People often ask me, “What is house sitting?”
That answer can easily be summed up like this – When pet owners need to travel, house sitters stay at their home to take care of the house and pets.
But the big question is, how does it work?
First, let’s start with the money.
Do You Get Paid For Housesitting?
If you’re housesitting locally or within your own country, it is possible to charge for your services. You could find housesits by word of mouth, putting flyers in coffee shops, ads in the local paper or with Paid Housesitting websites like Rover.com
International housesitting (the kind that I do / the kind that I teach) is done for free. More accurately, it’s an exchange.
You take care of the house and pets and in return, you save a huge amount of money that would otherwise go to hotels or rentals.
Could you be paid for international housesitting? Not really. To get paid in other countries would require a working visa.
So How Do You Afford to Travel and Housesit?
I’ve come up with three general scenarios what would work for you to travel and housesit.
1. Part-time – You don’t need to be travelling twelve months of the year to be a housesitter. Some people like to do housesitting only a couple of time a year and offset the travel costs from their vacations. While this is a good option, it’s worth noting that you will have responsibilities at the house. So it can limit the amount of time you’re away during the day. Dogs need to be walked and played with so you can’t be away for more than a few hours (each house/dog is different). So housesitting with cats would probably work better in this situation.
2. Remote Work – Digital Nomads and people who aren’t tied to working in an office have an advantage. They would be able to work and make money while they travel. Housesitting is an especially good option because of the cost savings versus renting or hotels. This is the situation I am in and I really love housesitting because I find it easier to work and live in a real house.
3. Retirement – If you’re retired, congratulations. You don’t have to go to the office either! But why spend all of your life saving on accommodation when you could be housesitting.
Where do you find Housesits?
There are a few different ways to find housesitting gigs.
1. Housesitting Platforms – When you’re first getting started, the housesitting websites will be the best place to start. They provide a large amount of listings for you to apply to (more on this later) and you’ll be able to find sits located in many different counties. There are global housesitting platforms that list sits everywhere, as well as platforms that are country specific.
2. Facebook Groups – There are groups on Facebook where both sitters and homeowners are members. These can be good if you have experience already and a website or page somewhere that you can list your experience and references. The amount of sits posted isn’t usually high so it’s best to use these groups along with the platforms.
3. Referral Clubs – There are a few referral clubs out there where experienced sitters share their gigs. Over the years, they have housesat for many home and pet owners. Those owners will reach out to the sitter to see if they are available to come back. Often we do try to return but many times the dates don’t work because of other commitments (full-time sitters tend to be booked 3-8 months in advance).
4. Repeat Sits – As mentioned, once you’ve been sitting for a while. You’ll be asked by homeowners to return in the following year on their next trip (assuming you did a good job for them the first time).
How Do Homeowners Choose a Housesitter?
Getting a housesit is very similar to applying for a job. Here is a rough idea of how it works… although it can differ slighting depending on the home owner and website being used.
Home owners create a listing on a housesitting platform that will include all the basics of what and who they are looking for. and the responsibilities for the house and pets (more on this below). Then you (the house sitter) would apply with your resume. Each platform is different but this usually involves a quick message along with a link to their profile page within that platform.
The applications and profiles are reviewed and the top few applicants are selected for the next round. If you’re one of the top applicants, you’ll usually be asked to have a video chat with the homeowners to get to know them better. Although they are interviewing you, you are just as much interviewing them to make sure and needs or concerns you have are met.
After the video interviews, the homeowner will choose who they feel most comfortable with to take care of home and pets. If done correctly, they’ve chosen you!
Is It Hard to Get a Housesitting Assignment?
I’m not going to lie, it can be hard. Especially at the start while you’re building up your references and credibility.
There’s also a lot of competition out there. Housesitting is becoming more and more popular.
But if done correctly, you can easily set your self apart from the crowd.
What Kind of Responsibilities Will I Have?
Responsibilities will very from sit to sit. Every house, pet and homeowner will be different so it will be up to you to only apply for the housesitting gigs that resonate with you and aren’t more responsibility than you are willing to offer.
The Pets – The vast majority of sits will have pets. There are randomly some assignments without but these are few and far between. It’s best to assume pets will need care. I’ve personally done pet sitting ranging from one cat to four dogs. I’ve also seen some people that a dozen or more birds or farm animals or reptiles.
Sometimes it’s not about the number of pets but the amount of time needed to care for them. You’ll be taking over the same routine the pet owners normally do on a daily basis. Some dogs need multiple walks per day with specific feeding times or maybe even prepared meals.
Know your limits.
The House – Equally important is making sure the house is clean and secure. You’ll be cleaning, watering the plants or possibly mowing the lawn. The mail may need to be brought it. On longer sits, you may need to pay the bill and/or staff like cleaners, gardeners and pool maintenance.
You’re also there to take care of any emergencies. Here are a couple examples of situations I’ve heard from other sitters…
– A skylight was broken during a storm. The sitter was there to coordinate someone to come and fix it. If they weren’t there, the house would have gone weeks exposed to the elements.
– During the winter the pipes froze and burst. With one a sitter there it would have flooded and produced a lot of mold.
These are just examples and they rarely happen. But it would be something you need to handle while you’re there.
Is Housesitting For You?
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what housesitting is all about and how it works.
If you think housesitting is for you and would like to learn more.
Send us a Message.
We’d love to help!