Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to make some extra money house sitting. Now. Those of you who know me know that I am a HUGE scaredy cat and could NEVER spend the night alone anywhere. And certainly not in a house that isn’t home!
I asked Mrs. Tucker if I could have a friend stay over with me and she agreed! Of course I didn’t ask to be paid extra and just thought that I could offer to split the money with my friend. We could pretend to be all grown up with our own house and everything. It would be fun! Thankfully, Mrs. Tucker agreed so we were all set. She and her daughter were going on a trip to New York for 10 days and wanted someone to take care of their little dog while they were gone.
My friend Lexi has a ton of experience with house sitting. She knows several families that have her stay in their homes whenever they are going to be out of town. I knew that she would be a big help to me and would share equally in the chores and stuff that we had to do.
Before the Tucker’s went out of town I went over one afternoon so they could show me everything and so I could meet Q-Tip, their dog. It made me feel a lot better to meet the dog and understand exactly what they needed me to do before they left.
While they were gone I texted them almost every day to let them know that everything was going well and that the dog was fine. I think it’s really important to do this unless the homeowners tell you specifically not to. Here are a few other things to consider when you agree to housesit:
1) Make sure to check their mail every day. Ask where they want you to put it and keep it there for them until they return.
2) Get very specific directions on taking care of their pets. Where is the pet food? How often do they get fed? Do you have to give them any medications? How often do they need to be let out or walked? It’s a good idea to write everything down so you don’t forget. Remember to get the phone number to the vet that takes care of their pets in case of an emergency.
3) Have the homeowner provide you with emergency contact information so you have someone local to call if there is a plumbing leak or some other kind of damage happens while you are there.
4) Understand exactly what they expect of you in the way of cleaning. Obviously you need to clean up any mess you make but you also need to know if they expect you to do any type of extra cleaning before they return home.
5) Water the plants. They won’t be happy to come home to dead plants – but get instructions so you don’t water way too much!
6) Will you be responsible for bringing your own food with you? This is an important detail. Ask the homeowner if you are allowed to use any of the food they have on hand or not. If you have to bring all of your own food with you then you really need to consider that when you determine your price.
7) Find ways to go above and beyond for them if you are able. Maybe give the dog a bath the day before they come home or do some extra tidying up around the house. Lexi and I made a cute welcome home sign. You want them to be pleased with you so they will call you again the next time they go away!
House sitting rates vary depending on where you live and what is expected of you. The average seems to be about $30 a day but is more like $50 a day if you are cleaning, taking care of pets and spending the night. I agreed to house sit for $20 a day but Mrs. Tucker also left extra money so I would be able to buy groceries while we were there. We ended up making a little more than $30 a day. Lexi and I bought groceries and then split the money that was left over at the end of the week.
House sitting is a serious job with real responsibilities. It’s also a fun way to stay somewhere new, earn a little bit of extra money and help someone out!