Everything you need to know about making money with Housesitter

Written by Emma Kansiz

Published 2022-07-05 / 4 min read

Love the idea of scoping out other people’s houses and taking care of their plants while they’re gone? Curious about how others live - while also helping to make their lives easier?

What is Housesitter?

Housesitter.com is part of the CareGuide family of websites, a group that emphasizes connecting skilled and dedicated workers to people who need them. According to the site, over 1 million users have trusted Housesitter.com to find someone to mind their plants and keep tabs on their home while they’ve been away. But CareGuide might not actually deliver what the promise and the more research we do on the site, the more opaque and mysterious it appears.

CareGuide and HouseSitter.com do not have the best reputation in the house sitting circle and we will provide more information on that below. Keep an open mind but be aware as you research whether this option will work for you.

How does Housesitter's earning structure work?

House Sitters can set their own rates, keeping in mind what competitors in the area are charging. This empowers you to decide what jobs are worth your while and helps you build confidence in your ability to earn money in a self-employed fashion. House Sitters also has a job posting portal where you can see posts from homeowners. You can apply directly to these posts and they typically have a listed price that the homeowner is willing to pay. We like house sitting because it is low key work and you can make a nice lump sum without too much effort. Most of the posted jobs range between $50-$150 for a day or $12-$20 per hour. Salary.com claims that the average salary of a full time house sitter is around $28,000 per year. It is unlikely that you will be house sitting full time using any single service, however.

There is one drawback to Housesitter.com - one that it shares with the rest of the CareGuide services. While there is a free basic membership plan available, it is restrictive and limits what you can get out of the website. A basic membership does not allow you to share your contact info. You will have a cap on how many messages you can send to prospective clients, and you will not be prioritized in search results when homeowners are browsing for someone to hire. The membership ranges from $18-23 a month, depending on whether you are based in the United States or Canada. A three month membership ranges between $45-$59. 

With that caveat mentioned, Housesitter.com does not handle any other transactions that take place between you and the homeowner. You can decide via the messaging tool what works best for both of you. It is common to be paid in cash, by e-transfer, or through Venmo. Discuss this with your employer and ensure there is clarity on both ends when you accept a job.

What is the time commitment for Housesitter?

First things first: why do people hire house sitters? A variety of reasons. Many people use the service to have their pets minded while they’re away, and a house sitter is significantly cheaper than a kennel or pet daycare. Some people want the peace of mind of knowing that someone is watching their house in the event of a burglary. Snow removal and garbage collection are major services house sitters perform. Basically put, there is no shortage of house sitting work out there- it is simply a matter of finding a reliable platform and legitimate clients. 

HouseSitter.com, like its peer PetSitter.com, allows you to set your own availability on the platform. You can decide which requests and offers to respond to and you can filter jobs for ones that suit your schedule. This makes it a reliable option for people who work or study full-time.  

You do need to build up a consistent reputation on the site though before you can start earning consistent money from the service. You have to be patient as a newbie on the platform and you’ll have to craft a personalized, warm, professional profile. Ratings and reviews are one of the trust-building features of the site and people can be understandably reticent about who they let into their home while they are away. 

As a house sitter you will have to watch someone’s home for a set amount of time. Typically, there is a higher demand for weekends and holidays so you need to take this into account. How will that fit in your personal, work, and social life? You might have to sacrifice some of your other interests in order to pick up the more profitable house sitting roles.

As a house sitter you have a relaxed but serious responsibility. You need to be aware of the trust that has been placed in you and you might have to turn down plans that you’d be able to take part in with another side gig. If you’ve agreed to watch a house for a long weekend and get invited to a party while you’re there, you can’t simply throw some extra water on the plants and hit the road. Keep in mind that these are possibilities that might arise if you choose this gig.

How to get started with Housesitter?

HouseSitter.com has a fairly straightforward onboarding process. To begin the sign up, fill out some information about yourself, including contact and location information. You will be asked where you are available to house sit, location-wise.

The signup questionnaire will ask you what services you offer. The options are: mail collection, plant care, trash and recycling removal, pet feeding, and snow clearing. You can check one or all five. You can then choose your hourly or day rate. 

The profile setup will prompt you to create a headline with a short, compelling introduction to your services. Below, you can fill out a more detailed description about your skills and what sets you apart. The description must be over 100 words, so be expansive, warm, and informative. Include any certificate, special accreditations, or handyman skills. Describe your availability and expand upon your offered services. Detail any health and safety training you have - key in light of the pandemic. Your profile is a first point of contact with prospective clients so be genuine and convincing. They might be trusting you with their home, after all.

Add a professional, friendly photo to your profile to attract homeowners. You will then be prompted to choose a membership plan as mentioned above in the earnings section.

Once on the site you are able to sit back and let potential employers find you, but you will have better luck if you browse the job posting page. You can then reach out to the homeowners directly with a personalized proposal. You can filter by geographic distance and filter what services are required by the homeowner to find the best match.

Housesitter requirements

Required Resources

A car is not a necessity but will be useful depending on your geographic location. You don’t want to be taking public transit for three hours to get to your overnight house sitting gig.

Required Skills

Being a reliable and responsible person is paramount for this kind of gig. In many cases you will be taking care of pets, plants, general upkeep, and mail. Someone is entrusting you with their belongings and their home so you need to respect the faith they are placing in you. 

Soft skills, like being communicative and accommodating, will enable you to get clients and cultivate positive reviews as a housesitter. You need to be hospitality-minded and organized. You may be required to keep in constant contact with the homeowners during your stint minding their home. Keep a log of the stay or jot down any notes that might be relevant for the homeowner.

Required Documents

To create a basic profile on the site you only have to fill out basic personal information, including location and contact details. This basic information is all that is required in order to access the job postings and start browsing jobs. Because of the nature of the work, many homeowners will ask for references or potentially a background check depending on the scope and length of the role.

Other important details

As we mentioned above, HouseSitter.com does not have the best reputation. Many users claim that the free membership option is basically useless because of all the restrictions on what you can do. You can’t use their Telecall system, which enables you to contact homeowners on the site. CareGuide, the parent company of HouseSitters.com has 18 complaints lodged against it on Better Business Bureau so there is definitely substance behind these claims of HouseSitter.com being unscrupulous.

Regardless of what platform you use, as a house sitter you are essentially self-employed and it is incumbent upon you to keep track of your expenses and income. You are legally obligated to pay tax on your earnings so keep track of them in a spreadsheet. Put a bit away for taxes at the end of the year. If you plan to house sit consistently, consider hiring an accountant who can help you navigate tax time.

Our review

Let’s start with the positives. We love the idea of house sitting as a way to earn extra money while scoping out other peoples design and interiors (jokes!) It is a fairly straightforward and enjoyable way to earn income and you can work on passion projects, freelance work, or another online side gig while minding someone’s home. It is also a great opportunity to help someone out and earn a profit while reading books and watching tv. No shame in that- we are all for maximizing your earnings while working strategically. House sitting can be a great consideration when traveling, as well. It enables you to save money on lodging and experience a new culture firsthand, while making someone else’s life easier.

Now for the negatives. From research and anecdotes it doesn’t seem like HouseSitter.com is the most trustworthy or reputable of the house sitting websites available. It is not a scam but it lacks a lot of the transparency that other sites like Trusted Housesitters boast. Although it says that there are over 10,000 house sitting job listings you will find that the larger majority are expired or many years old and that there are generally only ten posts per week. So we find that misleading. We also don’t like that you have to pay a subscription fee in order to get any tangible value out of the service. Anecdotes from unhappy reviewers mention that they never actually got contacted and that it was more common than not to get no reply after responding to job listings. 

It does feel like HouseSitter.com emphasizes a glut of work available to draw in paid subscribers and that the traffic they promise is not borne out by the reality. We don’t like the fact that people who are looking for a side gig are shelling out for a service that proves to be illusory. We get that sometimes you have to spend money to make money and we are not at all against subscription based services. Some of them, like Citizen Shipper, have consistently good reviews and also allow their contractors to keep their earnings and maximize their opportunities. But we also believe you should be wary of subscription services when there is not a clear value justification. As mentioned above, HouseSitter.com is not a total scam but it does not have the consistent job postings to necessarily back up its subscription price. While other sites have a satisfaction guaranteed clause for their paid memberships, HouseSitters.com considers all subscriptions final sale as per their terms and conditions. Suspicious. We would warn side hustlers not to use this site but if you do, tread carefully. 

If you are committed to the idea of house sitting (we don’t blame you, you should go for it) then there are heaps of other sites with better reputations and more transparency. Some of these include Mind My House, Trusted Housesitters, Hand HouseSitters America. These sites charge between $20-$30 a year to have a post up- significantly cheaper than HouseSitters.com.