Case Study - Jim and Ros Slaughter
Posted on 18 April, 2016
Jim and Ros Slaughter, a retired couple from Chichester in their early 60s, have been home sitting for the last three years through the national home and pet sitting company, Homesitters Limited.
Before retiring, Ros had taught P.E. in a range of secondary schools and then moved into further education and became Head of Sports and Leisure at a local college in Chichester. Jim had lectured in hospitality and became Head of Studies for all level 2 courses at the same college. Prior to this, his career had been in Hotel Management.
When they were approaching retirement, they had spent a lot of time planning their future.
Jim explained, “We wanted to do something a bit different but still purposeful in our retirement. Getting a part time job or setting up a business didn’t really appeal because we didn’t want to be tied into a routine anymore. We wanted the freedom to travel extensively, visit new places and meet new people.”
Jim read an article about home sitting and thought it sounded like an ideal way to combine their many interests. The couple are both very sporty and active. Ros plays golf and is an avid gardener and both of them love walking and they are great animal lovers.
The Slaughters say they have been ‘surrounded by pets’ all their lives. They had an English sheep dog for 13 years which they used to take into the college and the local hospital to visit patients, and Jim has also owned many dogs in the past. One of their biggest attractions of home sitting was the opportunity to look after other people’s dogs.
They got in touch with Homesitters and following a lengthy face to face interview at the company’s Head Office with two of its Administrators, they were accepted as homesitters.
The couple say that Homesitters is a professional company that supports their homesitters in many ways, including the setting up of preliminary meetings with the client, providing a checklist of questions to ask clients about their homes and pets, as well as checking in with them on assignment regularly to ensure everything is going smoothly.
The Slaughters now have six or seven regular clients located in Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and the greater London area who invite them back four or five times a year.
They have relished looking after such a huge variety of dogs which have included Alsatians, Pugs, Westies, lots of Labradors and even Samoyed dogs.
Ros said, “The pets are everything to us. We love staying in grand houses and we have some fabulous clients who are really interesting and lovely. Home sitting provides a real break from the routine and a chance to get fit walking the dogs. We’re very careful to be strict about the pets’ routines – no client wants to come home to an overfed dog.”
The Slaughters also like the fact that home sitting is very flexible. The pick and choose their assignments and make sure they have time available to fulfil their travel plans. They have a place in Spain where they spend 10 to 12 weeks a year and love to travel there by car and stop in places on the way. They are fortunate that Jim’s cousin and her husband as well as Ros’s brother looks after their house when they are away.
Their advice for other homesitters is to make very good use of the pre visit and find out everything you need to know about the home and have all the contact details ready for service or maintenance that might be needed.
Both Ros and Jim are really enjoying the experience.
Jim said, “Home sitting is really fun but it is also purposeful. We can do it as much or as little as we like, combining all our interests together and the animals are the best part of all.”
If you're interested in becoming a homesitter, please visit the become a homesitter section of our website by clicking here.