Negotiating An Agreement – Do You Need A House Sitter, A Pet Sitter, A Pet Trainer, Or A Caretaker?

It is important for home owners to be clear on what they are requiring or needing in relation to enlisting the help or services of a person or professional when it comes to looking after their house and property.

As discussed in other articles on the website, there are many variations and expressions of house minding, house sitting, pet sitting, property maintenance, care taking and so on.

In my own case, I can provide a variation of most of the services below, however I am not a pet trainer. That is best left to fully trained pet training professionals, or a vacation to doggy day care. If your pet/s require training and additional management and care, please seek the appropriate professional service.

It is important both the home owners and the house sitter are cognisant of these variations. Both parties need to acknowledge that, and negotiate an agreement accordingly.

Lets look at some of the variations:

A house minder might just drop in from time to time to see if everything is okay. This might involve a friend or family member staying over a night or two or just dropping by to check the home and property for a few minutes a day. This might work well in some instances.

A house sitter looks after your house while you are away from home. This often simply involves maintaining a physical presence on the property, as many home owners do not like to leave their homes unoccupied or unattended. Property maintenance would still need to be done in most cases – particularly if it is a longer term stay.

A pet sitter looks after your pet/s, and in most situations your home as well. This requires more time and responsibility due to the fact that pets obviously need feeding, exercising, and cleaning up and looking after.

A pet trainer is specifically employed to train your pets. Untrained pets, particularly dogs, are a lot of work and responsibility. The risk factor goes up considerably as they can do a lot of damage, are at the higher level of getting hurt or creating accidents and damage. The effort required to care and manage them goes up as well. In my own business, and based on direct experience in looking after untrained dogs, my market is not training pets, or trying to manage untrained pets.

Caretaking and property maintenance. Once we move beyond the above, we start to move into the realms of property maintenance and caretaking. That is, other tasks may be added to the assignment. Lawns may need to be mowed. Gardens may need to be maintained and watered. Cleaning may also be part of that agreement. Clearly this becomes much more than a general house sitting stay. The value add here becomes considerable. The time involved in completing these responsibilities considerably longer as well.

We can move beyond the above and add other duties that may include, for example, work associated to a home business, running errands, making phone calls, and arranging the pick up of post or parcels. Of course the list is only limited by your imagination, or the tasks you require to be completed.

Your house sitter may be a local who may have a part time or full time job – or simply have any number of activities that might keep them occupied and busy. They might be a writer or an artist for example. The point is that they may not be too inclined, or be able to partake or agree to additional responsibilities.

Your house sitter might be a traveller. This person may be more interested in exploring the surrounds and getting out of the house and away from the property than doing additional duties, let alone the basics. Whilst this is understandable and expected to degrees, it may not suit a home owner concerned about the maintenance, or even the basic care of their major asset.

Your house sitter/s might be retired pensioners, or they might have some form of restriction or a disability that might preclude them from doing some things. In some situations this may not be suitable for a home owner seeking other tasks or value adds during the house sitters stay.

Your house sitters might be students. Like any situation this could really work well for both parties. Some students are focused and disciplined. We also have the students who lack perhaps life experience, a level of accountability, and perhaps a work ethic to go with it. Of course other issues may arise – noise issues (music or parties) being one of them. As a home owner you may not mind that. Your neighbours might see it a little differently perhaps.

As you can see there are so many different scenarios here. That is why it is important to be clear on what it is you require from someone who will be effectively looking after your home and major asset.

In very simple speak, the more you ask from a person looking after your home, the more you need to be prepared to acknowledge and remunerate for that service.

This need not necessarily be confined to, or involve a financial transaction or remuneration of course, but it would need to demonstrate additional benefits that a person could tangibly recognise and appreciate – a currency or exchange both parties see and agree value in.

Personally speaking, a well thought out testimonial that demonstrates clearly the value I added during a stay, is something I value – and of course, added bonuses are very good as well!

Welcome to the sharing economy!

What can work really well is an agreed bonus at the end of the assignment if the house sitter has done a good job. Some of my clients do this as a thank you for my efforts, and the results I have demonstrated during the stay.

Negotiating a house sitting agreement, and being clear on the roles and responsibilities involved, ensures a management plan is in place while you are away from your home. It need not be a complex arrangement – a discussion over a coffee, complete with written directions is all that is required. When you add good ongoing communication to that, it generally equals a good experience for all concerned.

And like any business relationship in life, if you find a trusted person/s to look after your property, ensure you look after them.

Do you know someone who is looking for a proven pet sitter service and/or a trusted house sitter? If so, please recommend my services to them. It also really helps me get my message out there when you share and like my website too!

For more information please go to my website below, and to contact me, please go to my Facebook page.

Craig Hedge is a professional house and pet sitter based in Hobart Tasmania Australia.
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