Did you know you can travel the world with free accommodations simply by pet-sitting? If you are a pet lover and you understand pets, why not stay anywhere in the world, city of your choice and use a home or apartment as a free place to stay in exchange for pet-sitting. Pet owners can pay as much as $100 per night boarding their pets at a kennel or doggy daycare center depending on how many pets they have. However, pet-sitting is a free service that you provide to pet owners in exchange for a free place to stay. Assignments can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
The beauty of pet-sitting is pets do not need 24-hour care like children. Instead of staying at hotels, you can stay at a nice home or apartment. Most pet owners don’t expect you to stay with their pets 24 hours a day. Generally, they expect you will use part of the day for sightseeing. Most owners just want somebody at the house to take care of basic pet needs and keep them from becoming lonely. Dog sitting may include several dog walks per day for exercise. You are hired to ensure their pet’s safety, comfort and companionship. Now I used the word “most pet owners” so you will need to determine if the match in pet owners is appropriate for you and expectations are reasonable.
Some owners may expect you be there most of the day or even 24/7 which probably does not match what you’re looking for. Remember, the goal is to find reasonable pet owners looking for pet sitters who aren’t expected to sit home all day in the process. Be sure to discuss rules as you negotiate your pet sitting assignment so that expectations on both sides are met.
Discuss pet habits and what is expected of their pets and any general housekeeping. Many homes will be small apartments in the center of town which is actually idea and serves as an easy maintenance hotel stay. Just make sure the pet owner is as equally low maintenance.
Most dog and cat owners by nature are nice and easy to get along and you have the possibility of making lasting relationships with return trips. Like anything else, some owners are a pain, so make sure you assess the owner as they will be assessing you to figure out a good match. That’s why you should begin the search about 3 months before your trip with a PLAN B if things don’t work out.
So how do you land a pet-sitting gig? There are great websites that will pair you with pet owners looking for someone to pet sit in their home while they are on travel. Instead of paying friends to stay at their home for days or week, they use these online services to find people who are willing to combine travel and pet sitting at the same time with no exchange of money. Pet-sitting services is exchanged for a place to stay.
For a membership fee at these sites, both pet-owner and pet-sitters are matched. It’s much like a dating site except the matching is for pet owners with pet-sitters who will be traveling. No money is exchange except for website membership. You exchange pet-sitting services for a free place to stay. Once matched, you usually have the freedom to sightsee and explore the city during the day as long as you put the safety and well-being of the pet first.
Remember the purpose of these pet-sitter websites is to match pet- owner with pet-sitter. It’s up to you to effectively communicate with potential pet owners and sell yourself.
The biggest and most trusted website is Trusted House Sitters (mostly housesitting in Europe) , others are Nomador, PetsnFlats (great for U.S. locations too) and Mind My House which allows you to create your personal home page and update your availability to pet owner members looking for a sitter.
Contact is usually done through the website email system and allows correspondence with the pet owner and allows you to sell yourself as the perfect pet/home-sitter. Search their database of house sitters wanting to find interesting house-sitting assignments in any part of the world.
Membership ranges between $50 to $200 depending on the site.
Trusted House Sitters is the most popular pet sitting website but it is a good idea to belong to several other pet-sitter websites. Browse to see what cities are available that need pet-sitters. Competition is stiff and you will need to go through a background check and be verified before people will consider you. It is helpful to have previous recommendations. Make sure you provide a list of references and make your profile as friendly and inviting as possible. If you have no recommendations, start by offering your services to friends and family to get a few reviews under your belt.
Pet Sitter Websites
Because of great competition, I recommend you get a Professional Pet-Sitter Certification, This will greatly increase your attractiveness as a pet-sitter. To get the certification, you simply go online take the online class and certification process. The cost is several hundred dollars but it’s worth it. Your professional certifications will make you very attractive to Pet owners looking for a sitter. There’s also National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS).
This training allows you deal with emergencies, property damage, dog bits or dog emergencies. Remember, pet owners want to get the best qualified and trusted sitter they can find, so by getting the professional certification which doesn’t require an excessive amount of time or money to be certified, you will become desirable to the large pool of pet owners. The online training will give you the valuable training you need to pet-sit while making you very attractive to potential pet owners looking for responsible pet-sitters.
Setting up an attractive profile is very important since you are essentially looking for a job. Pet-Sitting experience may be gained by staying (pet-sitting) with your family or neighbor pets for multiple days or weeks.
Also, a big plus is being multi lingual especially in the city you are visiting and pet-sitting. Let’s say you want to visit Tuscany in Italy and you speak Italian, that becomes a big boost in your attractiveness as a pet-sitters. However, previous good ratings and references are the most valuable. Since you mostly likely are new to this and don’t have reviews, get the Professional Pet-Sitter accreditation online and your overall attractiveness will increase significantly. Yes, there is an investment of time and money, but look at it this way. You save thousands of dollars staying in a home or apartment rather than hotels. You will be more immersed in the culture since you are staying at a home rather than a hotel. Plus, you will most likely be a repeat house sitter provider and make great friends in the process.
It’s About Connecting
It’s easy to display the interests and hobbies that make you unique – and uniquely qualified to build a lasting connection.
To really make yourself marketable, build a good profile and include interests and hobbies that make you uniquely qualified to be a pet sitter. That’s why I highly recommend getting Pet-Sitting accreditation and displaying that in your profile. Let your potential pet owners know you know what you’re doing. But It’s also about connecting personally. If you have a unique hobby or interest, include that in your profile. Puts lots of time into building your profile so that you will be very popular that lead to free stays in a great home. When you are contacted, be sure to respond promptly and be friendly. Let them know you are eager to pet sit for them and don’t come off as someone just looking for a free stay.
Your profile should include:
- Who You Are
- Why You House/Pet-Sit
- Past Experience Pet-Sitting
- A Picture of You Smiling with a Pet
- Your Hobbies
- Pet-Sitters Accreditation
- Previous Pet-Sitting Assignments if Any
Your profile should be the first thing you start working on before you even upload to the various sites. Write out who you are, why you like pets, why you are the perfect house/pet-sitter plus relevant pet sitting experience. If you pet-sit in the past, include your past pet sitting experience. Get an endorsement from a relative or friend if possible. It’s all about trust and the more your profile says “indirectly” that you love pets and are trustworthy, the more available places you will be able to stay with ease.
Proof of Identity is Extremely Important
Upload all information requested by the various sites that proves your identity. Things like passport, driver license and any other document requested. Your contact and personal information is always hidden but these sites will show that your identity is verified and its extremely important to be verified as condition of trust. Don’t worry about others seeing the info, it is used to verify you but not shown to other visitors or owners. These sites use third party agents used by banks and other entities of trust to verify you are who you say you are.
If you are skittish about this, then this is not the exchange for you. Pet / home owners must know what they are dealing with so uploading personal information to the exchange site as requested is the upmost important.
Signup for email alerts and apply early
Some sites have email alert where they will contact you by email for new housesitting opportunities in the area you choose. Be sure to sign up for the email alert and place your offer as soon as the alert comes to your email. This is a competitive field so you need to be fast with your response. Many pet owners get inundated with prospects within a 24-hour period so jump on the alert and put in your request to house-sit if you like the owner’s profile and home.
Start your search several months in advance of your trip to line up your pet-sitter gig. Always have a plan B just in case you are not able to find a suitable place to pet sit and stay for free.
Super popular destinations equal lots of competition, so use multiple websites as good strategy and be willing to stay a little away from the center of town using public transportation to get around or possible rent a car.