As with so many questions related to the house sitting industry, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for queries regarding wages. The field is unregulated, with few industry standards in place and relies largely upon the house sitter and property owners’ ability to negotiate a satisfactory agreement on a case-by-case basis.
Typical Arrangements – The majority of house sitting positions are unpaid, unless there are extenuating circumstances that would warrant a sitter being paid in addition to the privilege of living rent-free in the home. Property owners with several pets, especially dogs that will require extensive walking, may offer a nominal fee on a par with what they’d pay to board or kennel those pets for the duration of their trip, as well as providing a stipend for pet-related expenses such as food, cat litter or any regular medications. Homes with elaborate landscaping that must be maintained, pools and spas that require monitoring and other specialized work may justify a small salary, but new house sitters should not expect to make a living wage.
Who Pays the Utilities? – Utility bills and usage fees are also covered by the house sitter in many situations, unless otherwise arranged with the property owners before the sitter’s arrival. So many aspects of each individual post are unique and negotiable, that it’s best for prospective house sitters to approach every job with an open mind and a willingness to work with the owners of the property. Some engagements can be very lucrative, as wealthy homeowners can be willing and able to pay a significant fee to a house sitter, simply to ensure their own peace of mind during a long absence. Others may be an outright swap, with house sitters caring for the home and property in exchange for free rent, with utility costs and other expenses falling to the sitter for the duration of their stay. Before accepting an arrangement with owners of a very large property, be sure that you will be able to afford the energy bills, as they are likely to be much higher than you’re accustomed to if you’ve never lived in a sprawling home.
Professional House Sitters – The exception to this case-by-case basis, everything-is-negotiable system is the licensed and bonded house sitter, especially those that work solely with high-end house sitting agencies. These house sitters can, and do, command quite high salaries for their work. In order to secure these lucrative assignments, however, house sitters must have impeccable references and a reputation for providing exemplary service. Most also have certifications or working experience in related fields, such as pet care, gardening and landscaping and light construction or handyman abilities. Securing these rare posts can be quite difficult, but can help you establish relationships with homeowners that prove to be very valuable and lead to repeat engagements, recommendations and long-term arrangements.
In closing, there are no hard-and-fast rules for financial compensation in the house sitting industry; it’s essential for new house sitters to be flexible in their demands but also have the ability to negotiate confidently with property owners in order to ensure that any agreements reached are suitable to all involved parties.