I am a professional at many things including but not limited to:
- being the favorite
- causing others to laugh
- cutting the grass
I would also say that I am a professional house sitter. This is when I stay in someone’s home, care for their dogs, and eat their food. This also includes a lot of down time watching television, napping, watering plants inside and outside the home, and never reading.
When it comes to house sitting, these are the rules that I live by:
- Always leave the home clean.
If possible, leave it cleaner than how you found it. This includes washing the sheets that you soiled. This is what will put you ahead of all the other wannabe house sitters out there.
- Be dependable, reliable and flexible.
If you can be the above things, people will continue to use you again and again. Almost all of my ‘business’ comes from repeat customers.
- Be trustworthy.
The family entrusting their home and pets to you ought to be able to trust you. Do not give them a reason to not trust you. While they are away they should never wonder about how the home is or if the dogs are still alive. They need to be confident that you are not hosting any sort of B.Y.O.B. event. If you are a single person, under no circumstances should you have a person of the opposite sex over, alone. This is an issue of integrity and it speaks volumes of your character. Do not put yourself in a position to be making babies in someone else’s home. Unfortunately, that is not what they are paying you for.
- Never eat food that is in an unopened package.
They may say yes, but Tommy says no.
- If you must open a package or container of food that is not already opened, eat it all.
Do not leave any evidence that the bag of Doritos was there to begin with. This is also why you take the trash out. You do not want the people knowing that you ate half of the food in the pantry.
- Double Stuf Oreos are fair game.
When it comes to these tasty treats, rules 4 and 5 do not apply. I could not both call myself a reasonable human being and also tell you to not open and eat at least some of, if not all of those Oreos. That is absolutely ludicrous.
- Be kind to their animals.
This ought to be a given. After all, this is what they are paying you for. Sit outside and play with the dog. Sometimes this is not possible, especially when the dog is profoundly deaf and 90% blind in both eyes. But whatever. Make an effort.
- Be smart and timely.
Do not wait till the last day to water the plants. Nobody wants to come home to dead flowers. That makes you look amateurish. Get the newspaper early in the morning. Do not leave the oven on. Nothing will make them question your competence more than coming home to an oven that has been left on.
- Whatever you do, do not kill their animals.
One of my competitors in the business has done this several times. I am left scratching my head as to why people still use this guy. I do not know about you, but I love my dog. If someone killed him while I was gone, I would be one ticked off fat guy. I will not give you his name, but his initials are John Wojciechowski. If you want to get rid of an animal, this is your guy. They will die on his watch. Guaranteed or your money back!
- If possible, do not walk around the house naked.
Who knows, maybe they have cameras in the house. Surely you do not want them seeing you in your birthday suite. I can assure you that they do not want to see you. Remember, modest is hottest. Even when dog sitting.
- Leave things as you found them.
Especially the thermostat. Some families keep their homes a little on the hot side, some just right, and a few like their homes to be a bit cold. You really ought to leave the thermostat alone, but if you must change the temperature, change it back before the family returns.
- Do not answer the home phone.
Unless asked, I think this is the right thing to do. If you happen to answer the phone, you are left to explain to the caller that the family is not there, and they could easily begin asking who you are, where the family is, when they will be back. You get the point. The family may not want people to know where they are.
- Do not poop just before they come home.
You do not want them coming back from a nice vacation, only to smell your poop. It really is the little things that make all the difference people.