House Sitting is one of the best ways to stay on budget when traveling. While looking after the pet of another traveler, you get to visit the area where the homeowner lives. It’s an ideal solution for travelers and house sitters as well as homeowners who still like to get away every once in a while. If you’re looking into house sitting, but you require just a little more information about the subject… keep reading! We compiled a guide about house sitting! This article will give you some tips on choosing the right platform and getting your first assignment. Here’s what to look for and how to do it!
What is House Sitting?
This non-profit service exchange is a brilliant idea. The exchange is mainly about house and pet care. Homeowners with pets can get in touch with travelers who want to stay in the house and take care of the beloved furry creatures. House Sitters get to travel and save on accommodation while pet owners can go on a holiday while their pets are being cared for.
Researchers have discovered that a pet is happier when it stays in its own environment with a different caretaker than when it is moved to a caring facility for the duration of owner vacation. Finding a house sitter is, therefore, a great possibility for pet owners.
What to look for in a House Sitting platform
Number of assignments
Some platforms are rather new and upcoming. Those are usually good choices because their interface is mostly brand new and well developed. On the other hand, it takes a lot of time for platforms to grow so there might be a smaller number of assignments available. People tend to stick by known values and they prefer the security of the mass. House sitting platforms that are around for a longer period of time, usually have a lot more members and assignments. You probably don’t want to pay for being a member of a platform that never has an assignment in an area you want to travel to.
Area of operation
While most house sitting platforms let people from all over the world become a member, sometimes they only have house sitting opportunities in a selected area. If you plan on traveling for a year in one country and you only need sits in that specific destination, your choice of platform might be different than when you want to be all over the world. It’s important to know that some areas of the world just don’t offer housesits. If you’re looking for a house sit in Bolivia or Kazakhstan, you’ll probably be looking for a very long time.
Security for house sitting
As a traveler, security is important and most people travel with insurance. When it comes to house sitting where you will be living in the house of someone you don’t know, security can be interesting as well. Beginning with simple things like identity check and home ownership proof, platforms can really go the extra mile to offer security to their customers. Open profiles and information attribute to security and it doesn’t hurt to browse through safe housesits instead of picture-less profiles of cabins in woods.
Most platforms work with feedback systems where you can see how many previous housesits or assignments people have had and the number of stars given. It can be difficult to land your first assignment when you don’t have any reviews yet, but more about that later.
You should always use common sense and don’t let anyone convince you to send them money beforehand. The same goes for other scrupulous practices that are also known in regular situations.
House sitting troubleshooting and Assistance
This one is very important! You never know when your designated pet gets very ill or swallows one of your earrings. Platforms that come with a security lifeline are the most secure. These are things we don’t really like to think of happening to us, but there’s actually a lot that can go wrong, with the pet, with yourself, or if you’re very unlucky: between you and the homeowner. I’ve read about situations house sitters had with homeowners and even though they will make you feel miserable anyway, it never hurts to be able to call in assistance.
Platform Interface and apps
Interface and mobile applications are more luxury than a necessity, but I must admit that I care. Not many platforms have a mobile app to help you find a house sit while on the move, but I predict that these will come in time. When surfing to a house sitting platform, you can immediately see in which era they were built. Some are revamped and up to date, while others are stuck in the nineties. My preference goes to a platform that looks as if it is well designed and it won’t ever break down. Platforms that are less updated might be cheaper and it doesn’t really mean they are bad. This is a personal choice.
The last item is definitely not the least important. Most of us are probably looking for a budget solution to travel and accommodation. That’s why we tend to choose budget-friendly house sitting platforms. At least, we did! In the end, minor platform price differences don’t add up to the amount of money you will save on accommodation. It’s a good idea to look beyond the cost of membership in order to find great house sits. The same goes for homeowners and sitters alike. When people are prepared to pay a little more for a decent service, it shows that they are dedicated to their goal. Homeowners owners who care about their place will gladly pay more to get the extra services that usually come along with the more expensive house sitting platforms.
House Sitting Platforms
There are a lot of House Sitting platforms out there. They’re all the same, but not quite. Small differences like website interface and of course the price makes some more effective than others. Here’s a list of platforms with their pro and cons. Another big difference between platforms is security. This works in both directions. Home Owners profit by the knowledge their pet sitter is trustworthy and reliable. House sitters on the other hand profit by the security of a platform that will help them when something is off or goes wrong, like pets being hurt or ill. These are the best!
WINNER! – Trusted Housesitters
The Trusted Housesitters platform was launched in 2010 and thanks to clever marketing and a great platform, they became the biggest and most extensive platform in no time.
Runner – Up – Nomador
This relatively young network is based in Australia but was founded in 2014 by the owners of the renowned French house sitting platform Ilidor. That’s probably why most house sits are located in France. Nomador also offers memberships for 3 months, which is excellent for short-term travelers.
Confidence Option: 25€ / quarter or 65€ / year
Free house listing for homeowners
Runner Up – Mind My House
Mind My House is the platform that attracted us most at first. It is cheaper than most and it sits in the shadow of bigger competitors, which appeals to me. The platform is UK based and was founded in 2005.
Free house listing for homeowners
House Carers was founded in Australia in 2010.
Free house listing for homeowners
The House Sitters
The House Sitters is an Australian website that was founded in 1993. So it’s been around for a very long time and they have a lot of experience in the field.
How to choose the right house sitting assignment
Once you’ve selected one or more platforms to become a member, you’ll be looking for destinations and house sitting assignments. You’ll quickly notice that they aren’t all alike. Some homeowners offer little to no information, accompanied by one blurry picture of the tail of their pet. Other homeowners are avid writers and they fill in every question with a book chapter. I love it when the assignment has a lot of pictures and just the right amount of information: clear and to the point. Although it’s better to get too much information than too little. Once you agree on collaboration, you’ll be needing a lot of information anyway. You just need to know a lot of things, like the location of the pet food, in order to complete a house sit like a pro.
Getting your first house sit
When it’s your first time house sitting, it might be hard to compete with top sitters. They have credibility and a lot of 5-star reviews to prove their worth. You, on the other hand, haven’t got a single review. Will homeowners ever choose you? There’s a simple answer to that: yes! You should start with the goal to get 5-star reviews as well, so you’ll be a top sitter too. To get started, it will be hard to land a house sitting job everybody wants. Sitting assignments in the city center of the hippest cities in Europe are difficult to get and a lot of sitters will apply for these sits. Without previous reviews, you probably won’t get these assignments as a first sit. That’s why you should focus on house sits that haven’t got too many candidates yet. Some platforms will show you how many candidates there are for a specific assignment. If the homeowner already has 30 applicants to choose from, they will be more drawn to profiles with experience and great feedback. If there are no other applicants, the homeowners will be more likely to comply and hire you for the job.
What we think…
Well, I’m not sure if this is what you were waiting for, but here it is! We started out with Mind My House, which we liked a lot. But after a while, it looked like another platform offered the sits we wanted at that time. We decided to become a member of a second platform called Trusted Housesitters, and we were amazed by how well it worked and about the great features that were offered. Ok, it was a little more expensive, but we got more than what we paid for. Just one house sit balanced it out. If you can stay in a different city or in a stunning mountain setting for a few days, you’d probably pay more for accommodation than the price of an entire year membership. Let us know what you think and which platform is your favorite!