Hello! A great way to make some extra scratch and earn some brownie points with your neighbors is to house and pet sit for them. I just finished up a week long gig watching over my next door neighbor’s two pups and home while she celebrated the holidays in sunny California with her husband, son, and daughter in law. Although this might sound like an easy task, there is a lot more to it than you would think and this post will offer some of my go to tips and tricks to make you the best sitter ever.
If you are house sitting:
Always Get Their Mail/Newspapers:
During my criminology class in college, one of the prime things that burglars look for as told by actual burglars was a pileup of newspapers or an overflowing mailbox. If this doesn’t scream “no one is home” than I don’t know what does! If the family you’re sitting for isn’t cancelling their mail and papers for the week, be sure that you are prompt in picking them up upon delivery. Place the newspapers and mail in separate piles and voila – you just knocked one task off of your list for the day!
Make Yourself Known:
It is always a good idea to let your neighbors know that you will be house or pet sitting for a family, if they haven’t done so already. Nosey neighbors love to snoop and one of them had the nerve to text a client of mine that she thought that someone was breaking into their home when it was just me! This will also let your neighbors know to keep an extra eye out for anything suspect when you aren’t home. Try to be at the site that you are sitting for as often and long as you can, because an occupied home is a major deterrent to burglars.
This should go without saying, but do make sure that you clean up after yourselves! Wash the linens and remake the bed that you slept in upon the homeowners arrival back. Run the dishwasher if there is a pileup of dirty dishes. Water their plants. Get the house looking how it did before the owners left in the first place. I like to Swiffer the floors when I’m housesitting, too. With the snow and rain that Akron has been getting lately, tracking mud is easy to do, and no one wants to come home to that!
If you are pet sitting:
Stick To Their Schedule:
Whether your watching dogs, cats, rabbits, or fish – house pets love their schedule. Learn when the pet owners feed their pets, walk or exercise them, and take them out to potty and stick to it. The pets are probably in a state of confusion or worry that their owners aren’t there and adhering to their schedule can be a huge comfort to them.
Stay And Play:
All of the pets and snuggles can also be a comfort to the animals that you are watching so stick around and just be with them. Play with their toys with them, talk to them, or do some of your own busy work in the house. Your presence can help the pets feel at peace, so if you don’t have to leave just yet, don’t. And, if you have to sneak away to work for a while, turn on the TV or some music until you get back.
This should also go without saying, but do make sure that you are cleaning up after the pets. Put their toys back in the bin, wipe them off if it was rainy or muddy when they were out (No one likes eau du wet dog and dirty paws!), and clean up any accidents they might have had in the house. It’s not fun, but could you imagine how you would feel if you got home from a trip and there was number one and two everywhere?! If the pets are prone to having accidents in the house, set down some newspaper or piddle pads to make your job a little easier.
If you do your job well while the home or pet owners are away, you will surely be invited back the next time they need someone. And, if they spread the word, you might have your own mini business in no time!
What are some of your tips and tricks when you’re pet or house sitting? Where was the last trip that you went on? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah