Case Study - homesitters with a sense of adventure – The Clarks
Posted on 21 October, 2015
Tim and Jill Clark are a retired couple in their early 60s from a small village outside Tetbury in Gloucestershire who have been home sitting through Homesitters since 2003.
They have completed over 210 home sits for sixty six different clients and looked after over 100 different animals ranging from Shire horses, to pigs, monitor lizards, Alpacas and even pythons.
Tim and Jill were first drawn to home and pet sitting because of their love of travel and the fact it offered them the opportunity to stay in beautiful homes in stunning locations.
No longer animal owners, they are passionate about all kinds of animals. Tim was raised in Kenya and as a boy he had pet monkeys and snakes. Whilst the majority of Homesitters’ clients own dogs and cats, some have more exotic animals and these kind of assignments appeal to the Clarks.
Tim says: “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.”
Following an initial telephone interview with Homesitters, the couple were invited to the head office for a formal interview and after their references were checked, they were taken on.
The couple have been impressed with the high level of support they have received from the company. Before every assignment, a preliminary meeting is arranged to meet the client and get to know their pets. This meeting provides the opportunity to find out all the essential information to ensure a smooth assignment – from the routines of the pets, to how the boiler works, to which days 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 forgotten.
Homesitters also offer 24 hour support for sitters on assignment which is reassuring for the homesitters and clients. They also call their homesitters regularly to check how they are doing and they provide fully comprehensive insurance cover.
Tim said, “Homesitters is a very professional, caring and supportive company - unlike any other company I have worked for. They have a true ‘heart’ and really look after their clients and homesitters.”
The Clarks spend an average of 158 days every year looking after people’s homes and pets but they pick and choose their assignments, fitting them in around their family commitments and their holidays.
Tim said, “We’ve been to France and Guernsey several times and we have sat in the most fabulous homes with beautiful gardens – it’s just like having a wonderful holiday. Home sitting suits us because we are doing something really purposeful, it is really flexible and it combines our many interests.
Many of the homes are set in rural locations and the Clarks use the peace and quiet as an opportunity to catch up on their hobbies. Jill does needlework and Tim collects foreign bank notes. They also relish being outdoors. Tim often takes his hammock with him so he can relax outside with the dogs and they’ve joined the National Trust so they can visit stately homes and gardens wherever they are based.
The real highlight for them however, is the animals. Tim says, “We have looked after many different breeds of dogs now which has been fascinating – we love playing with dogs. We’ve also looked after race horses, emus and even a pig that lived in the kitchen that we had to tuck up in a blanket before bed. We’ve really had some great experiences.”
The Clarks have many repeat clients and they are already booked for the rest of the year and have several assignments pencilled in for 2016.
For further information on becoming a homesitter, please visit http://www.homesitters.co.uk/become-a-sitter/.