House-Sitting – To Pay or Not To Pay

8 Sep, 2022

House-Sitting – To Pay or Not To Pay

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In house sitting circles to pay or not to pay for house sitters is a hotly debated issue. At HouseSit Match we promote free housesitting, as an exchange of services, free pet and housesitting for free accommodation. Read on to learn both sides of the argument and why we are on team free house-sitting.

Free housesitting – Should homeowners pay..?

As a house-sitter you may be curious about various aspects of your new potential paid or free housesitting assignment… What will the pets be like, will there be a garden to tend, how big is the property you must care for while the owners are away. Naturally, you may also be wondering if there is a paid recompense for your services as a responsible sitter, some house-sitting jobs have a lot of responsibilities.

While at HouseSit Match we do not publish or insist on any particular fees for sitters, this is because the responsibilities will vary quite dramatically between one sit assignment and another, we are happy to debate the best approach from both the homeowner’s perspective and that of the house-sitter. And from this debate we hope you as the reader will find suitable markers to guide you.

First – Some pointers for homeowners – for Free housesitting in particular

1. Duties for house-sitters (including pets and garden care)

If your house-sitter is to care for your much loved pets and/ or your garden then likely you will want to offer some form of compensation for their efforts and attention to detail regarding the jobs in hand. Whilst not all sitters will ask for payment, most would appreciate that you recognise their contribution to the successful running of our household in your absence.

Two beautiful Wie Marana dogs, house-sitting for pet is a great responsibility - free housesitting
Free housesitting usually means pet care
Two horses
Pet care can mean car for cats, dogs or horses.
Some pets need more exercise and specialist care than others

The greater the number of pets you have, the more work will be needed to care for your pet family, and the more likely the sitter will likely expect to be rewarded. It is worth clarifying that matter early on in your discussions. If you have several pets, and of course some pets need a great deal of exercise, you need to remember that without their knowing the pets well, it can be hard work.

Also they will care for them if they are sick in your absence and this is a serious responsibility and should be recognised through some form of payment.

2. Short or long-term stay (the difference in responsibility and reward)

With Free housesitting there is also a difference between a short term house-sit (1-4 weeks house-sitter resident in your home) and a long term house-sit (+4 to 50 weeks – we do not recommend any longer than 50 weeks). If a sitter is installed for up to a month this will feel more like a job.

Calendar for Free housesitting

Greenhouse window

One month house-sit – Just the job!

On a free housesitting and also a paid assignment your sitter is usually resident to maintain the security of your home, the well being of your pets and possibly care for delicate or vigorous plants in your absence.

If their residency covers more than one month, then their payment could be considered the temporary use of the home that they are living in – over the period they will sustain and benefit from your lifestyle and situation, while managing your property and receiving free accommodation in exchange.

You may also decide to offer some other compensation at the end of the term, but this is all a matter for debate between sitter and owner. Remember, it always works out best if both parties feel they benefit from the arrangement. So a fair discussion is recommended.

And – A few notes for house-sitters

In any discussion with your potential homeowner, always keep focussed on why you started house-sitting – try to stay true to your original goals, that way you are consistent and will keep working towards your end game.

1. Why are you house-sitting? (Is it to fund your travels, or supplement your income?)

Are you house-sitting because you want to visit a particular part of the world and are looking for free accommodation in exchange for keeping a property and pets safe and secure in the owner’s absence? If so, is your main goal therefore free accommodation? So maybe payment isn’t the priority in your discussion with the owner.

Sydney from above
Sydney, Australia


Houses of Parliament
London, England

However, if house-sitting is a useful way for you to top up your income, and you are an experienced house or pet-sitter then you may wish to take paid positions only and establish that fact at the beginning of your discussions. It might be useful for you to clarify that fact on your profile, then all is clear before the homeowner makes their approach via the website.

2. Special knowledge of animals or gardens (especially horses and vegetable gardens)

One common experience we have found, among the house-sitters that use HouseSit Match, is that if they have good experience and in-depth knowledge of a particular type of animal or a specialist skill of gardening the house-sitter can find they are very much in demand – especially during the holiday season.

If you have yet to register as a sitter and you have current in depth knowledge of a particular animal be sure to describe the level of your experience in your profile, and offer references if you have any.

Consider the currency –

Whether you are a house-sitter or a homeowner, remember that the other person may not be in tune with the prices or rates of pay in your currency. Be prepared to share examples that will help the other person understand a like for like example.

And above all, be fair in your discussions, remember the house-sitting world is a remarkably small community online.

Happy free house-sitting!

To find your petsitters through our trusted network register with HouseSitMatch as a homeowner

To register as a Homeowner follow this link

If you have pet care and homecare experience and want to travel and experience a new location why not register as on HouseSitMatch as a housesitter

To register as a House-sitter or Petsitter follow this link


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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.

1 comment

  1. […] Over the question of payment for house-sitting services – we believe house-sitting should be an exchange of free services. However, some homeowners have specialist and occasionally extensive requirements and acknowledge these extra and specialist duties with a payment. Here is a blog to help you consider your own situation […]

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