How to keep finding house sitting jobs in 2020
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 sit site for maximum exposure
As full-time house sitters, we don't worry about the cost of joining international house sitting websites or country based platforms. Most subscriptions are 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.
For us, joining more than one house sitting platform is an investment. By signup up with two or three of the international house sitting sites, and 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. We've proven this time and time again.
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 our own personal house sitting website - LongTermHouseSitters.com which lists all our previous sits and references. We also have a house sitting Facebook page for 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 with 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. Use aggregate search sites to find house sits
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. Sometimes home owners are able to be flexible with their dates, especially if they have't booked their flights.
We've overlapped several times now, with the home owner consent. 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:
7. Know what to avoid about house sits
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:
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.
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:
10. Keep on top of your house sit 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.
Does this all seem like too much work?
Some house sits come easy, 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 job 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. All our applications are personalized - we write it from scratch - no cut and pasting. Research involves checking out the area, flights, visas, 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 Series: 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 February 1st, 2020