Strong sense of responsibility highlights the best house/pet sitters (Part 1)

I started providing house sitting and pet sitting services in December 2016, right after landing in Sydney, Australia. I had never done that before. Moreover, I had not known anything about house sitting before November 2016. However, I quickly became one of the best house sitters in New South Wales (check my references at the bottom). Here I would like to share insights how to become the best house sitter, and provide hints for future house sitters.

It is a long reading, thus I have decided to split the article into two pieces:
1) Personal Features & Preparations
2) Sit & Finalisation

Key traits

I have found out that sitting is quite similar to other business services. We “sell” trust that we can manage the task then deliver what has been sold. I firmly believe that a person with integrity demonstrates the same traits in all activities they are involved. Which means if you are a responsible person you could be a good sitter.

Be neat. Some house owners are pigs, that is right. But this is their house and their own mess. You have no such privilege.

Mandatory skills

You needn’t to be highly skilled in house tasks. Use common sense and take into account habits of these particular house owners. Google when necessary. That is quite enough.

You do not have to love all animals, nevertheless you should be inclined to look after them. They depend on us, and cannot help themselves in basic needs.

It is of critical importance to understand what you are told. That is to say you have to know English well enough. For instance, you should get IELTS score 8 for Listening and Reading bands.

Nice to have

If you have some veterinary skills, it will move you forward significantly. By the way, it is a pretty typical task to give medication to pets. Ensure you can do that.

Not leaving a house and pets for full-time job is a huge advantage too. Remote work (or retirement / vacation) is the best case.

Life with a car is easier. In addition to that, you will have wider choice of houses, and excellent mobility. Although some owners allow to use their car for shopping, etc.

Do not smoke. Smoking -kills- decreases your chances to be selected.

Arrangements

Discuss every point of the instructions and clarify everything. Keep your list of typical questions because quite often owners cannot mention everything that is important for a stranger.

Agree on the most convenient date and time of day to arrive and to leave. Often enough they are not the same as listed in their advertisement. It is always beneficial to arrive at least a day before they leave as you can observe their habits and ask questions. Depending on their attitude, it may be favourable to be at the site as they arrive.

Money

What you must do is to confirm who pays for what in advance.

Normally owners leave some money for pets food. Nonetheless, this is not always the case. Provide an opportunity to cover your expenses (via bank transfer or in cash). Of course, keep bills as an acknowledgement.

Risk management

Surprise! I bet most house sitters never think about “Plan B”. But we are the best, aren’t we?

Request contacts for emergency calls. It should be someone living locally, otherwise they cannot really help you. Vets phone must have, however not really helpful as you cannot make financial decisions regarding another’s pets.

Be prepared to buy more food for pets. You have to know where and what.

What if something happens to house or keys? That is why you need a local contact. Note that the contact info must be in your pocket, not on a fridge (in the locked house).

Home internet is not quite reliable. How are you going to be in touch without a connection?

The worst situation. What if something happens to you? Does anybody know where are you? How soon anybody will try to seek you? What about hungry animals?

You can read the second part here.

My references so far

http://haron.pro/pub/Housesitting/Sergey Lovchev reference from Doodie.pdf
http://haron.pro/pub/Housesitting/Sergey Lovchev reference from Ben.pdf
http://haron.pro/pub/Housesitting/Sergey Lovchev reference from Sonya.pdf
http://haron.pro/pub/Housesitting/Sergey Lovchev reference from John.pdf

http://haron.pro/pub/Housesitting/Sergey Lovchev reference from Sharon.pdf