If you want to start a house sitting business you will have very low start up costs, but a very low growth rate for your business.
You have several strategic decisions to make before you even start your business:
- Local, national or international?
- Are you going to employ others?
- What are you prepared to do?
Local National or International?
There are many agencies and websites where people can find house sitters with years of experience, police vetting and impeccable references. House sitters on these sites often work for free. They get their accommodation free and that is all they want. You cannot compete with free, ever. Free house sitters are always going to be willing to move around, to travel abroad, even, for live-in house sitting jobs.
A local house-sitting service is something entirely different – You contract to perform maintenance tasks on your clients’ homes rather than living in them. Clients may employ you to do jobs while they are out during the day, or to check on their home while they are traveling on vacation. Clients are more willing to pay for this kind of a service than for a live in house-sitter.
How to Start a House Sitting Business
Start out by establishing a reputation for reliability and honesty. The first step is to get a police report on yourself. Without this nobody is going to trust you, so count it as a tax-deductible essential expense. You should also buy commercial insurance to cover any accidents that happen while you are in your clients’ homes. The last significant cost is for an attorney to draw up a standard contract for you to use with each client.
You need a van, but people never want to advertise the fact that they are away from home, so it needs to be a plain, clean van without advertising. You may need to carry lawnmowers and similar equipment around with you, so you need a large van and a trailer to carry gardening equipment.
Your business will grow by word of mouth advertising, so you must have business cards printed professionally. You should also go round every home to hand-post flyers advertising your house sitting services. Professionally-printed flyers in full color will cost you less than you think and will work out cheaper than printing your own using your home computer and printer. Include a photos of you doing some of the tasks you are commonly asked to do.
What Services Will You Provide?
Yard work is one of the most frequent tasks you will be asked to do. This will include cutting the lawn in the summer months and clearing snow in the winter, so you have to be happy working outside in all weathers.
You will also be asked to bring in mail, basic cleaning jobs and to supervise workmen. These will require key access and you will need to have a system for storing keys, alarm codes and access procedures for each client.
You may be asked to walk dogs, exercise horses and feed chickens, to let the cat out, clean up poop from the yard and do the laundry. The list is endless and the more tasks you can offer your clients the more your local house sitting business will thrive.
Offer simple handyman jobs, such as unblocking drains, changing light bulbs and simple furniture repairs, too. The more you become known as The Man to Call the faster your reputation will grow.
People prefer to deal with one person they trust to deal with everything from pool maintenance to snow clearance and unblocking drains. It’s up to you to be that one person.
Start a house sitting business that everyone in your home town comes to rely on. You can grow your business if you get more jobs than you can handle, just by hiring another handy man and buying another van.
get a police report on yourself