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How to house sit your way around Australia

About Dave

The Adventures of Dave and Ellen as we travel this big place they call Oz. You can follow us at is to travel the roads of Australia in a safe manner to explore and see what and when we want and meeting others doing the same..

Did you know you can save lots of money while caravanning by setting up a house-sit side venture?

Taking care of someone else’s home and pets may seem like a cake walk, but in reality, great house sitters need to be committed.

House Sitting with pets.

House Sitting with pets

A love of animals is not enough to do the job properly. Make sure you treat the job with the utmost professionalism, respect, and care.  

Read more from Dave Smith: How we sold up and hit the wide, open road

​They have trusted you to do the right thing and as a house sitter, you need them to be happy to ensure future house sits. 

Let me tell you, people talk! We've had people weeks later ring and say, Mr X was most happy with your visit, can you come and do our place next month?  It's how it all starts, so do the right thing and you will never have to go into a van park or free camp again.

So you've decided you want to be a house sitter, so you can save money while visiting an area, or while travelling about in your caravan? Best to start by joining a Facebook page and reading how others are first getting the sits, or the things that can go wrong, and then weighing up if you are still willing to do it.

Once you decide it is, start a list of things you can offer in this area, such as dog sitting, cats and any animals you feel happy to deal with, or not. And you need to have an understanding of them, it's no good if you don’t.
What other duties are you happy with, such as mowing, gardening and watering? These are the primary requirements for most. Outside of these, you may need to consider asking for payment to carry them out, or just don’t do the sit. At the end of the day, you can get a van site for up to $80 per day in a holiday area, so work out what you are willing to do.

There are plenty of house sits out there, so don’t feel you are locked in once you make . It's why emails are best at the beginning, there is no personal and it allows you to say no in comfort.

Now you need to decide where you will do house sitting and what your requirements are. For instance, we have a clear plan and our most important specification is that we must be able to get our van onto the property owner's land -- not in the driveway or down the street.

Our van must be in a safe place, and easy to get in and out the yard.

We don’t always stay in the house, since our van is our home and that’s where we live. We also don't live-in, or agree to a house sit, if other family members are staying in-house. Why are we there then?

We always take photos when we get there with the date and time,  so no issues come up about anything down the track. We write notes about things like the lawn mower not working, that a lot of plants are dead, or that the pool is green, etc.

Make sure there's enough fuel for the mower, chemicals for the pool and food for animals. It's not your job to buy such things. Just because they away do not mean they don’t pay!

Make sure you understand the home owner's requirements. Get them to write them down, along with emergency phone numbers for them and trustworthy people near by.

Also, know and respect your limits, in that you can’t drive their car or go into specific areas of the house, or change the diet of the animals because you believe in a better way. Just follow everything as it is written. 

If you are getting paid for some jobs, make the amount clear and in writing. Make sure you get paid, don't back away til you do and don’t accept the excuse that ''we took off some to cover your power, water or Wi-Fi you used'', which should have been sorted long before this.

Ultimately, enjoy your visit. You can create friends for life or a new family, as we have along our way. It is an enriching experience that can give you much happiness.

And you will save so much money from not having to pay for van sites or be in free camps.

Your success is all about how you conduct yourself -- if you do it as you would expect in your house, you will be fine.

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