There is no catch. We (usually) housesit for FREE.
When we are traveling we don’t charge for housesitting. Why not? Because housesitting at its best is a barter agreement and a fair exchange of services.
When we housesit we agree to provide care, labor, attentiveness, trust, service and peace of mind to homeowners for the care of their home, garden, and pets or animals. Homeowners provide us with a clean, safe, secure place to sleep and rest in their home, and oftentimes also provide us with use of transportation.
But is it really FREE? You may be surprised to learn that housesitting is not really free to us, the housesitter.
Housesitters incur expenses to get to a housesit and fund their own expenses once the arrive. Our cost to complete a typical 2-week housesitting assignment is around $1,000.
Cost to a homeowner, if there is any at all, will be far less. A homeowner can expect to pay the usual home and pet expenses while housesitters stay in your home, and they should not be more than typical.
Even though our out-of-pocket expense will be higher, we still feel housesitting is a good bargain for us. With our service exchange we receive a comfortable home stay and offset hotel expenses.
Compensation comes in other ways too; the satisfaction we feel knowing pets are happy when separated from family, and the 5-star review we hope to earn to help us secure our next housesitting experience is enough.
Housesitting works best when two mutually caring parties freely agree help each other. This is so much better than a fee-for-hire transaction, don’t you agree?
Homeowners expect to pay for the following while a housesitter is in residence:
- Utilities—electricity, propane or natural gas, water, sewer, trash collection
- Services—routine services you alaready use for lawn, cleaning, pool maintenance, etc.
- Insurance—home and vehicle insurance premiums
- Connectivity—WiFi and Cable TV or other streaming services
- Pet Care—Medical care, medication, food, grooming, bedding
Housesitters expect to pay for the following while completing an assignment:
- Food—housesitters purchase their own food and if permitted to use any left in the home, they replace it when the sit is over.
- Transportation—cost to travel to a housesitting assignment, plus the cost for fuel or public transportation while on a housesit
- Care expenses—medical insurance and cost or other personal care is paid for by the housesitter
- Personal expenses—any and all other
Caveat: When Housesitting is NOT free
Housesitting is not offered for free under certain circumstances. Some examples we’ve seen include:
When the homeowner is running a business and asks a housesitter to perform services related to that business should be compensated accordingly. This commonly includes accommodations for AirBnB or a guest house. Other situations we’ve seen involve farming activities, support for a home-based service business, or caretaking for a family member. All work related to running a profitable business do not qualify as free housesitter services and should be compensated at a fair rate if the housesitter agrees to the work.
We occasionally provide overnight pet care on our own premesis. We ask for a fair daily rate of compensation when we do.
Sometimes we’ve been asked to housesit in locations where we would not otherwise choose to housesit. Because this is done outside the scope of our travel plans, we may ask for compensation for travel expense and a daily rate.
We are easing into retirement by living life off the chain. Follow our live experiment as we try new travel hacks & ideas to explore the world on less than it costs to stay at home watching TV.
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