A security professional advises six different ways you can identify a trustworthy pet-sitter or house-sitter, and the risks you take giving a stranger access to your home.
Whether you’ve booked a family holiday to Europe for six weeks or you’re simply heading off to visit your parents in another state for a week, one thing all pet owners need is a pet-sitter.
While catteries and kennels can sometimes be a good option for pet-owners, it’s much better for the animal to be cared for at home and kept to their usual routine in the absence of their beloved humans.
However, among all the apps, pet services, online businesses and people advertising on Gumtree, it can feel almost impossible to find a pet sitter, or house sitter for that matter, who is trustworthy enough to be left alone with your home and pet for extended periods of time.
Natasha Morgan is the founder of My Home Watch and is an expert in home security.
“If a house or pet sitter, family member, friend or neighbour you choose doesn’t live up to their billing, it can ruin the entire holiday experience for everyone.” Says Natasha. “Accidental loss and damage are covered as standard, but all insurers will have exclusions for deliberate damage and theft caused by people lawfully on the property, including house sitters and their guests, so be aware who you are getting to house sit. If a house sitter was going to be staying at a property for two weeks or more, an insurer may treat them as a tenant and amend a policy as a result.”
How can you identify a trustworthy house or pet-sitter?
Natasha has some tips on picking a winner.
- Use a trusted service that’s insured “Look for a business that has insurance for their employees.”
- Love for Pets “Look for a person with a genuine love for pets. Caring for a pet involves extra responsibilities and it is important that the carer is up to the challenge. Apart from providing food and water, the responsibilities involve general pet care. If the pet is elderly, sick or injured, medication may need to be administered on a schedule.”
- First Impressions Count “Homeowners prefer property and pet carers that are well groomed and caring people. Experience, skills, and qualifications should all be considered. This will enable the homeowner to make an informed choice. An individual with experience and good skills will be able to look after the home better. They will also be equipped to handle challenges and find solutions to problems. Even the best-maintained homes can throw surprises and they should be trained to handle them.”
- Reviews or References “References or reviews reassure homeowners. Always look for companies with good reviews. Better yet, choose a company that has been recommended to you by a trusted friend or family member who has had their own experience with the company.”
- Flexibility with Dates “Homeowners prefer sitters who are flexible with dates and locations. They should be able to cater to your schedule. You should not have to change your travel plans according to their availability.”
- Great Communication Skills “Choose someone with good communication skills. Homeowners want to be reassured that they have left their homes and pets in good hands. You don’t want to come back to a badly maintained home because you misunderstood each other. Lack of communication can ruin the entire experience.”
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