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How Much Should I Charge for House Sitting?

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Setting housesitting fees for the services you perform requires a little investigation. Before you agree to a daily amount or a set total price, you must know the duties the homeowner expects you to perform. Will you stay overnight or check in daily? Do you water the plants or take care of any pets?

What Is the Going Rate for Paid Housesitting Jobs?

The going rate for housesitting jobs depends on your location, the services the homeowner expects, and the amount of time you must spend on each activity. Most sitters expect $25 to $45 per day for a drop-in visit, but location plays a major role in setting the price. In Philadelphia, housesitting fees average $66.67 per day, while homeowners in Phoenix pay an average daily rate of just $29.50.

Typical duties include:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Bringing in mail and packages
  • Daily drop-in visits
  • Watering plants

Duties that add to your price may include:

  • Overnight stays
  • Caring for pets
  • Yardwork 
  • Housekeeping 

Adjust your daily rate to reflect the number of extra hours that additional tasks require and review the details with the homeowner. For example, if pet care is involved, you need detailed information regarding their care to estimate the additional time involved. Feeding a goldfish takes seconds; taking a dog for a 30-minute walk three times a day is a big commitment.

Housesitting Business Options

You can provide housesitting services yourself as a sole proprietor, or you can open a service linking sitters with homeowners. Your daily rate for housesitting should allow you to make enough profit to pay your ongoing business expenses and live your preferred lifestyle.

If you open a housesitting clearinghouse, you serve as a matchmaker for housesitters and homeowners. Instead of doing the housesitting yourself, you manage a staff of housesitters that you have registered and run background checks on.

Looking for Your Business Base

The IRS does not accept business expenses as deductions if you perform all of your work in your clients' homes, using whatever the client supplies. To treat housesitting as a business, you need a business base where you can store records, make business calls, and repair any equipment that you take to each housesitting job. This base might be your own home or a rented office.

Most homeowners provide the equipment and supplies they expect you to use while they vacation. This fact helps keep both your startup costs and ongoing operating expenses low.

Housesitters have access to confidential information about the homeowner, so you should be bonded and insured to protect yourself and inspire confidence in your client base. Joining a professional housesitting association or acquiring an accreditation also increases your value to potential clients.

References

About the Author

Smith has been a student, independent contractor, entrepreneur, car salesperson, beauty consultant, and a water treatment salesperson. All of those career changes had their benefits and drawbacks. Smith believes in experiential learning as key to success in the work world, so don't be afraid to try something new that does not match your official qualifications. Smith urges business owners and job seekers alike to dig deep and discover what motivates you to give your best.