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House Sitting for Cash?

 
pollinator
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I know a couple of people who house-sit as a side hustle.

If you have close neighbours, you may want to do this as a favour. And soon enough you'll need that favour returned. But there are opportunities to put some cash in your jeans as well.

One young lady has a trapline of well-heeled country neighbours who travel a lot or head to warmer climes for part of the winter. For insurance purposes, someone needs to check their house to make sure the heat is on, basement isn't flooded, no signs of burglary/mischief, and to make the place look lived in. As a bonus, it gives here a little private/quiet time away from home, since she lives with her elderly parents in a fairly cozy house.

If you're reliable and animal-friendly, there are even more opportunities. Feed and entertain the cat. Feed and check horses. Maybe stay overnight with someone's indoor dogs. And if you know something about specialty animals (llama-sitter?) you have an instant market.

Anybody doing this?

 
gardener
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Great idea. I do need to bring up the idea of diligence  here. It may sound odd, but I would not do this unless I had a good idea of who I was sitting for. If i pick the wrong family to work for, they can blame me for a multitude of sins.  That said, it can be a crazy world no matter what we do. It sound like a good source of added income.

 
pollinator
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I know someone who does farm sit, feeding all the animals, taking the horses in/out collecting eggs and putting them out for sale, watering, walking dogs etc, she lives in the house while the owners are away. I used to know another woman who did house/dog sitting, she also lived in the house/s while the owners were away. That is what the demand is for in the UK at least. it's a great way to make money if you live with parents or in a bedsit. Not much use if you have dependents yourself.
 
pollinator
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I have been doing this. I am good with animals and have the flexibility in my schedule. So my retired neighbours ask me to stay at their place when they take vacations. It works well all the way around. I get a free place to stay for a while, and they don't worry about their house and critters. I am at their house overnight so I can do morning and evening chores. When I am not housesitting I am at my mothers farm, where I have all my permie projects.
There hasn't been much call for housesitting lately though due to covid. I might end up getting too many animals of my own to be leaving overnight, by the time a vaccine comes out and people go back to travelling.

Edited to add. I have been doing exactly what Skandi described.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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John F Dean wrote:I do need to bring up the idea of diligence  here. It may sound odd, but I would not do this unless I had a good idea of who I was sitting for. If i pick the wrong family to work for, they can blame me for a multitude of sins.


Very true, there's a large trust factor involved (both ways). For most, it comes down to people you know. Family, friends, neighbours. And word of mouth from people you know.

In past years, I have been fortunate to have nephews who would do it for me -- and appreciate the adventure of having their own private acreage while earning pocket money. Now I'm sniffing around for reliable young adults from families we know in our area.

I think there are organizations and exchanges that connect sitters and sittees. No doubt there is a criminal record check, insurance considerations, testimonials/references, and the whole suite of due diligence measures.

The cool thing is that once you have done it for someone, and everybody is happy with the results, they will be back. Once you find a reliable, trustworthy person you don't keep shopping around.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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For people who are doing this: how do you determine how much to charge?

I think it would depend on how heavy the duties are.

Some people do the absolute basics -- house check, feed the cat -- for $20-25 CAD per day. (I paid my nephews twice that, but they were students and could really use the extra cash.)

For more complex stuff, checking and feeding outdoor animals, tending gardens and lawn, etc. I imagine the price would be correspondingly higher.

What is fair? Thoughts?
 
Leora Laforge
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I haven't charged much. The most I have ever taken was $25 per day, when there were 2 geriatric dogs that needed arthritis medication, specific diet for weight loss, and 2 short walks per day because the vet had advised that. Also a geriatric cat on a special diet. And 3 horses, but those were fine on pasture.

I pretty much take what is offered, most of these people have closer neighbours who would do it for free with the expectation that the favour would be returned.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Douglas,

Unfortunately I can only cite a special case. I hired a much older lady who desperately needed the income.  I paid her what the kennel would have charged.  On the flip side,the animals received a much higher level of care.
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