House and pet sitting can be a very rewarding experience. But if you’re missing critical knowledge it can be a struggle.
House sitting full time since 2011, our expert tips will increase your chance of getting your foot in the door, sooner. 😉
TIP 1: Write a great Profile
First impressions count
Your Profile on a house sitting website is your introduction to the home owner. Sell yourself. Important house and pet sitters build the best possible profile to stand out in the crowd.
Don’t be too formal. Show your personality. Home owners want to get to know the people who will be living in their home.
Emphasize your personal attributes. Perhaps you “Have a green thumb” or “Like to keep fit and active” or “Work online so I/we will be home a lot as company for your pets”.
Be honest and open about who you are
It’s quite something for home owners to entrust property, possessions and pets to a virtual stranger. The more potential home owners can get to know potential house sitters, the more likely they are to feel a connection.
State why you want to house sit
Do you want to house sit to save money, explore a location, or to travel longer or more often? Are you seeking sits in a particular area to have your own space while visiting family in the region? Perhaps you want to travel the world, one house sit at a time? Or maybe your circumstances have changed and you need a place to all home for a while?
Include photos in your profile.
This is very important! Home owners want to put a face to a name, not communicate with a faceless name on a house sitting website. Upload as many photos as the house sitting site will allow, preferably interacting with pets.
Photos in holiday destinations will give home owners the impression you’re more interested to visit desirable locations than care for their fur family. Similarly, photos with other people, even adorable grandchildren, says it’s more about you than about them.
Top Tip: “A picture is worth 1,000 words“. House sitter profiles should contain photos of them interacting with pets.
TIP 2: Activate and monitor Alerts
Why is it important to receive Alerts of house sitting jobs?
The importance of receiving Alerts when new house sitting jobs are listed on a house sitting website cannot be overstated.
Alerts make it possible for house sitters to apply promptly when new sits are listed. That way their application is among the first received by the home owner. This increases the house sitter/s chance of being chosen.
Without Alerts house sitters must scroll through listings on a house sitting website to find house sitting jobs of interest. Not only is this time consuming, it may well be futile. Because house and pet sitters who receive Alerts have probably applied days before, meaning your application will be one of the last to be received by the home owner.
House sitters must opt-in to receive Alerts
Alerts are not automatic. House sitters need to indicate they want to receive Alerts of new house sitting jobs as and when they’re listed. This is done by selecting “Preferences” on the house sitting website of Where, When and What they want to sit.
Good house sitting platforms offer sitters the option to receive Alerts as and when new house sitting jobs are listed that match their Preference.
Most platforms give house sitters the option to receive alerts every 24hours. Some also offer alerts on “as listed” basis – an excellent feature for those keen to be among the first to know when new house sitting jobs that match their preferences are published.
Top Tip: Update your Alert settings as soon as things change e.g. the Location and Date on your Availability Calendar.
TIP 3: Apply as soon as you see a house sitting job of interest
Home owners may receive a lot of applications from house and pet sitters. Rather than wade through all messages, they tend to prioritize applications on a first-come-first-served basis.
Our research shows five is the magic number of application messages before the home owners’ interest in reading more, wanes.
House sitters increase their chance of being short listed if theirs is one of the first applications received by the home owner.
If you’re actively looking for opportunities to house sit, be poised to apply anywhere, anytime.
Top Tip: If you see a house sitting job of interest, apply fast and apply well!
TIP 4: Write a good application message
Your first contact with the home owner is critical
This sets the scene for ongoing communication and will make or break whether you’re short-listed.
Communication should be less about your needs and more about the home owner. Read details of the house sitting job very carefully. Address each of the aspects raised. The more you relate to the home owners’ needs, the more they’ll feel a connection.
Are you a good ‘fit’ for the house sitting job?
House sitting jobs are not a one-size-fits-all.
If the ad says the home owner is looking for a couple who are home a lot, perhaps retirees or people who work from home, don’t apply if you’re single, or if you’ll be away from home a lot, sight seeing or working. Likewise if the ad says the home owner wants a single female, don’t apply if you’re a male.
Home owners have reasons for stating specific requirements in their listing. For instance, the two dogs may need two people to walk them, one dog each. Or the home owner may be a single female and her cat may not be comfortable around men.
Explain what you bring to the position.
Detail relevant experience, particularly with animals like theirs. Don’t cloud communication with questions about duties. The all-important initial contact is about opening up two-way communication.
If you’ve had experience with similar animals, say so. There’s a big difference between caring for a young, active, intelligent Border Collie to an elderly Golden Retriever who suffers from arthritis and is not able to walk far, or often.
Give the home owner insights into your world. Let them get to know you. Where are you at the time of writing – around the corner, or on the other side of the world? Why do you want to sit for them? You have a much better chance if you’re a down to earth person.
Top Tip: Respect the requirements specified by the home owner in their listing.
TIP 5: Communication is key to house sitting success
Aside from the practical aspects of being available for the period in question and willing and able to carry out the duties specified, communication is key.
Relationships are built on trust, and trust starts with two-way communication. Communication with home owners should be timely, courteous and clear. House and pet sitters should give a thorough, not evasive, response to questions.
Early in the process suggest meeting. If the house sitting job is miles away, then a meet up by Skype, Zoom, Facetime or some other method is advised. If a local sit, then it might be possible to meet in person.
Both methods enable house sitters to see where they’ll be living, assess the behaviour of the pets, and get to know the home owner.
Meeting face-to-face helps both parties determine if they’re a good ‘fit’ – for each other, the house sitting jobs and the pets in residence.
Top Tip: Encourage personal contact as soon as possible in the application process, whether by phone, Skype, Zoom, Facetime or some other method.
COPYRIGHT © Robyn Lea Schulz 2015-2022 All Rights Reserved