Ever wanted a pet to come and stay with you without all the years of responsibility pet ownership can bring? Keen to make a few extra dollars doing something you love? Why not contemplate pet minding?
Pet minding as a concept has been around for a while, but never before have you been able to register on a website as a pet minder, have pet owners seek you out, and pay you for your services. It is all part of the revolution that has come with the “sharing economy” something so heavily influenced by websites like Air BNB and Uber. Why shouldn’t people be able to source a pet sitter online that aligns with their values.
I got excited when I met the founders of PetHomeStay several months ago. What they are doing for pets seems like something that all of us here who love pets can tap into, whether we want our pets cared for when we are away, or want to care for someone’s pets while they are away.
PetHomeStay is the largest network of trusted local pet sitters in Australia.
“As pet owners ourselves we started PetHomeStay to help our local community find and share pet sitting in a safe and supported way and it has grown to be a global business with pet sitters all over the world,” said Tom Le-Grice, the CEO of PetHomeStay.
It’s actually pretty easy to register as a pet sitter. Just visit www.pethomestay.com and apply to be a Host. Every Host is phone interviewed and supported through the process of listing their profile and desired pets for sitting before the profile goes live. Then you start to get enquiries for people wanting you to look after their pets!
But what Tom points out, and the reason we got talking about Starts at 60 is that they are looking for true animal lovers, and those who really care to host animals with care and love.
“Over time, we realised that there is a huge difference between simply being a Host, and being a really good Host.”
“One of the most important aspects of being a Host is communication. It is about promptly responding to people when they send you a request and looking them in the eye when you meet them. It’s also about trust. When one of our guests meets a Host in a dog park, and checks them out for looking after their beloved fur child, they want someone who they feel safe leaving their pet with. They want someone who does what they say they will do. Someone who, once their hand is shaken, delivers in a caring, responsible manner. In other words – people who are ‘old school’. These qualities are incredibly important for the success of our Hosts and our community,” he says.
Another thing he says they looking for is people who clearly have an affinity with animals.
“Many of our Hosts have spent a lifetime owning pets, so they are able to handle pretty much any breed that’s needed. Some of our Hosts actually use this experience to charge more by teaching pet’s obedience or tricks whilst the owners are away!”
According to Tom, there is great demand for pet sitting retirees. People love the idea of their pets coming to stay with retirees in the hope that they have a little more time available. Most pet owners hope that their pet sitters have time to take their pets for walks during the day, or simply be around pets that need to be around people and don’t like to be alone.
We generally find that more mature people are not ready to sit around all day just yet, and they can take on a little something extra if they want to, and it definitely helps to have a wee pup to look after or to give their own pet some company.
Many of our Hosts use it as a way to get a valuable second income. We have a Host who earned over $750 pet sitting this holiday season! Now, that’s not huge income but it is useful, especially if it can fit easily into your day to day lifestyle.
I think one of the best things about PetHomeStay is the feeling of community. Because we are offering a truly local and personal service, Guest and Hosts often become friends after the initial meeting. They will usually bump into each other down at the dog park, or exchange pet care in the future, so it’s a great way to build up a nice circle of friends if people have recently moved into an area or if their family has moved away.
If you want to become a Host on PetHomeStay, head over to pethomestay.com.au and click ‘Become a Host’.
The first 100 people to register and enter the code SIXTY10 will get $10 off their first booking!
Have you ever considered pet sitting? Do you think that it would be something you would be interested in? Have you done it before? Tell us below.