So, let’s say you’re planning a trip but you’d like to see some slightly alternative places to stay. What do you do? You search on TrustedHousesitters, of course!
But it’s not always easy to secure your first sit.
Not to worry, because after using Trusted Housesitters avidly for one year and asking all of my hosts what they look for in a sitter, I’ve created the ultimate guide to using Trusted Housesitters as a sitter.
I’ll cover how the platform works, how to create a standout profile, how to secure your first sit and how to leave a good impression so you can get great reviews.
Not sure if it’s for you? Read my full Trusted Housesitters review to discover the pros and cons.
How does Trusted Housesitters work?
Step 1. Sign up and create a profile
Sign up and create a profile that shows off your personality and love for animals. Let homeowners know when/where you’re travelling (your availability), what kind of experience you have sitting and/or looking after animals and what kinds of animals you are comfortable caring for.
You can browse sits with a free membership but you’ll have to pay the membership fee before you can start applying.
Don’t forget to use our exclusive discount code for 25% off: VEGANSISTERS
Step 2. Browse dream destinations
Browse through a variety of house-sitting opportunities that fit your criteria, whether it’s a cosy apartment in Paris or a beach house in Hawaii. You can view their profiles and read reviews from other sitters to get a feel for their expectations and decide which opportunity is the best fit for you.
Step 3. Apply apply apply!
Once you’ve found the perfect house sit, it’s time to send a tailored application. Make sure you demonstrate that you’ve read their profile and share what makes you stand out as a top-notch house sitter.
Step 4. Confirm the details
This part is very important! Clarify dates, iron out the details and ensure that you have a clear understanding of the pet care instructions, household rules/responsibilities and any other important information.
Step 5. Pack your bags
Pack your bags and start your adventure! Follow the homeowner’s instructions, take care of their home and animal companions and enjoy your free accommodation in exchange for your amazing house-sitting skills.
How to create a winning profile
Here are some tips to make your profile stand out from the crowd and attract potential homeowners:
1. Choose an engaging profile picture
Your profile picture is the first thing that homeowners and pet parents will see, so make sure it’s a good one! Choose a picture that shows off your personality and love for animals, whether it’s a photo of you snuggling with your own companions or playing with someone else’s.
2. Highlight your experience
Homeowners want to know that their pets and homes are in good hands, so make sure to highlight any relevant experience you have. This could include pet-sitting, house-sitting or even volunteering at an animal shelter.
3. Be descriptive
When filling out your profile, be as descriptive as possible about your skills and abilities. For example, instead of simply saying you love animals, talk about your experience caring for different types of pets and any special needs you’re comfortable handling.
Also, I recommend including any dietary requirements and beliefs that you have, since homeowners will often leave gifts or cook dinner for when sitters first arrive. I’ve personally put that I’m a vegan in my headline and even this hasn’t been enough to prevent a gifted cheese hamper (which, fortunately, didn’t expire until after the family were due to return, so at least it didn’t go to waste).
If you’re vegan, you may also wish to include which services you’re happy to provide. For example, whilst I am vegan, I am okay with handling animal-derived cat food (I’ve stated this on my profile).
4. Showcase your personality
Homeowners are not just looking for someone who can take care of their pets, they’re also looking for someone trustworthy and easy to get along with. Make sure to showcase your personality in your profile!
5. Get references
Having references from previous homeowners or pet owners can go a long way in building your credibility as a sitter. Make sure to ask for references and include them in your profile.
Obviously, you’ll not have any references through the TrustedHousesitters platform when you’re just starting out. Not to worry though, because the platform allows you to gather external references. When selecting individuals to provide these references, it’s best to choose people who know you well and will speak highly of you. If possible, try to seek references that are relevant to pet and/or house-sitting.
6. Link to Airbnb and LinkedIn
TrustedHousesitters allows you to add links to your Airbnb and your LinkedIn profiles, which can help potential homeowners and pet parents to trust you by checking your authenticity.
Whilst the platform vets everyone, this is an extra layer of comfort for some people, particularly if you don’t have any official TrustedHousesitters reviews yet.
7. Keep your availability up-to-date
Whilst you can search for opportunities yourself, homeowners sometimes seek you out and invite you to sits, so make sure to keep your availability up-to-date on your profile. This will help you get matched with more opportunities that fit your schedule.
How to get good reviews
Getting good reviews on TrustedHousesitters is important because they can increase your chances of getting chosen for future house-sitting assignments. Here are some tips to help you get those great reviews:
1. Be responsible and reliable
Homeowners want to know that their pets and homes are in good hands, so make sure to be responsible and reliable during your stay.
Follow any specific instructions you may have and always do what’s required of you! This includes keeping the home clean and tidy and following any special instructions or routines for the pets.
2. Be communicative
Communication is key to a successful house sit, so make sure to keep in touch with the homeowner throughout your stay. I generally provide updates every other day or so but sometimes the homeowner will want to hear from you less or more.
I try to be respectful of their wishes but will always discuss expectations before agreeing to do the sit. This ensures that both parties are comfortable with the communication arrangements.
Communication works both ways as well, so make sure you read previous reviews from sitters before applying to check for any red flags. You’ll want to be able to have questions or concerns addressed quickly and easily, just in case anything arises during your sit.
4. Go above and beyond
Going the extra mile can make all the difference when it comes to getting good reviews. This could mean taking care of small tasks like watering plants or going out of your way to make sure the pets are happy and comfortable (extra play time!)
Some sitters even leave gifts for their homeowners; anything from a baked vegan cheesecake to a sketch of their furry friend can put a smile on their faces.
5. Leave the home in great condition
I always do a major clean of the house before leaving and will do my best to get everything spotless for the homeowner’s return. It leaves a great impression and shows that I respect their space.
If I get time, I’ll even wash my bedding and put fresh sheets on. I know how tired I can be after coming back from a holiday and this little token of appreciation removes one onerous chore from their list of things to do on their return to reality.
The animals I care for often end up supporting my digital nomad lifestyle by lending a paw or two (or four) 🐾
STAYING SAFE ON TRUSTED HOUSESITTERS
Travel will always come with risks, particularly when you are staying in a stranger’s home. But, like Airbnb and Couchsurfing, there are ways to mitigate those risks.
So far, I have only had one unpleasant and risky experience using Trusted Housesitters (I’ll tell you more below). But this was partly my mistake and I have learnt from it (as well as through my experience on Couchsurfing) and I now take all of the following precautions:
1. Read homeowner profiles carefully
Before accepting a house-sitting assignment, make sure to read the homeowner’s profile carefully, including reviews from previous sitters. This will give you a good idea of their expectations and requirements, as well as any potential red flags to look out for.
Whilst it’s true that not everyone will have reviews when starting out, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid them – we all have to start somewhere! In these situations, it’s important to use your own judgement and common sense. You can ask to video chat or even meet up with the homeowner before committing to a house-sitting arrangement. This can help you get a better sense of their reliability and whether or not they’re a good fit for your needs. Trust your instincts and take the time to get to know potential homeowners before making a final decision.
2. Get to know the pets
It’s important to get to know the animals you’ll be caring for before you arrive. Here’s why:
Once, when I was new to TrustedHousesitters, I agreed to look after a young couple’s dog without knowing much about her. I was living in Newcastle at the time and was keen to get a local sit under my belt before I went travelling again. During the initial video chat with the humans, we agreed that I should come to their house to meet the dog in advance of the sit.
When I arrived at the house, I quickly realised that the dog had behavioural issues and the humans hadn’t informed me. The situation was dangerous and could have ended badly, but fortunately, I was able to get out of there (badly shaken but body still intact) and cancel the sit. The issue was escalated to the TrustedHousesitters platform and their profile was removed. But clearly, it would have been much safer if this situation could have been avoided in the first place.
Looking back, there were definite red flags during our initial video chat. Since then, I’ve learned to ask more questions about the pet’s personality, how they react to new people and environments and if they’ve had any negative experiences with sitters in the past. Even if the humans aren’t entirely honest, you can judge their reactions and gauge whether or not they are emitting any information.
Remember, it’s always better to be over-prepared and err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to your safety.
3. Take precautions and maintain communication
Before you start the sit, make sure to share your location and contact information with a trusted friend or family member. Let them know the address of the home you’ll be sitting at and the dates you’ll be there and then check in regularly, so they know you’re safe!
Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Trusted Housesitters support team if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe during a sit.
Oh, the adventures you’re about to embark on!
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