May 27, 2024

South West News

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Brian, Barbara and Wilfred, London, for Homesitters, 27 February 2020

Five things you never knew about homesitting

Savings on energy bills

There are many benefits of becoming a homesitter, from exploring new parts of the UK to taking care of pets. What most people may not have considered it’s also a great way to make savings on energy bills.

Homesitters stay in someone else’s home, so those that take on assignments during the colder months could make sizeable savings. With household bills set to rise to eye watering levels next January this could be quite a bonus!

One of our retired homesitting couples, Brian and Barbara Kennedy do about 200 days of homesitting each year on around 20 assignments, ranging from two days to their longest of seven weeks.  They enjoy the role for many reasons including making savings!

Brian says, “We’ve visited more parts of the Home Counties in the past 18 years than we did in the previous 40 years. Homesitting is like having lots of small holidays and we regularly 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 without putting a strain on the budget and we have significantly reduced our home heating bill too.”

Staying in stately homes

Homesitting is also an opportunity to stay in a wide variety of homes from farm houses to penthouse flats, stately homes and historic castles – all for free.

Janet and Steve Groom from Kent thoroughly enjoy the home and pet sitting lifestyle, staying in gorgeous properties and looking after pets. The couple have a regular assignment in Barnes in London where they enjoy taking the dogs for walks in Richmond Park which is close by, plus there is a heated outdoor swimming pool they can use.

Janet says, “We often have to pinch ourselves to believe some of the homes we stay in. How else would you get to experience living in such gorgeous houses with swimming pools and beautiful gardens? Home and pet sitting is an amazing experience and we get so much out of it.”

Looking after unusual animals

Our clients have many different types of pets, from different breeds of dogs and cats to llamas, sheep, spiders and snakes and we have homesitters we can call upon no matter what the pet is. For example, we have a couple who are now fondly known as the Piggy-Banks as their surname is Banks and they regularly looked after a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig for a London-based client.

Pigs tend to be sensitive and temperamental animals and they also don’t like to be moved so the family needed someone to live in their house and look after him. The family called upon Homesitters and we found them this great couple who were happy to look after a pig, as well as all the other family pets including a terrier, a corn snake, a gecko and a tortoise!

Mileage and food costs covered

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 which often people don’t realise. This means they can eat for free whilst on assignment and travel costs can add up if the assignment is a long way from home.

As the role is flexible homesitters can take on as many assignments as they want during the year and some people may spend half of the year on assignment. Most of our homesitters are retirees on fixed incomes. Although the money they can earn isn’t usually the main motivation for taking on the role, it definitely comes in handy and can boost pension income.

It suits adventurous people

Sharon Payne

When people retire most don’t just want to sit at home twiddling their thumbs. Homesitting can satisfy this desire for adventure as it’s a great opportunity to visit new parts of the UK and step into the life of someone else for a short while. Homesitters live in a client’s home, taking care of their pets and can experience what it’s like to live somewhere different.

For homesitter, Sharon Payne from Milton Keynes this is just what she wanted. After taking early retirement from a busy career she has been home and pet sitting for over four years.  Sharon wanted to keep busy in retirement but was unwilling to take another 9 to 5 office job.

Sharon enjoys travelling, spending time with pets and meeting interesting people. Talking about one of her most memorable assignments she says, “I stayed in a beautiful old house in a small village where I looked after two dogs – and 35 tortoises!

“I really enjoyed looking after them, although I had to keep going to the local shop for more salad as they eat a kilo of salad every day between them. They are quite low maintenance and mostly put themselves to bed at night although I did have to check they were all in their beds and look for any stragglers.”

A keen golfer, Sharon always takes her golf clubs with her to play a few holes if there’s a golf course nearby. She is also enjoys photography and always takes her camera out on walks with the dogs. She says the day just flies by while she’s on assignment – and she certainly doesn’t find her retirement boring!

If homesitting sounds appealing, why not apply to become one? We are currently recruiting and would love to hear from anyone that thinks they would make a great homesitter. Please click here to find out more about the role, the type of people we are looking for and to apply.