Creating a successful pet sitter profile
House and pet sitting has really taken off in recent years, especially since the Covid pandemic resulted in thousands of people getting ‘lockdown puppies’. As travel opens up again, these new pet owners are turning to live-in pet sitters to care for their animals while they’re away, instead of putting their pooches in kennels. House sitting is a great exchange for pet owners and pet sitters, and we truly believe it’s the best way for animals to feel comfortable while their owners are away – check out our ‘What is house sitting?’ blog post for an overview! Here you’ll get a good sense of the house sitting websites we’ve used to secure house sits in the past – all of which we’ll use as templates for this post.
With more and more people realising they can live outside the 9-5 grind, working remotely, running their own businesses, or just giving up work to travel, house sitting has become a popular lifestyle choice for digital nomads and globe trotters alike. Creating a house sitter profile that stands out is important when you’re looking to land your dream house sit, especially if you’re up against a number of other sitters in your area. You need to let home owners know why they should invite you to be their sitter, and showcase all your skills and experience to make you the clear choice! Here we’ll share our top tips for creating a successful house sitter profile. Let’s dive in –
Good quality, relevant photographs
Our top tip for creating a fantastic profile is using high quality photographs. Your photos are a way for you to visually back up all the great things you’ll write about yourself, and gives pet owners a chance to see you in action, so the quality is important! We don’t mean you need to have a fancy camera or set up a professional photoshoot, but simply considering how the photos will look in your gallery goes a long way. The higher the resolution, the better – take the time to download your photos instead of taking screenshots from your Facebook or iPhone. Screenshots can make your profile look unprofessional, with all the messy text, battery level, clock etc. over the top of your images. Download images to your computer and upload the photo files to your house sitting profile. This ensures the photos can be viewed full screen at their highest quality, and pet owners will be able to clearly see you in the photos – this is especially important for owners who haven’t used sitters before and are nervous about handing over their pets and home to new people.
In the run up to house sitting, it’s worth taking lots of nice pictures when you do look after other people’s pets. If you’ve spent your time actively building up your pet care skills before getting started, you’ll have lots of different animals or at least dog breeds to showcase on your profile. Before we began house sitting full time, we used Borrow My Doggy to gain experience with dog care – you can read our review of the site here. Any time we used Borrow My Doggy or looked after pets for our friends before we began house sitting, we took tonnes of cute photos together which we eventually used on our profile. Pet owners could see that not only do we have pet care experience, but that we truly enjoy looking after animals too.
We update our profile periodically to make sure our photos are recent, and right now it’s a mixture of snaps of us with dogs, cats, and chickens, as well as quirky photos from smallholding sits and selfies from our favourite hikes. All of these things show home owners a well-rounded overview of us when they come to look at our profile. It also gives the home owner an idea of what we’re likely to spend our time doing when house sitting for them. We’d recommend alternating different elements of yourself, instead of bunching all the animal photos together at the start and all your hobby photos together at the end. Mix things up and make it interesting, and don’t forget to add captions if you can!
For pet photos, if you’re only interested in / comfortable with looking after dogs then you don’t need to have a load of cat photos just to show that you’re experienced – you’ll only attract cat owners who you won’t be interested in sitting for. At one time we included a photo of us with a horse, but right now we’re not looking to take care of horses so we took it out. It’s definitely worth considering these things and looking objectively at the vibe you’re giving out on your profile.
Crafting a punchy title
Most house sitting websites give you a section to write a short, one sentence title for your profile. 80 characters or so isn’t much, so you need to put across your unique selling point and qualifications and do it in as few words as possible! Spend some time brainstorming what you want to say about yourself; writing key words about why you house sit, what makes you a good house sitter, and words that describe you to inject some personality into your title. We recommend changing this periodically too, like your photos, as your needs or interests change over time.
Make your title as relevant and accurate as you can. Words like ‘traveller’ might not describe you best if you’re only looking to take on local sits in your area. Equally if you’re looking to take care of a wider range of pets, putting ‘dog lover’ in your title might limit you. Or this could be your clincher if you consider it to be your USP – ‘The dog whisperer! The best friend for your four-legged friends!’ Be creative to be memorable and think about what you’d want in a pet sitter if you were your dream owner reading your profile, as well as what words would put you off.
Obtaining references / testimonials
We began caring for dogs through Borrow My Doggy in the year leading up to embarking on our house sitting journey, which is a website that connects dog owners with dog lovers! We walked and cared for many dogs for free in our spare time to build up our confidence, and our experience with different breeds. We then broadened our search for new pets by engaging in local Facebook groups, pet sitting for friends and neighbours, and talking to everyone we met about it – word of mouth is a powerful thing when you live in one place!
Through actively seeking out opportunities to build our pet care skills, being consistent and flexible, we forged many great relationships with pet owners. When the time came to ask for references for our first house sitting profile, we felt comfortable doing so and received a glowing reference to start us off on our adventure. After two years of housesitting through Trusted Housesitters we then set up profiles on other sites to find paid pet sits, and naturally had a bigger pool of pet owners to ask for references as we’d become firm friends and regular sitters for many homeowners over those two years. We’d recommend being as creative as possible when it comes to finding opportunities to expand your pet care skills, so you can gain as many references as you can to help give you a head start when you begin house sitting.
Important information to include
This part of building your profile is probably the most time consuming as you need to detail your experience, and give home owners some personal and interesting information about you to make your profile stand out.
We always ensure we include the key components of what makes us a brilliant house sitting duo. For example we mention that we’re full-time pet sitters with no fixed location. Already this is an intriguing fact, and the majority of owners we house sit for are keen to know more about how our lifestyle works. It’s also something we can spin into a positive as we can talk about how we’re able to be flexible as we have no base, and travel anywhere. We also go through a few of our hobbies that tie in with house sitting; such as mentioning Suze’s online sewing shop, and how most of her items have been created with a dog or cat in her lap! We mention Chris’ love of photography and his skill for capturing pet portraits, and our joint passion for cooking from scratch. This is also a good chance to slip in facts like Suze being vegetarian – on occasion we’ll join home owners for a meal before they leave for their trip, so it’s nice give them a heads up! This is also a good time to include our love of long walks and hikes, which lets home owners know that we’re happy to walk dogs as frequently as required.
We’d also encourage writing a short paragraph about why you want to house sit. If this is as simple as enjoying a change of scene while you work remotely, it’s still worth mentioning this to give the pet owners more information about how you’ll spend your time at their home. Adding in this information might give home owners the chance to tell you things about their home – like how good or bad their WiFi connection is!
Writing this part of your profile is a good opportunity to sit down and consider: What does house sitting really mean for you? Is it the world travel possibilities? The chance to care for unusual animals? A way to see more of your country? If you’re only looking for long term housesits to enjoy living like a local wherever you travel, it’s worth making that clear in your profile to avoid receiving invitations for weekend sits. We include our desire to leave the 9-5 grind behind and how doing so, paired with our love of animals, lead us to embark on a full time house sitting adventure with lots of furry friends! Home owners can tell that we’re fully committed to this lifestyle and they understand our passion for animal care and travel.
As well as including lots of personality in your profile, you definitely need to detail your level of pet care experience! Whether you grew up with horses and sheep, or you previously worked in an animal shelter, or have simply been dog walking for years and now want to transition to dog sitting – let pet owners know what you’re capable of! We continually update this section as time goes on, mentioning the number of years we’ve been housesitting, the unique pets we’ve cared for, and the places we’ve visited. At the end we include our Instagram handle @ChrisAndSuzeGoWalkies for homeowners to see day-to-day snapshots from our adventures! If you have a relevant Instagram that you update consistently, it’s always good to include it as a way for homeowners to learn more about you. Just don’t include your Instagram profile dedicated to documenting your dinner…
Update your availability
Most house sitting websites will do this automatically when you book a house sit through their site. However, for events you want to block out on your calendar (birthdays, weddings, house sits booked through other sites) you’ll need to input your available / unavailable dates yourself.
Sites like Rover will tell you how long it’s been since you last confirmed your availability as a reminder to check it frequently. They also reward you for doing so by featuring users with recently updated calendars higher in search, with a sticker to let owners know their calendar is up to date.
However it works on the website you’re using, keeping your calendar up to date will show that you’re organised, active on the site, and ensure you confirm more sits in the long run! We also keep a shared spreadsheet calendar on our laptops and phones so we can keep on top of our booked house sits across all the sites we use.
Unlike references or testimonials which are external and can be added at any time, you can only gain reviews on a house sitting website by securing and completing a house sit through that site. 90% of the time we receive a review within a week of the sit ending, though on a handful of occasions we have contacted the home owner to politely ask for a review. As long as you’re friendly when speaking to home owners, they will be more than happy to leave a review for you. A lot of house sitting websites have designed their sitter profiles with reviews at the top, and the written info underneath, so multiple glowing reviews are important and go a long way to securing more house sits.
Other points to consider:
One of our most frequently asked questions is, “Is it difficult to secure house sits in the beginning?”. While we did receive a couple of rejections in the first couple of months, we also secured the majority of house sits we applied for. If you’re honest, enthusiastic and willing to learn on the job at each housesit you do, you’ll find it easier than you’d think to secure those initial house sits. It also helps if you’ve spent time caring for pets or other people’s homes in the lead up to house and pet sitting, to gain even a tiny bit of experience to help your applications, and give you more amazing things to write about on your profile!
At some stage you may reach a point where you’ve completed dozens of house sits and your profile is SO polished that you receive multiple invitations to house sit each week. As with any house sit, ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether you want to book it or not – just because a home owner loves your profile doesn’t mean you’ll love their house sit! We take a home owner’s written invitation into account but it’s mainly about whether the responsibilities line up with what we want to spend our time doing. Just be honest in your response and you’ll save so much time for everyone.
We hope you found these tips useful! Writing an informative, honest and thoughtful profile is key to giving home owners a great first impression before they invite you to house sit for them. For more information on how we got started with house sitting, discount codes, as well as extra advice and tips, check out more posts from our blog or chat to us on Instagram!