TrustedHousesitters.com helps home and pet owners find reliable sitters to look after their house and animals when they go on vacation.
MO: What inspired you to launch your business?
Andy: A few years ago I was putting the finishing touches to a screenplay that I had been working on and needed somewhere peaceful where I could get my head down. I stumbled across a family in Northern Spain who needed a sitter; someone to look after their home and dog ‘Dave’ while they were away. Long story short I finished the screenplay, had a great time looking after Dave and came up with the concept for TrustedHousesitters.com, realising a need for a comprehensive website bringing both homeowners and house sitters together.
MO: Do you have any recent success stories that you’d like to share with our readers?
Andy: On a personal level, i was on a flight heading back from Barcelona when i got chatting to an Australian woman sat next to me. She started talking about why she had been out to Barcelona – it transpired she had been house sitting via our website. Then a member contacted us to say she had been out walking the dog she was currently pet sitting for when she bumped into a couple also dog walking – on speaking they discovered they were all house sitting via our website. To see the word about Trustedhousesitters.com spreading is exciting – that to me is a real success story.
MO: What issue does your core product help solve and how so?
Andy: TrustedHousesitters.com helps home and pet owners who are going away on holidays find someone to look after their house and animals in their absence. House sitters usually do not charge for their services, instead offering their help in exchange for a free retreat, providing a real win-win solution for both parties. Pet minding and the whole question of ‘what to do with your pets when you go on vacation’ is a big industry. Currently it’s dominated by small boarding kennels and local pet sitting businesses but more and more pet owners are looking for something more affordable and in a lot of cases more humane.
When someone finds a sitter through TrustedHousesitters.com that sitter comes and lives in your home. For the pets this is fantastic; moving around can be stressful for animals and not having to adjust to new surroundings can go a long way in reducing anxiety or any issues that occur when pet owners go away. As the sitter lives in the home the pets are given a lot more one-on-one attention than if they were in kennels – it’s like the owner never left.
Aside from the pet’s benefit, there are many homeowners who really benefit from having a person live in their home in their absence. Many home insurance policies, especially in rural locations, are invalid after anywhere between 4 and 60 days if the house is left vacant. Having someone live in the house not only acts as a deterrent to burglars but also helps to ensure that any problems such as burst pipes are sorted straight away. On a much simpler level it also ensures that basic jobs like watering the plants, cleaning the pool and checking the mail are all done and the homeowner doesn’t come home from vacation to a bunch of chores.
It’s worth mentioning also that even though the majority of trusted housesitters don’t charge for house sitting, that doesn’t mean the quality of sitters is any less than a ‘paid-for’ house sitting service. Take a look at the sitters we have on the site ( http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/house-and-pet-sitters/ ) – most have background checks, photos and plenty of references from other satisfied home owners who’ve used their services before.
MO: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?
Andy: Understanding all aspects of a business so you make the right choices – of course it is impossible to know everything which is why you take on expert help for certain parts of the business, but even then, you need too have a good understanding. I’ve learnt fast to overcome some of these challenges.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you/your Company?
Andy: We’re currently going through investment rounds, after identifying key players who’s expertise matched what we need to help to gain further traction. We’re poised to go big – and we’re very excited about this. It’s the next chapter for Trustedhousesitters.com.
MO: Where do you envision your company in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Andy: I envisage Trustedhousesitters.com to be a household name in the next few years in our key territories.
MO: How do your competitors view you?
Andy: Since launching two years ago we’ve grown very quickly to become the world’s largest house sitting website. There are a handful of websites that existed before us but at the time it was a very stagnant industry – those websites did little in the way of promotion and were very dated in terms of technology. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve shook things up a little and have been driving the category. It’s a good thing for the consumer and being honest the amount of awareness we’ve raised of house sitting is probably a good thing for them as well.
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