With reports that household energy bills in the UK could top £500 a month by January[i], many people will be looking at how they can save on their bills.
One way for retirees to make savings is to become a homesitter, looking after people’s homes and any pets they have when they go away. According to Ben Irvine, Director of Operations at Homesitters Ltd it’s a role that appeals to retired people and it can bring savings to people’s energy bills, especially if they take on a lot of assignments during the winter months. Ben said: “For people on set incomes this latest news about the likely cost of energy by January is going to be a real worry. During the winter it can be hard to cut back on energy especially for retired people who may spend a lot of time indoors.
“Homesitting offers people the chance to boost their pension income, plus it can mean they are saving on their energy bills too. Most of our homesitters are retirees and they enjoy the role because it’s a flexible part-time job and gives them the opportunity to explore parts of the UK.
“It’s perfect for animal lovers too, and part of the attraction for most is spending time with pets. The majority of the pets we are asked to look after are dogs and cats, although homesitters could be look after any type of pets such as rabbits, llamas and reptiles. We’re currently recruiting so recommend people get in touch if the role sounds appealing.”
Home and pet sitters employed by Homesitters Ltd typically earn around £170 as a couple for a two-week homesit, plus they get reimbursed for mileage at 45p per mile and get a food allowance. Brian and Barbara Kennedy took early retirement when they were 50 and 52 respectively, and have been homesitting ever since. They do around 200 days of homesitting each year, ranging from two days to their longest of seven weeks. Their favourite thing is spending time with the pets, exploring new surroundings and meeting new clients. They especially enjoy walking dogs and believe they are fitter because of it. Brian says, “In our early days of homesitting while out on a morning walk in fields with dogs cavorting in the sunshine, I would often think of my former work colleagues attending a team meeting in a windowless conference room. I knew exactly where I preferred to be. These regular walks provide us with exercise and fresh air and I believe we are fitter and healthier as a result than we might otherwise be after 18 years of retirement.”
The couple have stayed in more than 80 different homes, in areas including Northamptonshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and areas of London including Hampstead, Kensington and Chelsea, Barnes, Putney and Wimbledon, and cared for more than 140 different types of dog breeds.
Brian adds, “Homesitting is like having lots of small holidays; up to 20 times each year we pack our bags, load the car and set off on a new adventure. The payment we receive isn’t a strong motivation but it’s nice to have. It means we can enjoy occasional pub lunches during our stays while not putting a strain on the budget.”
Homesitters Ltd are different to many other pet sitting agencies in that all their homesitters are employed by them, are fully vetted and insured, plus they provide 24/7 back up support for homesitters on assignment. Homesitters also meet clients and their pets beforehand to be briefed on the home and the pets’ routine to ensure the assignment goes smoothly.
For more information on Homesitters Ltd and to apply to become a homesitter visit: www.homesitters.co.uk