Kennels and catteries provide one option but they’re rarely popular with the animals and many owners are left feeling guilty about leaving their furry friends in such places.TrustedHousesitters offers a solution to this problem by surfing the sharing economy trend. Launched in 2010, the company provides house-sitting free of charge and has already, it says, organised more than a million nights of ‘happy’ house-sitting. Members, whether they want to house-sit or offer their house up for sitting, pay an annual subscription and can use the service as often they like. So far they’ve saved themselves more than £150m in hotel and other accommodation costs, according to TrustedHousesitters, which now has members in 133 countries, mainly the UK, US, Canada and Australasia. It claims to have 500,000 site visits including some 1,500 new house-sits every month. Founder and chief executive Andy Peck came up with the idea in 2010 when he cared for three dogs and two cats in a house in Spain. After talking to the owner, he was surprised to learn about how difficult it is for pet owners to find the ideal home and pet care when they go on holiday. “Some people have described us as ‘Airbnb for pets’, however TrustedHousesitters was created as a solution to a universal problem – namely how to ensure pets are well cared for when owners wish to travel,” said Peck. “The rise of Airbnb and other sharing economy businesses has resulted in a widespread readiness for people to share their assets, whether that’s welcoming strangers in to your home or hiring out your car by the hour, that simply did not exist before.” He accepts that there are similarities between the two businesses – a highly engaged global community, many lives enriched by travel – but there is a fundamental difference in the ethos that underpins TrustedHousesitters; namely that no money changes hands between homeowner and house-sitter. This is central to the business model, and to the success of the thousands of house-sits that are arranged though the site. As the sitters are not paid, they are care-orientated rather than pay-orientated and have the best interests of their home and pets at heart, according to Peck. Pet owners and sitters choose each other based on their profiles, which outline previous experience and why they want to house-sit or want a sitter as well as video profiles, police checks and character references from employers, landlords and homeowners they have house-sat for.
Read more on the sharing economy:
- Britain’s connected living sector could be worth £30bn by 2020
- London City Airport integrates sharing economy with DriveNow partnership
- Five new firms join SEUK as Britain’s sharing economy receives official definition
Share this story