I love how, with our new gypsy lifestyle, there are always new adventures just waiting to be discovered. We’d read about house and pet sitting, and it sounded like a fun and economical way to see new places. From a gypsy living standpoint, it also gives you intermittent opportunities to enjoy civilization. Plus, we love pets but don’t currently have any. We were intrigued.
The idea of house or pet sitting is actually quite brilliant. In a nutshell, the home (or pet) owners want to leave town, but want the home or animal(s) tended to. You stay there (generally for free), and take care of their pets, plants, or whatever else they request. I’m sure there are some gigs that pay you, but most of them don’t. But, you do get to stay in a furnished home with all utilities paid. The duties are usually pretty light, so you have time to go out and explore and enjoy the area.
It’s a win-win-win situation. The home or pet owner wins because they get someone to watch over their home while they’re gone and they don’t have to pay a kennel, their pet wins as it doesn’t have to go to the kennel and still gets attention and food, and you win as you get a place to stay for free. I also like it because it seems to give a greater opportunity to enjoy a new place from a local’s perspective (instead of as a tourist).
Just be sure to be honest about what you can do for the pet or home owner… don’t make promises you can’t (or won’t) fulfill. It doesn’t help them or you, or any of us who follow along behind you. Of course, if you’re not someone that enjoys pets – it’s best that you focus only on opportunities to house sit. (Yes, there are some of those out there. Not as many as pet sitting though.)
How to Get Started as a Pet Sitter:
There are a number of ways that you find house or pet sitting gigs.
- Let your friends and family know that you’re available. They’d much rather have someone they trust and know already in their home than a stranger.
- Register with house or pet sitting websites and apply for openings that you’re interested in. There are several out there, and they seem to all require an affordable annual membership for both the pet sitter and the pet owner. The website acts like a broker. The website makes it possible for the two of you to hook up.
Check out www.trustedhousesitters.com. We picked this pet sitting website because:
- It has a large # of members (more options for places to house or pet sit)
- It provides some credentialing (helps screen out the riff-raff, so you don’t get associated with that)
- It’s world-wide. You can do house or pet sitting gigs just about anywhere in the world you want to go.I’d recommend spending some time looking through the postings first on the site, before you decide to join. Besides, it’s just fun looking at all the amazing places you can go.
If you decide to join the pet sitting website, you’re welcome to use this link below. It’ll give you a 20% discount on your annual membership:
(Using this link helps us too. If you join, they give us 2 months free membership also as a thank you for a referral. Keep that in mind, as you can do the same thing: refer others to get free months on your membership.)
- If you’re determined, I’m sure there are other creative ways that you can get pet sitting gigs. You might try putting up flyers at veterinary offices, advertising, posting on craig’s list, etc. (Just be sure to think about what you’d be looking for, if you were needing a pet sitter. Would you want someone with a background check? references? Make sure you list those things (whatever they are, that you have to offer).
As to how to get started as a pet sitter, here’s what’s worked for us:
- Networking with people you know. It’ll help you get a few gigs and references to help you get started.
- From your work place (or any other groups you are involved with). Our first gig came from a friend at the resort where we were working. She needed someone responsible to watch her house and kitty while she was out of town for the Christmas holidays. We were working (and living) at the resort. The prospect of having 10 days of living off-property (with a real kitchen and laundry machines that you didn’t have to put coins in) was delightful. It went well, and we had our first reference under our belt.
- Your family. We knew a family member was going a long vacation and was worried about what to do with her cat. So, we suggested they let us pet sit for them. Helps them, helps us. And we got another pet-sitting reference.
- Friends & Family. Whenever we do a pet our house sit, we post a little about our pet-sitting gigs in facebook. We don’t give details or pictures of the inside of the home, as that’s not respectful to the home owners. (If I were them, I wouldn’t want pictures of the inside of my home all over the internet.) But, we do put up an occasional picture of us with the pet. This occasional reminder to our friends and family helps them think of us if they need pet sitting. It works. We’ve already had two friends ask us to pet sit for them.
- Set up an account with the house/pet sitting website. As mentioned above, we decided to use www.trustedhousesitters.com for our first fore’. Be sure to set up your account with as much detail and credentialing as you can. It will help you get better house or pet sits.Then select a few possible choices for your first sit, and apply.
Note: Many of these sites are pretty competitive for the really awesome pet sits in amazing places. I don’t recommend trying to get one of those right off the bat. Save yourself some frustration and time… pay your dues and build your pet sitting resume first. We found the best way to do this was to pick a few pet sitting gigs that were in places that would have a hard time attracting pet sitters. (In other words, we wouldn’t have so much competition for the job.) Then once you’ve done a few of those and they’ve left good ratings for you, you’ll be better able to land the primo pet sits. Be sure to leave feedback for the pet owners also as this helps them.
- Stay in touch with people you’ve completed house or pet sits for. They’ll want to use your services again!
Here’s to your new adventures in new places and the pets that you’ll get to love along the way!