The Ultimate Guide to House Sitting Jobs: Part 2 | The Best Website and a Stellar Profile
Whether you’re a newbie to house sitting and trying to figure out how to start, or you’re experienced but looking for tips to improve your house sitting game, we’ve got you covered! In part two of our step-by-step guide we’re covering everything form picking the best house sitting website, to getting references and creating a great profile.
Our goal is to have this article be the ultimate house sitting guide and in it we’ll share our secrets, including how to house sit for beginners, the not so glamorous side of house sitting jobs, and how to score the best house sitting jobs among high competition! To fit in so much information we’ve made it a multi-part series, so don’t miss any of it!
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How to Start House Sitting
If you’ve read The Ultimate House Sitting Guide: Part 1 | What Is It & Is It For You? and have concluded that the pros of house sitting outweigh the cons then…
Congratulations and welcome to the community, you’re about to embark on a world of travel, adventure, and fury friends!
However, if you’re new to house sitting, starting out can seem overwhelming. So, if you’re wondering how to get your first house sit, especially when you don’t have previous experience, reviews, or references, don’t worry, we’re here to help! It may seem like a bit of the “chicken or the egg” conundrum, but we too started without any experience.
Step 1 - Pick a House Sitting Website
There are several house sitting websites available and picking one can be a bit daunting. To make things easier for yourself, remember that websites mainly differ based on their focus (region, luxury, inn-keeping, etc.).
For better or for worse, Trusted House Sitters is the 800lb gorilla in the house sitting market place. They put resources into marketing and business development, giving users a polished experience. Because they dominate the industry, the sheer volume of house sitting opportunities makes their website our primary house sitting job source.
On the other side of the spectrum is Mind My House, which has a down to earth, mom-and-pop feel to it. They don’t market their services and rely primarily on word of mouth and search engine rankings. Since homeowners list sitting jobs for free, and house sitters pay a very low annual fee, Mind My House is a good place to start out if you’re unsure. Or, if their philosophy simply resonates with you.
Read on for a detailed breakdown of both Trusted House Sitters and Mind My House. And don’t stop there, because we continue with a review and roundup of 14 additional house sitting websites. There truly is something for everyone!
On Trusted House Sitters, house sits are available all over the world and dozens of new sits are added daily. We’ve seen this site grow overtime and new regions and cities around the world are constantly popping up.
In our experience the site is user friendly and customer service has been attentive to our concerns and questions. On the other hand, the popularity and size of Trusted House Sitters means there can be significant competition for house sitting jobs in popular cities. On the flip side, there are always fresh and new opportunities.
A bonus is that they recently released the Trusted House Sitters mobile app! It’s definitely in its beginning stages with lots of room for improvement, but having the site, messaging, listings, and welcome guides at your fingertips is incredibly helpful.
Membership seems steep, relative to other sites, but the $119 per year price tag will almost certainly pay off with your first house sitting job!
On Mind My House, house sitting jobs are available all over the world and several new ones are listed daily. In our humble opinion, the site is well designed, although it lacks some of the refinements and features that other sites have.
From what we’ve seen, house sitting jobs listed on Mind My House are usually for a longer duration and are in smaller cities (for example, think Sacramento instead of San Francisco, or Manchester instead of London). However, don’t let that dissuade you from joining, we’ve seen plenty of assignments listed in major cities as well. For example we found a house sitting job in Prague through Mind My House (we miss you Gatsby!).
If you’re looking to dip your toes in the water, we think Mind My House is a great place to start because of the low cost of membership. An annual membership is only $20!
We Quantified The Best House Sitting Website!
Once you’ve learned the ropes and you’re ready to expand your horizon, there are many more house sitting websites to consider. However, even with nearly 40 house sits under our belts, we still maintain an active membership with Trusted House Sitters.
When we considered expanding our options with additional house sitting subscriptions, we went as far as to keep a spreadsheet of the listings posted each day on competing sites.
It didn’t take long to learn that Trusted House Sitters is the big player in the market and had exponentially more house sits listed each day than any of the other house sitting websites.
In our week long and unscientific research, Trusted House Sitters added 237 new US based house sitting jobs while the other five (Mind My House, House Sitters America, Nomador, and Luxury House Sitting) added 53 cumulatively!
Competition in the marketplace is a good thing and hopefully, this disparity won’t always be the case. We continue to keep an eye on other house sitting websites and hope that others will soon rise to the top.
Also, there are Facebook groups, like House Sitting World dedicated to house sitting. Groups like this can be great to meet other house sitters and possibly find new house sitting opportunities!
Round Up of House Sitting Websites
Trusted House Sitters - Worldwide reach of house sit listings, with a high concentration in Western Europe, Australia, and the United States. They’re arguably the dominate and most popular house sitting website, therefore they have the most new listings per day, as well as high-competition for sitters. $119 annual fee for house sitters and homeowners.
Mind My House - An international house sitting website that’s been around since 2005. The website is well designed, although lacks a few finishing touches. An assortment of house sits to choose from, the majority are concentrated in the United States and Europe. $20 annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners.
House Carers - Around since 2000, this house sitting website features house sitting jobs around the world. Being one of the original platforms comes with a usability cost as the user interface is a bit more challenging to navigate. $50 annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners.
HouseSit Match - International house sitting website with a majority of house sit listings focused in the UK, Spain, and Australia. Membership includes free identity checks, however the search features and filters are limited. With two levels of service, both homeowners and house sitters pay either an annual fee of £49 or £79.
Nomador - Originally a French house sitting platform, this website has gone international. Nomador is innovating the house sitting experience by including a two day blind review period (similar to Airbnb) and a ‘Stopovers’ option that is much like Couchsurfing. First three applications are free, $89 annual fee (or $35 quarterly) and free for homeowners.
Luxury Housesitting - The focus is on luxury houses around the world. Most sits are located in the United States and Europe. There are fewer listings here than most other house sitting platforms. $25 annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners.
Caretaker Gazette - This is the original house sitting platform (1987!) that pre-dates internet platforms. It was originally a newsletter of house sitting listings sent to subscribers through the mail. It’s a goodie, but an oldie that hasn’t kept up with modern web applications. $29.95 annual fee for a one year subscription to digital listings. (You can pay more for the traditional printed newsletter, or a combination of both print and digital. Also, the more years you subscribe to, the less per year you’ll pay.)
Mindahome - Specific for house sitting jobs in Australia, this house sitting platform boasts it’s a personalized platform that’s run by a small group of caring people. Filtering searches is limited, however the map view option is handy. $59 AUD annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners. Plus, they have a US site now as well, and it’s just $10 for sitters!
House Sit Mexico - This house sitting platform may only have a handful of active listings (accurate when we wrote this), but if you want to go to Mexico, it’s worth a look! $79 annual fee for house sitters and homeowners, as well as a combined membership.
The Housesitting Company - New Zealand based house sitting platform that has a strong focus on vetting house sitters to meet the needs of homeowners. However, the reverse doesn’t seem to be a focus of the site. There’s a per day fee for homeowners and house sitters are unpaid volunteers that can join for free. See the pricing policy here.
Happy House Sitters - Another house sitting platform that’s specifically for Australian house sitting jobs. With 20 years in business, they’ve built a good reputation and continue to have a good user interface and search options. $65 AUD annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners. (Several membership levels available, with the top tier membership offering a guarantee.)
House Sitters America - One of the more popular house sitting platforms that’s just for the United States. The search filter functionality and listing previews on House Sitters America is well thought out, making the ability to find a perfect house sit that much easier. The site generally has a few new listings every day. $30 annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners.
Aussie House Sitters - As the name implies, this house sitting platform is great for those looking for opportunities in Australia. It’s made by the same team behind House Sitters America so similar search filters and listing previews make this site user friendly. $84 AUD annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners.
Kiwi House Sitter - Offers house sitting jobs in New Zealand and is made by the same team behind House Sitters America so similar search filters and listing previews make this site user friendly. $84 NZD annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners.
House Sitters Canada - House sitting jobs specific to Canada and run by the same team as House Sitters America. So, the great search filters and listing previews are here too. They’re currently in startup mode, so sitters can join free for two years! Annual subscription is currently free for both sitters and homeowners.
House Sitters UK - House sitting jobs located in the United Kingdom and run by the same team as House Sitters America. So, you’ll get the great search filters and listing previews on this platform as well. £29 annual fee for house sitters and free for homeowners.
Tip: If you’re wondering why we don’t list how many active sits each house sitting website has, that’s because in our experience these numbers are often not accurate. It’s incredibly common for homeowners to leave their listing up, even after they’ve found a house sitter. On top of that, some house sitting platforms inflate their house sit listing numbers by showing all house sit listings, including ones that aren’t active. If you look closely, these sites will have a filter to narrow search results to just ‘active listings’.
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Step 2: Create a Sitter Profile That Stands Out
Once you’ve decided on a house sitting website, your next step is to sign up and create an awesome profile!
Keep in mind that the time and effort you put into creating your profile will strongly dictate how successful your house sitting search will be. In other words, think of it like applying for a job. And just as a job posting gets several, dozens, or perhaps hundreds of applicants, so do house sitting jobs.
Here are a few tips for creating a great house sitter profile:
Check out the profiles of successful house sitters.
Take a look at what a successful profile looks like (we’d like to think ours is pretty good).
Take notice of what’s written on a profile, how it’s formatted, what keywords are used, what skills and experience are showcased, and what type of pictures are included. Obviously, don’t copy a profile verbatim, make it your own!
Fill out all possible sections of the profile.
Not having a complete profile can be interpreted poorly by a homeowner and possibly leave them with more questions than answers.
Include great pictures.
Include pictures of you that convey your personality and your ability to care for animals. Always consider the impression the pictures on your profile will give to the homeowner if they’ve never met you before. Here are a few ideas:
Smile in all your pictures.
Avoid ‘party’ pictures and pictures full of people.
Include pictures of you with pets.
If you’re a couple, have pictures together.
Let your personality shine through!
You want the homeowner to get a feeling of who you are and hopefully connect with you.
Include detail and provide examples when possible. If you’re brief or ambiguous, homeowners may not understand what you’re trying to get across.
Keep it professional.
Homeowners are entrusting you with their pets and home, so they want to know you’re responsible, capable, and reliable.
It’s a personal choice to use slang, texting language, or emoticons. Keep in mind, the way you communicate reflects directly on you and is subject to the homeowner’s biases, good or bad.
Go above and beyond.
Consider having an introduction video that will help express even more of your personality to homeowners.
Tip: When adding pictures, remember to keep in mind your privacy and the privacy of people you’ve house sat for. For example, blur out identifying information and ask a homeowner for permission before posting a picture. Also, ask for permission to post images that have someone else in them, even if it’s a picture of someone that happens to be in the background.
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Step 3: Get References and Reviews, Even if You’re a House Sitting Newbie
This can be the most daunting task for beginners; how do you get a review if you haven’t house sat before? It’s the classic dichotomy that every college graduate finds themselves in when looking for their first job.
In the practical sense, to show references on your profile most websites have the ability to upload PDF documents. What we liked about Trusted House Sitters (and this may not be unique to them) is that we were able to request references from our email contacts directly through the website.
However, if you can’t find a reference option within the site you’re using, be sure to reach out to customer service on how best to do this. But in the meantime, be sure to add a prominent statement on your profile letting homeowners know that you can provide references on request.
With that in mind, there are several strategies you can use to obtain helpful references, even when you haven’t house sat before.
Seek character references.
When we started house sitting we asked for references from our apartment property owner, an employer, clients, and a colleague. And, while none of these references are directly related to house sitting, by using professional character references in conjunction with a great profile, we were able to start to build a trustworthy presence.
Ask a friend, neighbor, or family member if you can house sit for them when they go on vacation.
This is a great way to gain experience and reviews! So, even though it’s someone you know, be sure to treat the experience professionally and take excellent care of their home and pets. If you do a great job, they’ll have no problem giving you an honest and great review to post on your profile.
Start in smaller cities.
Consider applying for house sitting jobs in smaller cities that are only for a few days, which’ll likely have less sitter competition. Naturally, do a great job and you’ll earn a wonderful review!
Agree to responsibilities you normally wouldn’t.
Consider undertaking house sitting responsibilities you normally wouldn’t (like mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, or caring for several animals or even farm animals). The point of this is to widen your selection pool, but make sure you still feel confident in completing the necessary added responsibilities.
If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to apply even if you don’t have references yet. We’ve seen plenty of homeowners favor new sitters because they want to help them out! You may surprise yourself and score a house sit you never thought you’d be chosen for.
Step 4: Complete Security Checks (Verify Your identify)
Part of creating a profile and establishing your presence on a house sitting website is verifying your identity and completing security checks.
Completing a basic identity check, think email, address, or credit card information, is an important step. It helps assure a homeowner that you’re who you say you are. Going a step further and completing security checks, like background and police checks, can help reassure homeowners that you’re trustworthy, especially when you’re new to house sitting.
Verifications and security checks work differently on each house sitting website. Some platforms have them built-in and can include different levels of security verifications, from basic confirmation of email and phone, all the way to criminal background checks.
Verification levels can be included in the membership fee, or you may need to pay extra. If you need to get verification independently, some house sitting websites provide the ability to upload verification documents to your profile. Or they may have a place within your profile to indicate you’ve completed security or police checks and that you’re willing to provide them upon request.
At the end of the day, what types and how many verifications you complete is a personal choice, however keep in mind that house sitting is largely built on trust. On the other hand, we’ve been asked only once for a verification level higher than basic (which is what we had at the time).
Once you’ve decided you want to start house sitting, the hardest part is picking a house sitting website and creating your house sitter profile.
Don’t over think it too much, we highly recommend simply getting started!