If you are a new house sitter, or someone with one or two house sits under your belt, you could be wondering how easy it will be to keep finding house sits. This is a bigger concern if you intend to use house sitting as part of a full time nomadic lifestyle.
We are often asked how we manage to consistently secure back-to-back house sitting jobs in the locations of our choice. Well, firstly let me tell you, we have had to put some work in to make this happen.
Home sitting jobs rarely just drop into our inbox, conveniently timed to make our life easy! We've worked hard to perfect our profile and our house sit applications. This all helps us get more house sitting jobs, for more of the time!
1) Join more than one house sitting platform for maximum exposure
As full-time international house sitters, we don't worry about the cost of joining house sitting platforms. Most subscriptions are only the equivalent of a night or two in a hotel or Airbnb. We figure the overall saving on our annual accommodation easily compensates this expense.
We see joining more than one house sitting platform as an investment. By signup up with two or three of the international sites, plus a local country based site (depending on our chosen location), we increase our house sitting opportunities and are more likely to fill gaps between sits.
Even if you are only house sitting for a couple of weeks each year, think about how much you are saving on accommodation and really weigh up how just a little more investment could open up more opportunities that fit your particular needs. This is especially true if you are a family, or if you have a pet of your own - two scenarios where you'll find less gigs available.
Take a read of our popular house sitting platform comparison guide to see which sites we think are worth joining. You can also take advantage of some specially negotiated discounts with TrustedHousesitters and HouseCarers.
2) Create a personal House Sitting Website and/or Facebook Page
We have created a personal house sitting website that lists all our previous sits and references, and we have a house sitting Facebook page, to show full transparency. Our personal Facebook pages are also set to public so that again, we have nothing to hide should a home owner want to check out our backgrounds. As global nomads who have sold up their properties, it's difficult to get ongoing police clearance checks, but this internet transparency has worked in our favor.
Not everyone has the skills to create a website, or even the inclination, so don't worry if it's not for you. I'm just explaining all of the things we think help us get back-to-back house sits, over and over again. Facebook pages can be just as effective, or even an online brochure, saved as a PDF. If you aren't keen on any of these, simply make your house sitting profile the best it can possibly be.
By creating a personal house sitting website, we are able to keep all our references and photos in one place. This is where we refer owners when we make our home sitting applications. We've been told time and time again that the website was the reason we were selected over many other similarly qualified house sitters.
Why? "Because we got a really good feel for you as a couple", and, "You look very professional - your website answered all our questions about using house sitters."
If you'd like to find out more about easily setting up your own house sitting website then Ian recently completed a short course to help you get started. Take a look here: How to Create a Personal House Sit Website
3) Join a house sitting referral group
As you get more house sits under your belt, you'll find that you'll begin connecting, and even meeting up with other house sitters on your travels. Through networking in this way you'll discover that there are a few select referral groups on the house sit circuit. If you can get referrals in this way, you'll find some unique sits that often don't ever get advertised on house sitting sites.
A good way to get to know other house sitters is by using mapahub.com. It's a website where you can connect with other house sitters and like-minded travelers, and arrange meetups in person, all over the world.
Six years into our adventure, our house sits are selected from house sit platforms, repeat sits, our own website/social media, and from referrals. That's a good base from which to secure plentiful ongoing sits!
4) Be first to apply for house sitting jobs - Set up email alerts
Once you've chosen which house sitting platforms to join, set up your email alerts (if this facility is available), so that each time someone posts an assignment that matches your filters, you get an email notification.
Your filters can usually include location, type of pets, duties and more, but we keep our filters pretty basic so we have a bigger catchment of assignments in the destinations of our choice.
Check alerts regularly.
With so many new people entering the house sitting arena, it's becoming more important to check and respond to your alerts as quickly as possible. Many home owners stop the applications after just 10 responses.
Your email or message needs to be one of these first 10.
When I'm actively looking I keep the TrustedHouseSitters link open on my browser and check it regularly for new house sits. In this way I frequently get my application in the first 3.
TIP - Be less picky about location
When you are starting out, think creatively in terms of location. For instance, you may really want a house sit in Central London, but it's often easier to travel into London by public transport from the suburbs, and you may find the house sits aren't quite so competitive.
5) Find sits using an aggregate search site
There are now two sites that allow you to search for sits across a range of house sitting platforms. Each one searches different platforms, so using both could be beneficial.
- Housesittingworld searches across Nomador, HouseCarers, HappyHouseSitters and HouseSitMexico - you will need to sign up (either free or on premium subscription) to get access.
- HouseSitSearch has much wider coverage and also includes the largest international platform - TrustedHousesitters. It's available to use without signing up, and has some pretty cool search filters. It does, however, lack "email alerts".
6) Know what you want when reviewing assignments
Obviously the location and dates are important, so we isolate those sits that fit the time period gaps on our calendar.
We don't overlook those that overlap a little - if they are close by we could separate to cover a day or two on overlapping sits.
We recently did this in Australia (with home owner consent) over the Christmas period, overlapping by just 3 days on two easy sits. In this way we were able to cover a period that might otherwise have been more difficult - again, maximize your possibilities by thinking outside the box.
Next we assess the home owner's advert. We look for the following:
- A good representative selection of images of both the pets and the property.
- A well written, informative listing that details exactly what's required throughout the sit in terms of both pets and the property - the more info the better. We are more attracted to sits where the owner is transparent about potential issues.
- Unusual requirements such as off-grid, swimming pools, or remote locations - we have the skill set to look after these properties, and less people generally apply.
- Firm dates - someone who hasn't confirmed their dates doesn't work for us. Furthermore there's a possibility it's simply an advert to see if house sitters are available, SHOULD they decide to book a holiday.
- We work online, so internet is important - high speed internet is a must. Make sure you take into account any work considerations and filter accordingly. Don't forget you can ask for an internet speed test if in any doubt about connectivity.
7) Know what to avoid
This is a list that will potentially grow as you become more established as a house sitter. It's only after experiencing a number of different situations, in a variety of environments, that we've really identified what to avoid for our particular situation. Here are just a few of these items:
- No pictures on the listing is a no-no for us - there's too much work involved in assessing whether the property and pets are a good match for us. But if you're new to house sitting, or simply have more time, then you could choose to pursue further. However, beware of no pictures with just a 2 or 3 line house sit advertisement - that would definitely be a red-flag for us. Detail and matching expectations is key to a successful house sit - that should start with the advert.
- Any mention of deposits or payment for utilities, is another no for us personally. We prefer a trust based, payment free exchange that provides a win-win-win for the owners, the pets and us. That said we do understand that sometimes it's worth considering utility payments on long-term sits, or if the sit is especially attractive.
- Because we still work online part-time we prefer not to have too many animals or pets that need a lot of continual daily care. Again this is personal to our particular situation and we don't want to ever feel that we can't give the required time to our charges.
8) Apply quickly and personalize applications
As soon as you've found an assignment that suits you, send in your application.
I think the key to success is to personalize your email or message and make connections. Talk about points from within the advert and use the pet's names. If you identify with something in the listing, or perhaps know the area, then mention this. We often become friends with our home owners and this is usually because we find sits where we make like-minded connections.
When making an application, remember at all times that it is about fulfilling the home owner's needs first, not your own. Talk about how you can do that. Draw on your experiences and put links to anything that can back up your application, such as your personal website, a blog you've written - anything to reaffirm your credibility.
Of course, I'm not suggesting that you negate your own needs, but don't make them the focus of your application.
We refer a homeowner to all of our references in one place on our website, but if you don't have this, create a word document or a PDF that you can attach to your application. It helps to make this visual too - include pictures alongside your written references.
Offer to Skype or video chat at a time that suits them.
Be sympathetic to the fact that the homeowners are likely to be overwhelmed with enquiries, especially if they are in popular locations.
9) Maximize exposure of references in applications
We are often asked, "What if I'm new to a site and my references are on other platforms?"
This is a more common situation than you may think, especially if you want to increase your house sitting job opportunities by subscribing to more than one house sitting platform.
But don't worry, it's easily dealt with.
When we first joined TrustedHousesitters, we had to compete with house sitters that had 20+ references. Of course we took advantage of the facility to request reviews from people we'd previously sat for, but we also took some pro-active actions:
- Quote all or part of your best reference and insert it at the top of your profile.
- Add your most recent references from sits through other websites, to the end of your profile.
- Explain in your message that you are "new" to this particular website and that not all of your references are accessible. Direct the home owners to where they are available, with web links if possible.
- Consider creating a personal house sitting website with a "references" page.
10) Keep on top of your applications
When we don't hear back within 3-5 days, we send a reminder message or email.
If we don't hear back within a few days of this, we pretty much write off that application and move on. If a reply does happen to come through later, don't feel bad if you've already found something else. You made the effort to connect and it wasn't reciprocated.
This is an opportunity to remind home owners that they need to respond quickly these days to get the best house sitters - we often ask that they keep our details on record for future house sitting opportunities.
We've often found that slow responses equal patchy communication on an ongoing basis, which is worrying for us when we are filling a year round schedule. So, we do prefer to deal with people who take the time to respond promptly, even if it's a cut and paste, "We've been overwhelmed with responses but we'll get back to you soon".
11) Listen to your intuition - know when to say no
After six years of house sitting, I can tell within a few seconds if a house sit gig will work for us. My intuition is now highly tuned to house sitting expectations and I make sure to listen to any messages.
On the one occasion we over-rode this to be in a fantastic location, we had our worst ever house sitting experience. We ignored all the red-lights presented to us, but did at least learn from this mistake!
Listen to your intuition when you first review a house sit online and most importantly once you start corresponding by email, and when carrying out a video interview.
Don't ever be afraid to turn down a sit if it doesn't feel right for you.
12) Join us at the first ever House & Pet Sitting Conference
We've teamed up with leading authorities in the world of house sitting to co-host the inaugural House & Pet Sitting Conference in the UK this year - 21 & 22nd September 2019 in Swindon. This will be THE networking event of the year for house sitters, and newcomers alike. You'll leave with the tools and connections that will elevate you to be the very best of international house sitters. Find out more about how you can be involved here.
Does this all seem like too much work?
Some house sits come easily, while others take a lot of back and forth communication and video or phone chats. We see every house sitting application like applying for a jobs and we've been very successful in getting 8 or 9 sits out of every 10 we apply for. We are clearly doing something right, but this process does take take time and effort. We personalize every application we make - right it from scratch - no cut and pasting. We research the area, the pet breeds, and anything else that is relevant to the sit.
If you think this is all too much work to get a house sit, then that's probably why you are struggling to get house sitting jobs.
If you want to succeed, maximize your possibilities by investing time and money into using good house sitting platforms and sit alert resources, and by putting effort into refining your profile, registering for house sit alerts, and making your applications as personalized as possible.
Don't give up - you'll be sure to see a difference!
Become a House Sitter: Articles 1-6
1. Getting Started: What is house sitting and is it for me?
If you are new to house sitting then you will want to read this article to find out exactly what's involved, and discover if it's a travel option that will work for you. Have a read of our introduction here.
2. House sitting expectations for both house sitters and home owners
If expectations are mis-matched, then your sit might not be as perfect as you imagine. That goes for home owners and sitters! So here we look at both sides of the coin - what are the common expectations of house sitters and home owners. Click to read.
3. How to get started as an international house sitter
Now you know what house sitting is, lets take a deep dive into how you can get started as an overseas house sitter. Click to read.
4. How to find the best house sitting website for your needs
There are a number of reputable international house sitting platforms and also other country-based house sit websites. How do you know which is the best to use when you are starting out? We walk you through the process and provide some helpful discounts too! Take a look here.
5. Gain credibility by learning how to get house sitting references
One thing everyone is agreed on is that you'll need to have references to improve your chances of getting started as a credible house sitter. But don't worry, there are lots of ways to build up your reviews quickly and genuinely. This article explains how. Read more here.
6. How to keep finding house sit jobs
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Last updated on July 24th, 2019