Meowpassion: Today, Housecarers is one of the oldest sites in the niche. How did you come up with the idea to launch it?
Ian (Housecarers): I had a long career in Administration, Marketing and IT. While on an IT contract a colleague said he paid for an expensive ad in a printed House Sitting directory distributed in Australia. The ad had not paid off for him. I was looking at getting out of the corporate rat race and commute. I though I could put that online with a matching capability. While still contracting I started the worlds first Housesitting Membership site in October 2000. Shortly following this there as a IT crash after the Y2K development and I my contract was not renewed. I then dedicated myself full time to developing and promoting the site.
Meowpassion: Your site has a lot of positive reviews all over the Internet. How many new clients do you have each year?
Ian: Since launching in October 2000 there are now a plethora or sites. We are not a corporate site with offices and lots of staff. We offer a personal approach and may not have the volume of the corporate sites. However, our members advise that they find our site less competitive than others.
Meowpassion: What locations are the most popular amongst pet sitters who use your site?
Ian: We are a worldwide site and successfully match sitters all over the world. The popular countries are USA, Canada, France, Germany Australia, New Zealand, UK and Mexico On our site we also have exotic locations such as Costa Rica. Countries like Costa Rica have many expats with Pets who wish to return to their home country for a visit.
Meowpassion: What, from your perspective, do house owners like the most about your service?
Ian: Homeowners like the personal advice and touch that our website offers. We are fair and transparent – for example we do not do automatic renewal of memberships and always invite members to renew rather than doing automatic deductions. They like that their information is secure and protected as we provide very secure login and message systems. Personal identifiable information is not displayed on our site.
We provide the homeowner with very specific matching capabilities as house sitters define their preferences and key words. E.g. A homeowner can search for a sitter who will do short term housesits, is retired, is police cleared, and will mind horses, and is available for their city.
Meowpassion: Housesitting is very important for people who have pets and cannot take their 4-legged friends with them. What are the benefits of using your service for pet owners?
Ian: We have a concise informative page on our site about the benefits to pet owners here
Meowpassion: Which pets do owners usually seek guardians for?
Ian: The most popular pets of course correspond to the popularity of pets in society. These are dogs, cats. However, we also have small hobby farms with farm animals. Occasionally, there are exotic pets like snakes – and even an Iguana.
Meowpassion: What skills does an individual need to be a perfect pet sitter?
Ian: To follow the pets routines and schedules. It is best to meet with the homeowner either by video connection or in person to go through the routines, feeding and other rules the homeowner has for their pets.
They should have an affection for pets. That is why it is good to meet in person if possible to see how they interact with your pets. Pet sitters should be responsible, caring and diligent. That is why references from previous housesits should be checked.
Meowpassion: We saw that, in your opinion, pet care combined with house sitting is the best option for pets. (The post here) Do you think pet owners can benefit from hiring a house sitter instead of giving their pet away to a special pet hotel?
Ian: Yes – as we wrote in the article above. It is best for pets to be in the own familiar environment with their routines and feeding in pets. Kennels can be stressful for pets.
Meowpassion: Your site is a great place for owners of large animals or multi pet households. After all, it’s not easy to take a lama or three cats on a holiday. Is it difficult for a house sitter to manage such situations?
Ian: It is important to match with the right person. That is why each house/ pet sitters selects key words that match their experience – eg able to administer medication. Our site allows for easy matching. E.g. a sitter indicates they can care for horses and farm animals. We require homeowners to select the breed and description of their pets / farm animals.
Meowpassion: You have over 20 years of experience in running your site. Perhaps you have encountered or heard of funny stories. Are you willing to share some?
Ian: We have loads of testimonies, surprises and good news stories. You can browse some of the highlights here
Meowpassion: How difficult is the process of registration for house owners and pet sitters?
Ian: We make the process user friendly and proved tips and email guidance a long the way. It is not easy. To be successful requires an excellent profile and excellent applications. Just like finding a job, a polished profile with pictures, references and police clearances will get results. After the initial registration or members dashboard provides alert steps to complete the profile. It does not all have to happen at once – it is progressive and we provide guidance along the way. Eg Load up Photos, Load a video, Get Id Verified, Polish the profile, Application guidance.
Meowpassion: Thank you!
PS Awesome pictures of kitties who have been cared for by loving cat sitters over the years Pinterest Cats & House Sitting
Digital templates for cats and pets owners