The old adage; a coach is only as good as his/her team, can definitely be applied to house sitting. It is a team effort. Even a highly competent and experienced house sitter can be undermined by home owners who assume all will be well and who do not properly prepare or plan for the assignment. For house sitters, this lack of planning can create unnecessary work and stress when things go wrong.
This is where clear communication prior to the assignment is needed. Some home owners think a quick cup of coffee with the person followed by a scribbled list of to do’s, complete with emergency phone contacts will suffice.Sometimes a quick coffee and some notes is enough, but all too often important things are overlooked due to the fact the home owners didn’t make the time to properly prepare or plan for the house sitters stay. This approach helps nobody.
Here is a sample checklist:[green_tick_1_list width=”100%”]
- Alarm system: codes, telephone numbers to security company, and to local police. Also informing the alarm company a house sitter will be staying for a designated time.
- Technology and multi media devices: This includes passwords, instructions, information regarding internet usage (streaming and downloads).
- Pet requirements: Food, medications, toys, accessories, general management information, telephone numbers for the local Vet (both business hours and emergency/after hours)
- Cleaning: Where to clean. What products to use/not use.
- Gardening: Watering schedule. Specific directions for certain plants or garden beds. Harvesting of fruit or vegetables required?
- Neighbours and friends contact details.
- Property access. Associated keys. Directions relating to areas in the house/property that are not to be accessed. Parking.
- Power usage: Gas or electric? Are the gas bottles full? If not, is there a company telephone number provided to replenish supply?
- Other people/professional access during stay: Do cleaners or gardeners have access? Is there a security company that overlook the property?
- Food: Is this available to the house sitter?
- Water consumption: Is the house on tank water? If so guidance will be needed in relation to the duration of showering or washing clothes for example.
- And water pumps – where are they located and what are the instructions if something goes wrong?
- Any further instructions with maintenance of water tanks?
- Collection of mail or post packages: Is your local post office or newsagency aware that you are going away, and do they have directions and information in relation to the house sitter being responsible for this?
- Have the neighbours been notified that there will be a house sitter on the premises?
- Noise: Have directions or guidance been given to the house sitter in relation to noise?
- Alcohol or drug use: Have the home owners thought about this? Have they communicated what they expect from the home sitter?
- Rubbish collection, green waste collection, composting and recycling.
- Use of equipment: For example a car, trailer, a bike, exercise equipment, computer etc.
- Additional requests: These might include directions to not have parties, limiting family/friend visits or other pets, to not sell or trade from the premises (a garage sale or selling goods from the premises on Gumtree for example).[/green_tick_1_list]As you can see, the amount of preparation and planning can make or break a house sitting stay. Spending the time to think about these things is an investment for all concerned. We are talking about management of a major asset here, your level of detail goes a long way towards providing a sound agreement and pathway for your property and your pet/s to be cared for and considered. Preparation and planning ensures a management plan is in place if something goes wrong. That not only equals peace of mind, it minimises risk as well.
Do you know someone who may be looking for a proven and experienced house sitter, either now, or in the future? (and don’t forget to remind them that I also offer a pet sitter service as well). If so, please recommend, like, and share my website with them and your friends. Sharing my website, and my articles, not only helps me get my message out there, it also helps home owners better prepare for the time/s when they will require a house sitter. Thank you!
*Craig Hedge is a Professional house sitter and pet sitter based in Hobart (nipaluna), Tasmania, Australia.
He is also a Professional Coach and author of the Instinctive Living self help ebook and audiobook series available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.