House Sitters America

House sitting & pet sitting exclusively for the US

The benefits of free house sitting vs paid house sitting

Feature photo: The benefits of free house sitting vs paid house sitting

House sitters in the USA have many different motivations behind why they choose to become house and pet sitters.

Some will be looking to save on accommodation costs while traveling to other states or abroad. Others may enjoy local staycations to see different neighborhoods in their area, while enjoying the company of pets. Some house sitters may be motivated by the opportunity to earn extra income as a “side hustle”.

Fortunately, House Sitters America caters to the many reasons why members join our community. We feature opportunities for both free and paid house sitting. By default, sitter profiles are set to “free” for their house sitting services. However, you can choose to specify a daily or weekly charge if paid house sitting is your preferred option.

There are pros and cons to offering free vs. paid house sitting, so it’s worth considering what’s right for you.

Free House Sitting

Why might home owners be looking for free house sitters?

  • They may understand that house sitters may enjoy their home as free accommodation while sitters are on vacation or needing a place to stay.
  • They may be using free house sitters to avoid costs of kennels or catteries for pets.
  • They may prefer free rather than paid sitters to reduce additional expenses while away, as they are still incurring housing costs such as mortgage, rent and utilities.
  • They may be comfortable with using new house sitters or those with fewer reviews in exchange for offering their homes for free.
  • They may value that House Sitters America offers completely free options for home owners in their memberships, ad placements and house sitting service.
  • They may be providing an attractive house sit option, such as in a popular area or a long duration, so could get many applicants without the need to offer pay as incentive.
exterior of house with porch and chimney

Why you might choose to house sit for free?

  • If your main motivation is to get free accommodation, you could prefer to list your house sitting services as unpaid too. If you are not having to pay for accommodation while on vacation or as an alternative housing arrangement, this can be a cost significant saving to you. Our sitters usually find that one short stay is enough to cover the house sitter membership fee.
  • Offering house sitting for free can make your profile more attractive to home owners, which can increase the chance of securing house sits. This can be especially useful if you are new to house sitting or want to increase the number of reviews on your profile.
  • You may prefer free if you are simply happy to house sit as a community service to homeowners, enjoy the company of pets, or like experiencing different homes and locations.
  • Free is also better if you don’t want the hassle of figuring out how much to charge, getting payments or navigating taxes on that income – especially if you are not a national resident.                        

Things to consider when house sitting or pet sitting for free

  • House sitting profiles on House Sitters America default to being listed as free, so there’s no more to do here!
  • Home owners can easily filter searches by “free” options.
  • House sitting for free can create a sense of good will and you might even find that homeowners are more likely to provide you with food or gifts if they aren’t paying.
  • Make sure you weigh up your own costs and aren’t too much out of pocket if you choose free house sitting.
house sitter holding saved money in front of their face

Paid House Sitting

Why might home owners be looking for paid house sitters?

  • They may have a less attractive house sit opportunity, such as in a less popular location, a short duration or otherwise inconvenient option. Being willing to pay can increase the likelihood they will find a willing house sitter.
  • There may be higher maintenance required for their house sit. For example, they may have a large garden or home to care for, extra duties required, or challenging pets who need special care.
  • They may prefer nearby house sitters who know the area, though this means the sitters likely live nearby and the accommodation benefit may not be as appealing. Payment could be offered for a drop-in service or for the inconvenience of staying overnight.
  • They may prefer to support local house and pet sitters who have their own businesses, so money stays in their neighborhood economy. Business owners may also have extensive pet sitting experience, insurance and offer other services, so that home owners would be willing to pay top dollar for this premium care.
  • They may have already budgeted to pay for a kennel or cattery, but prefer to pay a sitter instead to look after their pets in their usual home environment.
  • They may feel that a payment changing hands can increase the level of professionalism expected and deliver a higher level of service during the house sit (rightly or wrongly!).
house sitter maintaining garden with a whipper snipper

Why you might choose to charge for house sitting?

  • You may prefer to charge a fee if you want to use house sitting to earn a small extra income.
  • You may prefer paid house sits in order to cover costs of any inconvenience or when taking on less popular house sits or high maintenance pets.
  • If you already have a lot of experience or reviews and find yourself “in demand”, you may set a paid rate to help screen potential sit offers.
  • You might already be running our own pet sitting business and want to attract more clients by offering house sitting as well. Being able to care for a client’s pets as well as their home security can extend your reach to more possible customers.

Things to consider when offering paid house sitting or pet sitting

  • You will need to decide and agree with home owners how you will charge for payments, such as requesting in full upfront or collecting a deposit. You also need to work out how best to receive payments (eg. Paypal, bank account, or cash).
  • You need to decide how much to charge and any flexibility you have with rates, such as discounting for long stays or offering cheaper rates if you are keen on a particular sit.
  • It may be more likely that for paid house sits, home owners will insist on signing a house sitting agreement. Make sure to have one ready, such as using the template found on our website.
  • It is important to clarify with the homeowner what your fee covers (or doesn’t) when booking in the house sit.
  • There may be greater expectation that you will have insurance in place for your house sitting and pet sitting.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to each type of house sitting – with slightly different dynamics between house sitter and homeowner for each.

We hope this gives a good overview to help you decide the best path for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact Us page.

This is my favourite house sitting site and I really like what you do. Smiles all round :) Steph

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