One of the main roadblocks people encounter when first getting into housesitting is rounding out their housesitting profile with references and reviews.
If you plan on joining one of the larger international housesitting platforms you’ll notice that many of the sitters already have a lot of reviews. Don’t let it deter you!
All of them started with zero reviews.
In this article, we’ll explore ways to build out your references (hint: not just from pet sitting) and tips for getting reviews.
If you’re just getting started with housesitting and don’t have any official housesitting references the best place to start is by gathering character references (also known as personal references).
Even if you DO have housesitting experience, it’s a good idea to include personal references into your profile.
Remember, housesitting is more than just caring for the pets. You’re responsible for the house, garden and property. You’re there to keep the place clean, secure and generally looked after.
Here are a few ideas of places to get references:
- Your employer is a great reference because they can speak to your work ethic, organizational skills and how you interact with others.
- Coworkers can explain how it was to work with you, how well you got along and the personality traits they loved about you.
- A landlord is a great reference because they can talk about how well you cared for their property when living there.
- Roommates can attest to what it was like living with you.
- Have you ever stayed at an Airbnb property (or other type of short-term rental)? You can share those reviews to show how well you treated the home.
- Have any favourite teachers that you’re able to contact? They can help to reinforce your character and qualities from what you were like in school.
Friends and Family
- If all else fails… friends and family can speak to your character as well.
My Character Reference Examples
Here are a couple examples of character references I used when I first got started.
Kate was a coworker and travel partner who wrote-
“I have known Allen Trottier for almost 4 years now. We worked together for most of that time. As a colleague, Allen was always one of my go-to’s for support. He is always willing to pitch in and help out and he is a master at getting things done quickly and efficiently. His attention to detail is impeccable. I’ve also traveled quite a bit with Allen as well – he has a great sense of adventure and an easy going attitude that makes traveling with him such a treat.”
Rollan was a roommate that wrote-
“I lived with Allen for two years. I found Allen to be very reliable, considerate, and tidy. He took care of his house work and didn’t throw any parties.”
Pet Care References
If you have any previous pet care experience at all, GREAT!!
It’s very important to get these references and showcase them on your profile.
The large majority of housesitting opportunities will involve pet care so having experience with animals is a plus.
Here are some examples of previous pet sitting experience to help you get the ball rolling:
- Have pets in the house when you were growing up?
- Did you ever take care of pets for friends or family?
- Volunteer at a pet shelter or rescue?
- Dog walking?
- House and Pet sitting?
Any references that speak to your experience with pet care should be included and featured first.
Example of My Pet Care References
Before joining a housesitting platform, I had done some housesitting for friends. Here is one example of a pet care reference from a friend.
“Allen was a great house sitter on multiple occasions, from a few days to a few weeks. We also had 2 dogs, one large one small, and he was very attentive to their needs and a great pal for them while we were away. We returned to a clean, well kept house, which he kept in great order as well. When we were leaving he was there early to take help distract the pups and despite our late arrival time he hung out and waited at our place with the dogs to hand us the keys personally. Great guy, would definitely use again!”
Tips for Getting Housesitting Reviews
If you aren’t in a huge rush to get your first international housesitting gig, I highly encourage you to build up your housesitting resume by petsitting for friends and family.
A great strategy is to approach anyone you know that has pets and say,
“I’m getting into house and pet sitting. If you or anyone you know needs help taking care of their pets, please let me know!”
You could even just offer to walk their dog a few times a week. Anything to give you a little extra experience and confidence around other people’s pets.
Join a housesitting platform that has housesitting assignments locally around your town or neighbourhood.
Many times you’ll find assignments that are very short, like 3-4 days or just for the weekend. A lot of these gigs go unfilled because it’s too short for someone to travel there.
You’ll also be able to help homeowners out that post very last minute. This is so valuable.
These local sits will help you build out your reviews, create relationships and give you more experience.
If you’re extra keen, you may consider creating some simple business cards. They don’t need to be fancy. But the more you hand out and share you’ll be surprised how many people you know would love some extra help.
Above all, the best advice I can give you is to just get started. The sooner you start, the further ahead you’ll be.
It’s OK to start small and work your way up to long-term international housesitting.
Enjoy the journey!
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