What is a housesitting job and how can you find them?
Updated 20 June 2023
Housesitting can be a good way to earn money without a lot of experience or qualifications. Housesitters stay in people's houses while they're away and look after the home and any pets in the house. As a housesitter, you can earn money while also spending time in new places and exploring new cities and cultures. In this article, we explore what being a housesitter entails, explain how to find a housesitting job and list what skills you use as a housesitter.
What is a housesitting job?
A housesitting job involves looking after someone else's house while they're away. Usually, this means that you live in their house for a period of days, weeks or months. Your client might compensate you with free accommodation or both money and free accommodation. Housesitting can be a cost-effective way to travel the world and see new places without paying for your accommodation, and you can potentially earn a small income while you do it. As a housesitter, some of the most common tasks you might carry out include:
basic housekeeping tasks, such as tidying and cleaning
feeding and looking after pets, including cats and dogs
watering the plants
bringing in mail
If you find a job near where you live, you may be able to carry out your duties by visiting a couple of times a day to water plants, feed pets and collect the post. Some clients may prefer to find a housesitter who stays in the house, either to keep pets company or provide extra security when they're away from home for a long time.
Paid vs. unpaid housesitting
When you look for housesitting roles, ask your client whether they pay for the job. Many people offer housesitting positions in exchange for free, temporary accommodation. If your main reason for wanting to house-sit is travelling, you might accept some unpaid housesitting roles if you like the area and the house that you're going to stay in.
If you're looking for a job housesitting so that you can earn a small income, filter for paid housesitting positions. How much you can charge as a housesitter depends on lots of factors, including whether you're looking after pets and how much work the housesitting role involves.
How to find housesitting roles
Many people house-sit because it doesn't require experience or qualifications. You can increase your chances of securing a housesitting role with experience, so you can ask friends and neighbours to help you with this. Follow the steps below to secure housesitting roles:
1. Gain experience
Before you begin your housesitting career, gain a little experience in housesitting, pet sitting and other similar jobs. You can do this by offering your services to friends, relatives and neighbours for free in exchange for experience and references. If one of your neighbours has pets, you could tell them you're thinking of becoming a housesitter and offer to look after their pets next time they're away to build up your experience.
2. Get a background check
Granting someone access to your home while you're away requires a lot of trust. When you start offering your housesitting services to people who don't know you, some of them may want to see a background check that shows that you have a clean criminal record. Paying for a background check every 6 months is an easy way to offer your clients peace of mind and increase your chances of securing your first housesitting opportunity.
3. Create an online profile or website
If you're looking to work as a housesitter outside of your immediate area, you're likely to use online services. You can create your own housesitting website to increase your credibility and detail your past experience. You can also sign up to housesitting websites that allow you to create a housesitter profile and browse roles in different locations. Your profile is the first thing most people see when they consider you for their housesitting positions, so spend the time to ensure it represents you well.
4. Search for suitable opportunities
Once your profile is live, you can start searching through the websites you signed up to for suitable housesitting positions. Think carefully about what you're looking for in a job and make sure that the location you stay in offers the opportunities and amenities that you require. Consider how important making an income is, which locations you want to stay in and for how long you're willing to commit to housesitting.
5. Introduce yourself
When you find a housesitting role that you want to do, send a message to the poster introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the position. Tell them a bit about yourself and your previous experience in housesitting and make reference to aspects of the job they have mentioned in their advert. For example, if they have cats or dogs, express your love of animals and talk a little about previous experience you have looking after cats or dogs. Housesitting is a personal role, so it's a good idea to focus on things you have in common with clients.
Related: How to write an introductory email
6. Prepare for an interview
Before you secure a housesitting role, expect an interview. Even if your client doesn't ask for one, it's a good idea to suggest one. This allows your client to decide if you're right for the role and allows you to decide if it's right for you. Ask questions to make sure you know what to expect, such as what the internet provision is like, where the nearest shops and restaurants are and what transport is like in the area. You may also provide your client with references at this point.
Related: How to Prepare for an Interview
The benefits of housesitting
There are lots of reasons why people want to housesit. Housesitting offers mutual benefits for the client and the housesitter even in the case of unpaid housesitting positions. Some of the reasons why you might consider housesitting include:
Earn money: If you choose to take on paid opportunities, you can make money for looking after someone's house. In most cases, the payment you receive for housesitting equates to a generous hourly rate of pay.
Free accommodation: If you're keen to travel and see new areas, housesitting can be a cost-effective way to do it because you can stay in new cities at little cost.
Included extras: Some roles might include extras, such as bills and other essentials. Housesitting can also help you to keep your costs down because you can cook meals in the kitchen rather than relying on eating out every day.
Experience other cultures: If you want to experience what it's like to live in different countries as a resident, housesitting can offer you a more authentic experience than staying in hotels and hostels with other travellers.
Essential housesitting skills
To be a successful housesitter, ensure that you can demonstrate your reliability and trustworthiness to clients and quickly adapt to living in a new place. You can develop your skills in advance of your first housesitting role to make sure you're ready for the responsibility. This means they're more likely to give you a great reference after. Below are some of the most important skills for housesitters:
As a housesitter, clients rely on you to look after their homes, feed their pets and be present during their time away. Good organisation is key to being a successful housesitter, as it helps to be confident in your ability to manage your time and keep on top of tasks. If you're punctual, your clients know they can rely on you to be there on the agreed date.
Successful housesitters are good communicators. This means being able to communicate effectively with your clients before they leave so that you know exactly what your client expects of you and when they want you to arrive. It also means you're adept at contacting your clients while they're away and sending them regular updates and photos. Good communication skills are useful if any problems arise while your client is away, as talking to them calmly can help to smoothly resolve issues.
Housesitting isn't always straightforward and there may be times when things don't go to plan. Successful housesitters are able to adapt to changing situations. This could mean being open to the possibility of staying for longer than initially agreed if your client's plans change or being willing to take on additional tasks, such as watering the plants if requested.
As a housesitter, your client gives you access to their home and their belongings. It's essential that you're trustworthy and that your client can rely on you to look after their property. Developing a mature attitude to your work and practising being honest if, for example, damage does occur during a housesitting role can help you to build trust between yourself and your clients.
Explore more articles
- 8 apprenticeships for adults with no qualifications
- How to become a robotics engineer (Duties, skills and salary)
- What does a bookkeeper do? (Duties, careers and salaries)
- How to become an RAF pilot (with definition and steps)
- 11 GCSE jobs to consider (With salaries and duties)
- What is a QA manager? (With salary and responsibilities)
- How To Become a Social Media Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Become an Education Researcher in Five Simple Steps
- What does an event assistant do? (With skills and duties)
- Top 9 low-stress high-paying jobs and their average salaries
- What are the highest-paying manual labour jobs? (With skills)
- What is an HR support apprenticeship? (And how to get one)