A few simple tips on what should happen next.
One of the biggest things to remember you are about to complete a service, a job of sorts. Not a paid one, though it should still be treated as one.
Take pride in what you do.
It is very much a happy situation to be in, people are excited to be going on holiday, and it’s a great feeling that we have given them peace of mind to enjoy their time away.
What to do in preparation for the assignment.
Once you have the job there a few things you need to communicate with the homeowner:
- What time do you need to be there? For example, we always make sure we are in the same area [as the housesit] the day before. It eliminates any travel delays.
- Have a few addresses of where you are going to stay before proceeding through immigration. We can now say we are staying with friends as most of our currently return housesits are classed as friends.
- Do you have a list of requirements for their pets, home and other vital details such as local people to contact, the vet. If not, do make up a few notes by asking the homeowner. It is peace of mind for you when you need to find the phone number of a vet in a hurry. It happens!!
- Make sure that both you and the homeowner are aware of what is required on both your parts. Each housesit is different. Treat each one as your first.
- Give the homeowner some reassurance that you are indeed coming, with your flight number [if applicable] or a detailed travel plan.
- When we first started we always had skype calls with the people we were about to housesit for, now we are confirmed before even speaking to them. Though we do have a few years experience behind us.
- Photos. These are incredibly important. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself involved in. For us a comfortable place to relax in is essential. What’s important to you?
- On a few occasions, we have had the luxury of having the owners spare car to use. For this, we paid the extra insurance that is required.
You need to ask these questions:
- What days (and times) does the rubbish get collected each week?
- Are there any water restrictions in place?
- Any emergency contacts, including local friends, family, and vet?
- The WIFI code. Especially crucial for digital nomads!
- How do you contact the owners while they are away?
During The Assignment
Now that you’re in the house, what’s next?:
- Provide love, comfort and food to the adorable pets that are in your care.
- Follow instructions to the “T.”
- To make life easy for you stick to using one main room, try to resist the urge to spread your “stuff” all around the house. It is far easier to keep a track of it when it comes to packing up.
- Maybe even take photographs of how the kitchen is set up so equipment used can be placed back in its correct place. Great for those longer housesits where forgetting where things go is going to happen.
- Be thoughtful when using their power and water. Turn off lights when not in use, avoid long showers, open a window instead of turning on the air conditioner and importantly if you are into downloading movies make sure you ask the homeowner if this is possible. Don’t assume any rights, even better have it in writing what is required or what your rights are.
- Collect and organise the mail; date it if necessary.
- Water the plants as required.
- Make sure the rubbish is taken out on a regular basis.
- Keep the premises clean and tidy as if the homeowners are still there.
- Have you noticed that the vacuum isn’t working correctly or the toilet seat is wobbly? Well, fix them if you can. We have done this numerous times, or I should say that the Squire has done this!. It is a small gesture and another way of saying “thanks” to the generous homeowner.
After The Assignment
Before you leave the house:
- Leave the house cleaner and tidier [if achievable] than you found it.
- If possible wash and dry your bedding.
- If you got to use a vehicle during the stay, leave a full tank and give it a vacuum.
- Make sure that there are basics in the fridge and pantry, such as milk, bread, fruit and vegetables.
- Leave a treat, e.g. fresh flowers, a thank you card.
- We always like to be in the house for handover and share a meal to chat about what has been happening. On the odd occasion that this does not happen, leave a note with any relevant comments and thank them for the opportunity to house sit for them. Then follow up with an email afterwards.
- Leave the house as if you have not been there. Remember to take all your belongings. We have been very fortunate to be able to leave our larger suitcases with people who we are doing a few housesits for, makes travelling much more relaxed with hand luggage.
- If the owner doesn’t leave a review soon after, politely request a review on the applicable website you both used.
- Have the dog/s smelling like roses, well you know what I mean!
An old adage comes to mind:
“Treat people as you would like to be treated”.