Though many house sitting positions are unpaid or pay a nominal wage, they’re still quite desirable for many people. Anyone with the ability to manage a household and perform routine maintenance is technically qualified for the job, though there are more stringent requirements in place for many homeowners. The most valuable resource any house sitter can have at their disposal is a list of glowing references; however, these can be hard to come by when you’re just starting out.
Start Local – It’s best to begin your house sitting career on a local level, caring for the homes of friends, relatives and neighbors. Make sure that the homes you look after are cared for impeccably, with no detail ignored and that you leave the property as beautiful as you found it. With the recommendations that you earn from these opportunities, you’ll have more luck landing house sitting jobs on a larger scale. Local classified ads, whether online or in local publications, are a great way to find more posts to further build your resume. When you’ve built a solid local reputation, along with a few letters of recommendation, there are several options available to you for finding positions in more exotic locations.
Agencies – Dedicated house sitting agencies, both brick and mortar and internet based, exist to connect experienced house sitters with homeowners and tenants in need. Websites like Craigslist can also be very valuable resources, as they allow you to browse available positions while narrowing the search down to cities of your choosing. There’s a thriving message board community for house sitters, which can also help you to connect with property owners. After finding those available house sitting gigs, being able to present a portfolio with photographs of any large estates you’ve cared for, along with certifications in any relevant areas, will set you apart from the competition.
Unique Qualifications – Certifications can be in any area that you feel will distinguish you from other applicants, such as pet grooming, pet obedience training, landscaping and gardening or green cleaning solutions, for example. Competition for the most luxurious estates and vacation homes can be quite fierce; by presenting these certifications, you’re letting prospective employers know that you are committed to providing high-quality care, rather than simply seeking a free vacation rental for the season. Establishing relationships with families or individuals who own more than one residence could potentially lead to long-term arrangements that are profitable and enjoyable for all involved parties, as well as adding to your list of great references. From the most extravagant beach house to the most humble cottage, it’s important to treat each of your clients with respect; word of mouth is the most effective way of finding a new post within the house sitting community, and there’s nothing more important than your reputation in a business so heavily based on trust.
While homes that involve a large amount of maintenance and require the care of several pets may justify a small salary, it’s important to remember that the bulk of house sitting jobs are unpaid or pay very little. Homeowners should furnish any supplies and tools you need to properly care for the property and pets that live there, including food, cat litter and other related expenses, but salaries for house sitters are generally rare. Arrangements will vary from one family to the next, so it’s essential that you remain flexible and open-minded when negotiating the terms of your stay.