Skeptical About Finding a Great Sitter? Here Are Some Tips for Success
After being housebound so long due to Covid travel restrictions, my husband and I were ready to travel again, but we’d need a sitter. Our first thought was to find someone local, ideally, an individual referred to us by a friend. We had had two different sitters over the year, with mixed results. Then due to unforeseen circumstances, one month before a 3-week vacation, we were left without a pet sitter. Though we interviewed several local candidates, we were not happy with any one of them.
Why not give HouseSitMexico.com a try?
We posted a query on FB asking people about their experience with the organization. Someone responded. His experience came with a learning curve, but he said he now uses HouseSitMexico whenever he’s away from home.
Here are some hints based on his experience, plus ours, after having used HouseSitmexico.com. We hope these tips will help make your experience a positive one.
· Read all the useful information posted on the HouseSitMexico website. Be sure to see the Reviews section, where you can learn from other people’s experiences too.
· Write a detailed listing about your home highlighting those items which may make your home different from the typical local home. As an example, we have a newly remodeled, well-equipped kitchen, which would be attractive to sitters who enjoy cooking. We also mention the hill and 40 steps that must be traversed two times daily to walk the dog.
· Uninterrupted Internet is important to many people, so mention the quality of Internet service you have.
· Be specific about your pets’ needs and what you expect of the sitter.
· Post your listing as far out as possible. Our first house sitting assignment was listed 30 days before our trip. We received 6 or 7 inquiries, but only a couple met our expectations. Our second assignment was listed 2 months before our trip. We received over 20 inquiries. We interviewed 10 people. All were highly qualified and to our liking. It was a difficult decision to make. The lesson we learned is important: Listing EARLIER gives you a better selection of applicants.
· When indicating the dates you need a sitter, incorporate an extra day at the start of your journey. You and your sitter will have some personal time together and s/he will get to observe your routine.
· Use the sample agreement HSM provides in the Forms & Guidelines section. Customize it to your needs. This protects and helps clarify expectations between you and the sitter.
· Schedule a Zoom or other virtual meeting with each prospect. I spent about one hour with each interviewee.
· Prepare for your virtual meeting with questions to ask each prospect. Be sure to specify any challenges the sitter may face.
· A link to each applicant’s online Profile is next to their message. Read sitters’ Profiles carefully, especially the references provided. Ask for additional references if you feel they’re needed.
· Make a phone call to references with specific questions regarding their experience with the sitter. Verifying references by having a chat is super valuable, so be sure to pick up the phone and call.
· During your Zoom/video call with applicants, explain your expectations in detail.
· Don’t hesitate to schedule a follow-up meeting or call if necessary.
· HouseSitMexico offers a “Contact List” form in the Forms and Guidelines section. Complete it in detail to make life easier for both you and your sitter. Add any information you deem important.
· Finally, be courteous and respectful of the time each prospect gives you. A follow-up message to each applicant telling them of your decision is an important courtesy.