Advice about Hiring a Housesitter
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Note Recommendations from the newsletters for individuals are not updated to the website for privacy reasons. If you are looking for an individual to provide pet sitting or dog walking, please post to the House & Garden newsletter .
I have a question about the going rate for house-sitting. What should one be paid for a month-long house-sitting gig that includes such duties as: fish care, monitoring work being done on stairs by workmen, revving up electric cars so that batteries don't die, and a few other things. What do you think is a fair amount to ask to be paid? Thanks. Kate
We just secured a grad student to housesit for us for 2 weeks. I posted it at a university and received about 8 responses. I think we lucked out because we were looking for someone who would really appreciate a place to stay for 2 weeks (she lives with 5 others usually) and we had minimal tasks for her - mainly related to cat care. We are paying her $200 for the 2 weeks, but another student couldn't get off the phone fast enough when I suggested that amount, so it really depends on whether the housesitter is looking at it as a ''job''. Anon
Maybe I'm behind the times, but I thought the ''compensation'' for house-sitting was getting to stay in the house, rather than any further payment.
last time I paid a housesitter I figured the going rate for her time ($10/hr, it was a 17yr teen). I estimated how much time the various chores would take and offered an amount to cover her time including walking from her home to mine. paid fairly, I think
Having been a housesitter several times, I have to say that the one person's response stating that staying in the house is plenty of pay couldn't be further from the truth. That sounds like a great way to take advantage of someone (it happened to me, and I was stuck somewhere for 4 months because of a commitment to someone's pets who moved overseas for awhile).
Granted, for someone homeless or in a terrible living situation, it may be a breath of fresh air, but for the rest of us?
You have to pack up all the stuff you need, and the more particular you are about things (such as organic food, soap ingredients, particular kitchenware for those things you want to make, etc), the more you have to lug around. You're taken out of your comfort zone and thrown in where inevitably (assumuing, again, that you have an established existence elsewhere) you miss things.
I think the best way to ever determine correct pay is to look at what someone has to do and also give up (including transport time to your place, and to their work, and gas, as well as the time/effort to complete the duties), and pay what you would want if you had to do all that for someone else. Believe me, you could have a $3mil house and I would rather be at my own comfy, humble home, if housesitting is ''for free''.
Hello, Since we are from NY we travel back there often. My loving, gentle, sweet, social cat, Sadie, gets very lonely when we are away.
I was thinking of asking one of my babysitters to come stay at our house while we are away. She is currently a part-time live- in Nanny and lives only a few blocks away. We will be away for 5 days and then a big trip to Europe for almost 3 weeks this summer.
My next door neighbor is willing to feed my cat but Sadie LOVES to be around people. So, aside from feeding and cleaning the kitty litter, I would want the Nanny to hang out as much as possible. Since I know the family she works for, she could even bring the little girl she takes care of to play with my son's toys. In the summer when we are away again, I would also ask her to water plants and bring in mail every day.
I thought it would be nice for her to 'live' here so she could have a mini retreat from living all the time with her working family.
How should I compensate her? Many thanks, Bobbie
We pay our pet sitter $25.00 per day plus I give her an extra $50.oo or so. She lives at our house and takes care of our dogs, cats and pet rats. She also cleans(which is not required) and leaves our house cleaner than we left it for her(which is clean and tidy). Personally I dont' think she charges enough which is why I give her extra. I'll be curious to see what others say. anon
My best advice to you is to get a ''real'' house-sitter who will also take care of your cat -- not someone who will drop over on occassion and ''hang out.''
From lengthy experience I can tell you that if you don't get a live-in housesitter, the person won't ''hang out'': they'll just come over and feed your cat and be gone. People like to ''live'' where their clothes are, their make-up bag, etc. They want to settle in for a period -- whether that's 5 days or a couple of weeks. Otherwise, it's just boring to drop in and watch TV for a while with your cat. In other words, you'll pay for a service you wont actually get.
On the other hand, if you get a ''real'' house-sitter, the person officially moves in -- clothes, toothbrush, computer peripherals, etc.; they live in your house while you are away and it feels comfortable to them because all their stuff is there and they've nested. Moreover, as a paid ''house-sitter'' (*not* someone asked to drop by and pick up mail &/or water the plants) they are obligated to actually be there, to be present any time they are not out grocery shopping or taking classes.
We've been using house-sitters for our dog for almost 5 years now, and we've had great success. Advertise or ask around at UC Berkeley: most students love the opportunity to have a whole house for themselves rather than the apartment/dorm-share situation most of them are dealing with.
I would pay around $15/night for a cat. anon
I wonder if anyone has paid a house sitter before! Our babysitter lives 30 minutes away and works for us and another person in Berkeley. We will be away alot this summer and she will stay in our house, feed cats and bring in mail. How much do I pay her? It makes life more convenient for her in several ways: closer to work, big house- no roommates but she is really helping us out as well. We pay her about $260 week for some part time childcare now. Thanks for your suggestions, drl
As a college student/part time nanny I often housesit for short time periods (4 days, a week) and usually charge $15 a day with no pets and $20 a day with pets. With just cats (as opposed to dogs, who take more time,) and for a longer period of time I would probably say $15 a day. -Hope this helps
I am also thinking about this. There is a retired gentleman who will be coming to our home to dogsit and will spend the night. I asked him his fee, and he implied that different families pay him different amounts depending on their financial resources, which is very generous of him. He seemed to size us up and asked for $25/day. I want to hear other responses, so I can know if this is a fair fee for him. anon
I plan on asking a college age daughter of a close friend and neighbor to sit our 2 cats this Summer for 2 different trips. For one we'll be gone only a few days, but the other is a 2- week trip. By ''sit'' I really mean to make sure their food bowls are full and they get a little attention every day or so. The 2 week trip would also require cleaning out the cat boxes at least once. She would be welcome to sleep over if she wants to, but doesn't have to. I was wondering what people think a fair price to pay for these services would be? Thanks!
In the past, I have paid a ''professional'' (i.e. adult) catsitter $10 per day for food, water, attention. A neighborhood child has received $5 per day and often the parent will drop by just to make sure the child is fulfilling their responsibilities. When I have loaned my home while I am away, the house sitter took care of the pets for free as part of the deal.
I pay $20/visit for a pet sitting service to come to my house and feed my two cats, clean the litter box, get my mail, and water my plants. They come every other day when I'm on vacation. Josephine
I pay high school kids who don't have to go more than a couple of houses away $5 per day, with an extra $5 per each litter box change (about every 3-4 days). I would probably double that for someone older, who had to travel farther, or who was spending more time with the animals. I inquired of a professional service, and was told $40 a day. Probably a Cheapskate!
''Professional'' pet-sitters usually charge about $15 a day to feed/water/clean the litter box. They'll also water your plants if you have them (though no discount for not having them). anon
We are going to be out of town for a week and would like to ask the 2 boys around the corner (8 &13) to feed our cat and collect our newspapers. What would be a fare rate to offer them? Thanks! anon
I usually pay anywhere from $2.50-$5.00 a day, depending on how much I'm having the kids (of similar age) do. If it's spring and there are lots of vegetables to be watered, if I have a cat whose lonely and I want them to spend extra time with her, then I pay closer to $5 for those times. But just mail and a quick feed (of 4 cats), maybe less. Good luck! Eden
We pay neighbor kids $5 a day to feed our guinea pig and bring in the mail and newspaper. The job only takes about 10 minutes, but it is a real bargain considering that it cost $10 a day just to board the guinea pig. $35 for a week seems like a lot of money to kids that age. (If we are going away to somewhere exciting, I also bring back small souvenirs for the sitters.)********** Marcia
For 8 and 13 year olds, I'd ask their parents what they think is fair. A number of years ago we hired the 9 year old across the street to feed our cat, and his mom thought we way overpaid him. She wasn't upset with us, but she was kind of shocked by what we thought was a pretty normal rate. (I think it was something like $5 per day? I really don't remember, unfortunately). But the point is, I think the parent would like to have some input. If you think it is really too low, and the kids do a great job, you could always add a little ''tip'' at the end. Fran
We pay the 15-year old boy across the street $10/day (AM and PM visit) or $5/visit to come over, bring in mail and newpapers, walk dog for at least half an hour, and feed dog. I thought that was decent to generous rate - considering that it's the same as I pay my adult baby-sitter and more than I pay some teen- aged baby-sitters - but I wanted to make it worth his while so that he really does spend time with the dog. Interested to hear what others are paying.
I paid a 9-year-old neighbor kid $10 a visit. His eyes kinda popped out of his head, so I think it was a bit high. Maybe $7 a visit? Jennie
My family is going away for Thanksgiving. I have hired my daughter's boyfriend, a grad student, to housesit and care for our two dogs while we are away. Does anyone have any idea what I should pay him? Thanks for your advice. Janet
Re: Paying housesitter - my wife and I have never actually paid our housesitters, but we have indeed regaled them with gifts from places we've traveled, special home cooked feasts, big batches of their favorite cookies, etc. The various friends and friends of friends who have watered the plants and fed the cats have always been willing volunteers who usually jump at the chance to have a house and kitchen all to themselves, away from their room mates. I've also on occasion offered the use of our old but reliable VW Golf during their stay just to sweeten the deal. Dino and Nat, El Cerrito
When we go out of town we pay our nanny to come by twice a day to feed our five animals (1 dog, 2 cats, 2 birds). She also brings in the mail, opens the cat door in the morning, closes it at night, walks the dog. She drives to Berkeley from Oakland so I am basically paying her for the trouble and the expense of driving to our house twice a day. I pay her $5 per car trip, which works out to $10/day. When I have paid a neighborhood teenager to do the same thing, I pay $5/day (but make sure the teen's parents know about the gig - teens are forgetful!) Sally