Author Topic: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?  (Read 2126 times)

Erma

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I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« on: July 18, 2017, 01:39:45 PM »
We will hire a house sitter who will look after our house and pets during our holidays and the house sitter will stay for free in our house during this time. At the moment I'm setting up skype interviews with interested people and I already have some questions I would like to ask. I would really appreciate it if you could brainstorm some more questions.

PoutineLover

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 01:51:35 PM »
Following because I'm thinking of getting a house sitter while I travel too. I'd want to know if they've had pets of their own, or experience caring for pets already. Then maybe some situational questions like "if you came home and the door was open and the pets weren't around, what would you do?" or "describe a time when something went wrong and you were responsible for fixing it". And I'd ask them to describe their ideal vacation, I think that gives some insight into what kind of person they are and how they might be planning on using your home.

Cranky

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 03:10:53 PM »
"Are you bonded?"

I would only hire someone through an agency that offered insurance.

havregryn

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2017, 09:53:20 AM »
I'd only do this through a website that would have a track record of reviews for the house sitter (I guess there are such?), like couchsurfing and airbnb.
Unless you can find someone who can be recommended to you through your network I would want to know as many details about what it is that actually makes this person both interested and available for such a job. I hate to be this cynical but for me the most important criterion would be their answer to the question "why do you even want to do this andwhat are your concerns about it?".
I think a lot of people might see it as a free holiday and not an obligation and you don't want these people in your house and with your pets. If I felt they were downplaying the responsiblity they are taking on and focusing a bit too much on the value of free accommodation that would be a red flag for me. A good candidate will both have a convincing back story to their interest in housesitting your place and will feel some weight of the responsibility involved. A bad candidate will be in an obvious need of a free place to stay for whatever purposes . There are thousands of really lovely people doing house sitting out there and there are thousands of sketchy characters in need of a free place to stay, so for me the first step would be making sure I am interviewing someone from group 1, in which case I wouldn't really ask too many technical questions but just go on a general feeling.

jamaicaspanish

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 11:02:31 AM »
My wife and I have been housesitting in the States for the past year (for family, friends, and complete strangers)
We began by using trustedhousesitters.com
Arebelspy has used the same site, I think, while housesitting internationally.
Trustedhousesitters charges an annual fee for both homeowners and house sitters, but for a reasonable price you get access to profiles, police checks, and reviews (and weed out the less-serious people).
Good luck in your search.


Mtngrl

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2017, 12:08:21 PM »
We have had excellent results using trustedhousesitters -- we've had three different couples house-sit, for as long as a month at a time. The people we've met have been retirees or early retirees who are doing this in order to travel. They have all been pet lovers who come highly recommended. And I love that no money changes hands between us.

JanetJackson

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2017, 09:50:10 AM »
Hi!
I house sit alongside pet-sitting through Rover.com and have had a very good experience with the ease of use of the app, the insurance coverage, and the ratings systems.

When searching for a pet-house sitter combo, try to find someone who is well organized and doesn't make you present the entire schedule.  If they aren't asking questions about pet behaviors, food schedules, etc... then they aren't thinking ahead enough that I'd trust them with my pet or home.  Someone who could run through what a typical day would look like while they are at your home, and someone with a plan of execution in case something goes wrong.  If a sitter does NOT ask about emergency vet information, that's usually a red flag for me.
I have a booklet of checklists that I choose from depending on what the client needs, and we run through it to make sure I have all of the pertinent information, and then we do a quick summery after our interview and fill in any gaps/questions they may have.. 

I also print a copy of the insurance through Rover to be sure they have a physical copy of it as well.  Also, in the very least, Canine/Feline CPR/First Aid and some basic leash training go a LONG way (I have both) in finding someone who has taken steps to ensure the safety of your pets, not someone who is just looking for a free vacation.


Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!  I'd love to help.  Depending on the dates, I may be able to apply even, but I'm not certain! :)

mcneally

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2017, 10:53:43 AM »
"Do I know you?" Why would you go beyond a friend/relative of a friend/relative for a service like this?

Mtngrl

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2017, 12:57:17 PM »
"Do I know you?" Why would you go beyond a friend/relative of a friend/relative for a service like this?

Because I don't have a friend or relative who is willing to stay in my house with my two dogs for several weeks while I'm out of the country. I could pay a pet service to come by and walk and feed the dogs, and have done this when I'm only going to be gone a night or two. But any long-term situation becomes very spendy very fast -- and my house is still empty most of the time and my dogs alone.
With the house sitters we have used, they do it for free -- and they do an excellent job. The dogs get lots of attention, they go hiking and walking every day (sometimes multiple times a day, which they love.) On all 4 previous occasions I've used sitters, I have come home to an immaculate house and a hot meal, plus happy dogs and a garden that was healthy and thriving. In addition, we have become friends with all our sitters and remain in touch -- after all, they are all early retirees who are travel-hacking by house sitting, so we have a lot  in common.

A better question might be -- why would I bother looking for a friend or relative when this kind of service is available?

Erma

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2017, 11:11:23 AM »
Hi!
I house sit alongside pet-sitting through Rover.com and have had a very good experience with the ease of use of the app, the insurance coverage, and the ratings systems.

When searching for a pet-house sitter combo, try to find someone who is well organized and doesn't make you present the entire schedule.  If they aren't asking questions about pet behaviors, food schedules, etc... then they aren't thinking ahead enough that I'd trust them with my pet or home.  Someone who could run through what a typical day would look like while they are at your home, and someone with a plan of execution in case something goes wrong.  If a sitter does NOT ask about emergency vet information, that's usually a red flag for me.
I have a booklet of checklists that I choose from depending on what the client needs, and we run through it to make sure I have all of the pertinent information, and then we do a quick summery after our interview and fill in any gaps/questions they may have.. 

I also print a copy of the insurance through Rover to be sure they have a physical copy of it as well.  Also, in the very least, Canine/Feline CPR/First Aid and some basic leash training go a LONG way (I have both) in finding someone who has taken steps to ensure the safety of your pets, not someone who is just looking for a free vacation.


Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!  I'd love to help.  Depending on the dates, I may be able to apply even, but I'm not certain! :)

That's very useful. One of my candidates asked what she would have to do if there was an emergency with my cats and she has no car. She asked also a lot about the character of the cats and a lot of other things.

Erma

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Re: I will hire a house sitter - what should I ask them?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2017, 12:04:38 PM »
Thanks again for the ideas. We have now returned from holidays and our house sitter was great. Both cats are happy and well fed.