Tips on Scoring Your First House Sitting Job

If you checked out our last post where we revealed our big news then you know we finally scored our first house sitting job. What we didn’t talk about though is that it took us nearly 6 months to get our first assignment! This isn’t without lack of trying either. Trusted House Sitters is a fantastic website, in fact, it is the largest global house sitting website. But while there are tons of listings for house sitting assignments, it is actually really competitive to land a gig, especially for those first timers without any Trusted House Sitters references. Many home owners get so many applications for an assignment that often the first thing they do to narrow down the applicants is rule out anyone without references. Of course I can understand why, but it sucks for those of us trying to break into this whole house sitting world. That being said, it’s definitely not impossible. It just takes a little work, some patience and persistence. And from what we hear, they tend to come much easier after you complete your first assignment and add a stellar reference to your profile. Although we can’t make any promises on that, we can (hopefully) help you score your first assignment by offering these few tips!

1. Completely fill out your profile and sell yourself. Mention any experience you have that would be applicable to house/pet sitting. Provide details that would make you stand out. If you are handy at fixing things around the house (in the event maintenance issues arise), a non-smoker, have a passion for gardening, are an active person – these are great things to mention (only if they are true obviously). Also, providing more information is better than not providing enough. If your profile is vague, they might skip right over your application for another candidate that clearly lays everything out right in their profile. The key is to use your profile to sell yourself because it might be your only chance to win the host over.

2. Include Pictures and a Video. While these are not required, we found that it absolutely helps. Use clear photos of your faces so that the home owners can really get to know you just by reading your profile and seeing your pictures. A video introduction is even better and really increases your chances. We were actually told that even though our application came in after about 50 other applications and we had no references, we were short-listed because of our video and they could get a feel for who we are.

3. Get External References. You may not have a reference from a Trusted House Sitters host yet, but you can get external references from previous house or pet sitting jobs outside of Trusted House Sitters. Additionally, you can gather references from employers from any other jobs that might apply (babysitting, dog walking, working in a Vet office, etc.), as well as character references or even recommendations from previous landlords. We reached out to all of the AirBNB hosts we stayed with in Europe over the summer and they were happy to provide a reference.

4. Apply during popular holiday/vacation times. Christmas and New Years is a perfect example. This is the time when there is really an influx of listings because everyone is going away for the holidays. You will have many more opportunities to apply to and you can get away for the holidays yourself, whether to escape the cold and get your tan on in the Caribbean or visit the Christmas Markets in Europe. Now is a great time to sign up as Trusted House Sitters is offering a 25% discount memberships for Black Friday (code: BlackFriday25), just in time for the holidays! (Deal only lasts Nov 28 – Dec 1 so don’t miss out!)

5. Write detailed and personalized emails when applying for an assignment. Avoid sending a generic email out as the homeowners might get the impression that you did not even read the listing and you are only sending mass emails. Read their listing thoroughly before your apply and personalize your email. Tell them why you are the best candidate for their job. Again, mention reasons why they would want to choose you. If you are already familiar with the city, mention it. If you will have your own transportation, this could help to put them at ease, especially if they live in a rural area. Address any questions or concerns they have regarding potential applicants.

6. Don’t be too picky in the beginning and apply for many jobs. If you are being too picky about what you want in an assignment, this will slim down your options. For example, if you only apply to your first choice, there is a good chance you won’t hear back and then you might end up without any assignment. However, if you apply to many assignments, you have a better chance of someone getting back to you. Even if its not your first choice, its better than nothing at all! Once you get a few assignments under your belt, you can be more choosy about the assignments you accept. Also, it might be best to try applying to local positions first just to “get your foot in the door”.

7. Have a Criminal Background Check on Hand. While it is not required, it is just one extra step you can take to give potential house hosts peace of mind, especially if you do not have any references listed.

8. Be Quick to Apply and Respond. We were shocked at how quickly this process moves. We actually missed out on a house sit over the summer because we were out with the family for a birthday dinner. We replied as soon as we got home that we accepted, but it was too late. Set your email settings so that you receive an email of new listings each day and then apply immediately. If you get a response from them, respond immediately. Even just a few hours delay can sometimes cause you to miss an opportunity.

9. Be patient. Don’t give up if you don’t hear back after sending countless emails. We sent out tons of emails over the past few months and only occasionally got a response that usually said the position had been filled. Getting the first assignment might not always be easy, but it will come. Try playing with your profile some or change up your intro email to see if it makes a difference.

10. Impress your House Sitting Host. You want to come out of your first assignment with a stellar reference to add to your profile. Remember that it is not just free accommodations and that you do have to uphold your end of the agreement, even if it is only taking out the trash and checking the mail. Don’t just do what is expected, but go above and beyond to show what a fantastic sitter you are so that homeowner will feel confident in giving you a kick @$$ recommendation. This will only make landing another gig that much easier.

Last but not least, good luck and have tons of fun with it! And if you haven’t taken the plunge and signed up yet, what are you waiting for?!

Sign up now to take advantage of the Black Friday Sale –> TrustedHouseSitters.com Use code: BlackFriday25 between November 28 and December 1 to get 25% off your membership!

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  1. Hi Guy’s, good for you this house sitter stuff interesting reading But I am 60 and single don’t really need the work and also for you it is a couple. A lot more attractive for a prospective home owner. Keep up the (blogs) I suppose you call them. Good work anyway, kind regards Ian. Si Chiang Mai

  2. Sorry to bore you but I expect you know Malasia is a bit more expensive than Thailand but if you fancy a beer or 2 check out the corner shops. Last time it was cheers beer a free towel (cleans ) the Forza well. And a pack of cards. Just walk around and see what is going on on the corners. Good luck, kind regards, Ian

    • Charlie and Brittany November 29, 2014 at 12:36 am · ·

      Thanks for the tips, Ian! We are definitely finding out it is more expensive just looking at accommodations, although the fact that it is peak season probably doesn’t help. Looking forward to checking out Malaysia regardless though. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Great post that I will bookmark for future use !!

  4. We scored our first one quite quickly with just one employer’s reference, a criminal record check and no video (but hopefully a good profile). I think the key thing was that we applied for a very short, local sit in a place that isn’t anything special over a holiday weekend – not something that was likely to appeal to many people. It’s pleasant enough (we’re there now) but not somewhere we particularly wanted to go, but hopefully it will unlock others!

    • Charlie and Brittany August 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm · ·

      That’s great and congrats!! You’re right – I think sometimes you have to go for some of those less competitive ones to “get your foot in the door”. After you get a reference or two though, you should be good to go 😉 Good luck on your current and future house sits!!

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