Arbeit als Haussitter
The Complete Guide to Working as a House Sitter
House sitting has grown enormously in popularity in recent years. Homeowners increasingly hire house sitters to care for their homes and pets any time they travel or go away. For reliable individuals who love animals, house sitting provides an incredible opportunity to travel affordably while getting paid to live in beautiful homes around the world.
If the idea of exploring new destinations while providing a valued service appeals to you, a career as a professional house sitter may be a great path to pursue. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to launch a successful and rewarding house sitting business.
What Does a House Sitter Do?
A house sitter lives in a homeowner’s house while they are away, caring for the property, pets, plants and any other responsibilities. Typical house sitter duties include:
- Collecting mail and newspapers
- Watering indoor and outdoor plants
- Feeding and exercising pets
- Providing companionship and care to pets
- Following provided care instructions for any pets or plants
- Taking out trash and recycling
- Keeping the home tidy and clean
- Bringing in deliveries
- Handling any maintenance or emergencies
- Providing basic upkeep and security
- Following any other instructions provided by the homeowner
House sitting arrangements can range from a weekend up to many months. Sitters treat the home as their own, providing owners peace of mind while their house and pets are in good hands.
Why Become a House Sitter?
There are many excellent reasons to turn house sitting into your profession:
- Earn extra income
- Travel inexpensively
- Live like a local in different cities or countries
- Have free housing provided in exchange for your services
- Experience new neighborhoods and cultures
- Enjoy flexibility to set your own schedule
- Bond with animals and provide pet companionship
- Work remotely while house sitting
House sitting allows you to live affordably in amazing homes and destinations you may not be able to visit otherwise. If you love animals, exploring new places, and making new friends across cultures, house sitting may be the perfect career for you.
Skills and Qualities of Great House Sitters
Successful house sitters share these top skills and qualities:
- A love of animals, especially dogs and cats
- Responsibility and reliability
- Resourcefulness and problem-solving ability
- Handiness with minor household repairs
- Adaptability to different environments
- Comfort being around strangers’ belongings
- An independent spirit but also communicative
- The ability to spend time alone
- Excellent organizational skills
- A nurturing, caring personality
- Flexibility to travel often
- Attention to detail
If you possess these characteristics, you’ll thrive as a professional house and pet sitter.
Building Your Credentials
When first starting out, you’ll need to build credentials to convince homeowners that you’re reliable and qualified to care for their home and pets. Some key ways to establish your credentials include:
References: Ask previous employers, landlords, neighbors, pet sitters or dog walkers you’ve worked with to provide written references highlighting skills like dependability, honesty, pet care experience, etc.
Background check: Complete an employment background check. Most homeowners will want to verify you have a clean record.
Profile: Build out your profile on house sitting sites like TrustedHousesitters and HouseSitter.com. Include lots of details like experience, passions, hobbies, travel interests, and personality quirks to bring your profile to life.
Photographs: Share abundant photos of yourself interacting with animals, hiking, exploring destinations, etc. Visuals help homeowners get to know you better.
Verification: Complete any profile verifications available on house sitting sites, such as linking social media profiles or verifying your identity with scans of IDs. This legitimizes your profile.
Video intro: Record a short introductory video to include on your profile, letting homeowners get a feel for your vibe and trustworthiness.
Reviews: As you complete house sitting assignments, collect reviews from satisfied homeowners highlighting your performance and reliability. Reviews greatly boost your credibility.
Experience: Start house sitting locally for family or friends to gain initial experience before applying for paid gigs. Any hands-on experience helps.
Testimonials: Ask clients to provide written testimonials after you pet sit, dog walk, or house sit for them. Blurbs from happy clients carry a lot of weight.
The more you can do to demonstrate responsibility, experience, and trustworthiness, the quicker you’ll land house sitting assignments.
Creating a Stand Out House Sitter Profile
Your profile on house sitting websites is your chance to showcase why you’re a top-notch pet sitter and homeowner’s ideal candidate. Take time to create a stellar profile. Key tips include:
- Fill out all fields extensively – don’t leave any sections blank. Share abundant details about yourself.
- Include lots of photos showing you interacting with animals, hiking, reading, etc. to bring your profile to life.
- Write a detailed intro summarizing your experience, skills, passions, and enthusiasm for house sitting.
- Highlight specific experience caring for the types of pets the homeowners have.
- Share fun facts and quirks that capture your personality.
- Link to any social media profiles so homeowners can learn more about you.
- Attach documents like your house sitting agreement, IDs, certifications, testimonials etc.
- Summarize why you’re excited to house sit in that particular area or type of home.
- Outline your availability, ideal trip duration, lead time needed, etc.
With a warm, engaging profile, homeowners will gain confidence in choosing you over other candidates.
Finding House Sitting Opportunities
Some house sitting gigs may come through word-of-mouth. But joining reputable house sitting websites opens up abundant opportunities. Popular sites include:
TrustedHousesitters – Over 2 million members and the largest selection of house sits worldwide. Memberships start at $99 annually.
HouseSitter.com – Connects homeowners and sitters across the globe since 2004. Memberships start at $89 annually.
Nomador – Great for finding house sits in popular international locales. Memberships are $89 annually.
Luxury House Sitting – Specializes in high-end, luxury house sits. Memberships are $200 annually.
MindMyHouse – Focused primarily on house sits across Europe. Memberships are €20 monthly.
HouseCarers – Long-established site matching homeowners and sitters worldwide. Memberships are $50 annually.
Join one or more of these reputable sites suited to your geographical interests to access the widest range of professional house sitting opportunities.
Choosing House Sits to Apply For
With so many house sitting listings, how do you decide which are worth your application? Vet listings carefully based on:
- Homeowner’s profile – Look for detailed profiles from responsive homeowners who have positive reviews. Avoid sparse profiles with little info.
- Location – Consider climate, amenities, activities, safety, laws, visa requirements etc. Make sure you can legally access and want to visit the area.
- Dates – Do the dates work with your availability and provide enough lead time for planning?
- Responsibilities – Are the required duties within your experience and comfort level? Never overcommit.
- Compensation – Is pay, if offered, reasonable for the expectations? Or are amenities like lodging, car rental etc included?
- Common interests – Look for shared passions like hiking, yoga, travel, art, pets etc. More commonalities often lead to better rapport.
- References – Well-established homeowners should provide references from satisfied house sitters highlighting they had a good experience.
Trust your intuition if something seems off about a listing. Stick to quality opportunities from experienced homeowners excited to host you.
Writing a Compelling House Sitting Application
With so much competition, your application needs to stand out. Avoid brief, generic applications that will be ignored. Strategically crafted applications greatly boost your odds of getting selected over other candidates. Useful tips include:
- Personalize – Mention something specific that drew you to their home, pet, area etc. based on their profile. Demonstrate you took time to get to know them.
- Pose thoughtful questions – Ask 3-5 questions that show you read the listing closely and want to learn more. Homeowners appreciate this extra care.
- Share relevant experience – Emphasize your background caring for the types of pets they have or maintaining similar homes. Draw connections to their needs.
- Highlight skills – Summarize any experience, training, skills or certifications relevant to their home needs like gardening, pool maintenance, healthcare, fitness, etc.
- Describe special touches – Outline any extra services you’re willing to provide like plant watering, handling mail, home organization, errands etc.
- Express your enthusiasm – Convey why you’re genuinely excited for the opportunity in this particular home and location. Enthusiasm goes a long way.
- Introduce pets you’ve cared for – Briefly share details on beloved pets you’ve bonded with and cared for previously.
- Outline availability – Reiterate your ideal arrival and departure dates even if they were already discussed.
- Attach relevant documents – Provide items like your house sitting agreement, IDs, pet first aid certificate, recent house sitting reviews etc.
With a thoughtful, well-crafted application, you’ll convince homeowners to select you over other candidates.
Find a house sit
Preparing for a House Sitting Interview
Many homeowners want to interview candidates before selecting a house sitter. Come prepared to interview requests ready to convey competence, friendliness, reliability and trustworthiness. Useful tips include:
- Send a video introduction – Record a 2-3 minute video discussing your experience, enthusiasm, and qualifications and email it when they request an interview. Videos quickly build rapport.
- Be responsive – Reply promptly to any interview requests or questions. Responsiveness reassures homeowners.
- Come with questions – Prepare 5-10 thoughtful questions showing your care for their home, pets, preferences, and concerns.
- Be detailed – When asked about experience, share examples and details rather than short, generic answers. Details convey competence.
- Offer a trial run – If nearby, offer to do a trial run caring for the home and pets before their trip so they can evaluate you.
- Provide references – Offer to have past homeowners and clients speak directly to vouch for you.
- Project warmth and friendliness – Homeowners are evaluating if they’d enjoy having you in their home. Showing your personality helps build connections.
With preparation and practice, you’ll ace every house sitting interview and edge out the competition.
Providing Exceptional Care and Service
Once selected, providing exceptional house and pet care ensures great reviews and repeat business. Helpful tips include:
- Ask for detailed instructions – Have homeowners walk you through home systems, pet care, deliveries, maintenance, security etc. Take notes.
- Follow all instructions exactly – Never compromise or take shortcuts in your duties. Complete tasks to the letter of agreed upon expectations.
- Introduce yourself to neighbors – Let neighbors know you’re the visiting house sitter and provide contact info in case of emergency.
- Arrange for mail/newspaper stops – Set up temporary holds so mail and newspapers don’t pile up.
- Schedule check-in calls – Agree to regular check-in calls, texts, emails, or videos so homeowners stay updated.
- Handle issues immediately – Communicate any maintenance problems, pet health concerns, damages etc. right away so homeowners can address promptly.
- Send photo updates – Send periodic photos of happy, healthy pets and a tidy home for peace of mind.
- Leave a detailed report – Provide a comprehensive writeup outlining your activities, pet care, home status, any issues etc. when the assignment ends.
- Ask for a review – Politely ask for an online review highlighting your performance after completing a house sit. Reviews help attract more clients.
By consistently providing 5-star service and care, you’ll retain clients for repeat business and build your reputation as an elite house sitter.
Setting Your Rates
Pricing competitively while still valuing your time and services takes finesse. When establishing rates, take into account:
- Your experience level – Base rates on total years of professional pet sitting, house sitting and related experience. More experience warrants higher pay.
- Location – Consider average living costs for the area. Higher priced cities and countries allow for higher rates.
- Competition – Research rates of other sitters in the area on house sitting sites. Price competitively based on local market rates.
- Scope of responsibilities – Factoring in duties like pet medications, garden upkeep, pool maintenance etc allows charging more.
- Time commitment – Longer sits of 1-3 months in a single location justify higher pay than short weekend sits.
- Additional services – Providing extra services like grocery delivery, cooking meals, cleaning lets you increase rates.
- Home amenities – Sitting lavish, luxury homes with pools, home gyms, game rooms etc gives leverage for higher pay.
Start on the lower end when new to establish a track record. Gradually increase rates as you gain positive reviews, top ratings, and client demand for your services.
Getting Paid for House Sits
Unlike traditional employment, compensation models for house sitting gigs vary. Common payment methods include:
- Per diem rate – A set daily fee ranging from $25 – $100+ per day depending on experience and location.
- Weekly or monthly rate – A fixed weekly or monthly amount. Often used for longer, multi-month sits.
- Lodging as payment – Some homeowners offer free housing as full compensation. No monetary payment.
- Additional benefits – Sitters may be offered use of a home car, bike etc. as added value.
- Reimbursements – Homeowners may reimburse for expenses like pet food, home supplies, utilities etc.
- Gratuities – Homeowners may tip on top of base rates if exceptionally satisfied. Some sitters subtly suggest tips.
When negotiating rates, consider asking for 60-80% up front and the remainder upon completion. Outline payment schedule and process details in your written house sitting contract.
Clear, consistent communication makes every house sit go smoothly. Useful communication tips include:
- Use a house sitting contract – Outline services, rates, duration, payment terms, emergency protocols etc in writing before every sit. Get contracts signed.
- Send intro emails before meets – Initially introduce yourself via email and include key details like your background, animal experience, etc.
- Do video calls when possible – Video chats help build rapport quickly so homeowners feel at ease.
- Send frequent updates – Provide regular check-ins on pets, home, issues etc. according to homeowner preferences. Update more frequently at first.
- Use an organizational system – Keep all documents like contracts, instructions, appointments, codes etc systematically organized via apps, folders etc.
- Discuss problems immediately – Don’t delay informing homeowners if there are any home damages, pet health issues, neighbor disputes etc.
- Manage expectations upfront – Clarify what additional services you are and aren’t willing to provide like cleaning, yardwork etc.
- Share positive updates – Send periodic texts, photos or short videos of pets enjoying activities to provide homeowners peace of mind.
Consistent, clear communication from the initial meet and greet through the end of the assignment is key for a smoothly run housesit.
Other Ways to Boost Your Income
To supplement house sitting income during slower periods, consider offering:
- Pet sitting – Promote pet sitting, dog walking or boarding services in between house sits.
- Home organization – Offer organization services like decluttering, downsizing, packing etc for extra income.
- Personal assistant – Provide errands, shopping, scheduling, planning, cleaning and other personal assistant services.
- Lawn/yard maintenance – Offer property maintenance like lawn mowing, gardening, pool cleaning. Advertise locally.
- Home cooking – Make extra income cooking meals or baked goods for locals. Ensure you have any required permits.
- Freelance services – Offer freelance skills like writing, graphic design, web development, virtual assistant work etc.
- Airbnb – If permitted, rent out extra rooms in homes you’re sitting via Airbnb for added earnings.
With creative hustle, you can easily earn over $4,000+ per month by combining house sitting with other complementary services.
Handling Challenging Situations
Even seasoned sitters encounter occasional challenges. Try these tips for handling tricky scenarios:
Personality conflicts – Remain unfailingly polite if homeowners have difficult personalities. Maintain boundaries. Focus on providing quality care.
Last minute cancelations – To avoid financial issues, require payment upfront according to contracts. Have back-up gigs lined up in case sits fall through.
Lapses in communication – Proactively check in frequently via your preferred contact method. Consistent communication avoids most issues.
Home damages – Disclose damages immediately no matter how minor. Offer to cover reasonable repair costs.
Pet health emergencies – Bring pets to the approved vet right away if issues arise. Alert homeowners ASAP.
Early homeowner returns – Understand if plans change and homeowners return early. Offer to book yourself an Airbnb or hotel to get out of their way.
Uncomfortable living situation – Establish house rules and boundaries upfront like quiet hours or shared space rules to minimize frictions.
With experience, you’ll become adept at handling any curveballs during sits smoothly and professionally.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
The always-on nature of house sitting can lead to burnout. Make time for self-care with:
- House sit breaks – Schedule yourself breaks between sits to relax and rejuvenate.
- Personal travel – Take periodic personal trips in between sits to maintain social connections and prevent isolation.
- House sitter meet-ups – Attend house sitter meet-ups in your current city for community and support.
- Communication routine – Set boundaries regarding response time expectations. Don’t let house sitter duties consume your whole life.
- Digital detoxes – Unplug completely at times. Avoid burnout from constant digital demands.
- Wellness practices – Maintain fitness routines,healthy eating, and regular sleep to manage stress.
- Lifestyle reflection – Periodically evaluate if this career still fulfills you as your needs change. Don’t stay out of habit or fear.
- Personal development – Take time for learning new skills through courses, books etc. Continuously better yourself.
- Home bases – Keep personal belongings in storage and establish a home base location you can return to for grounding.
- House sit preferences – Take control over factors like location and home amenities to maximize enjoyment of each sit.
- Financial savings – Have adequate savings to cover gaps between paid sits. Financial security reduces house sitting stress.
By proactively carving out me time while house sitting, you’ll avoid loneliness, overwhelm, and dissatisfaction in your work.
Leveraging Your House Sitting Business
Once established, strategic moves can help take your business to the next level. Smart ideas include:
- Niche focus – Develop expertise sitting for executives, luxury homes, farms, remote regions etc. Position yourself as a specialist.
- Expand services – Offer related services like pet taxis, dog walking, maintenance coordination. Become a one-stop shop.
- Raise rates – Gradually increase rates for peak seasons and special services. Don’t undervalue yourself.
- Length minimums – Require longer minimum stays like 2-4 weeks that are easier to coordinate.
- Lead time – Require substantial advance notice like 3+ months for bookings. This enables better planning.
- Retain clients – Nurture relationships with homeowners to be requested again and again.
- Client gifts – Deliver small thank you gifts or handwritten cards to homeowners expressing your appreciation.
- Get licensed – Obtain any required business licenses, pet care licenses, and liability insurance to add legitimacy.
- Build online presence – Create a professional website highlighting your services, testimonials, and portfolio.
The more you strategically develop your brand and services, the more homeowner interest you’ll attract.
Choosing Locations Wisely
Over time you’ll likely develop location preferences. Useful selection criteria include:
- Climate – Prefer warmer, cooler or moderate climates based on your needs.
- Tourism – High tourist areas offer more house sitting opportunities plus sightseeing options.
- Affordability – Opt for budget-friendly countries or regions to make earnings go further.
- Activities – Pick locations offering your favored activities like skiing, hiking, nightlife, beaches etc.
- Culture – Immerse yourself in cultures that interest you most like Europe, Caribbean, Australia etc.
- Language – House sit in regions speaking languages you’re proficient in for easier assimilation.
- Laws – Ensure locations don’t restrict visas or house sitting duration for non-residents.
- Personal network – Identify countries/cities where you have family, friends or professional contacts already established.
- Health factors – Consider health system quality, insurance requirements, pre-existing conditions etc. in location selection.
By proactively choosing destinations that best suit your needs and interests, you’ll maximize enjoyment and career longevity.
Scaling Down Over Time
As you get older or your needs change, gradually transitioning from full-time house sitting to part-time or local can make sense. Options include:
- Reducing travel – Stick to house sitting closer to your home base or within the same country. Minimize international sits.
- Part-time schedule – Balance occasional local house sits with other part-time or freelance work.
- Longer durations – Reduce sit transitions by only accepting longer sits of 1-6 months.
- Home base – Primarily sit within commuting distance of your established home so you’re never too far away.
- Specialization – Transition to higher paying specialist sits like luxury sits, farm sits or elder care.
- Local pet sitting – Replace house sitting income through local pet sitting, dog walking or pet boarding from your home.
- Property management – Use your experience to work for a property management company overseeing multiple properties.
Pace yourself so you don’t get burned out. Your career can gracefully evolve over decades.
Planning Your Financial Future
While house sitting offers adventure, you also need to financially plan for retirement. Smart strategies include:
- Retirement contributions – Strategically invest house sitting income into retirement accounts. Maximize employer match opportunities when possible.
- Multiple income streams – Have secondary earning channels via freelancing, virtual assisting, pet sitting etc to increase savings contributions.
- Automatic savings – Set up automatic monthly transfers into dedicated savings accounts for retirement and healthcare.
- Financial literacy – Continuously educate yourself on smart investing, tax strategies, estate planning etc. Knowledge is power.
- Debt avoidance – Minimize debts that reduce savings abilities. Pay off high interest debts first.
- Asset investment – Over time, put earnings towards revenue-generating assets like real estate to supplement retirement income.
- Permanent address – Maintain an official permanent address for financial and tax purposes.
- Financial advisors – Seek guidance from fee-only certified financial planners.
Though untraditional, house sitting can fully fund a comfortable, secure retirement with prudent planning.
Adapting Your Skills Over Time
As an independent house sitter, it’s vital to keep your skills fresh and relevant. Useful strategies include:
- Add certifications – Complete pet first aid/CPR courses, home maintenance certifications etc. Specialized credentials help you stand out.
- Learn new skills – Take classes on topics like dog training, home gardening, pool maintenance that allow you to expand services.
- Follow industry trends – Monitor house sitting websites and forums to stay atop changing homeowner needs and innovation in the industry.
- Keep improving – Read books, listen to podcasts etc. on communication, productivity, marketing and other core professional skills.
- Update online profiles – Refresh your house sitting profile, website etc. regularly with new photos, offers, testimonials etc.
- Re-evaluate services – Survey clients to identify service gaps you could fill by adding offerings. Brainstorm new value-adds.
- Attend conferences – Attend relevant pet care, house sitting or small business conferences to discover best practices.
Commit to lifelong learning. Continuously improving your knowledge and abilities will ensure you always stay in demand.
Choosing Your Next Steps
If you’re considering house sitting as a full or part-time career path, the opportunities are endless. Here are some recommended next steps:
- Join house sitting sites – Sign up for TrustedHousesitters, HouseSitter.com, Nomador etc. to access homeowner listings worldwide.
- Build credentials – Establish your profile, gather testimonials, complete background checks, get references etc.
- House sit locally – Arrange a few local house sits with family or friends to gain initial experience.
- Travel – Arrange your first international house sits in appealing destinations to test out this lifestyle.
- Set financial goals – Determine target income and savings goals. Develop a strategic financial plan.
- Offer pet services – Offer pet sitting, dog walking, daycare etc. to supplement house sitting income.
- Market yourself – Create a website, social media pages, online listings etc. to attract local clients.
- Join professional groups – Connect with other house sitters in online groups on Facebook, Reddit, forums etc.
When you’re ready, take the leap into this rewarding career path. The nomadic house sitting lifestyle awaits!
For pet lovers with a sense of adventure, becoming a full-time house sitter offers the chance to travel the world while enjoying flexible, meaningful work caring for homes and animals. Though not without challenges, house sitting can become a highly profitable and fulfilling career option for those able to consistently provide caring, responsible service matched by few alternatives. If you’re able to leverage your skills, establish yourself with stellar reviews, and put in consistent effort, you can build an amazing lifestyle seeing the world as a professional house sitter.
Lifestyle reflection – Periodically evaluate if this career still fulfills you as your needs change. Don’t stay out of habit or fear.
- Arbeit als Haussitter
- What Does a House Sitter Do?
- Why Become a House Sitter?
- Skills and Qualities of Great House Sitters
- Building Your Credentials
- Creating a Stand Out House Sitter Profile
- Finding House Sitting Opportunities
- Writing a Compelling House Sitting Application
- Preparing for a House Sitting Interview
- Providing Exceptional Care and Service
- Setting Your Rates
- Getting Paid for House Sits