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Frequently Asked Questions from pet owners

What is house sitting?
Why choose The Housesitting Company over other websites?
How do you vet/screen your sitters and minders?
What is pet minding?
What can and can't I expect from my house sitter?
What is the process of booking a sitter?
How much are your services?
What's your refund policy if I cancel my house sit or pet minding job?
Is there a minimum or maximum length of time?
Do you look after home stay's, children, Grandpa?
What areas of New Zealand do you cover?
What pets do you care for? Is a snake out of the question?
Who pays for pet food, living expenses, rent etc?
Are my house sit details visible to the public internet?
Can sitters cancel once booked?
What is the situation with insurance?
Are THC house sitters employees?
Why do people become house sitters?

 

What is house sitting?

House sitting is when someone comes to live in your home whilst you are away. Their role is to look after your pets, home and property in the way you specify. House sitters stay overnight in your home, which has great security benefits in addition to the one-on-one care your pets receive.

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Why choose The Housesitting Company over other websites?

Our company was established in 1998. A major difference between THC and other websites is that our organisation is run by staff (not just computers) and we vet our sitters before letting them house sit for you.

Other sites can’t offer our level of service because their customers are the sitters, not the homeowners. They don’t have staff responsible for your house sit and they don’t know anything about their sitters, as they are 100% run by a computer. The most common issue we hear about with other websites is sitters cancelling last minute and the homeowner not having anyone to call.

We are there to deal with any situations that arise before, during or after your house sit. For many, this peace of mind is the main reason they choose The Housesitting Company.

 

How do you vet/screen your sitters and minders?

An important aspect of what we do at THC is to filter through the hundreds of applications we receive from people wanting to be house sitters and pet minders. Before we accept anybody into The Housesitting Company team they must pass through our 4-step vetting process, which includes:

  • A convictions report from the New Zealand Police
  • Supplying a minimum of two written references (of which you will receive a copy)
  • Their agreement to our strict Terms and Conditions
  • formal interview with The Housesitting Company (this may be in person, Skype or phone).

Once a sitter is registered with us, we work with them to make sure they are providing an excellent service to you as well as achieving their own house sitting goals. After every house sit we gather feedback from the homeowners so you can view their performance history.

 

What is pet minding?

Pet minding is when a minder visits your home once or twice per day to feed your pets, walk the dog, water the garden etc. A pet minder essentially performs similar duties to a house sitter but doesn’t live in the home and stay overnight. Pet minding is best suited for short stints of a few days and up to a couple of weeks.

These visits also include taking in the mail, opening/closing curtains and switching on/off the lights for security purposes, changing kitty litters, poop scooping and watering the garden or pot plants.

If you would prefer a pet minder over a house sitter, please call us on 0800 748837 or fill out our contact form.

 

 

What can and can't I expect from my house sitter? 

Your house sitter’s role is to care for your pets and home. Your sitter is not there to give your house a spring clean, run your home business or look after your foreign exchange student living in the granny flat.

You can expect your house sitter to follow your instructions and to treat your pets and property with respect. Your sitter will provide their own food and toiletries. If you are happy for them to eat any food that will perish whilst you are away, then that’s completely up to you. The sitter will not consume anything of yours without your permission.

Your house sitter won’t have other people staying the night or themselves be absent at night, unless they have discussed this with you and have your approval. Most homeowners are fine with their sitter’s having guests over, but you can discuss this with your sitters if you would prefer them not to have guests. Your sitters will not have parties in your home.

Some house sitters have regular jobs themselves and therefore won’t be home all of the time. If you need a sitter that is retired or works from home then you should advise The Housesitting Company of this so we send you sitter’s who meet your requirements.

 

What is the process of booking a sitter?

Our process is very simple and often we see homeowners listing their house sit and receiving applicants within an hour and booking their chosen sitter the following day.

  1. List your house sit
  2. Review applicants profiles (intro letter, photos, references and feedback history)
  3. Meet the sitters who look most suitable to you
  4. Choose your favourite sitter

We must point out that our sitters are subject to availability, so the earlier you start the process, the better.

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How much are your services?

Most house sits cost between $16 - $25 per day depending on your pets and the duration of the sit. The easiest way to figure out the exact price for your house sit is to Get A Quote.

House Sitting Rates

Base rate (add on pets): $13 per day (with no pets)
Dogs: $5 for the first dog, $7 for each additional dog
Cats: $3 for the first cat, $4 for each additional cat
Other domestic pets: $3 flat rate (total of $3, no matter how many fish, rabbits, birds etc you have)

Minimum charge rate for house sits is $149
Maximum charge rate for house sits is $699 up to 2 months, then $149 per additional month
Holiday surcharge of 15% applies to sits that fall between 20th Dec – 10th Jan. The minimum charge rate is $249 during this peak period.

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Pet Minding and Dog Walking Rates

One visit/feed per day: $27
Two visits/feeds per day: $50
30min dog walk: $10 on top of the visit/feed rate

Public holidays have a $10 surcharge added to the regular price
Minimum charge rate for a pet minding booking is $100

If you would prefer a pet minder rather than a house sitter, please call us on 0800 748837 or fill out our contact form.

 

What's your refund policy if I cancel my house sit or pet minding job?

DEPOSITS - We will refund your deposit if you meet all your applicants and don’t find anyone suitable from whom we have provided. We will not refund your deposit if you cancel your house sit or find a sitter from outside of The Housesitting Company.

FINAL FEES - If you cancel a booked house sit we may refund the final fee but will at a minimum keep the 1/3rd deposit. We will not refund any fees if you find a sitter from outside of The Housesitting Company.

 

Is there a minimum or maximum length of time?

There is no minimum or maximum length of time, just minimum and maximum rates. If your trip away is less that 1 week, a pet minder may be more suitable.
See What is pet minding?
See How much are your services?

 

Do you look after home stay's, children, Grandpa?

No. Our sitter’s look after pets, not people. We are unable to place a sitter into a home if there will be someone else living there.

 

What areas of New Zealand do you cover?

We have sitters all over New Zealand, with Auckland being our busiest region. To see who we have available in your area, start by listing your house sit and we will send your requirements out to sitters near you and see who is available.

Get a sitter

 

What pets do you care for? Is a snake out of the question?

We cater for all domestic pets and farm animals. We may even consider a snake, although it will be more difficult to find willing sitters. Our sitters are all pet lovers and come from a variety of backgrounds. In the past we have cared for donkeys, horses, cows, pigs, sheep, chinchillas, lizards peacocks, rabbits, aviaries, frogs, rats, guinea pigs, worm farms, hens, magpies, fish, chickens, ducks, geese…and 1000’s of cats and dogs.

 

Who pays for pet food, living expenses, rent etc?

Depending on your pets needs, you could either leave the sitter with enough pet food for the duration of the house sit or you can leave them cash in case they need to buy more food for your pets. The sitter will give you the receipts for any purchases made with your money.

You do not pay any of your sitter’s living expenses. They will bring their own food and toiletries. You are not expected to tip your house sitters or pay anything extra.

Sitters do not pay rent. That is one of the main reasons they house sit. So the utility bills would be your cost, but should not exceed what you usually pay for these services. For longer housesits (5 weeks or more) your house sitter may be willing to contribute towards the utilities that they use, but this would be negotiated between you and the sitter prior to them accepting your house sit. You must let The Housesitting Company know if you are expecting paid contribution so we don’t send you sitter’s who aren’t happy with this arrangement.

 

Are my house sit details visible to the public internet?

No way! This is one way that The Housesitting Company protects your security and privacy. Only registered sitters can view our house sits and even then we don’t give out your contact details or exact address, as we believe it should be your decision how much information you wish to share with your applicants.

 

Can sitters cancel once booked?

To our knowledge, The Housesitting Company has the lowest cancellation rate by sitters in our industry. This is because our sitters take commitments seriously and our booking system doesn’t let sitters apply for overlapping sits once they have been booked for you…even if longer or more appealing sits come up. We are very strict about this and our sitters understand that letting a homeowner down would be the end of them house sitting with us.

We get a surprising amount of new customers calling us for help after their ‘friend-of-a-friend’ cancelled on them one week before their sit was about to start. Our sitter’s won’t do that to you.

In the exceptionally rare case that a sitter can’t complete your sit (i.e. for sickness, family emergencies, etc) we would contact you to explain the situation and suggest solutions. We would do our very best to provide you with another sitter or offer to refund your money proportionally based on the days remaining until you return.

 

What is the situation with insurance?

We believe that the safest thing you can do for your home is to have a Housesitting Company sitter living there while you are away. Most insurance companies specify that your insurance policy is void if your home is unoccupied for a certain length of time.

The Housesitting Company carries Public Liability Insurance to cover for ‘accidental loss or damage to property caused by the sitters’. In addition to our insurance, we do recommend that you tell your own insurance company that you’ll be having a house sitter, as they would be covering any claim not caused directly by the sitter.

Obviously, we don’t expect there to be any issues during your house sit, but it’s good to be prudent when it comes to insurance.

 

Are THC house sitters employees?

Our sitters are not employees or contractors. They are individual volunteers who agree to our Terms and Conditions and complete our Vetting Process before being accepted into The Housesitting Company.

We have considered paying our sitters but have opted not to. This is because we want to keep our charges to homeowners down and stick to our motto of being 'more affordable than kennels and catteries'. We know that the top priority for our sitters is to get more house sits so we have chosen to stick with our current business model rather than increase prices to compensate sitters.

 

Why do people become house sitters?

They do it for the lifestyle! Travelling around beautiful New Zealand, living in different locations and experiencing other people’s lifestyles. House sitting is an adventure.

They love pets! Most of our sitters have grown up with animals but due to their current living arrangements, sometimes they aren’t able to have any. House sitting provides them the opportunity of enjoying your pets whilst you are away!

They also do it for the money! The savings, that is. Active house sitters will book 75% or more of their year into house sits which means they save a LOT of money by not renting and paying utilities.