Whether you’re escaping for a weekend getaway or heading out of town on a business trip, you may soon find yourself needing to plan for what you’re leaving behind. In general, pre-travel planning requires making arrangements for children, pets, and even your home. When it comes to finding reliable care for the things you value most, do you know where to begin? Read below for tips on how to find a reliable sitter for the next time you’re away.

When Do You Need a Sitter?

While occasional vacations may not always necessitate a full-time sitter, it’s a good idea to identify the situations that would require an on-site set of hands. For example, if you’re concerned about houseplants being watered or packages not being stolen, you may not need around-the-clock help. It’s best to have a full-time sitter when:
  • You have pets that need consistent attention.
  • You want to create an appearance of someone being home for security purposes.
  • You have detailed maintenance needs involving gardening, cleaning, or driving.

Where to Find Reliable Sitters

Fortunately, there are many helpful resources and online methods for hiring house sitters. As a first step, you may turn to immediate family and friends. After all, these individuals have likely been to your home already and may feel comfortable managing your pets and belongings. If you strike out within your immediate network, one real estate agent suggests branching out to familiar people within the community, such as business partners, clients, dog walkers, and babysitters. These people understand the area you live in and may be close enough to easily access your house. If you’d rather explore the online route, there are many websites that allow you to browse sitter profiles through search engines and compare reviews, cost, and availability. Finally, if you’re looking to open up your options, you can also try posting an online advertisement so that interested sitters can seek you out through an application process. Whenever you’re inviting someone to stay in your home, use your intuitive sense of judgment to discern whether you feel comfortable giving this person free rein. It’s wise to plan early and give yourself plenty of time to search; this helps to ensure that your first choice can make arrangements and adjust his or her own schedule to accommodate your itinerary.

Ensure Trustworthiness

Trust is, hands down, the most important element in a successful house or pet-sitting experience. While you may not be able to know or keep tabs on everything a sitter does, there are a few things you can do to put your mind at ease.
  • Create a trial period. Depending on how soon you need the help, it may be ideal to give house or pet-sitting a trial run. Invite the individual to stay with you or come over to perform the tasks s/he would be responsible for during a longer trip. How does s/he handle the assigned responsibilities? Do you feel comfortable in this person’s presence
  • Ask for personal references. There’s no shame in wanting to verify that the person you’re hiring comes highly recommended. If the potential hire has served as a sitter before, ask for names or contact information of previous employers. This simple step may help validate your choice.
  • Look for honesty and transparency. One key indicator that your chosen house or pet sitter can be trusted is how freely s/he shares information with you. Can s/he give you a recap of prior work experiences? Is s/he honest and upfront about any questions s/he might have prior to your departure? Asking questions also displays engagement, which is an important quality to see in someone you’re trusting with your home.
  • Run a background check. Although this might be a more serious option, running a criminal background check can provide the greatest insight into a person’s history. If you’re on the fence about making the right hire, ask for a criminal background check notarized by local authorities.

Help Your Sitter Help You!

Before leaving, make sure that you’ve created an environment for your house or pet sitter to be successful. This step may include preparing a packet of information for the sitter to use if s/he needs to contact you, a relative, or any service providers (like veterinarians for your pets). You may also want to provide a quick tour of your home and explain any quirks about the house or neighborhood. It’s also wise to establish ground rules before you hand over the keys. Make sure the sitter understands pay rates, how and when you plan to pay, and if there are any items or activities that s/he should refrain from using while staying under your roof.

Protect What’s Important

When it comes to protecting the things you value, you can never be too careful. For an added layer of protection and peace of mind while you’re away, lock all valuables away in a home safe. Western Safe has a myriad of options available to suit your individual style, personal budget, and specific needs.
Home safety