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Can you make money house sitting? Yes, you absolutely can! It’s an increasingly popular way for people who spend long periods of time away to manage their households.
If you’re lucky enough to secure a long-term house-sitting contract, you could use that money to pay your rent and bills, and if you work from home or are thinking of working from home, then this provides a particularly lucrative way of combining the two – work from home while you’re 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 read our article on pet sitting.
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. 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 Trustedhousesitters.
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.
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 Trustedhousesitters, 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. 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.
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.
Not all house-sitting companies pay, but there are still advantages.
Trustedhousesitters 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.
If 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. 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. 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.
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:
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.
House 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. You’re unlikely to be able to invite other people to the client’s home.
However, if agreed in advance, your partner may be able to accompany you whilst housesitting!
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.
Don’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 have some fun.
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. Make sure this is clearly stated in the checklist/contract before you start.
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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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I’ve had over ten years of house / dog sitting experience
Informative and gives good outline of housesitting scenario
If you are perceived to be offering a security service be careful you do not fall foul of the SIA licensing laws; you may need an SIA Security license.
Thanks Rod. Home owners using a sitting or house swap service will be notified through the Ts and Cs of the site that the people who are registered sitters are vetted but not official security personnel. If someone wants a formal security officer on their property, they would use a security service rather than a house sitting one.
My husband and I are retired farmers in our sixties and are happy to house-sit all sorts of animals as well as look after the house and maintain it. We would require paayment. Which compny should we sign up with to get the house-sitting which we are looking for? Many thanks, Louise
Great article. Thanks. My wife and I regularly house sit but we do not charge and prefer not to, however we may need to start charging to prove an income for the “business” so that we can claim expenses for membership to house sitting sites etc. Travelling around from house sit to house sit is a cost and the van we use to carry all our equipment. Is there a way to offset time spent house sitting as an income, i.e for the value of the rent that you would be paying if you were living in rented accommodation? Business… Read more »
HI Suzie, how did the business go?
Oh my gosh, I have just finished my first house sitting assignment. It was for a friend and I enjoyed it but, after just three days, I was already saying that I would never do it again unless paid. Such a responsibility. I had a few incidents which made me worried I’d be liable to being sewed. And I’m responsible. I think what Nat said is bang on. The benefit is to get to know an area. If someone asked me to contribute towards bills I would laugh in their face. Also, one of the negatives is that you cant… Read more »