FAQs – Homeowner
Why do people use an agency to find a house minder?
When family and friends are not available and your pet doesn’t like to be boarded … For the last twenty-one years thousands of people have been having the most relaxing holidays possible because they don’t have to worry about their pets and gardens when they go away. We have minders who will step in and take over.
Families are becoming more independent and people seem to be much busier, so asking family and friends to feed the cat, walk the dog, bring in the mail, water the garden etc can stretch relationships.
One woman in her seventies has been housebound for many years because she will not put her two small dogs in a boarding kennel. Since joining our service she has had two holidays and more are planned. Another man has a cat and a dog who is inseparable, so he won’t go away unless someone can live in his house with his two trusty friends.
Will the minders steal the silver?
(They might have better silver than you!)
Firstly, minders have to pay a registration fee to be listed in our database. They are also warned that the payment of the fee does not guarantee any minding. Minders are matched – the homeowners choose the minder. The minders, apart from being carefully screened, are matched to the homeowner’s lifestyle and personality. We know that the homeowner will be happiest with someone they really like. We will refer as many minders as you wish until you are completely happy that you have chosen the right one. Over the past ten years we have rarely had to send more than one – our matching is usually very accurate. Because it is the homeowner chooses who the minder there is no liability on our part or any other referring party (like a veterinarian or a travel agent). You can ask the minder to get a police clearance certificate.
Why do people want to mind houses?
They may be renovating their own home, between buying and selling, needing peace and quiet to study or saving to buy a home. They could be saving for travel or living with their family and want a break from it. In some cases, the minders are from interstate or overseas visiting family in Melbourne and don’t want to live in their pockets. The arrangement is therefore reciprocal; gardens and pets cared for in return for temporary accommodation.
What does the minder do?
The minder lives in the home and is not paid, but rather needs short-term accommodation. They are not domestic help and can’t be given lists of things to do. They are not guarding the premises, they just maintain a presence in the house to make things appear normal. They care for pets and are chosen because they like the type of animal a homeowner has. Some of our minders are very experienced with animals, some of our minders are vets!. The pets are much happier to be in their own environment – it is stressful enough that their owners are away without the added stress of being in a boarding kennel or cattery. The minders are also happy to maintain gardens, some enjoy gardening a lot.
What does it cost?
You don’t usually pay the minder. As you probably know, it is expensive to put your pets into boarding kennels or catteries so a house and pet minder is very economical, apart from the added bonus of a presence in the house. We do not charge to personally match a minder to your requests. Over the years, our members have saved thousands of dollars.
Won’t a pet feeding service do?
Pet feeding services are okay for short periods of time, say under a week. If people are going away for longer it is a risk only having someone visit the home once or twice a day. If the pet is injured just after the feeder visits it won’t be found until the next visit – which could make the difference between life and death.
Why don’t I simply let my home through a real estate agent?
In our experience, when people rent properties at market rates they are not as careful as they are when they enter an agreement to mind your home. Many Real Estate agents will not take on a rental property that contains the owners personal effects. You need to outweigh the costs of packing and storage.
Tell me about your screening process?
The minders pay to join the register knowing they may not even get any minding. We find that those who register are usually very committed. We ask for three written references written to us with the full knowledge of the reason for the reference. The homeowner can telephone these referees. We take drivers license numbers and car registration numbers. We take work history details, which indicate the degree of responsibility and stability in the work place and also identifies any conflict of interests (eg both home owner and minder work for different banks or opposition legal firms etc.).
How can I be totally confident about the minder?
You nominate a third party to be on hand should the minder need to know anything about the running of the house while you are away. It should be a person who is very familiar with the house and how you live. That person is encouraged to visit the house from time to time to make sure everything is to your satisfaction. If the third party felt the home isn’t being cared for properly, or in an emergency like illness or a death in the minder’s family, we work with the third party to replace the minder.
How successful is the service?
The service is very successful and most of our clients hear about the service through word of mouth. The unanimous comment is that pets are much happier remaining in their own environment – not to mention the safety factor of the presence of the pet and minder.
People who have had their houses minded always say that it is so nice to come home to a warm, lived in house rather than a cold and dusty one. Pets are always happy and gardens are maintained to the standard that they were in before the owner left. Sometimes minders fall in love with the pets and are granted visiting rights. Some roses are pruned more expertly and the list goes on. We can refer you to someone in your neighbourhood who uses this unique service and they will tell you how well it worked for them.
Please note: There is a slight chance that you will not find the minder you want so we always recommend that you have a contingency plan just in case.
Once registered, please keep a copy of our procedure handy