Ever heard about house sitters? When people travel, they often leave their pets at home. House sitting tries to create a win-win situation for travelers. The traveler who goes on vacation wants to know that a responsible person is taking care of them. The traveler would love to spend some time in a place while taking care of the animals.
How does it work?
A potential housesitter creates a profile on one of the many websites for housesitters. Homeowners who go on vacation, or leave for a long weekend, can find housesitters. The site makes sure the identity and background of the sitters have been checked.
House sitters can, on the same site, have a look at the places where they like to go if they can find an accommodation that fits them. If so, they can apply with the house owner to take care of the house and the animals. Especially people who are traveling a lot, like digital nomads, are very interested. When we researched the pains of being a nomad, not having a pet was amongst the top answers. Count on top of that the budget-friendliness of house sitting, and you see why they are keen to exchange their pet care for housing.
Of course, besides working with people that find me through one of the house sitting platforms, I often have demands form people who know me and ask me to take care of their home and pets. Many housesitters build a reputation in a particular area. I for example like to manage Airbnb’s when the hosts are on vacation. I meet tons of new people, and the owners don’t lose the full revenue of their shared room.
The cost of house sitting
Housesitters sit for free, is the base idea. Sometimes the owner asks for a small fee for water and electricity. But most house owners understand how much they save in pet hotels, or in extra dog walking hours. And the sitters comprehend that taking exceptionally well-care will enable them to get more and more sitting opportunities.
I’ve had discussions recently with folks charging me to watch their pets and pay more than a hotel. Not happening! I have an outstanding reputation as a housesitter and pet caretaker. I’m available for free if your location is more or less on the journey I have set out as a location-independent professional. Some of my recent house-sits over the last months happened in places such as New York, Costa Rica, and Panama.
The reputation of House Sitters
Smart house-sitting platforms have understood what Airbnb and Uber have seen as well: a rating system makes the good folks stand out. The house sitters evaluate the pet owners (how well did they communicate, is the place indeed as expected, and so on) and so do the owners (are instructions followed, are the animals and the house is taken care of, to name a few.)
Who can housesit?
The main idea is that if you have the time to take care of the animal and you can get to the location where the housesit happens, you can be a house sitter. Digital Nomads are very keen on finding pet-sits, since many of them have no opportunity to have their cat or dog, and like to be in new locations. But anyone who travels, and knows how to take care of homes and pets, can apply. Flexibility in your travel plans helps, as you can’t just choose your location, arrival, and departure dates as on a hotel website.
Koen Blanquart is a strategy consultant, journalist, and author.
Wanderlust is one of his driving factors, and he shares his travels here on Boarding Today. Koen is also the skipper of SV Bagabonda, a sailing vessel making a slow circumvention of the globe..
Koen recently published a book on how to manage a remote team: The Suitcase Office.