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L-R: Kathy Coghlan-McLean, Elyse Knowles, Kylie Fuad, Gabby Watson and Nick Fuad, Aussies House Sitters

The purr-fect house sitter

If you regularly go on holidays and struggle to find someone to look after your house and pets, look no further.

Aussie House Sitters is a family-run business that offers free pet care, garden care and home security, in return for free accommodation.

Nick Fuad came up with the idea in 2004 when travel-related websites were emerging online.

“I loved travelling and I wanted to develop an online business to support all travel lovers. Free accommodation really appealed to me and I discovered that ‘house sitting’ had so many benefits for both house sitters and home owners,” said Nick.

“It was important to me to create a community rather than a business. We made sure the website was user-friendly as we knew that some home owners and sitters might not be familiar with computers and the internet, and we made it affordable (it’s still free for home owners). Finding the right team was also very important to me as we pride ourselves on being more than just a website.”

Following steady growth since 2004, Aussie House Sitters has become Australia’s largest house sitting platform.

“I absolutely love running my own business. I never have ‘Monday-itis’! Knowing I started this business on my own from scratch, to what it’s become today is very satisfying.  I have seen it go from myself on a computer, to an office building and a staff of five,” said Nick.

“There’s always risks in running your own business so it’s exciting and scary at the same time, which keeps you on your toes and can be addictive. I also love hearing the kind words from our many members – customer satisfaction is a great feeling.”

One of the things Nick found most challenging about running his business in the early stages was learning to let go and trust his employees.

“Growing a business has meant learning how and when to let go and what to take on for myself. As I initially worked from home, I found myself working every spare minute I had. It was tricky to get the work/life balance right. It can be hard to clock off at 5pm and switch off knowing it will still be there in the morning. After 14 years I think I’ve mostly got the balance right,” said Nick.

“Making decisions can also be difficult and some of the decisions have been large ones with consequences. Sometimes you make a difficult decision which can affect you mentally, physically and financially. However you learn from these experiences, which makes you a better person and business owner.”

2018 has been an incredibly successful year for Nick and Aussie House Sitters. The business was an Optus Business Awards winner for Best Home and Lifestyle Business and Excellence in Customer Service and an Australian Business Awards winner for Business and Service Excellence. 

Nick was also awarded Highly Commended Business Person of the Year at the Lismore Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

“It was a real honour to win these customer service awards. I was so proud of our small team. They are dedicated to providing quality customer service and really go above and beyond for all our members. To be acknowledged for both business and service excellence is a tribute to their hard work in providing professional support for our house sitting community members,” said Nick.

“As more people become aware of the benefits of house sitting, we see our member numbers increasing. We will continue to make improvements to our website for our current members and promote it to future members. House sitting is great for both house sitters and home owners and we will strive to further build our online community.”