Etiquette for House Sitters: It's a Matter of Trustby Kathy Green • September 19, 2013
We all know this to be true. No matter how much communication we have with potential employers or how many detailed contracts we sign-when the cat's away the mouse can play.
Unless the house you are sitting has cameras everywhere, it is your word and the respect that you have for your employer that ultimately dictates your behaviour while they are away.
It's tough sometimes. There are rooms off limits and as soon as that is in the rule, we have an over-riding curiosity to look. It's not that we want to take anything, or use something that we have been asked not to, but it is that perverse part of human nature that most of us don't admit to, to stretch the boundaries or to do something we have been asked not to do.
So the temptations are there. Do a few little slips really matter? You just LOOK in a jewelry box. You just TRY OUT the master king bed, but don't sleep in it. The cat is fed only ONCE a day, not the prescribed twice. You have a small PARTY, with a good tidy up-no harm done.
The fact of the matter is this. Proper, responsible behaviour would dictate that whatever is asked of you is what you should be doing. This home and these belongings are the valuable property of another person and you are being paid to look after them in a particular way. No exceptions.
This integrity is the etiquette of house sitting-it is the way you build trust and a good business. Be transparent by keeping good, detailed records of tasks done, and then go one step further and do something positive or helpful that was not expected of you.
Like any job, no matter what it is, it can be a source of pride for you if you give it your best: when you can look the homeowner in the eye when she returns and say, "Its's been a great week with no problems. I look forward to the next time."