House sitting is an awesome way to travel. Not only do you gain the opportunity to live in a home but it allows you more of a chance to integrate locally, and you can save lots of money while doing it. But it’s NOT FREE!
Regardless of the hype (spread especially by paid house sitting websites), house sitting is not free. It’s the #1 myth about house sitting.
Don’t get me wrong; we completely recommend using house sitting as a way to travel the world. But to say it’s free is completely false and we’ll tell you why.
Do You Value Yourself?
Have you ever truly thought about all the services you provide as a house sitter? Services that many individuals and companies get paid excellent money to do? Just think about it.
- home security
- pet care
- mail sorting
- vermin removal
- plant care
- lawn, landscape and garden care
- pool care
- or whatever service you’ve agreed upon with the homeowner that you’ll provide.
And sometimes you even provide unintended emergency services like preparing the home and property for a storm, preventing further damage from water leaks or home issues, or taking a pet to the vet for emergency problems.
The more tasks that you provide to each sit, the more value you are providing and the more money you are saving the homeowner. The same with your time because the more tasks you have, the more time you spend which is also valuable.
So don’t get suckered into thinking you’re getting a free place to live because you are paying the rent with your time and services. You are valuable.
Why Not Get Paid Cash?
Pet boarding kennels, doggie daycares, dog walkers, pet sitters and groomers, lawn care and maintenance companies, professional property care takers and home security companies all get paid to care for pets, properties, and homes, so why not get paid for your services?
You can. We know quite a few house sitters paid with cold hard cash.
BUT getting paid actual money also comes with its own set of issues to consider. You need liability insurance, or if you’re sitting in a place outside your home country, you need a work visa. It’s good to look at both sides of the coin when making your decision to sit for money or exchange.
For us, sitting for money creates more complications than we like to have, so we barter our services in exchange for paid rent, utilities and sometimes perks like the use of a car or whatever makes the trade even for us.
How Do You Know What a Fair Exchange Is?
Knowing what a fair exchange is completely up to you and the home owner. You’re a professional. What you have to offer is valuable. Remember it’s worth cold hard cash.
When deciding what is fair for us, we take factors such as:
- do we need a car
- how expensive is the public transportation
- how hard it is to get to shops and entertainment
- the home and perks offered
- the amount of time we’ll need to spend keeping the property up and caring for the pets
- how long can the pets be left alone
- and any unique factors for the sit.
You also have to reasonably take into consideration the cost of travel to the location and how much your living expenses will cost while living in the home.
When I say reasonably, I’m discussing the fact that if you’re traveling anyhow, you’re already planning to pay rent and travel costs. So when considering the cost of traveling and living at a house sit, look at the expenses that are above and beyond what you would have spent anyway.
Listen to your gut and follow your intuition to help you determine what a fair exchange is.
Do You See Your Value Now?
As you can see, you are valuable! Your time and professional experience are not free when you wear the many hats of property caretaker, dog walker, pet groomer, kitty litter box cleaner, cleaner, home security, mail sorter, plant waterer, landscaper, pool person, love provider and many other requested titles.
So stop selling yourself short. The #1 Myth About House Sitting is very untrue. House sitting is not free, and neither are you.
If you want to know more about house sitting, David and I are always available for questions and advice, or you can speak with Nat & Jodie from the House Sitting Academy, our FlyAwayU house sitting experts or sign up for their House Sitting Academy course which is how we successfully started house sitting.
P.S. Check out our article Why House Sitters Do NOT Live Rent-Free on our house sitting site Bags & Biscuits.