Website
While it’s possible to find pet sitters through classified websites like Craigslist and Angloinfo, it’s a better idea to join a website dedicated to house sitting. Look for one that shows you references and recommendations for each sitter as well as having ample space for photographs and videos. Although some house sitting websites do charge a membership fee, you get a lot more peace of mind. For example, once you place your ad, you know that only experienced house sitters will be able to get in touch with you.
Step Two: Write a Good Ad
Add as much detail about your property and pets as possible: remember that trust works both ways. Experienced pet sitters may not feel comfortable getting in touch with you if your advert doesn’t include any images. Be honest and upfront, too. If your cat has aggression problems, or your dog has arthritis, don’t shy away from including that in the advert. Although it will severely reduce the number of sitters who apply, the people who do get in touch will be quality candidates who probably have experience in that area.
Step Three: Make a Shortlist
It’s likely that you’ll get a lot of emails. Start by writing out a set number of skills you would like the successful applicant to have: whether you want someone who’s handy around the house, or an expert in cat body language , now is the time to start narrowing it down. Make sure you read the profile of each applicant carefully, paying special attention to their photographs and references. Try to choose five sitters who fit your criteria.
Step Four: Check References
You can narrow it down further by giving the references another look. Remember that the house sitter will be living in your house while you’re away, so it may be worth asking for landlord references too, if these haven’t already been provided.
Step Five: Interview
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of people, it’s time to conduct interviews. If you don’t live in the same city as the potential sitters, do it over Skype. This is worthwhile as it helps you to build up a personal rapport with the sitter and see what kind of personality they have. It’s a good way to find out if someone really will be a good fit for your home and pets.