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Be A House Sitter: How You Can Get House Sitting Jobs For Extra Cash

Updated on August 26, 2011

What Do House Sitting Jobs Involve?

House sitting jobs can require a house sitter to do any number of things for their clients but the main duty of a house sitter is to watch empty homes to minimize burglary or damage. This can include just driving by the house at specified times to make sure nothing is amiss, pick up mail and newspapers, put out garbage cans or bring them back up to the house, or actually stay in the home while the owners are away.

As part of a house sitting job, a house sitter could also offer to water house plants, feed fish and pets, administer medications to pets if needed and if qualified to do so, check messages, and do some light house cleaning.


House Sitting Jobs: What It TakesTo Get Started

House sitting jobs don't require a lot of skill. However, a house sitter needs to be honest and trustworthy in order to get repeat business. Most of your jobs will come from word-of-mouth, so it's critical that a house sitter make a good impression and go above and beyond what is required of them.

Collecting information in a notebook will be useful in the business. This can include your clienteles' emergency numbers, location of hidden keys, special instructions such as pets' medications and garbage collection days, passwords for security systems and garages, as well as numbers for potential clients.

You may also want to keep a safety kit with you that includes flashlights, light tools, notepads and pens, and anything else you may need when you check on a house.

How To Find House Sitting Jobs

In most cases, your house sitting jobs will be from homeowners and renters who are going to be out of town for more than a couple of days. You may want to start looking for clients in neighborhoods that have more expensive homes. However, these homeowners will be looking for someone they can trust and if they don't know you, it will be harder to get them as a client. It's best to let all your friends and family know about your new business venture. Since you will be getting most of your business via word-of-mouth, they can vouch for you when someone inquires about your honesty and trustworthiness.

You could also decide to specialize. For instance, maybe your specialty could be watching vacant homes that are for sale or lease through a local real estate company. I think everyone knows of at least one real estate agent they can call to tell them about their business! You could also contact bankers who may have repossessed homes that are vacant and in need of watching.

How Much Do House Sitting Jobs Pay?

The hourly rate for house sitting jobs usually ranges between $20-$30. It all depends on what exactly you will be doing. If you are feeding and playing with pets and watering house plants, or are you just collecting mail and newspapers.

You may also consider starting out at a lower hourly rate just to build your clientele and get references. In this case, you might want to offer a $10 per hour discount for first time clients only (or something of this nature)--just to get the ball rolling. You can also offer a weekly package if it only requires a couple of hours of your time. For instance, you could offer a $40-$60 per week price. If you watch five or six houses at a time, and are consistent with this number, you could realistically make between $800-$1,200 a month, however, this would all depend on your services and marketing efforts.

Speaking of marketing, I believe once you get established, your marketing efforts will be minimal. Again, most of your marketing will be from word-of-mouth. Expenses are low, especially if you are watching houses close to home. In this case, gas will be minimal, as well as overhead costs that will probably run between 10 to 20 percent (business cards, brochures, phone expenses, stationary, etc.).


The Business Of House-Sitting

How Can You Get Started With House Sitting Jobs?

I'm confident that there are plenty of customers nearby your home that are just waiting for an honest, trustworthy person like you to come along and help them out while they are away.

Here are the steps you should take:

  • Develop your product. What services will you offer?
  • Develop your pricing.
  • Produce a flier and business cards (visit www.vistaprint.com for this)
  • Get the word out. Tell your family & friends what you will be doing.

There's a story about a very smart house sitter that took her flier to her local police department and posted it on their bulletin board. If anyone called the police to let them know they were going away, they were told about a house-sitting service and given a number. Even though the caller may not have known the house sitter, the recommendation was coming from a police officer which gave the house sitter credibility. The house sitter benefited, the police benefited by having the help, and the homeowner benefited. It was a win-win-win situation all the way around!



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      John 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for writing about rent-free living as a housesitter. I have tried all the housesitting websites and have found www.caretaker.org to be the best for housesitting assignments. I recently started using www.caretaker.org and have found two housesitting opportunities there so far.

      John

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