Leading home and pet sitting company, Homesitters Ltd is in on a recruitment drive to increase the number of homesitters on its books ahead of the busy summer season.
It’s a role that suits retired people in their 50s, 60s and 70s says Ben Irvine, Director of Operations at Homesitters Ltd, and, with the cost of living not showing any signs of easing, it’s a job that could provide a welcome boost to those on a fixed pension income.
Although the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS)[i] showed that the annual inflation rate has dropped slightly to 7.8% in the 12 months to April 2023 – monthly food and drink inflation reached 19.1% in March and housing, water and energy bills were up 26.1%[ii].
Also, the ONS ‘Public opinions and social trends bulletin’ (4th -14th May) found almost half (49%) of adults are now using less fuel in their homes because of the cost of living[iii].
Ben said: “For retired people it’s a particularly tough time but taking on a flexible role like home and pet sitting could enable them to make savings on their utility bills as well as provide a bit of extra income. Another financial incentive is people can visit new places without having to pay for hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation.
“Homesitters stay in people’s homes when they go away, looking after the home and any pets. Our recent research found the top three benefits of the job are the chance to explore the UK, looking after pets, and having a change of scenery. Also, people said they feel happier, are better off, and have a sense of purpose in retirement due to homesitting.”
One couple, Anita and Norman Prior decided to become homesitters after retiring from the Royal Air Force in their 50s. Having travelled the world in their jobs the pair developed itchy feet in retirement and decided to live on a boat so they wouldn’t be tied to one spot. They are currently moored near Tamworth in Staffordshire.
The couple are animal lovers and used to have four spaniels and a cat, but when their last spaniel died, they decided they couldn’t put themselves through that kind of loss again.
A chance meeting in a pub with a couple who had a Staffordshire bull terrier named Woody, led to them looking after the dog in the couple’s home and gave them the idea to become professional homesitters.
Anita said: “We really enjoyed looking after Woody. We’d forgotten how nice it is to be around dogs and take them for walks – there’s nothing nicer than a dog walking in front of you with his tail wagging.”
Since joining Homesitters in August 2018, Anita and Norman have travelled all over the UK and looked after twelve dogs, three cats, three donkeys and a lake full of wildfowl.
Anita said: “We’ve looked after a lot of dogs but they’re all different and we enjoy getting to know their different personalities. Some owners like to keep in touch while they’re away and we’ll send them photos of the dogs so they can see what they’ve been up to. If we’re going out, we take the dogs with us if we can because we enjoy their company.
“We really enjoy the variety of life as homesitters, we’ve stayed in some beautiful homes in gorgeous locations and there’s always something different to do. We have our RAF pensions which we can live on quite comfortably, but our earnings from homesitting mean we can enjoy life just that little bit more.”
Homesitters receive a modest remuneration, plus they are reimbursed for mileage when they travel to and from an assignment, and they receive a daily food allowance.
Ben adds: “We’re keen to hear from anyone who thinks they have what it takes to be a homesitter as we are expecting a busy summer as record numbers are booking holidays again. Ideal new recruits are fit and active retired people, who want to work flexibly.
“We want sensible and reliable people, as well as those who are good listeners, who are sensitive to our clients’ requirements. Proven pet-care skills and a genuine affinity for animals is a bonus too. If this sounds like the idea role we’d love to hear from you.”
For more information and to apply to become a homesitter visit: www.homesitters.co.uk