If you are a house sitter and wanting to sit long term it is in your best interests to demonstrate to home owners that you should be their first choice the very next time, and every time they need to go away. A big part of this is the welcome you give the owners on their return.
The minimum, if you are not able to be at the property when they arrive is a note, the minimum. What is much nicer is a more significant gesture like a card and bunch of flowers or a bowl of fruit. Naturally the home must be left spotlessly clean. Small touches like toilet paper and tissues stocked, some milk in the fridge and bread, tea and coffee in the pantry will not go unnoticed or unappreciated especially for travellers after a long journey.
To be asked to return sit, you need to consider your actions from your first contact. Initial emails, messages and phone calls should always be polite and friendly, and arriving on time at the home for the initial meeting is essential. All of this builds your brand as a credible and reliable sitter.
Whilst the owners are away, if you are pet sitting regular updates on the animals in your care goes without saying. I always send a message to the owner the very first evening I am at the home so they can rest assured the animals are maintaining their regular feeding pattern, exercise regime and are safe. Then a quick message with a couple of pictures every couple of days (at least) is always well received. Many owners miss their pets a great deal and are very grateful to get these daily.
If this is a sit that you have travelled to invite the home owners to stay in touch so you can return the favour should they visit your home town or city. This may not be a situation where you host the owners in your home, but perhaps sharing some local markets or a favourite bar or coffee shop. This can be a great experience for any visitor and an excellent way to get to know each other some more.
Keep the lines of communication open, if you are active on social media make this known. Drop the owners a line or send a Christmas or New Years email. Most importantly, ask! If you would like to be considered as a sitter in the home in future make sure the owners know what you loved about their home, their pets and neighbourhood, these are all the things they love most in life. Let them know what your plans are for the year ahead, what your availability is and the best way to get in touch.
Not only are you likely to be asked to return to house sit again happy home owners will usually recommend you too.