House sitting for someone outside of THS

Hi, I’ve been approached by someone who has heard that I’ve joined THS and that I house sit and look after pets and that no money changes hands. She has asked if I’d house sit and look after her dog for two weeks whilst she goes on holiday. She isn’t a member of THS.
I prefer to only sit for THS members. However, I could sit for her and explain that I would charge for that service. My question is, if I do sit for her and charge her a fee, do I then need to take out insurance? Are there other things I should consider before charging for this service? As I said, I prefer to sit for THS members so I could suggest she joins and then I feel it’s much more straight forward. If she doesn’t want to join then I’m inclined to say no, I can’t do it. I would welcome your thoughts.


Where do you live?

I live in the UK.

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Some sitters on THS get paid for house/pet sitting outside the THS exchange. If this person doesn’t want to join THS, I would tell them that you will sit for a fee.

If you do this, I would get insurance. I’ve just started doing paid pet sitting locally (US based) and signed up for insurance here: Pet Sitter Insurance | Buy Policy Online $139/year


I think you’ve answered your own question:
‘As I said, I prefer to sit for THS members so I could suggest she joins and then I feel it’s much more straight forward. If she doesn’t want to join then I’m inclined to say no, I can’t do it’ :wink:
Not sure though that, if you did decide to housesit for her and charge a fee, you’d need to take out insurance. Within the home the onus should be on her, covering you for any accidents etc with third party liability insurance that generally comes within home insurance. Outside the home I know some people have taken insurance. I never have.

This is also something we’re considering; I have my own business and have updated my webpage saying moving areas and now also offering house / pet sitting.

Personally I’d take out insurance; as a minimum you want to have Public Liability to cover you while walking dogs etc. Regardless of who owns the dog(s) the person responsible for them is who has them at the time of an accident/incident.

I’d want to ensure I’m fully covered for any worst case scenarios. Better to be safe than sorry and from the brief research I’ve done premiums aren’t that expensive for the peace of mind they provide (of course that’s only if an insurance company doesn’t do it’s best to wriggle out of any claim you may make :roll_eyes:)


I still do plenty of sits outside of THS as favors, but if I don’t know someone well, I say the price of my sit is their signing up for THS and arranging it that way. If someone didn’t want to do that, I’d probably either pass or set a decently upper range fee.
Good luck.


Depending on UK laws, once you start charging a fee for service, you might be classified as being a sole trader business. That opens up a whole world of laws you are subject to like tax and liability insurance. I would tread very carefully if I were you and seek some professional advice.

My opinion comes from advising people starting businesses under Australian law but I don’t know anything about UK law.


Just a general question: in how far does being member of THS gets you a public insurance?


We Housesit outside of THS, mostly word of mouth from friends and repeats from THS. We are quite comfortable with it and do not charge. Some gift us, we don’t expect it. If you aren’t comfortable Housesitting outside of THS, don’t do it.


If they are not happy to join THS, I’d look into the insurance and the tax laws around it. It’s the reason i’m on THS, I get asked often to do HS, I don’t want to make it a business, it adds a different experience to the HS and a different relationship with the HO. I get messages from Rover constantly (IDK why, I just do) about earning £60 p/n to sit. I did run some numbers and I earn more doing my remote work than I would p/h doing HS.
You go with what’s comfortable for you. x


Hi, a third of my house sits are outwith THS. I always explain that I’m not insured and that the homeowners own insurance needs to cover any events. Never had any issues nor any incidences to test the theory!!

You got some really good answers, my reaction is that their price to join trusted house sitters is exponentially cheaper than if they actually hired somebody to watch their dog. It also gives them insurance. And of course covers your insurance. There are other paid platforms that you could join as a pet sitter that offer you insurance. But then they would have to pay you, which would be a lot more expensive than if they just joined trusted house sitters. They are being really cheap!

About a decade ago I was on a platform for paid pet sitters that no longer exists. A friend asked me to watch her dog and cats and I said yes but you have to join that platform, and she happily joined it because both of us were insured. I ended up watching her pets a few times before I moved away.

For us the THS barter system is best. It’s an equal exchange with both parties benefitting. We’ve tried the sitting route with money changing hands and it changes the relationship to employee-employer for very little recompense. We can earn better money working online whilst we sit. We do a few local sits in Turkey through friends of friends and WOM that aren’t THS but still don’t charge, they usually leave us food & wine instead. Totally your choice. Good luck :crossed_fingers:


Thanks for your suggestion Lassie. I’m not sure I want to go down the paid route but if I do I think insurance is wise.

Thanks Edith. I don’t want to go down the paid route because it obviously involves filling in a tax return every year to declare income so I’ve decided to stick with THS members only.

Thanks for your comment Smiley. I’m going to suggest that she joins THS and then I’d be happy to sit for her. Since I posted this question I’ve had another person, who is not a THS member, ask if I’d sit for her. I’ve suggested she join too.

Hi Crookie, you’re right. If I charge for a service then I have to fill in a tax return every year and declare the income. I’ve decided to just sit for THS members, it’s much more straight forward and I’ll have the support of the THS team.

Hi Lieve, Public Insurance is insurance you take out if you are a trader and need cover in case someone makes a claim against you due to a business accident. As no fees are involved with THS we are not trading so Public Inusurance isn’t necessary.

Hi Manda, yes, good point, it would change the experience if money is involved so I’ve decided to stick with just sitting for THS members.

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