Why The Change From Housesitter To Housecarer?
Have you noticed the change from housesitter to housecarer? I asked my marketing friend about this trend who replied that although he wasn’t aware of it he suggested that “caring” is a positive action whereas “sitting” implies doing nothing!
It is a simple explanation but if you want to move forward from the sign up process in starting your housesitting journey to becoming a full time housecarer you will have to make your pitch with this in mind. After all, if you were a homeowner, choosing someone to care for your home is much more appealing than a someone who is just going to sit in your home.
My Not So Secret Secrets As A Housecarer
Focus On The Homeowner
- Send the homeowners an occasional email if they have asked for it, or are able to receive it.
- Meet the neighbors. Have the homeowners introduce you, if possible or do it yourself. It is more than likely they will have been asked to keep an eye on you anyway.
- Re-stock the refrigerator with any items that were in it when you arrived.
- Have the basic food on hand for the homeowners first meal back. Grocery shopping is not the first thing they want to do on their return home.
- Bake a cake or fresh bread if you skills are up to it. Nothing is more welcoming than the smell of fresh baking
- Put surplus garden produce in the freezer go that extra mile and preserve it!
- Write down phone call dates and information if you have been asked to answer the phone
- Airport drop off and pick up are really appreciated by a lot of homeowners. Be honest though if you don’t feel happy about driving.
- Never rearrange ornaments, books or furniture. I take photos of the rooms to make sure I leave it as I found it!
- Only use the rooms you need to. Apart from respecting the home owners privacy it will make cleaning up easier
- Do not share information about the house with neighbours. (Watch out for leading questions from neighbours!)
- Always do your very best to deal with problems. There is no point in disturbing the homeowners cruise to learn they have a drippy tap!
- Determine in advance the rules around having guests and follow them. Remember the neighbours will know if you choose to forget!
Focus On The Pets
- Follow the pet rules. You may think they are a bit over the top but the pet will be much happier if their routines stay the same.
- Be aware of how long the pet can be on their own. This is so important that you need to know this before you take on the job.
- Never hesitate to call a vet if you have concerns about the pets health
- Post photos of their pets on Facebook, Instagram or as a private message
- Brushing and washing pets should be discussed at your briefing. Do your very best to have them looking as you found them!
- For most dogs exercising is important to their routine. If they are happy your stay will be go more smoothly too.
- Avoid forbidden foods. If they are not used to them you may find yourself dealing with an allergic reaction even the homeowner was unaware of!
Focus On Security & Safety
- Get instructions in advance. In this case, the homeowners were extremely well prepared and had created a manual that covered everything I needed to know about the house and the dog. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all of the information in advance and seek clarification for anything that is not entirely evident.
- I recommend arriving a day early if at all possible (or set up a meeting sometime in advance) to meet the homeowners and have them show you around. Questions may occur to you as you tour the property that wouldn’t otherwise. It also provides an opportunity for them to show you the house idiosyncrasies like lights behind doors or locks that need jiggling.
- Get contact information for someone local to call in an emergency. What if something drastic happens and you suddenly have to return home? What if you lock yourself out?
- Always lock up when you go out, even for a little while, even if you don’t do so at home, and even if the homeowners have told you it’s not necessary. You would not want anything to go missing on your watch. M
- Write down security system instructions. They may seem simple at the time but from past experience trusting your memory is risky!
- Keep all emergency information in one place for the duration of your stay, so that you don’t have to go searching for it when you really need it quickly.
- Think safety first. All of the same principles of solo travel safety apply when you are a housecarer. By all means, get out and meet new people, but don’t tell strangers exactly where you are staying, and never invite new acquaintances to the home.
Focus On You
- Research the area before you go, so that you will have some idea of the things that you want to explore. If you are lucky (budget permitting) you may fit in a show.
- Visit the local tourism office to find out about attractions, restaurants, and events taking place while you’re in town. They can also provide you with a map of the area, which I found really useful in terms of understanding the layout of the city.
- Hang out at coffee shops or the beach. It is easy to strike up a conversation and people generally love to talk about their town and share information about their favourite places.
If my housecarers secrets seem over kill remember I am able to be a full time housecarer with more repeats than I can accept!