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The clarks - homesittersNew homesitters needed to meet increased client demand this summer

HomesittersWith summer almost upon us, many people are planning their holidays and thinking about where to leave their pets. One growing trend is for people to use Homesitters to look after their home and pets whilst they are away.

Homesitters Ltd, the UK’s leading home and pet sitting company has experienced a 40 per cent growth in its client numbers over the past year and is now on a recruitment drive. The company employs around 1,000 homesitters across the UK and is looking for more people in their 50s, 60s and 70s to join them to meet this demand.

Home and pet sitting is ideally suited to retired people and animal lovers in particular. Many assignments involve looking after cats, dogs and rabbits or sometimes more exotic animals such as llamas, snakes or even pot-bellied pigs.

This rewarding and flexible role gives people the opportunity to travel and stay in fabulous homes in rural, urban and coastal locations after animals, which is a huge part of the appeal —particularly for former pet owners.

All homesitters are carefully matched with clients, taking into account their preferences, personalities, skills and experiences and receive a modest daily remuneration to supplement a pension or other income and their travel expenses are also paid.

One retired couple who have been making the most of home and pet sitting is Tim and Jill Clark (pictured top) from Gloucestershire. Employed by Homesitters since 2003, they have now completed over 210 homesits for 66 different clients and looked after over 100 different animals ranging from Shire horses, to pigs, monitor lizards, Alpacas and even pythons.

The Clarks were attracted to home and pet sitting because of their love of travel and the fact that it offered them the opportunity to stay in beautiful houses in stunning locations. No longer animal owners themselves, they are passionate about all kinds of animals. Tim was raised in Kenya, where he had pet monkeys and snakes and so he loves to take on assignments for clients who have unusual pets.

Tim said: “We are an adventurous couple. For our holidays, we like to travel to places like Cambodia or Costa Rica and during my career in international sales and marketing, we were lucky enough to live in South Africa and America. When I retired at 55, one of our main plans was to explore as much as possible. I spotted an advertisement for Homesitters and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine our love of animals and nature.”

Becoming a homesitter

Since becoming homesitters, the Clarks have been impressed with the high level of support from the company. Before every assignment, a meeting is arranged with the client. This enables them to meet the pets and find out all the essential information to ensure a smooth assignment – from the pets’ routines, to how the boiler works, when the gardener comes or how often the plants need watering. The company provides a handy and very detailed check list for sitters so nothing is omitted.

Homesitters also offers 24-hour support for those on assignment, which is reassuring for both the homesitter and the client. The company will also call the homesitter regularly to check how they are doing and they provide fully-comprehensive insurance cover so they can have peace of mind.

The role can equally be enjoyed by single people as well as couples. Ellen Hart, a 65-year-old former orthopaedic nurse from Ascot in Berkshire became a homesitter when she retired three years ago.

Ellen said, “I have stayed in gorgeous properties ranging from beautiful townhouses to characterful thatched cottages and met some lovely people.

“A real highlight is going back to the same clients as it’s like a home from home; you know where everything is and the animals are so happy to see you again. Some clients even leave little treats for me such as chocolates, special teas or nice cheeses – one lady even made me a ‘pamper bag’ which was really thoughtful.”

Homesitters Ltd has been in business for over 35 years offering home and pet-sitting services to people in England, Scotland and Wales.

If you are interested in becoming a homesitter please contact us at www.homesitters.co.uk /01296 630 730