MoneyMagpie

Jan 21

Make money house sitting

Fancy making money doing very little whilst staying in luxurious homes?

House sitting might just be the thing for you then!

If you’re able to secure a long-term house-sitting contract, you might even manage to avoid paying rent and bills and if you work from home you could combine the two – work from home while house sitting.

You might be surprised that anyone would hire a house sitter, but an increasing number of people own more than one property or spend long periods of time away on business.

When house owners hear horror stories about squatters, discover that burglary rates are highest during holiday periods or realise that keeping a home occupied could lower their insurance premium, many decide to hire a house sitter.

There’s particularly a lot of work for house sitters over the summer holidays, with assignments all around the UK.

There’s quite a demand for those who are good with dogs, so if you’re comfortable with a pooch then you’ll be ideal – in fact if you’d particularly like to be a pet sitter then sign up with tailster.com for free and then read our article on pet sitting.

House Sitting –What’s involved?

House sitting involves living in someone’s home whilst they’re away. Your job is to keep things clean and tidy, maybe look after a pet and by your presence deter burglars.

Some agencies will also specialise in short-term sitting, where they provide people who’ll stay in your home all day waiting for the plumber or an elusive furniture delivery (we all know how annoying having to stay in can be!)

House minding is keeping an eye on an empty home with a regular – often daily – visit to water the plants, pick up the post and have a quick tidy.

As both a house sitter and house minder you can look after the houses of family and friends, but for regular work register with a reputable agency like Trusted Housesitters.

If you’re doing this independently, the owners should provide a written contract with instructions of what to do if specific situations arise so that you’re completely sure of the right action to take.

Also, make sure you provide the homeowners with references from a previous landlord and employer.

 

Working with a house and pet-sitting agency

It’s best if you can present an agency with a police check and you’ll need references from professional people. The agency will interview you in your own home to make sure you’re suitable for the job.

Some house and pet-sitting agencies take on people as their employees and therefore they’re responsible, not you. They’ll have insurance to protect you throughout the job and even your partner if they’re joining you for the sit.

House sitters aren’t expected to work all day; usually the duties will require a couple of hours and the rest of your time is your own.

However, clearly the whole point of a house sit is that you’re there to protect it, so usually an agency, like Trusted Housesitters, will expect you to leave the property for no longer than three hours at a time in the day and one hour at night.

Another benefit of using an agency is that you’ll be given support throughout the process.

They’ll arrange a meeting between you and the client so that you know exactly what the client expects of you as a house sitter and a checklist will be drawn up to ensure that both you and the client know exactly where you stand. You’ll be able to contact the agency at any point during the house sit and they’ll help you if anything goes wrong.

moneymagpie_Make money house sitting_house(3)You’ll probably find you get more work through an agency. Their clients will want to know that house minders have been vetted thoroughly and matched to suit their particular needs so they’ll be more inclined to use an agency that does both these things.

A good agency will interview you thoroughly to determine your interests, skills and preferences. This will then help them to match you to appropriate clients so that the sit is more fun for you and beneficial to the client. For example, a client with a cat can be matched to a house sitter who has had experience looking after cats and would enjoy it.

Generally, an agency will match you to a client that lives near your own home, usually within the same county. House sitting in London, for example, can be very profitable due to the sheer number of people in the city.

However there are exceptions, such as London home-sitting agency Mrs Hunt’s Staffing, which places house sitters all around the world.

If you want to travel, agencies may be able to help to you find a house sit further away as long as you agree to pay towards the travel costs. You could always use the opportunity to visit family and friends in other locations.

A good house-sitting agency will give you health and safety training, personal safety training, animal welfare guidance and details of their own regulations and rules.

The only experience you need is of running your own home. Clients just want to be sure that you can do all the domestic tasks and keep their home running smoothly.

Work for no fee and have a free holiday

Not all house-sitting companies pay, but there are still advantages.

Trusted Housesitters have long-term opportunities across the UK and although you won’t get paid, you could see it as a great way to have a free holiday.

You may even be able to negotiate a small payment if there are dogs to feed and walk or any other additional requirements.

 

Become a self-employed home sitter and pet minder

moneymagpie_Make money house sitting_houseIf you’re an entrepreneurial sort, you could become self-employed and advertise your home-sitter services directly to potential clients.

One lady we know of regularly makes £50 a day as a home sitter, and she only spends the evenings and overnights in the house, before going to work the next day.

The reason for this high rate of pay is the fact that the owner of the house has seven dogs.

It would cost at least £10 per dog per day to put these dogs into kennels, so by paying £50 to a house-sitter who knows the dogs, the owner saves £20 a day.

If the house is large, and if there are a lot of pets, pet minding services can charge up to £90 a day.

If you’d like to advertise yourself as a pet sitter then put a free ad on tailster.com.

One potential drawback to being self-employed is the fact that you’ll have to take responsibility for many things that an agency would otherwise do for you.

For example, you’ll have to:

  • advertise your services and find clients
  • manage your time
  • register as self-employed with HMRC and complete an annual tax return
  • draw up contracts with your house-sitting clients
  • consider sorting out your own public liability insurance

It’s a good idea if the house owners let their insurance company know that someone else is house sitting their property while they’re away.

Most self-employed house sitters also have public liability insurance. This type of insurance will cover you if something goes wrong and it’s not the house owner’s responsibility to pay for it (e.g.  you lock yourself out of the house and have to pay for a locksmith).

For more information read our advice on managing your finances while self-employed.

 

Could you be a home sitter?

moneymagpie_Make money house sitting_homeHouse sitting tends to be suited to people who have retired and are fit and active enough to maintain a house and look after pets.

Short-term house sitting can also be useful for students who are flexible and have time to look after other people’s places – maybe while studying.

As long as clients are confident that you’re looking after their house properly you may be able to house sit if you work from home; perhaps as an author.

You have to be sure that you’ll be comfortable in someone else’s house, and away from your own home and social circle, because you’re unlikely to be able to invite other people (apart from your partner if they’ve been agreed previously) to the client’s home.

Many agencies will want someone available throughout the year so that if a client needs a house minder more than once they can use the same person again and again.

 

How much could I earn?

pound notesDon’t think of house sitting as a way to make lots of money.

The pay is minimal and the work’s unlikely to be regular but it’s a good way to earn a bit of money on the side and possibly have some fun whilst you’re at it.

  • Pay for long-term house sitters starts at £10 a day with Housesitters, plus £7 food allowance and 40p per mile for fuel – both of which are non-taxable.
  • Small additional amounts are available if you care for a dog or cat while house sitting. Homesitters pays an extra 33p a day for dog care.
  • With some agencies, short-term house sitters can earn between £8 and £10 an hour.

 

Additional costs

If you work through an agency your costs will be minimal, including things like personal phone calls. The owners should provide everything necessary on a day-to-day basis, plus a float to cover anything you need as you go along (cat food etc).

If you’re house sitting independently, an owner could initially request a deposit from you. It’s best to go over the house together on your arrival to make a note of any damage.

You may also have to pay for the utilities you use when house minding but make sure this is clearly stated in the checklist/contract before you start.

If you found this article useful, we think you’ll like these:

Have you ever made money house sitting? Would you prefer house sitting with or without pets? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Comments

12 thoughts on Make money house sitting

  1. I have been house sitting for around 2 years now and I am registered with 4 of the main house sitting websites including the one mentioned above; Trusted Housesitters, and not once have I come across any paid house sittings. If anything, most house owners ask for a contribution towards bills, some going further asking for a small rent. Most house sitting jobs involve looking after many pets, such as 5 dogs, 3 cats and many other pets, and this is just an example.

    In my understanding, house sitting is an exchange between house owners who can go away with the piece of mind, knowing that their house and pets will be looked after, while giving the house sitter the chance to discover a new area/region.

    But this is not the case as although saving house owners a very large amount of money in pet care, they still think it is fair to ask house sitters to contribute towards utility bills all the while looking after the house and pets for free. They are the ones placing the ads in the first place, not the other way around.

    Another thing. It is free for a house owner to place an ad, but house sitters have to pay to register on these house sitting websites.

    Another point, not all house sitting jobs are in idealistic, beautiful places.
    All these websites and articles make it out to be a free holiday. This is definitely not the case. It is a huge responsibility to look after house and pets as I found out myself. In two cases I had to deal, once with damages caused by high winds and another, fire due to faulty electric wiring.
    Furthermore, even after applying to new house sitting ads 1 out of 5 do not even bother to respond.
    Here are a few examples of house sitting jobs I came across:

    1) House owners asking for house sitters to look after house and on 1 dog for 175 days which is over 5 months for free. As a pet owner myself up to recently I know the fees paid to leave a cat or dog in either cattery or kennel. The cheapest is £10 per pet per day but can easily reach £30 a day per pet. So saving the owners £1,750 and yet they thought it was fair to ask house sitters to pay all utility bills.

    2) House owners of a guest house going away for 6 months asked house sitters to answer phone, take bookings, prepare and clean bedrooms, greet customers, maintain gardens, clean pool and look after 1 dog, all for free while asking the house sitters to pay rent. When I contacted them asking to see if this was a joke, they replied that they do not want ‘freeloaders’. My instant reply to them was what they were asking was illegal and called full time employment.

    3) House owners asked house sitters to look after their house, 5 dogs, 3 cats, chickens and a goat, again for free. Dogs to be walked 3 times a day for a minimum of an hour each time, to feed the chickens, cats and goat and maintain the garden. This is also a full time job, again for free.

    It annoys me when I see all these articles claiming that house sitting is a way to make money and go on holiday for free. This is definitely not the case and I would love to know where all these people are getting all these wonderful paid in idealistic house sittings from.

    Reply
  2. Hi, not sure when the blog post about make money house sitting was posted but guessing about 3 years ago judging by comments? I wondered if you could do an update and say whether with the massive growth in the number of people house sitting for free whether it is still viable to charge?

    I think it is …as it’s a very responsible role – if you have the relevant background and experience (I have 10 years in pet sitting – and charging for it, in the UK). Is there a call for Professional Pet Sitters – not just people travelling around for free accomodation? Anyone have any thoughts? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Hi Paul. I have been house sitting for around 2 years now, and not once have I come across any paid house sittings. It is the other way around, as so far house owners ask house sitters to pay the bills, although doing the house sit for free and saving them very large amount of money in pet care. I agree, house and pet sitting is a very big responsibility. I would love to know where people who claim to do paid house sit in idealistic areas are getting their jobs from. I am registered with 4 of the main house sitting websites and not once as I mentioned previously, I have come across any paid house sit.

      Nat

      Reply
  3. Great article packed with loads of really good advice. In March of this year, we decided to try house sitting and pet sitting, and it has been a brilliant way to explore the UK, stay in some fabulous houses and look after some glorious pets.

    We run an online business, so can work from anywhere with a decent WiFi connection and have been to Cornwall, Surrey, Lancashire, the Chilterns and Cheltenham looking after dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, geese, fish and a Giant Land Snail. Shortly, we are off to the New Forest, then Colchester and then back to Cornwall.

    Housesitting is a fantastic way to explore the UK and to get our ‘pet fix’!

    Reply
  4. I’ve had a lot of hassle finding posts about learn to trade
    forex, glad I found this though…so informative
    I will defo be coming back, ’tis a nice site!

    Reply
  5. Hi I have just started my house sitting buisness. I am fully insured and charge £40 per night. I will see how it goes.

    Reply
    1. Hi there,
      Not to discourage you but I have been house sitting for around 2 years for free and it is actually the other way around as most house owners even ask house sitters to contribute towards utility bills. Even though house sitters save owners a great deal of money in pet care. So my point is good luck finding any home owners who would pay you £40 a day when they can have hundreds of house sitters who do it for free. I’m sorry, I do not mean to give you bad news. I truly hope it works for you.

      Reply
  6. i am hard working and trust worthy and reliable.it always been my desired to work as housesitter.i will work hard to take good care in your house and pets whlist you are away.so that you can put your mind at rest.thanks

    Reply
  7. Thanks Jasmine, great info here. I’ve never considered house sitting as a way of making money but have recently been mulling over doing it as a way to bag a free holiday – which I wrote about here. //wp.me/p2rfwK-i2
    With the euro still strong against the pound and everyone feeling the pinch, house sitting might be a great way to snag a cheap holiday this summer. Looking forward to checking out the sites you mention here re house sitting as employment too.

    Reply
  8. Hi Dominick

    Have a look at trustedhousesitters.com – they have a whole selection of House Sitting opportunities in London. You need to sign up and then you get email alerts of all new properties

    Thomas

    Reply
  9. Hi,
    I would like details on house minding / sitting in SE London, I am a professional person and certainly have no blemishes to character either, criminal or financial, indeed I can say that I never have had a parking ticket. I would like to discuss a longer term house minding relationship, but at this juncture, I must mention that I would be out for 6 to 9 hours during the working day, Mon to Fri.
    I work as a Senior Project Manager in Construction, and am directly employed for a London Company, also if maintenance or building works need to be carried whilst sitting, in the owner’s absence, I would be happy to supervise. I have a Diploma in construction from Oldham University, which is available for inspection.
    Your feedback would be appreciated.

    Regards
    Dominick Lavin

    Reply

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