Whether you are looking for a side hustle or an adventure, house sitting jobs might be the way to go.
These opportunities can either give you a free place to stay on your next vacation or put some extra money in your pocket. There are tons of different ways to connect with these opportunities, and we scoured through them all to find the best ones for you.
What Does House Sitting Mean?
House sitting is when you watch someone’s house while they are out of town. Sometimes, house sitting services include spending the night, and sometimes it just involves stopping in at defined intervals and making sure everything is okay.
People generally hire house sitters to get the mail, turn a few lights on, water plants, and take care of pets while they are away. These things also help deter would-be burglars who want to target empty homes. The house sitter helps make the house look occupied.
Do House Sitters Get Paid?
Most house sitters get paid in one way or another unless you’re doing it as a favor to a friend or family member. I house-sat for my aunt once a long time ago – she had this country house and needed someone to take care of the dogs and cats while she was away. Let me tell you – as a city girl, staying the night all alone in a country farmhouse was the most terrifying experience of my life! And I’ve been to Iraq!
But I digress. Yes, most house sitters get paid. Some house sitting gigs use lodging as a form of currency rather than cash, but in my opinion, that counts as payment. That’s especially true if you are interested in house sitting as a way to travel hack your way to free accommodation!
Are House Sitting Jobs Safe?
There is nothing inherently dangerous about house sitting. Obviously, everything has risks. I wouldn’t take a house sitting job off of craigslist, for instance. That sounds a bit sketchy.
But house sitting jobs on most other websites are completely legitimate and aren’t any riskier than anything else we do in life. You should always use an abundance of caution and take protective measures. Set up interviews with your potential clients before staying the night. Find out if anyone else has access to the home via spare key or entry code. Use an app that vets clients. Let friends and family know where you are staying. Make sure that the neighborhood is one that you feel comfortable in. These are important steps you can take to ensure your safety when you house sit.
What Are the Best House Sitting Jobs?
And really, this is the most crucial question, isn’t it? What are the best house sitting jobs, and where can you find them? Well, that all depends on a critical question: Do you want to be a house sitter for free lodging during your next vacation, or do you want to be a house sitter as a side hustle? Both are valid, but I’ve broken down the best house sitting jobs into these two main categories.
The Best House Sitting Jobs for Travel Hacking
There are a plethora of house sitting opportunities available for those with an abundance of wanderlust but lack of funds. I mean, sleeping in the car is fun for a few days, but you definitely want a bed if you’re going to be traveling any longer than that!
Whether you are looking to relax in the countryside, chill out in the suburbs, or experience all the amenities that a luxury house provides, there is an opportunity for you.
All of these platforms charge a membership fee, but it’s generally less than you would pay for lodging on a week-long adventure, so if traveling the world is your goal, they are fantastic options. It’s also mutually-beneficial for both you and your host, and other than a small yearly membership fee, the only thing you have to pay is airfare!
Home exchange offers a unique system for traveling the world in exchange for house sitting. They have over four hundred thousand homes available in 187 countries.
The cool thing about home exchange is that the exchange doesn’t have to be reciprocal. Instead of swapping homes, you can offer your home and earn guest points, which you can then use to house sit elsewhere.
Home exchange does charge a yearly membership fee of $150. This flat rate gives you access to unlimited exchanges, member support, and assistance if any problems arise (cancellations when you are traveling, or property damage when you are hosting).
Love Home Swap
Love Home Swap has basically the same system that home exchange does. You can either complete a classic swap (you watch my house while I watch yours) or use a points system. Love Home Swap is different in that it offers three tiers of membership and a two-week free trial.
The lowest tier of membership will cost you $132 per year and only offers the bare-bones basics – you can swap houses and earn points. It doesn’t even allow you to have a “verified” badge on your profile – which might make some folks think twice about offering you access to their home.
The standard membership package includes that verified badge, in addition to other benefits. You can offer multiple homes for swap and get access to airline lounges and sweet deals with their partners (Uber being a big one!).
Their platinum membership costs $360 per year at full price (though they often have deals!) and includes everything that the other plans do.
As a bonus, it will also “boost” your home, getting your swap in front of more eyeballs and increasing the chances that you will be able to find a swap or earn points. It also provides you with a dedicated support team, so you will always find what you are looking for.
Love Home Swap has house sitting opportunities globally, so they are an excellent option for those looking to explore new places.
Trusted House Sitters
Trusted House Sitters is very similar to the two websites above, but focusing on pet sitting. If you’re a traveler who doesn’t mind taking care of the dog or cat while on vacation, it’s a great option. This website connects homeowners to pet sitters, but with a travel-related twist.
The pet sitter gets to stay in the home for free, but in exchange, they have to watch the homeowner’s dog and cat. This involves all aspects of pet care, from dog-walking to cleaning the litter box, if applicable. With similar fees as the other two, it’s an incredibly valuable option for those leaving their furry friends at home.
Pet Sitters on Trusted house sitters have the option to get verified at different levels, from email and phone number checks to reference checks. These verification processes will ensure that your pet sitter is trustworthy and reliable. But, just to be completely safe, Trusted House Sitters offers insurance in case of property damage or theft.
Luxury House Sitting
Luxury House Sitting connects homeowners with luxury homes to house sitters and pet sitters looking to stay in beautiful homes for incredibly low prices. This platform boasts the cheapest plan of all – house sitters only have to pay $25 per year for access to the platform and can negotiate a fee with the homeowner before accepting any assignment.
This platform is the best of both worlds – you can get paid to stay in a great house in an exotic locale.
Other House Exchange Programs
There are tons of other platforms that allow travelers to stay at private residences, ranging from Airbnb to CouchSurfing. All of these platforms are more similar to traditional bookings, in that you are paying your host to provide you with lodging.
A house swap is different -yes, you pay a flat fee to the platform, but you get to stay for free in exchange for letting someone else stay at your place.
The Best House Sitting Jobs as a Side Hustle
If you don’t house sit to travel the world, you are probably doing it to make extra cash. People often look into this type of side gig when they are resolving their money problems or to build additional income streams.
Whatever your reason for side hustling, there are plenty of home sitting opportunities. People look for house sitters who will water their garden, watch their pets, keep their homes tidy, and look after the place in the same way the owner would. Here are the best places to look for these types of house sitting jobs.
House Sitter is a platform that connects homeowners with potential house sitters. The cool thing about it is that you can sort by the types of services that the homeowner needs, such as gardening, chores, pets, farm animals, and more.
House sitters can also post their profiles so that potential clients can reach out to them. Creating a detailed profile page is a great way to get your name and face out to people in need of your services.
Okay, Rover is not technically a house sitting website. It’s a pet care website. But, house sitting and pet sitting go hand in hand. Many people only look for a house sitter because they want someone to look after their pets. Boarding pets can get expensive, especially when you make the mistake of having six of them.
Also, most pet owners, myself included, would prefer to let their fur babies stay home rather than have them stuck in a kennel all day. If you want to skip the pretense of watching a house and go straight to pet-sitting, Rover is the best option for you.
Are House Sitting Jobs the Right Side Hustle for You?
With all these options for house sitting all around the world (and at home!), it’s an excellent option for a side hustle for people who want to travel rent-free and people who are just looking for some extra income.
Check out all of these websites to find the right opportunity for you!
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks and has been republished with permission.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world's problems. She's self-educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming, and her cats.