House and Pet Sitting Tips

Top Tips For Pet Sitters

Once you’ve signed up to a Pet/House sitting website, the first thing to do is create a great Profile for yourself – you need to stand out from the competition!  Here are our top 5 tips for creating a top quality profile.

  1. Highlight your strong points about your personality and what you would bring to the house/pet sit.
  2. Include any past experience of house and pet sitting, however small, maybe you looked after your friends tortoise one day, just make sure its all included.
  3. See if you can get some really good references, perhaps a character reference from someone you know well, a reliability reference from a past employer or maybe you’ve looked after that friends tortoise and they’d give you a reference!
  4. One of the best ways to show who you are and how you are around pets is with photos. With all pet sitters profiles you will get the opportunity to add photos. Great idea if you can get a shot of you cuddling a dog, or working with animals. Think hard about what you would like to see if you were a pet owner looking for a sitter.
  5. Have you got any skills that might be handy during the sit? Think about anything you may have done in the past, maybe you have some experience with larger animals perhaps horses, or have training in swimming pool maintenance, maybe good at gardening or DIY, cleaning or property management skills. Dig deep and build a list to add to your profile!

Profile all set up, right that’s great, now for some tips on applying for those sits you’re interested in and what to think about when choosing a sit.  

  1. Make sure you research the sits that come up in the area you are interested in. Make sure you fully read the requirements of the pet sits you apply for and responsibilities that are being asked of you. Don’t apply unless you can 100% commit to the sit and what the sitter is requesting. You may be responsible for maintaining a salt water pool? Does the dog require daily injections?  Does the dog need two hour-long walks a day? Are you happy to complete all these tasks Thinking about applying for a sit abroad, something some people forget to check is to make sure that they’ve properly checked any visa requirements for the country they’ll be visiting, all countries have different visa rules for visitors, so make sure you’ve checked these out
    2.  As soon as you see a sit that ‘grabs’ you – respond quickly, you’ll be amazed at the amount of sitters that will also apply. Being the first to apply has often enabled us to secure a sit. As you can imagine pet owners want to get booked up quickly and will quite often pick the first sitter that fits all the criteria they are looking for, rather than wait for numerous applicants and then have to sift through them all.
    3. Your first chance to impress any potential home owners will be online when you contact them directly with your application to sit for them.  This will be the first impression the owners get of you.  We always make our application email personal too them, mentioning their pets by name and responding to any particular requirements the owners asked for. This shows you have read their advert thoroughly, after all they have probably spent quite a bit of time writing it! Let the owners know what makes you the sitter they should choose, mention your abilities and experience whilst also injecting your own personality into what you say. Sound as enthusiastic about the sit as possible and let them know what a great opportunity it would be for you as a sitter.
    4. If you are lucky enough to be selected by owners on to their shortlist, make sure you reply quickly, tell them your pleased to be considered and most importantly offer the opportunity to Skype/Facetime.  We have used Skype or Facetime prior to confirming all our sits, it’s a great way to “meet” the homeowners, get to know them and ask any questions about the pets, house and sit in general. Both parties need to feel happy and relaxed that they’ve made the right choice.

Applied and accepted for your first sit, here are some useful tips to make sure your first sit runs smoothly and is a great success for both you and the owners.  

  1. Read up on the sit well in advance, check that you have details of everything about the house, from the mains water tap and wifi codes to the security alarm code and bin collection days. The pets routines and feeding information, details and phone numbers of the vets and any emergency contact numbers.
  2. Always arrive well prepared for the sit. Make a list of all the main points from the owners information pack or notes they have provided for you.  Remember it’s really your job to ensure you ask all the questions you need answered before the owner leaves you in charge.
  3. Caring for the pets must be your prime concern. Whether you’re staying in a house in France or villa on a tropical island never lose sight of the responsibility of pet care.  Typically owners would not expect sitters to leave the pets for more than 4-5 hours in a day and if sitting dogs often they can tag along so be sure to take them. If the homeowner walks their dog an hour in the morning and an hour each evening, then that’s what you need to do for them, follow the pets routines to the letter.  Although, its not a paid job to sit, still view the care of the pet as “your job” and take that responsibility very seriously. If your looking to have a little more freedom to explore then look for a cat, rabbit or tortoise sit, which can be left a little longer through the day.
  4. Keep in touch with the owners while they are away. Its a great idea to ask how much communication they would like while they are away. Some owners love a daily picture and update of how their furry loved ones have been getting on to put their mind at rest.  Some owners prefer contact only if an emergency arises.  Ask what the homeowner prefers. We love to send photos of the pets showing they are happy and healthy, we think it puts the owners minds at rest while they are away from their home.
  5. Keep the owner’s home clean and tidy. We probably go a little overboard when cleaning up before the owners return but it all goes towards a good overall impression of how you have gone about completing the sit and the respect you have for the owners home. Recommendations often come from going a little above and beyond what most would consider normal!
  6. On the owners return, apart from ensuring their pets are happy and relaxed and coming home to a clean house, consider spending a little time with them when they return. We have cooked a meal for some of our owners and chatted about our time in their home with their pets and listened to stories about the owners time away. If you’re a little short of time, then even a baked cake and quick coffee goes down very well.
  7. If you are using a website that gives owners the opportunity to review you, be sure to give them hints before you leave or in a little message a few days after the sit. Often the owners can post their review directly on the website, meaning they are not revised or edited by anyone, so a genuine review that can be read by future owners that may be considering you.  A great review will be invaluable for your future sits!

Thank you for visiting our Blog, we would really appreciate your comments,  your thoughts on it,  or your experiences to share and if you have any questions.  There is a comment box at the end of this blog page and we will be so happy to get back to you, to answer and to give any help/advice we can.

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