07 Jul How to Find Pet-Sitting and House-Sitting Gigs
Last month, our fellow Intentional Travelers, Dorene and Troy, shared their experience pet-sitting abroad. This week we are taking a closer look at how to find pet-sitting and house-sitting gigs.
House-sitting as an ingredient to travel
House-sitting and pet-sitting have been key ingredients in our unconventional, digital nomad life so far. (Actually, we’re pet-sitting right now, as I write this!) It has allowed us to live rent-free, thus eliminating the pressure to make a ton of money as we grow our online businesses from scratch. We have primarily done house-sitting domestically, using our personal networks to fill our stays in Oregon with free and/or paid living arrangements.
House-sitting is also one of the most affordable ways to experience local life abroad, eliminating your accommodation costs as you travel.
To find house-sits outside of our personal network, we use House Carers and Mind My House (the other big name is Trusted House Sitters). With any of these, you can browse the house-sit opportunities around the world without being a member, but you’ll need to pay a membership fee in order to actually contact a home owner.
I tend to prefer House Carers because it will automatically send me notifications when a new opportunity posts in the regions and date range that I’m interested in. This is especially helpful because the most popular postings get a lot of responses, so it pays to be early to the game. (P.S. Because we like House Carers, we signed up for their affiliate program. If you click through our link and sign up for a membership, we’ll get a small affiliate commission at not additional cost to you.)
Tips for House-sitting sites:
- You can search opportunities by region and start date.
- You’ll want to check the new listings frequently so you can contact the home owner before they select a sitter. Some of the house-sit opportunities can be competitive, so you can’t be lazy if you want to spend a free week living on the beach of Mexico in November!
- Always fill out your online profile completely and have contact info for a couple good references to share whenever you contact a home owner.
- Don’t expect to get paid for gigs on these sites. In some cases, homeowners may even ask you to cover utilities costs if it’s a long-term stay or in a desirable rental area.
How to Use Your Personal Network to Find House-sits
We’ve had the most success finding house-sits through our own personal networks. We built a house-sit page on our personal blog, which includes our dates of availability and rates.
Pet-Sit Rates: We set rates based on a sliding scale of how much work is involved. One easy cat may be no charge (especially if it’s in a convenient location for us); while a dog who needs walks at specific times and takes prescription meds might be $45 per night. An active dog or two and a couple cats can be up to $80 per night. We aim to be more cost-effective than the cost of “kenneling” each pet, meanwhile we provide additional benefits to the home-owner like:
- having someone reliable in the house in case something happens
- being able to leave pets in a familiar environment
- not having to cancel mail or newspaper delivery
- bringing in packages that get delivered
- watering plants or doing other yard work
Our best tip for getting gigs is to shout it from the roof tops! In other words: we e-mail everyone we know several times throughout the year, and we remind people on facebook that we’re looking for house or pet-sitting opportunities. We get a lot of inquiries from friends of friends who heard about us through the grapevine. Not every opportunity works out – it has to be a mutually beneficial exchange. But we’ve been able to fill many of the gaps between our big trips. And we have a couple back-up options where we can stay with family members when we’re not house-sitting.
If you have a home of your own, you’re also eligible for a house swap. The most well-known online network is Home Exchange which has a $150 annual fee for membership. It essentially allows you to list your home, view homes in other destinations around the world, message home-owners, and arrange an “exchange agreement” to stay in each other’s homes.
We don’t have a home to swap, but if we did, we’d give it a shot. (Note: You can sometimes find offers for home exchange on Craigslist, too, but if you go that route, you no longer have the safety measures like member verification, reviews, and the secure messaging system that Home Exchange provides.)
If you have any questions about house-sitting or pet-sitting, please let us know in the comments below or through our contact page!
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