Compensation As A Sitter

My view is that yes there are sites out there which pay but when I dig deeper it seems the terms and conditions are quite restrictive. Personally I prefer to browse the opportunities on THS and choose to apply for any that I feel are a good fit for the pet, owner and sitter. If I was being paid for my ‘services’ I may feel pressured into applying for sits which may not be a good fit just to earn money. If done legally it would involve submitting tax returns etc and for me those days are gone!
I am in the fortunate position that I am retired and financially comfortable so it easy for me to say but there are sites out there to suit all needs.


Hello young @curiosity_roving;
This is the way of the world.
Everything is always changing, sometimes putting stones, rocks even mountains in our path. We have to learn to adapt and find our way to what we as individuals need and want.
We cannot control others. My recommendation would be to keep doing what is working for you to meet your financial needs. There is enough for everyone. Do the sits for free that would satisfy your other needs, such as travel, learn, satisfy your curiosity of the world, cultures and such. It can be done.
No need to choose one over the other, only what is right for you

And yes I am editing and adding more.
A personal example.
I worked as a nurse 29 years, 19 of which I was a highly paid travel nurse. I have loved and travelled since very young. As a nurse, I volunteered many times to go on medical missions. We worked hard but we played just as hard. Those are treasures you find when you realize you can work and have fun too…


I both sit and host. As a sitter, I use the video pre-meeting to understand exactly what is expected of me. For example, I don’t like lawn and garden care and so I ask about it. That said, my number one role as a sitter is pet care, regardless of what that entails, it is what I signed up for, not simply a free place to stay where I’d like to visit. If extra duties are added on once I arrived, I would be sure to talk about it and leave that in my review so others will benefit.
As a host, I communicate expectations clearly up front.
This site isn’t intended for paid sits, so if that is your hope or expectation, I’m sure others may have great recommendations. It can be a lot of “work”, but I think that’s where the advance interview can be helpful.
All the best navigating it all!


I’m a relatively new sitter having joined THS in May of last year. Currently doing my 9th sit. I don’t think sitters need to be compensated as time with great animals and in nice places is compensation enough for me although I must say some HO’s have been very thoughtful to take me for a meal, provide a bottle of wine and currently a homemade fruitcake!
I did decline a local sit due to the demands of the HO which included not using the heating in winter, 24/7 care of their cat and I must not leave the premises for the week!

1 Like

@curiosity_roving - The world and its ways are constantly changing and the use of cash in society is a great example. The concept of ‘working’ for someone in return for them giving you something other than cash in return is commonly known as ‘bartering’ and has been around for thousands of years.

In recent times, the concept seems to be becoming really popular again and the younger generation is at the forefront of this. Why buy new clothes when it is now perfectly acceptable to exchange them with others? Why buy apples when you have chickens and can exchange your eggs for apples? Why buy petcare when you can do an exchange and offer your accommodation temporarily as ‘payment’?

As people realise that there are products and services that previously had to be bought with cash no longer have to be then those in the industries that provide those products and services have to adapt.

Your example of Spotify is perfect. Would you prefer to have access to all the music you want for a very small monthly fee as we do today or go back to the relatively recent time when people were spending most of their disposable income on a couple of records at the weekend?

I think you are confusing bartering with volunteering a couple of times in your post. They are two completely different things. Volunteering is when you give a service for free and receive nothing in return. Bartering is the terminology more suited to THS and is the exchange of a service or product for another service or product but cash is not involved.

When pet sitting via THS sitters are being ‘paid’ - just not in cash

Petsitting via THS is not volunteering. - it is bartering

Whilst I agree there is a global housing crisis, I don’t think THS is in any way part of the problem. There will be very, very few people petsitting as an alternative to renting or buying their own property. You would have to be sitting for 365 days a year to achieve that which is very rare even amongst full time sitters.


Wow! Being new to the site I find some thing I’ve read to be shocking. This is one of them. Don’t use the heat and in the winter and be there 24/7 with a cat? That definitely sounds like far more of a commitment and something they should be paying a person for not looking for someone to do that free.

I assume even local sits involve people wanting to get out and explore the area they are sitting at. Not being tied to a home 24/7.

Our dog had surgery last year and we had to leave town for a medical appointment for a family member. We hired someone and let them exactly what the duties were - not being left alone, keeping the dog calm (ACL surgery), give meds and just be there to watch over her for a week. She was already a few weeks into her recovery. We paid them very very well, supplied all the food and allowed them to have company over so they weren’t alone.

I would never expect anything like that on a site like this.

We do have dog who we need to be let out every 6-8 hours. They aren’t at the stage of being left all day BUT in the event we find a sitter who has plans to spend the whole day exploring the many lovely areas where we live… We have a few neighbors who are amazing and come to let our dogs out when we do that. We just make sure we aren’t inconveniencing them and try to work our long day adventures around their schedule. Which is very easy as they are usually available but have certain days they are respectfully busy. We are lucky that we are able to arrange that even when we have sitters.

When we had someone take care of our dog after surgery they weren’t really plant people. Our neighbor came everyday to water out shrubs that we just planted.

In return for our neighbors helping us, we also feed their cats and watch their homes when they go for a vacation as well.

I’m sorry for anyone who has had that experience. I would hope that if we ever made someone feel like we were asking too much (as it can be somewhat subjective based on the person’s plans) that they would absolutely let us know! We didn’t join to take advantage of anyone (which I feel in some stories is the case) we joined so that if someone is wanted to come to our area they get the benefit of animal companionship, no hotel fees and more homely feel to their stay.

We absolutely don’t “expect” that we will find the right person(s) but if it happens that’s great! If we help someone have a more affordable getaway etc. If not, we have plenty of time to search out paid help.


You made a good call @richten1 declining that sit as it sounds like you dodged a bullet!


This is very relevant to us as well as highly-experienced, full time sitters.
I agree with Colin that what we do is bartering: I provide a service that has x value, and homeowners provide me with a product (in this case a clean, comfortable place to stay) that I feel has a similar value.
Once this balance is skewed in either way, it becomes up to either party to decide how they want to proceed.
For example, with the ongoing energy crisis, some HOs are asking for contributions to utilities from sitters. While I don’t begrudge them doing this, especially if it’s a relatively low-maintenance sit, it doesn’t really fit into how I live my life. So we take a pass on those.
Likewise, a HO who requires near 24-hour care for an animal, or who requires other tasks that, for us, unbalance the trade, would be a no too.

So these two types of sits (and a handful of others) will go other sitters who maybe don’t have the years of experience, insurance, and so on, that we do, or who do but are happy with the balance of the value they’ve assigned. And that’s okay. We’ve diversified by offering our services on other sites, including our own, and have gotten paid sits this way, as well as through word of mouth.

Offering a product for free will draw in a lot of people. But once they read the fine print, some, if not quite a lot, will not continue.

You mentioned Spotify, so I’ll continue with that. You can listen to Spotify for free, if you want to hear annoying ads after every few songs. Many don’t want to hear annoying ads and want other benefits, so they choose to pay. Some HOs may want a sitter and think that their sit is good value and an even trade. If it is, then it’s no problem, but if it requires a lot of extra work, they may be forced to go the paid route down the line as fewer unpaid sitters apply. Likewise, if a HO has a lot of expectations for an unpaid sitter, they might be disappointed in the outcome, and will choose to pay in the future. Some sitters want to stay in a place for free, but don’t want to take care of animals at all. These sitters will either leave on their own accord or because HOs are dissatisfed with their services.

I’ll add just one more anecdote because I know I’m rambling on.
I used to live in a hostel “for free” in exchange for cleaning. This was a great situation, and I felt it was a very even trade. I got to live in a highly desirable location in a foreign country and in exchange I cleaned 14 hours a week.
My mom is a professional cleaner. She cleans condos and vacation rentals in a highly desirable location. She charges above the average for this service. Does she miss out on some jobs because there are others who are willing to do it for much less/exchange? Yes. But people continue to hire her because there’s no one out there doing it as well as she does.
So I just keep trying to be the best in my field and people will either choose me on this site because I’m awesome, or they’ll hire me off site because I’m awesome.

Those are just my thoughts! No right or wrong way to feel!

(In case it isn’t clear, I’m using the terms ‘paid’ and ‘unpaid’ to talk about money being exchanged. And I’d never seek out a paid sit on a site that forbids that type of compensation.)


if we don’t have this resource yet, we definitely should // great idea

Wooooooow, yeah - so happy to get a heads-up about this. I had a feeling that it might go that way in some scenarios.

And I feel like this example illustrates my concerns very well. Houses retain value. In most cases, their value is increasing over time. Labour is intangible, and once a precedent has been set for it to be given away without compensation - especially caretaking labour, which historically has been performed by women and largely taken for granted - it rarely regains any recognition of value.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that THS is pretty all right and I sure do hope it doesn’t turn into a dystopian nightmare. :laughing:


This is a very interesting thread with a lot of different perspectives on the value of this housesitting exchange.
For me- when my hubby & I joined 4 years ago- it was the beginning of a fabulous adventure! Another way of travelling to include in our nomadic lifestyle! Its already brought us to many unexpected places, wonderful animals (including emus!) and amazing homes we’d never get to stay in otherwise!
@curiosity_roving having never been paid to housesit I’d never considered it from the perspective of someone who may rely on being paid for it. I agree the world is changing rapidly and new ways of doing things become popular.
I think housesitting as an exchange is not suited to everyone. It depends on circumstances- e.g people who are retired or have independent income such as rental income or online/remote workers who can live anywhere may find it really opens doors. Also people who may just use the service for holiday periods to have an alternative travel experience e.g a family who lives in a busy city choosing a countryside sit with cats, dogs, chickens etc! But if you need to earn income and cannot work online or remotely, and also considering your previous paid housesitting experiences, I can understand this could feel like volunteer work for you.

There are still paid services around. I saw one yesterday called Pawshake. I think it all really depends on what you are looking for and your needs at this stage of your life.

1 Like

Hosts have to be reasonable and understand they aren’t going to easily find someone willing to take care of a huge menagerie of pets in exchange for a place to stay. I saw one listings with 13 dogs!!! All needing to be walked. Needless to say that listing sat there for quite some time. Otherwise, it’s a matter of what suits you and the time you have available to devote to the pets verses having time to explore on your own. Truthfully, all dogs are high maintenance. Even when hosts say its fine, they can’t be left alone for more than a few hours. And they all have quirks and special requirements that wind up being time consuming. So if you want free time, find an assignment with cats. We decided three dogs is our limit.


Hi @petsit4u

A big welcome, and thank you for your thoughts. Your contribution is always appreciated.

I think like you, so depending on my known commitments I have for the period that I am looking to be away, it makes me decide if I am able to give the right attention to whichever pet sit I apply for. I recently did a 3-week sit with the most beautiful dog, but I could not leave her alone, and it worked for me on this particular sit. The pet parent had left me their car, so that, together with a lovely home, was compensation enough. :slight_smile:


@curiosity_roving, I’ve only been on THS for four months but can relate to what you are saying. I feel the key is to really go through the posts with a fine tooth comb ie: are the pets young, do they require medication, are they high energy (think of the breed - a Kelpie for example is high energy and will require a lot exercise), do they need “lots of cuddles”, is the house impossibly difficult to maintain at a high standard eg: “our house is spotless and we expect it remain spotless!”? One of my sits donated $100 to the pet food bill which was only $20 so that was a gift. I’ve had to book hotels either side of sits so yes it can get expensive. Also, take the time you need at a sit to get your work done so you are not left without income. Apply yourself to your work, it won’t hurt the animals to sleep in the afternoon if you busy. It is frustrating when you apply for sit and then spend three hours of your precious work day driving there and back only to realise the sit isn’t as good as you thought it would be, or, they tell you that others are being “interviewed” as well so then you are in competition. Everyone needs to remember that sitters are volunteers who love animals and not to take them for granted. Remember that if you build your references you can then begin to apply for paying sits. Cheers, Ada

Did you do that 3 hour round trip just to check out the sit? And were then told there were others in the running? We had that situation once in Australia. Applied for a sit and were immediately invited to come over for a visit (100km away) We really got the impression they’d already chosen us- since the listing had been around for a couple of weeks & no sitter had been chosen- from quite a few applicants. So we drove all the way there, were shown ‘our’ (their words) room & everything else- really friendly people & we had a good connection. We thought it was a done deal! After an hour, ready to leave, we suggested confirming the sit there and then as everyone seemed happy. Then they said 'Oh no, we have another couple coming in half an hour- we’ll let you know later!! We felt really annoyed and mislead. And dismissed. They just wasted our time. If we’d known beforehand it was an interview we would not have gone there- we’d have just had a call- and saved all that time and cost. We got back in the car and immediately cancelled our application.
Never again!


@Lokstar, very similar to that. It’s the only time this has happened; another eight sits have approved me based on a zoom/phone call and sometimes no conversation at all. I think it really needs to be reiterated that sitters are volunteers who spend their own money/time to do sits and are also often full-time career people with important clients demanding their attention; they have no time to waste. That’s speaking only for myself of course. Some of us also have family demands just like anybody else. These are not high-paying positions we are applying for through THS and we should not be treated like prospective employees and expected to be available 24/7 (that is an unreasonable expectation even for a salaried individual). The HOs whose expectations are beyond that of a volunteer should consider paying a sitter via another site.


@adamcchristie What we learned from that experience is to always ask- during a call- if the hosts are talking to other prospective sitters too. We much prefer if a host has done all their research of sitters reviews and background etc and then chooses to set up a chat just with their first choice. And if that doesn’t work out then they can move on to their no.2. Rather than ‘interviewing’ several and telling each ‘we’ll get back to you’ We really don’t like to be ‘interviewed’ and compared in that way and try to avoid such situations. Our careful application, detailed profile and 50+ reviews should speak for themselves! As you rightly say this is not paid employment and sitters time needs to be respected. Since that Australian sit we’ve only ever done pre sit visits AFTER the sit is already confirmed, and usually only because we’re close by and/or will not meet the hosts on arrival day.
Some hosts choose us the minute they read our application and find us suitable- then they look no further. Others collect lots of applicants (now ofcourse max 5) and ‘interview’ several. If it is a long, perhaps complex, sit then perhaps a more thorough check is appropriate.
Another thing I/we don’t like is to feel ‘interrogated’ during a video call. One couple took an hour of our time and asked so many detailed questions about our daily life it felt uncomfortable and intrusive- far more detail than needed to ascertain if we would be a good fit for their dogs! When finally they offered the sit we declined. It just didn’t feel right anymore. We still get caught out occasionally. A few weeks ago we declined a sit after a video call, despite the sit looking great and being a perfect fit for our travel plans. The host felt too demanding. E.g requesting that we use her car to drive the dogs to the beach & other walking spots, and take them everywhere with us like she does, but should something happen to the car we would be liable!! And this in a place we only ever drive a scooter because the traffic is so intense! None of this was mentioned in the listing…etc!!


@Lokstar, yes, I am four months in and am listening to my intuition more. One of the couples the wife argued with virtually everything her husband said: “Well, that’s not exactly true!” and would then override him. That as well as a high-energy dog and an immaculate house and garden that was expected to be maintained to an impossible standard. I ran :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yes yes yes!
Been there done that too. :hugs:
We do what we feel we need to do when we need to do it. The key is to enjoy what we are doing whilst meeting our needs and that is not always financial.
What drives us is PERSONAL.
The wealth we acquire goes far beyond money.