How Much Should I Pay a House Sitter? 7 Things to Consider.

updated Aug 7, 2023
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So you’re finally going to take your dream vacation — and it’s a long one. You’ve booked the tickets, set money aside, and got the time off from work. But what to do about your day-to-day housekeeping duties (i.e., watering plants, feeding the fish, turning off the porch lights, etc.)? Your best bet is to hire a house sitter, and preferably that’s someone you trust to look after your place. But now you have to figure out how much to pay them. A quick Google search reveals the normal going rates for your location, but still not the exact figure you’re looking for.

As a starting point to keep in mind, typical house sitting rates are $16 per hour on average, although many house sitters charge per day. That rate can range anywhere from $25 to $100 per day, depending on the location and responsibilities. But this is just a ballpark.

To figure out how much you should pay, it’s best to take some time to calculate a number based on your own house-sitting expectations and needs. Here’s a list of factors to consider when determining the right payment for your house sitter. And if you are the house sitter, these factors can also help you determine how much to charge.

Location

The first thing to consider when figuring out what to pay your house sitter is your location. Because the average house-sitting rates — and overall costs of living — change from city to city and in suburban areas and small towns, it’s important to determine what other people are paying for similar services in your area. You can do some online research, ask in a local online forum like Nextdoor, or chat up friends and neighbors in your area to get a good estimate of the local going rate.

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What Responsibilities the House Sitter Is Taking On

Once you have a general estimate of the average going rate for house sitting in your area, it’s time to determine the kinds of services you expect from your sitter. Will they just be stopping by in the evening to turn on lights and bring in mail, or multiple times a day to feed your cat? Do you want them to dust and vacuum while they’re there? Or is watering a handful of houseplants all you need? Remember that every responsibility requested is grounds for a higher rate, so make sure you know exactly what to ask of your house sitter ahead of time.

How Much Time They’ll Be Spending in Your Home (and When)

The more responsibilities you assign your sitter, the more time they’ll spend in your home, which means you need to be prepared to pay them accordingly. Jobs that require the sitter to stay at your place overnight are best charged by a daily rate, while smaller tasks, like once-daily visits, can be billed hourly. Emergency visits, late-night visits, or anything that falls on a holiday should be compensated fairly, too.

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The Size of the Residence

Something else to consider when figuring out what to pay your house sitter is the size of the space they’ll be responsible for. For example, large homes with bigger spaces to clean and look after require a lot more effort than, say, a studio apartment. Therefore, the amount you’ll pay for house sitting should vary depending on the size and type of space you’re asking someone to care for.

Commuting Costs

Along with the time they’ll be providing services, it’s also important to consider the distance (and costs) of your sitter’s commute to your home. For this, calculate gas and tolls, public transportation fees, and any other factors that might affect their travels, so you can anticipate any additional charges they’ll be incurring on your home’s behalf. It’s up to you to decide if you should factor transportation costs into the rate you’re paying, but if you’re a house sitter determining what to charge, this could definitely come into play on your profits.

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Provisions

House sitting rates should also include provisions for any day-to-day house-related needs. If you think there’s a chance your sitter will need to make a grocery or hardware store run, make sure you’re prepared to cover those costs in your pay rate. Or better yet, offer up a decent per diem (for food and other essentials) as part of your payment so you never have to worry about reimbursing.

Amenities Provided

Lastly, before you tally up your final number, take into account what amenities you’ll be providing for your sitter — i.e., a fully-stocked fridge, free WiFi, beer, swimming pool access — to get an idea of what you’re already paying for. This doesn’t mean you should dock their pay for every single convenience — rather, it’s just a reminder that the more you already have to offer, the less they’ll have to spend (or charge you for) later.