If you’re heading out of town, you have a lot to take care of before you hit the road. Not only do you have to find a place to stay and create a travel plan, but you have to make sure everything you love is well cared for while you’re gone. The most important of which, of course, is your pet and house.
“It is much more comfortable for pets to remain in their familiar surroundings,” says house sitter Amanda Webster. “They are already uneasy about their parents leaving, but allowing them to remain with your scent and their comfort places and objects allows for a much more enjoyable experience. Having a house sitter ensures that your dog gets individualized attention and care.”
Of course, you could board your pets and ask a neighbor to watch your house, but why not just hire a house sitter? One trustworthy person can fill both jobs—and probably do a better job at both. But what’s the average house sitting rate? How much does hiring a house sitter cost? The answer depends on quite a few variables.
Location influences house sitting rates
There are a few factors that influence house sitting rates, starting with where you live.
Since the cost of living tends to increase closer to big cities, the cost of house sitting services usually fluctuate in the same way.
According to Thumbtack, in big cities like New York City and Los Angeles, house sitting rates can range from $45 to $100 per night—sometimes even higher.
In smaller cities, like Columbus, Ohio, rates range from $35 to $50 per day. Costs get even smaller when you look at rural areas, where you can score a house sitter for as little as $20 per night.
However, in a strange twist, you might also find more reasonable rates if you live in touristy spot. Turns out the prospect of having a place to stay in a desirable destination has its perks!
The service you use influences the cost of house sitting
You certainly have your choice of service providers when you’re looking for a house sitter.
Your costs will vary widely depending on what services you use—and so will what you get in a house sitter. What service works best for you depends on what you’re looking for.
Madolline Gourley of “One Cat at a Time” is a house sitter who (obviously) specializes in cats. Although she’s from Australia, she’s used free house sitting services like HouseCarers.com to travel the United States.
“I do it as a cheaper way to see the country,” she explains. “I get a free place to stay, in a location of my choice (assuming there’s a sit in a city I want to visit), and I look after the person’s cat and home as a kind of trade off.”
The fact that there is no fee through House Carers is definitely appealing, but there are also a few drawbacks to the service. According to their website, they don’t require their house sitters to provide references or any background info, and instead leave it to the homeowner to ask for (and verify) any information they’d like to see. Homeowners are also responsible for creating their own contracts with the house sitter if they chose to have one.
Cost: HouseCarers.com is a free service for both house sitters and homeowners, but asking the sitter to perform additional services may add additional costs.
House sitter Kara Patterson finds clients through TrustedHousesitters, where both sitters and homeowners pay a yearly membership fee, then all sits are free of charge.
“The home/pet owner receives peace of mind in knowing their home and pet are well looked after while they are away,” explains Patterson. “And the house sitter receives a ‘free’ place to stay and use of utilities and amenities. It’s a win-win arrangement, really!”
Sitters through this service receive different levels of verification, and it’s up to the sitter what level they’re at. Those with basic verification have had their email address and phone number checked, and have submitted references.
A standard verification includes everything that comes with the basic, as well as ID confirmation and document checks. Neither level requires background checks.
Cost: The yearly cost for a homeowner through TrustedHousitter is $149. House sitters pay $129 per year to have access to jobs.
Rover works a bit differently than the other two services we’ve covered. All house sitters do charge a daily rate when you book them through Rover, but they set the rate themselves, meaning it’s easier to find exactly the rate you’re looking to pay.
If you’re going to be away for more than a few days, you may find Rover to be a bit more expensive than some other service providers, but there’s a reason for that.
Not only does Rover provide references and reviews of past house sits, but they also individually approve of each house sitter listed on their site — after they’ve passed a basic background check. This is definitely a big bonus, considering this person will be living in your home.
Cost: Since Rover house sitters set their own rates, you’ll find they vary widely depending on both sitter experience and the location of your home.
Per night costs range from $15 to $150, so there’s no question you’ll find someone to fit your needs and your budget. Phoenix Rover sitter Amanda Gilbert charges $35 per night, plus $10 for each additional dog, and says she only charges extra if she needs to take the pets to any vet or grooming appointments.
Independent house sitters
Not every house sitter uses a service to match them with their clients.
Meg Marrs, founder of K9 of Mine, says that while she sometimes uses services like Rover and TrustedHousesitter, she also finds many of her clients through word of mouth and social media. This may be a good option for you if you’re depending on a recommendation from someone you know and trust.
Cost: Marrs is located in Boston, but says she house sits all over the country. “It really depends on what the competitive rate is in the area, as well as the responsibilities, the location, and the home environment,” she says. She usually charges between $40 and $60 per night.
How to hire a house sitter
Once you’ve chosen a service provider, it’s time to connect with a house sitter — or maybe even a few.
If you’re choosing house sitters that live in your area, it’s a good idea to set up a meet and greet in a public area, just to see if you’re a good match. If you’re choosing someone that would have to travel to get to you, a video call may help you get more of a feel for their personality. If you don’t jive well, move on to the next candidate.
If you think you’ve found the house sitter for you, it’s important to go over your expectations for the house sit. Here are some topics to cover with any potential house sitter:
- How much time you expect them to spend at your home each day
- Whether or not guests are permitted at your home
- Any areas of your home that are off-limits
- Your pet’s schedule, diet, and exercise needs
- Any other chores around the home you would like to be completed
- How you expect to communicate during the house sit (as well as how often you expect that communication to occur)
- Amenities provided (food, Wi-Fi, swimming pool access, etc)
Once you’ve agreed to all of the details, you’re ready to set a date! If you’re not using a service that provides a contract or guarantee, it’s a good idea to create one before you leave your home and pet in their care.