I know @ccc it’s a value exchange that many newcomers do wonder, is this really happening without money passing hands! That’s what we’ve loved and appreciated about TrustedHousesitters in all the years we’ve been using them, and it sounds like you get the win-win too Thank you for taking the time to ask questions and to be a great host! Please do share some stories from your house sitting journey too as you meander around our community! Have a lovely weekend
I will chime in with my own experiences. I do not ever ask or expect anything from a HO that I have agreed to sit for.
I select and screen my HO just as much as they do me and in our conversations we discuss what is expected, required etc.
That being said, I am always delighted at the kindness and generosity I receive. From gift cards, small gifts, dinners in or out, food, an outing to an event (had someone take me to see the Royal Ballet once) and I do have a regular who will hand me an envelope with a great fun note.
Once it said « For AAFAF». When I asked, he said « Amparo’s Amazing Freaking Adventures Fund »
Most of us do this because we truly love this. Compensation of any kind is not required or necessary. Do what you feel is right and best for you is my mantra.
I’d spend some time going through old threads. There is a lot of gold there that will help you. Personally I don’t expect anything. Generally I arrive the night before the HOs leave so I can meet the pets while they’re there and learn the routine. We pretty much always share a meal either in or out and the HO generally pays though I always offer and am prepared to pay. I don’t really expect anything though and for me getting to cuddle some creatures is payment enough. That’s why I do it since I can’t have any of my own. I mean, I bought a bag of dog treats just so I’d have something to give doggos I meet while parked up and hiking spots just so I can get some pet luvins. lol. ok. maybe I’m a big desperate.
No, I think tipping is a very American practice. Most of us have enough stuff and some of us don’t drink or try not to eat too many chocolates. Would appreciate a nice card or a thorough review more than anything else.
I have not done more than a dozen sits yet, and only once was I greeted with a gift card to the local health food market and one to the bakery nearby, which I was thrilled about and grateful for.
I feel that the amount of care-taking should be taken into consideration. I have been asked to stay home (with dog) to receive packages, collected mail, watered a massive garden daily, emptied a humidifier bucket, etc and other tasks not pet-involved, and I know others are asked to mow lawns, etc. Personally, I feel a thank you gesture is appropriate (basket of wine and cheese, gift card to local restaurant) but not required. As a home and pet owner myself, I have always given gifts or paid for someone to care for my home and pet (this was before I joined THS). My sister dog sits and is paid handsomely for it and is not a vet tech or professional. She just loves animals.
So while I understand it is supposed to be a win-win, I was not the least offended by the gift card (in that case I did spend hours trying to rescue a bird that had gotten something stuck on his neck while playing, it was tricky but I managed!) but found it rather appropriate.
Now, granted, our next sit is one with no pets, very little to do on our end except be present, is in a beautiful location with our own private cottage and you can bet we will be leaving THEM a thank you gift or making them dinner or both.
It’s all relative, IMO.
7 posts were split to a new topic: A discussion on locked rooms
It’s nice learning about all the differences between those of us living in America and people living overseas (especially for those of us that have never traveled overseas). As a professional house and pet sitter since 2009 and living in Virginia, I’ve always been given tips and gifts on top of my normal daily/nightly rate and saw this as normal. After reading this thread I see that those living in European countries view tipping very differently than those of us living in America.
But while I find tipping and gifts normal as a professional house and pet sitter, I definitely wouldn’t expect it while house and pet sitting with THS.
I am amazed after reading this thread the amount of gifts that sitters leave for the owners… Having very limited income, I try to repay the THS homeowners who may leave me some food or goodies by going above and beyond in leaving their house spotless before I leave (something that has been noted in all the reviews I’ve received on this site). While I may not have the income to leave the homeowner a gift, I “believe” the homeowner would appreciate coming home and finding all trashcans empty and the trash taken out, all sinks, counters, showers/tubs that I used wiped down with antibacterial wipes, toilet seats wiped off with antibacterial hand wipes and all areas that I’ve been in having been vacuumed and dusted. I’ll even clean up messes I didn’t even make, like cleaning out a dirty microwave, wiping off dirty refrigerator shelves, or wiping off the front of a dishwasher if it was splattered with something…
My “hope” is the homeowner will appreciate the time and effort I took to clean up behind myself over a gift… “almost” like having a maid come in for free…
I am in total agreement with you and was also very surprised reading about sitters making dinner for the HO’s after watching their pets. Interesting the different views and experiences and cultural “norms”.
I also leave any place I’ve been very clean (even airbnb rentals) and believe HO’s would be pleased to come home to a clean house after being away.
I feel a gift card to a local grocery store, bakery or restaurant for someone caring for animals, plants, home, etc is a very appropriate gesture but not a “tip”.
@carpediem16 @JustP @MichaelinVA02 Hi very interesting conversation it’s great getting different perspectives and I believe this simply highlights the different way we approach the lifestyle we all enjoy so much and the fact that there is no right or wrong way to managing our sits only the best way that works for everyone involved.
We are all different and bring a variety of ideas and motivations to what is a unique and very special arrangement.
I have been sitting full time for over 14 years and and like all of us leave very happy pets and homes ready for owners to enjoy coming back to but I also leave a little gift, a meal and ask if they would like any groceries, although these days the reply is likely to be “I have an order coming” That is the way I enjoy showing my appreciation for being entrusted with someone’s most valued and precious possessions but equally if someone else chooses not to that is their way and their choice and that’s perfectly fine.
Thank you all again for a great discussion.
@JustP - that’s very generous for a pet owner to put your partner on their car insurance. Thankfully I’ve always had a car to get me to my jobs so I haven’t had to deal with the car insurance issue. And with limited funds, I don’t travel by plane to get to a job though I wish I could do some traveling.
@carpediem16 - while I’ve only had a couple of jobs with THS as I’m only looking for jobs at the beach and within driving distance of my home, I haven’t been left any gifts by the owners and didn’t expect any due to the setup with THS where there are no payments. So it didn’t even occur to me that I would leave a gift and was shocked to hear the types of gifts that pet sitters have gotten and the gifts they have left in exchange. Though I guess if you are a good cook (which I am not) then I could see a sitter leaving behind a meal if they were given a gift by the homeowner, especially if they had limited funds.
And it does appear that the wine giving is done more in European countries than here in the United States…
And I could personally see a homeowner giving a sitter a gift card to a local restaurant or store being more preferable to just giving cash as a “tip”…
I don’t expect any gifts, but I certainly appreciate a clean house when we arrive back home. The most important thing is that the cats are relaxed and happy.
You seem to be a very thoughtful sitter and even if you wouldn’t find much to clean I appreciate empty waste bins.
Concerning tips. I find all this tipping in the US quite tiring, because it often isn’t freely given but expected and this is different in Europe.
JustP, you say: “are full time house sitters in the UK and almost all of our owners give us money, food, put my partner on car insurance (if needed for the sit) , reimburse us for travel costs”
I am curious, are these owners for whom you’ve sat through THS or some other platform because it certainly does not seem the norm for HOs to do this on THS.
I am a HO and I think I am very generous, but honestly, I would not pay for any expenses for the sitter’s travel or food.
We tell the sitters to use any dry goods and toiletries in the house but you have to eat whether you are on a sit or not, so everything is not included. When I go on holiday I never count the costs for food as I would have to pay for it at home as well.
Do you expect me to pay for the airplane ticket from Australia if a sitter from there wants to sit in Europe?
Actually I disagree. I think it is definitely possible to see pet sitting as a holiday and also care for the pets, if not necessarily for the one like you are caring for now.
If you don’t choose to explore the place you spend the time it is your choice and perfectly fine with me.
We have two cats and we certainly don’t expect the sitters to stay at the house for 24hrs. We also leave them alone for some hours and they are ok with it.
It’s not seen as a a job for everyone and I think I give a free stay in a well equipped house and in return I expect that my cats are cared for. I actually don’t care why the sitters choose to come to our house, whether it’s for vacation or as a job, it’s a give and take situation and I could also argue that I offer housing for a fee, which I certainly wouldn’t do. So to me the THS policy of no charges from either side is why I chose it.
Hello @JustP I have been following your comments on your position. I too remember in my early days with THS that there was a small percentage of sitters who elected to charge. However, years ago this site moved to one that states that it is a win-win situation, with no fees being charged. However you frame your requests - whether it’s for travel expenses or food contributions - I see that as charging an in-kind fee. I see that as distinct from such homeowners as @Düsenzofe who chooses to gift to her sitters upon arrival, to show her appreciation. Your approach goes against the core principles of this site. Once the no-fee policy was established, you had the option to not renew your membership, if you did not agree with the terms.
I respect that you have every right to choose to sit with fees attached. In that case, there are websites and services that accommodate such a lifestyle. Or you have the option to establish your own business and set fees accordingly. My concern is that your approach may appear to be the norm to some homeowners, especially to those who are new, or are anxious to confirm a sit. This could be disconcerting for homeowners, and has a negative ripple effect for the majority of sitters who conform to the win-win-win (as @Angela-HeadOfCommunity would say) that is the core principle of the THS website.
This is my personal opinion.
I have not been following this, so have just briefly scanned your comments. Even if you are only active in the UK, and are charging for house and petsitting, are you set up as a business/self employed? Do you pay tax, national insurance, do you declare your income even if it is below the tax threshold? All perks, travel expenses included, should be declared.
I know the question has been asked before about charging for sits when travelling and it is almost impossible, or certainly against the law in some countries to be “working” without a work permit or visa, and I am sure the same applies in the UK.
How can you say that you consider pet sitting as a job and at the same time refuse to declare it as one officially? In Germany you also pay taxes on travel expenses, which you want the HOs to cover. This actually is considered an income in my country.
The same applies to travel costs. If your employer covers the cost, he has to declare them on his tax sheet.
If a homeowner has a painter and decorator, a joiner, a gardener, a cleaner … enter their home, and is paid anything, that person is an employee of the HO and declares earnings - you are no different. You have actually stated that a HO has paid you £200 a week - that is taxable income. It is probably one of the reasons THS has veered away from this. If you want to charge for House sitting you should be using one of the platforms like Rover.com, where the HO can raise an invoice and you get a receipt for earnings. Asking for the cost of transport is payment. Asking for the cost of outgoings is payment. When I was employed, my salary paid for my travel, my outgoings…That is why people work - to pay for the cost of living.
I think if you were to ask an accountant or a tax official you would probably find that you are breaking the law.
Are you and your partner UK citizens?
If you are and you have no income you should be receiving some sort of benefits which are mean tested. Pensions also fall into this category. If you are receiving any other income that must be declared so your benefits can be calculated correctly. What you are calling expenses is income. Although I do not “earn” anything I still have to fill out a tax return every year for the money I get from renting out my flat. It’s a pain and I don’t usually have any tax to pay but it still has to be done.
I would quietly go on my way if I was you. Who knows who is reading these comments.