Here’s an idea that’s a bit unusual since it won’t necessarily earn you money, but rather save you money when you travel. It involves taking care of properties (house, apartment…) while enjoying free accommodation, and perhaps, as we’ll see, being paid to carry out various tasks. This article will give you a better understanding of the concept, help you find opportunities, and also give you some tips on how to apply it properly.
- Here's the program
- What is house sitting?
- Is it possible to earn money by home sitting?
- What are the prerequisites for being a good home sitter?
- How can you find good home sitting deals?
- Tips and tricks for success as a house sitter
- Pros and Cons
- Information recap
What is house sitting?
House sitting, aka home sitting, is the concept of having someone look after your home (or apartment) while you’re away, so you don’t have to leave it empty. The reasons for this absence can be as varied as a vacation, a business trip, a hospital stay or even a prolonged absence.
The home sitter, the person entrusted with this task, is a trusted individual who occupies the house free of charge for a given period. Their role goes far beyond mere physical presence and can vary from case to case. He or she is generally asked to look after the home’s security and upkeep, as well as any pets.
In exchange for these services, house sitters can enjoy free accommodation for the duration of their stay, but homeowners also benefit as they avoid the costs associated with renting a vacation home (applicable in some countries) or boarding pets. What’s more, it offers peace of mind in the knowledge that the home is secure and in good hands while they’re away.
Is it possible to earn money by home sitting?
In most cases, house sitting is based on a mutually beneficial exchange of services. Homeowners entrust the care of their homes to home sitters, who take charge of their upkeep and security. If you wish to generate income through home sitting, it will often be necessary to offer additional services. These services can include a variety of specific tasks.
- Garden maintenance: If you have gardening skills, offer to keep the garden in good condition during your stay. This could include mowing the lawn, watering plants, and pruning shrubs.
- Deep cleaning: Offer a deep cleaning service (cleaning windows, tidying the garage, waxing the parquet floor…). This could be a much-appreciated bonus.
- Pet services: If you have experience with animals, offer walking, grooming, or pet care services.
- Small repairs: If you have DIY skills, offer to repair small household problems, such as leaky taps or shelves that need adjusting.
- Major work: If you have a broader range of skills in home renovation, you can offer to repaint walls, insulate roofs, repair or replace gutters, and so on.
- Secretarial services: Become personal assistant and offer to take care of restaurant reservations, guided tours or other local services to make the owners’ commute even easier and more enjoyable.
- Childcare: If you have experience in childcare, offer your services to look after the owners’ children while they’re away. Even if, in this case, they’re more likely to be looking for a babysitter.
- Take care of the car: If they’re leaving their car at home, offer to wash it, carry out maintenance if you have the necessary skills, coordinate and supervise visits to the mechanic if repairs are needed, etc.
Some of these tasks may already be part of your contract with the owner of the property, so it’s up to you to find the extra services that will allow you to earn money in addition to enjoying free accommodation. If not, you can always find other ideas to apply, such as those proposed on Sweekr, during your stay on site.
What are the prerequisites for being a good home sitter?
As I said, being a house sitter is about much more than simply occupying a space. To succeed in this role, it’s essential to possess certain key qualities and skills. First of all, excellent communication skills are essential. You’ll be in direct contact with the owners, and the ability to communicate effectively, whether to discuss details before your stay or to inform them of the latest updates while they’re away, is crucial to establishing a harmonious and relaxed relationship.
Flexibility is another important characteristic. Situations can change rapidly, whether in terms of schedules, tasks to be carried out or even unforeseen circumstances. Being able to adapt quickly and manage these changes calmly and effectively is a valuable asset. What’s more, having problem-solving skills can help you cope with a variety of situations, from dealing with minor technical concerns around the house to making the right decisions in an emergency.
And if you’re thinking of doing this outside your linguistic border, you’ll also need to know several languages. English is of course the language you’d best master first, especially if you like to travel, but you might want to consider learning still others (Spanish, French, etc.), depending on the places you want to visit.
Finally, you may be entrusted with the care of a dog, cat, or any other type of pet, and in this case, it’s best to have some knowledge of how best to look after them.
How can you find good home sitting deals?
Home sitting has been around for a long time, but it’s become much more popular in recent years, particularly with the advent of the internet, which has made it much quicker and easier to put house sitters in touch with homeowners looking for trusted solutions to look after their home while they’re away. And so, if you’re interested in this idea, you should know that it’s never been easier to find opportunities. In this chapter, we’re going to explore different ways of finding good deals.
Online platforms: Home sitting platforms have revolutionized the way home owners and sitters connect with each other. Sites such as TrustedHousesitters, MindMyHouse, HouseCarers ou Nomador offer a centralized solution where owners can publish their babysitting needs and interested candidates can apply. These platforms allow you to create a profile, search for opportunities in specific locations, and even read reviews left by previous users.
Note that some platforms operate on a paid subscription model, but this doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll find a hosting opportunity to house-sit. While these subscriptions can offer you privileged access to listings and advanced features, the availability of home sitting offers often depends on many factors such as destination, dates, owner preferences, and competition from other candidates. It’s best to first consider whether the benefits offered by each platform justify paying a membership fee.
Social networking groups: Social networking groups can be a goldmine for finding good deals. Look for local or international groups dedicated to home sitting and join them. You’ll find homeowners looking for house sitters, as well as other home sitters sharing their experiences and opportunities.
Social networks: Let your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues know that you’re interested in home sitting. Sometimes, opportunities are not always public and are passed on by word of mouth.
Associations and organizations: Some associations and organizations dedicated to owners of vacation homes or second homes may offer home sitting opportunities. Check with these groups to see if they have programs or can direct you to interested homeowners.
Shows and events: Real estate shows, travel events, and local expos can be ideal opportunities to meet owners looking for home sitters. Attending these events allows you to make face-to-face contacts, which can build mutual trust.
Tips and tricks for success as a house sitter
To conclude this article, I’d like to offer you a few tips to help you find houses to house-sit more easily, and also to help you manage this activity better.
- It’s better to be alone: A homeowner is more likely to entrust his or her house to a single person. You can also be a couple, but he’s bound to hesitate if you form a group of young friends.
- Create an attractive profile: When applying for house-sitting opportunities, a well-constructed profile can make all the difference. Highlighting your skills, past experience, and personal qualities will convince homeowners that you’re the ideal sitter for their home.
- Establish clear expectations: Before accepting a house-sitting assignment, discuss in detail with the owners their expectations regarding the tasks to be performed, the length of stay, and any pet-related responsibilities. Having clear expectations from the outset avoids misunderstandings later on.
- Keep open communication: Maintain regular communication with owners during their absence. A simple message to update them on the state of the house and pets can boost their confidence in you and help them avoid too much stress.
- Ask the right questions: Ask if the neighborhood is safe and which ones to avoid, if there’s a car at your disposal or public transport, practical info such as the number for veterinary emergencies, how the washing machine works, what day to take out the trash, etc.
- Be resourceful: Avoid “harassing” the owner with too many questions whose answers could easily be found via a simple web search or just by using your logical reasoning.
- Personalize the experience: Take the time to understand the owner’s preferences regarding housekeeping, pet habits, and other specific details.
- Learn from others’ experiences: Read testimonials from experienced house sitters for practical advice and fresh ideas. Their stories can inspire you and offer valuable insights into how to manage different aspects of house-sitting.
- Keep a diary: Keep a diary during your house-sitting stint. Make a note of tasks completed, significant incidents, and even suggestions for improving the habitat. This can be useful for yourself and for the owners when they return.
- Respect the owners’ privacy: Even if you’re living in their home, respect their privacy by avoiding access to overly private spaces or rummaging through their personal belongings. Trust is essential in this relationship.
- Stay prepared for emergencies: Be prepared for emergencies, whether it’s a power failure, water leak, or pet health problems. Having a list of emergency contacts and knowing how to react can be very helpful.
- Be honest and transparent: If problems arise, don’t be afraid to inform the owners. Honesty is the key to resolving problems effectively and avoiding misunderstandings.
- Capture the moment: Take photos of the highlights of your stay, whether it’s a beautiful sunset from the kitchen window or the pet having fun in the garden. Share these photos with the owners, so they can experience these moments through your eyes.
- Offer a small welcome gift: Leave a small welcome note and/or a thoughtful gift for the owners when they return. This will show your gratitude and create a lasting positive impression in their minds.
- Create a mini video diary: Rather than a simple written diary, create a short video diary of your daily activities while babysitting. This can be interesting for owners to watch and a great way to share your experience on your networks.
- Organize a “Happy Homecoming”: As their return approaches, prepare a small, festive welcome home (well, maybe not if it’s just for a weekend). Balloons, fresh flowers, and a warm atmosphere can create a memorable experience. And if you have culinary skills, offer to cook one or more home-cooked meals for the owners to enjoy on their return. You can also offer to run errands so that the fridge is well stocked when they arrive.
- Be flexible with your dates: Arrive a few days early to meet the owners, and plan to stay a little longer than the scheduled date in case they have an unforeseen event and delay their return. A margin of safety is often useful!
Home sitting is an ideal choice for those who aspire to travel without the financial hassle of accommodation. However, this opportunity is not limited to globetrotters. Even if you don’t leave your home country, home sitting can offer you a relaxing and escapist experience in your own region.
But please note that home sitting is first and foremost a source of free accommodation based on an exchange of services and does not systematically guarantee financial remuneration. Homeowners are looking for people they can trust to look after their property, and reciprocity is often the key to this relationship. If you want to make money, you’ll have to be ingenious and offer additional services for a fee.
In any case, I hope this article has shed some light on your understanding of home sitting and its many facets. Have you ever considered becoming a home sitter? Or perhaps you’ve had experience in this field and have an opinion to share? Whatever the case, I’d be delighted to read your comments in the dedicated section at the bottom of this article.
Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.
These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.
House sitting, while offering many benefits, can also have a negative impact on the environment. The frequent travel from one place to another, often necessary to carry out this activity, can contribute to carbon emissions and the ecological footprint. To mitigate these effects, you can opt for more sustainable means of transport, such as public transport (train, bus, etc.) or car-sharing, whenever possible.
You can also reduce your energy consumption by switching off lights and electrical appliances and regulating heating or air conditioning when you’re not at home. Use resources sparingly, avoid food waste and adopt environmentally-friendly habits.
- Free accommodation while you travel
- Discover new places
- Contact with pets
- Responsibility for the property and animals in your care
- Fairly high competition
- No guaranteed remuneration
- Location: Wherever there are homes to look after.
- Investment: The cost of travel to get there.
- Earnings perspective: Nothing, unless you offer an additional service, since home sitting is an exchange of services.
- Required: A strong sense of responsibility, resourcefulness, love of animals and traveling.
- Risk level: elatively low, at worst you’ll have spent a little money on your subscription to a platform.
- Implementation time: Highly variable as it’s impossible to define.
- Material needed: A smartphone.