Last updated on March 28th, 2019
What do we mean by the word “trust”?
And why does it matter so much online and especially in house sitting?
As a the owner of the house sitting platform, HouseSitMatch.com, I feel bound to facilitate the growth of trust bonds between matched pairs online. Once those initial links are formed, it’s up to both homeowner and house sitter to build on that trust, to communicate and make the best and most reliable relationship they can.
Since launching HousesitMatch it has become clear that it’s not only homeowners who worry about trust and reliability. First time house sitters regularly ask for advice about homeowner expectations.
In fact, house sitters in general need reassurance, especially if they are paying for travel to get to a new property, possibly in a different country. They want to know that the homeowner wont bale on them at the last minute resulting in non-refundable travel costs and nowhere to stay.
Clearly there is concern on both sides.
Keeping it real with house sitting
Personal experience – One way we try to stay in touch and to understand how it feels on both sides here at HouseSitMatch, is by house sitting ourselves, and inviting house sitters into our homes. It allows us to deconstruct our own concerns, and build support mechanisms for all.
It helps us understand how, as a house and pet sitting platform, we can engender trust, confidence and reliability early in a relationship and find new ways to eliminate most fears.
To find out more about HouseSitMatch check out this link and if you’d like to join now or in the future, take advantage of our specially negotiated signup discount of 35%, by using code 35HSMAG.
Why do we find some people trustworthy instantly, and others not?
Is it because they come recommended by someone we know well and whom we already trust?
Or is it because we believe the paper work that they show us to demonstrate they have relevant experience?
Hearing it from our active members
We know you can build trust in relationships because you tell us. We see that over time with greater experience and more reviews, with good profile descriptions giving supporting information and perhaps accreditation, you can show that you have relevance and reliability. All help to engender trust.
We know that you can also earn people’s trust
As a house sitting network owner, I think about this all the time. I believe it is our duty to help build trust between collaborative members of our platform. But how and why do we do that?
It is a complex puzzle but there are things we can do to help you get started.
MEANING & INTERPRETATION OF TRUST
First comes the meaning we reflect in the word “trust”, and then the interpretation.
It’s plain that in any house sitting arrangement there is an inbuilt level of trust required. As a home and pet owner walks away from their property for any length of time, leaving you in charge of their most precious possessions, they are trusting you to care.
How did you secure sufficient trust to show them that you are able and that they can have confidence in you to mind their property and their beloved animals?
PAID HOUSE & PET SITTING
If you have a professional standing as a house and pet sitter, or maybe even a small pet sitting business, it goes without saying that you are dependent on every last professional performance as a sitter. You would not jeopardize future business through errant or sloppy behavior.
References and doing a good job – So you do a great job every time, you get paid for it and the client is happy. More importantly the client is willing to give you a reference saying you did a good job.
Professional qualifications – You may have worked for professional certification e.g. attesting to your knowledge, animal husbandry, pet first aid or dog handling experience.
Insurance – you may have professional liability insurance, something that’s only possible in most countries, when you have an associated business.
Background checks – You may have secured a national police background check to show a new client that you are deemed trustworthy by the state authorities with no previous felonies or convictions.
FREE HOUSE SITTING BASED ON TRUST
As a house sitter who does not receive payment for your services, building trust early on in your house sitting lifestyle is essential. Because you exchange your time and experience for free accommodation as many of us do, house sitting enables you to travel on a fixed budget.
But why should a complete stranger on the other side of the world place all their worldly goods and their pets in your care?
To allay their fears you need to do all you can to inspire confidence through your online house sitting profile and references.
Show that you are responsible, that this is important to you. A video on your profile helps to give an open impression of who you are. Help them see that you are someone who can be relied upon and whom other people respect.
How do you build trust and reliability in unpaid house sitting?
Join a reputable house sitting platform – it goes without saying that we believe in the facilitation of house sitting through an established and reputable platform that offers support and guidance if needed.
Go through the ID checks – Take courage and heart when faced with an online ID check. This is important because while you are asked to share passport and photo ID details it verifies you as a collaborative member of the network, who is willing to be identified. HouseSitMatch offers a free ID check through our strategic partner Hooyu – they keep your documentation for no more than 2 weeks.
Your identity is still veiled on the site as we ask you to present a Username, however, we have verified you as a real person and that shows on your profile. It is also worth noting that we ask all our members, sitters and owners to go through this process for the same reasons.
Secure and up-to-date Background check – Ideally before you start house sitting make sure you secure an up-to-date background check to present to either your house sitting platform or your homeowner.
If you are interested in traveling to a new country by house sitting this will show that you have taken the time and trouble to present your good name to the community. HouseSitMatch has an option for you to request a background check online, while you are on the road if you need to.
Prepare for house sitting and overseas travel by getting your background check – We currently use Verifile as our strategic partner for background checking. Once you have shared your up to date background check with us or have gone through the Verifile check online Housesitmatch will display a “checked” mark on your profile. This inspires confidence and helps to build trust in your profile.
Fast and responsive communications – We cannot stress this enough to both house sitters and homeowners. Responsive communications mean that your dialogue is stronger, you are seen as more reliable and collaborative. Check regularly for messages even if you don’t see email alerts.
House sitting agreements – when we first introduced legal templates for house sitting agreements prepared by lawyers for our members, it caused some debate in the community, about the formality forced on a house sitting arrangement. Now, however, we see many house sitters and homeowners insisting on a document that records essential terms of the verbal agreement. We believe it helps to manage expectations on both sides.
References and qualifications – as with paid house and pet sitting, references play a big part in validating trust. As will any additional pet care and handling qualifications that you may have taken to further your standing as a professional sitter.
COMMON OR SHARED VALUES
If you analyze your friendships in life you can see that some endure from childhood to adulthood. Others become strong bonds in formative years perhaps at college or in a first job. And then there are those bonds that become real with people you meet with whom who share common values.
This might transpire in the communications that pass between you, you may hit upon a similar sense of humour, respect and passion for animal welfare and so on.
Skype or Facebook Messenger make communications easy.
Regular communications between homeowners and house sitters before, during or after a house sit will help establish an understanding of shared values in house sitting. Our advice is keep the communications channels open at all times. Agree what that looks like to help you manage expectations.
Some homeowners like to hear from sitters while they are away, and see photos of the pets. Others are happy with an occasional note to reassure them that all is well. Agree what works between you.
BUILDING TRUST IN THE HOUSE SITTING COMMUNITY
The last element in the house sitting trust lexicon is the trust in the brand you work with. What does that brand represent and how will the community benefit?
As a relative newcomer to the house sitting world, we wanted to establish ourselves through our reputation for good service. So, we share our client stories via Trustpilot – they authenticate our client reviews and share our client stories online.
We hope that more homeowners and house sitters will feel the same way about working with HouseSitMatch as a trusted brand in the community. We aim to build a safer well trusted network enabling more affordable travel for all.