Become A House Sitter – Get Paid For House Sitting

House sitting can be a great way to earn pocket money. Some full time house sitters save money, but not keeping their own full time base.

You’re not going to get rich house house sitting – it’s a great way to supplement your income if you find paid work and experience a different lifestyle. For obvious reasons it doesn’t suit everyone. The pay is more ‘pocket money’ and you obviously have to live away from home. Don’t confuse it with a home swap. Even being an unpaid house sitter comes with obligations.

What’s involved?

For many it boils down to the lifestyle choices, but you can can earn up to around £140-£200 a week looking after people’s properties and their pets but this includes an allowance for food which you will eat into..if you pardon the pun! Some work is completely unpaid. House sitting is of course related to pet sitting but house sitters always live in the property they are looking after rather than just being required to ‘pop in’.

House sitting is an arrangement that works well for both parties. Homeowners know that they have a burglar deterrent, and house sitters get to stay somewhere new and may be paid pocket money for the privilege. In fact a new generation of house sitters use their house sitting experiences to basically holiday on the cheap or develop a global lifestyle with low overheads.

Of course you don’t have free reign exactly because you’ll be given some tasks to do but these typically only take 2-3 hours a day. In fact people who like the lifestyle do it full time. They live well with little money and living with no or little money is a growing trend.

For homeowners, house sitters are particularly helpful if their home is going to be empty for more than 3 weeks. This is generally the period where insurance premiums can go up if a property is left unoccupied.

House sitting comes in different flavours

Part of the house sitting community believes the ‘spirit’ of house sitting is such that it should be a free service – so the work is largely unpaid. Other homeowners prefer to pay for a house sitter, knowing that the sitter has been professionally vetted and that they have some clout with the agency if anything goes wrong! This makes sense to us.

There are long and short term contracts available but many house sitting jobs are for longer periods than you’d use a pet sitter.

Creature comforts

House sitters typically get their work through agencies or websites (listed below) as this cuts the risk down for both parties. House sitting duties generally aren’t difficult. Often just being there is enough but you could be asked to care for pets and plats, be there to collect post and meet tradesmen and be a day-to-day presence at the owner’s house. Otherwise, your time is your own.

What’s the attraction?

There is no doubt that some house sitting gigs are very glamorous – especially if you’re working overseas. House sitting appeals to people wanting to get away for a holiday or are away for work and can save money and disruption on putting pets into kennels and catteries. And there’s always the worry of squatters or burglars. House sitters get to live on the cheap. Some house sitters even manage to run a business while working because they have time on their hands and can keep their overheads low.

Lynne is typical of the ‘non jet set’ homeowners using house sitters. She is retired, lives in Glasgow and is away sailing or travelling for extended periods. After a break-in she now organises house sitters when she is away for more than seven days. She has no pets, but now feels a house sitter makes her cottage secure.

Who can house sit?

You need to be able to work away from home for weeks and sometimes months. Some house sitting companies have mostly retired people on their books, but the growth area is younger people seeking to reduce living costs. Some agencies prefer to use people who live close to the clients. Other agencies send people all over the world!

Terms vary greatly. Some agencies charging the clients an up- front fee to do checks on the house sitter and house sitters can pay fees to be able to find work through a site. Basically you are better off signing some form of contract and it’s also better for you if your client has the correct insurance cover in place and you take out your own cover. After all a stranger will be staying in their home. Good references and the lack of a criminal record are essential. ‘Free to use’ websites are booming where you’re left to negotiate your own terms.

What if you can’t work away from home? Some homeowners don’t require a live in sitter. There is sometimes a requirement for someone just to pop into a house to draw the curtains or feed a cat. Simple house minding isn’t as well paid as being a non-live in pet sitter as you’re not expected to spend any amount of time in the property. However it’s only fair to point out that ‘house minding’ is a chore that home based pet sitters take on.

See the world or your own backyard

It’s been reported that there’s been a rise in house sitter requirements around the time of the Olympics in London. So if you want to see the world or a special event see if you can tie it up with a house sitting gig. There are websites and agencies specialising in UK and international work. To find local work your best bet is to look in offline directories and the telephone book.

Looking after pets

A word of warning here. Many house sitting gigs have pets as part of the assignment. It’s likely you will have to feed cats or take a dog for a walk so you do don’t have complete freedom to be out of the house 20 hours a day. Which after all is the point. You will also be expected to keep your wits about you in case a pet needs taken to the vet. When owners get home, pets always show how well they have been looked after! Paradoxically a live in pet sitter will generally be paid more than a house sitter and in most cases will have been found by an agency.


Most house sitters are self-employed although some agencies take on people as employees per assignment. If house sitting is your main source of income you’re going to have to register as self employed.

Benefits of using an agency

You’ll probably get a better quality of client if you use an agency and you’ll get paid work. It’s also easier to get your bearings in terms of where you stand with your client. Agencies usually use checklists (much like pet sitting agencies). An agency is also useful to help you find clients in your preferred location or who can use your skills and provide backup if things go wrong. Many websites are simply ‘meeting points’ for clients and sitters where neither party has been vetted.

Insurance for house sitters

It’s recommended you get yourself covered by public liability insurance although if you’re employed by an agency their policy should cover you. Public liability covers you if you get sued!Although the prospect of your client taking legal action against you may be remote who would risk it?