Freebie Sitter or Professional Sitter? A hot trending topic, for sure.
“In spite of the cost of living, it’s still popular.” – Kathleen Norris
In the case of a “free” sitter, both the Homeowner (HO) and the House Sitter (HS) pay an amorphous online agency a subscription merely to be listed on their books – there is no checking on the sitters’ credentials beforehand, the HS is NOT required to be insured and, once the HO and HS have been brought together, the agency neatly steps out of the picture. In the event of any dispute or other difficulties between the parties, the agency is “MIA” (in military terms, or “Missing in Action”).
On the other hand, in the professional (i.e. paid) house sitting and pet sitting space – such as ourselves at House and Home Sitters Ltd – the agency enters into a formal agreement with the HO to provide a sitter/sitter couple to take professional care of the HO’s home and (if applicable) pets while away. House and Home Sitters is the intermediary between the parties, representing them both, and has a vested interest in ensuring each HS it appoints is indeed the right person, since – much like any bank or insurance company – its very name and reputation are wholly dependent on the people providing the services and their doing so properly. Clear expectations on the part of both the HO and HS, before the assignment commences, are essential. Our FAQs help in this respect too.
House sitting websites illustrate well how travel is being revolutionised by “collaborative consumption” and the “sharing economy” initiated by Uber and Airbnb. Despite tech advances in verifying profiles of sitters, however, absolute confidence on the part of an HO is only there when this is individually done, as in the case of all our sitters at House and Home Sitters, enabling our HO clients to make travel plans with absolute confidence.
For HSs, the value proposition is free accommodation in mostly upmarket homes while experiencing the unique local culture, sights and scenes. And with at least four out of five house sitting assignment involving pets, the HS pet lovers have the chance to indulge.
On the flip side of the coin, HOs go away with full peace of mind knowing their home and beloved pets are in sound professional hands. Instead of boarding their furbabies elsewhere they remain in their own familiar environment. Less stress all round. The HS’s presence in their home makes this less vulnerable to burglary and some insurance policies offer incentives for such added security. Being able to meet with the sitter(s) before an assignment is also a plus, both for the HO and HS.
Each of the now almost 300 sitters at House and Home Sitters has been carefully screened, ID and background-checked, thoroughly vetted, references contacted, and individually personally interviewed in-depth to ensure they meet our high ethical and service standards. There is no signup fee for HOs or HSs. Not all HS applicants are approved; in fact, many are rejected as they do not meet our stringent criteria. The HS is a subcontractor of House and Home Sitters Ltd and has contractual obligations. Unlike the freebie HS, when on assignment all our sitters are insured, committed, dependable and have 24/7 head office backup. House sitting is a serious undertaking carrying great responsibility.
We think so. Do you want any Tom, !!!! or Harry moving into your home? Always remember the old adage about the bitterness of poor quality remembered long after the sweetness of low (or no) cost. Of course, there are many good sitters among those on the “freebie” sites – but sadly there are those free sitters who fabricate or get their family and mates to place their initial “reviews” on the freebie site, as it’s the only way they can get started as house sitters – and they have no real passion for house sitting or pet sitting in the first place. More importantly, what happens when there’s a dispute or problem? What is their sense of responsibility or ability to provide compensation? How reliable, neat, organised, respectful of privacy, service-oriented, committed and competent will they be? We believe there is a good reason why increasingly HOs prefer to employ professional sitters from a company such as ours. They know from life experience that invariably we get what we pay for, that in business, as in sport, the professionals rule. Consider this: which is the easier house and pet sitting business model, if choosing between the two described? Clearly, from a business point of view, the former one, i.e. where the agency takes your money then leaves you to fend for yourself – while at House and Home Sitters we chose the more difficult business model, where we remain involved before, during and after each assignment; a lot more responsibility and effort than in the case of the so-called “freebie” site. Hands down, we at House and Home Sitters provide a premium house sitting service at the most reasonable rates available in the paid house and pet sitting marketplace. And we’re small enough to provide that personal touch so valued by our HO clients.
Wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?
Contact us now for your free no-obligation quotation.
“It’s easy to meet expenses – everywhere we go, there they are.” – Anonymous
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