House Sitting Websites: Free vs. Paid

15 Sep, 2021

House Sitting Websites: Free vs. Paid

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If you find the use of either paid for housesitting or free house sitting websites a fab addition to your holiday planning, read on. It is likely you take holidays, and perhaps have pets and maybe you even have a second home.

But what is the difference and where does a paid for platform benefit you over a free housesitting platform?

Which to choose: Free house sitting website or a free house sitter?

free housesitting websites
Pets need care when we travel away from home, and you want the best care possible

Which are the best house sitting websites?

Free house sitting websites vs paid for websites

Whether you choose one of the free house sitting websites or a paid version you will likely find trusted house sitters. They will care for your property and pets while you are away. This is indeed a growing trend.

And perhaps you even find free trusted house sitters, who will exchange their time and pet care for rent free living. This too is a great way to collaborate.

Which is best?

Consider the free house sitting websites and apps you use – are they really free? Or do you become the product?  If so, how can they run effectively? Are these websites run professionally?

There are many questions to ask before you sign up to a free or paid housesitting website. Read on to learn more to make up your own mind.

For international housesitting

If you are considering doing international house sitting and pet sitting then you need to plan for free housesitting. The reason being you can housesit as a friend and not incur visa or tax issues overseas.

There are no housesitting visas so you cannot simply apply for casual work as a housesitter. Your housesitting needs to be unpaid and therefore you exchange your services by housesitting like a friend in exchange for free accommodation. It’s a win-win!

Why hire a house or pet sitter?

We all love taking holidays and we also love to keep our homes and pets safe while we are away. Housesitters are an excellent solution.

They pay to travel to your home, they move to take your brief and become your live-in house and pet sitters. It is a trusted housesitting arrangement that tends to work well.

Why will sitters care for your property and pets yet not take payment?

Some housesitting websites propose an exchange of services between the housesitters and pet sitters and their hosts. The homeowner pet owner hosts are happy to welcome the sitters as non paying guests, in exchange for free home and pet care.

By return the housesitters are happy to have a rent free living arrangement and will care for the property and pets in exchange. This is usually what happens in both free housesitting websites and paid for housesitting websites.

Some house and petsitters travel around the world living rent free by caring for pets and property

Photo credit 

What is a house sit?

If you think you need housesitters or homesitters because you are travelling away from home, then think about what that means.

What is a house sit? Generally speaking this is an arrangement between the home owner and the house sitter where the latter looks after the home and pets of the former.

No money exchange during a house sit

It is mutually beneficial arrangement, and usually no money changes hands yet each gains significantly through the housesit.

Benefits of a free dog sitter

One major advantage of having a live in dog sitter is saving on kennel fees. You may have a wonderful boarding kennels near you, however, the good ones can be pricey.

Free housesitters are usually animal lovers and will look after your pets and property as if they were their own. By having a petsitter live in you can also avoid your dog picking up kennel cough and other canine community diseases.

Benefits of a free cat sitter

It’s a similar situation with cats. If you have cats at home and invite a live in cat sitter it will avoid your needing to book your felines into a cat hotel or cattery. Cat sitters are a great cat minding cattery alternative.

What makes a good live in petsitter

When you are ready to find a sitter, it is worth taking time out to think before you begin your search.

First of all consider what is the housesit or petsit requirement that you have at the moment? Are you travelling for a short 1-2 week holiday? Do you have pets that need care in your absence? Is there a garden to look after, with a lawn to mow or plant pots to water?

Then the housesitter will usually be happy to take care of those duties.

House sitting websites offer pet sitting services

If you have pets, then you might need pet sitting services too. When you are looking for a good petsitter you will likely want someone who has experience caring for pets similar to yours. This is fairly straightforward if you need a dogsitter or a cat sitter.

Recherché petsitting

It becomes more challenging when you are looking for bird sitting, exotic bird sitting or even exotic pet sitting! Look for pet minding experience as described in their petsitter profile.

Have they had pets themselves? Have they looked after a variety of pets or do they have a specialty. Here are some top tips before you take on a pet sitter or house sitter.

free housesitting websites
Some people keep very exotic pets

Photo credit

Choosing a house sitting website

Your selection of one or two housesitting websites is important both as homeowner and house sitter. Whether you like a free house sitting website or a paid for site, it is worth taking a moment to consider the benefits and challenges of both.

Paid for house sitting websites

Some people are happy with the house sitter as a free non paying guest in their home. However, they want the security of knowing the sitter has been checked for their safety.

You can always find checked sitters on the paid for house sitting websites. Is that the case for free websites? Read on to find out.

ID and Background checks

Top housesitting websites like HouseSit will check the ID of the sitter before they are allowed to apply for housesits.

In addition most sitters have a background check so criminal record checks have been shared with the site management. This keeps the website, the network and all involved as safe as can be.

Benefits of paid for house sitting websites

  • Sitters are checked for safety before they can apply for sits advertised
  • The checks display on the sitter profiles
  • There is usually a small annual fee which is cheaper than the per visit cost of a professional house and pet sitter
  • The security systems are managed by paid specialists and security is of paramount importance
  • Both parties pay to be members, homeowners and housesitters for equity in the housesitting arrangement

Free house sitting websites

Other people want a real bargain. They don’t want to pay for the housesitting website service either. This is where free house sitter websites burst into the scene.

Is the data being managed?

Yes, while the free house sitting websites seem like a bargain, take some precautionary steps. Your data may be for sale or poorly managed.

Are checking procedures in place?

In addition, the checking procedures may not be present or maintained on the free house sitting websites.

There is a lot to be said for taking time out to vet your housesitters before inviting them into your home.

Do the free house sitting websites and apps show that they have police and background checks already? Have their IDs been checked?

Benefits of free house sitting websites

  • There is usually a small annual fee which is cheaper than the cost of a professional house and pet sitter
  • Homeowners do not pay to be members of these free house sitting websites
  • Housesitters may pay a small annual fee to have access to the housesitting assignment advertisements.

Ascertain a win-win situation for your house sitter

There is an old adage ‘If you’re not paying for it, you are the product’. This is largely true.

Always ask yourself: how is the other party benefiting especially in regards to the house sitter website they’re using? If they appear to get nothing from the arrangement then you maybe the star turn on offer!

How to become a house sitter

Housesitting through Housesit Match is offered as an exchange of services. As a housesitter and petsitter we ask that you join our members network and offer your services for free. In exchange you will benefit from free accommodation. What is more it means that depending on where you want to housesit you can travel anywhere.

How to become a house sitter on Housesit Match

Here at HouseSit Match, we have worked hard to create a safe and trusted space for housesitting. We foster and encourage a collaborative environment between house sitters and home and pet owners across the world. It has been our philosophy since we first launched in 2014.

From the outset, we have helped thousands of sitters, home owners and especially pet owners! to find their housesit match.  We offer information and guidance to help you achieve a successful sitting placement every time.

Click here to Join HouseSit Match a paid for house sitting websites

Further reading about housesitting and trusted house sitters

At, we pride ourselves on being one of the best house sitter websites out there. Here we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting to further impart our wisdom.

After reading our debate about the benefits of paid for versus free house sitting websites we hope you find this selection of blogs useful.

Cat sitting tourist sees London for free

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

The Affordable Alternative to Dog Kennels

Housesitters keep pets safe at home and save money

What is House Sitting?


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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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