Behind the scenes at Trusted House Sitters
We’ve been busy over the last couple of months talking with, Skyping and visiting house sitting service providers, so that we can take you behind the scenes.
Each month we will give you a peep inside a different platform. We’ll see what it takes to run and maintain the websites and resources that are paramount to the continuing success of the house sitting community. We’ll also introduce you to the people who devote their lives to making this all possible.
Meeting up with house sitting providers in the UK
Back in the UK we first met up with Lamia Walker from HouseSitMatch (more about this in the Issue 2), followed by a visit to the TrustedHousesitters team at their HQ in Brighton.
TrustedHousesitters was launched by Andy Peck and Rachel Martin in 2010, and has grown to become the world’s leading international house sitting platform.
Having outgrown their previous office space, we found the team of 26 in their temporary work space, late on a busy Friday afternoon. It was genuinely heart warming to be introduced to this dynamic group. They are efficient, friendly and clearly passionate about their work and the service they provide.
Cake? What cake?
We loved the relaxed and easy-going atmosphere in the bright, modern offices. It was just like walking into the home of large family – even down to the minor upset of Marketing Manager Georgina’s dog having just eaten another staff member’s afternoon cake!
After meeting members of the various departments and hearing some great house sitting anecdotes, we adjourned to a nearby pub. We were shortly joined by a number of staff members ready to begin the weekend with a glass of Prosecco or a beer. The inspiring chat involved… yes you’ve guessed it… lots about travel and house sitting!
Here’s our full interview with Rachel Martin, co-founder of TrustedHousesitters. She talks about the inspiration behind the formation of this self-funded company. She also addresses the challenges, the rewards and the general ethos of THS, including how it has become the success it is today.
Vanessa: How did you and Andy meet, and how were you first introduced to house sitting?
Rachel: Andy and I met just as TrustedHousesitters launched. He had discovered house sitting through a friend of a friend. He had been looking for a quiet place to finish a screenplay he was writing, following a near-death experience when traveling in the Bolivian Andes, months previously.
We spent a week house sitting together for the first time in France, soon after meeting. It was then I discovered how I’d love to help others in this way, and also how Andy and I could work together in partnership to bring TrustedHousesitters to market.
We explored how we could grow this unique way of helping people to travel more, on both sides of the network.
Vanessa: You now own the largest house sitting platform to match home owners with house sitters. How did you develop the business, and what motivates you to continue (apart from it providing income)?
Rachel: While Andy was convalescing he realised there was a need for a comprehensive website which would help owners and sitters find each other.
On speaking to numerous expats, as well as pet owners in the UK, it became apparent that they all had similar stories to tell – the dilemma of what to do with their pets and home when going away. This was to the extent that some people were unable to travel because of this problem.
The emails and reviews we receive from members are incredible. The fact that we are helping to change people’s lives is a powerful factor. It sounds far-fetched, but the responses from members using the site is overwhelming from both sides of the network.
Our motivation has never been ‘income’ – every dollar we make is poured back into the business to continue to grow the awareness, and to reach more and more pet owners around the world.
We also need to ensure that we offer the best experience for our members when they are using the website.
Vanessa: Where in the world was THS’s first ever match between a home owner and house sitter?
Rachel: Great question! ….
(article continues in Issue 1 of “House Sitting Magazine”…)