Paying To Sit - Contributions to Utilities

I am intrigued and disappointed to see that Trusted Housesitters allows owners to advertise a sit and ask for money to stay at the property and look after the pets. This is a real turn off for me, that’s for sure. And such a shame. Surely looking after pets and the property is recompense enough to the owners peace of mind. It is unlikely any sitter would use excessive utilities. Shouldn’t this type of sit be advertised elsewhere? It makes me uncomfortable and sad.

I would be interested to hear other sitters views on this.

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We have discussed on other threads on the forum what sitters think about sharing utilities (see “questions for owners” in october). So far nobody spoke about having to pay for sitting.

In Covid times, with many cancellations i think some all year round sitters realise to look after a cat, even 3 dogs is not such a hard job when you have in exchange a home for free, with no rent, no electricity, no lease and possibility to eat at home instead of going out to eat !

I’m not defending at all owners who want to be paid, I would refuse that as a sitter, but as an owner as well I think sitters often forget that doing pet sitting is a marvellous opportunity to discover new countries, to live in more beautiful homes than their own ones and the recompense is quite high (on both sides not only on the owners’one).Otherwise why sitters would go on ? Each listing gets many applicants…

And if I was staying a few months in an owner’s home during the winter season, I would not be shocked to share expenses on heating while he is away, the pets would need after all only one room to be warm, I would need many more… kitchen, my bed room, the living room etc.

Being an owner and a sitter, it’s fascinating to see the 2 points of view.

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Our first sit we naively agreed to pay bills and we haven’t done that since. Like you, we don’t feel it’s really in the spirit of TrustedHousesitters.

For some people paying bills is fine - especially for longer sits. But it’s not for us. When we’ve seen listings that say they want money, we just don’t bother reading further.

Thankfully we’ve found those listings quite rare

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Thank you Provence. I did look at the thread. I guess what I am really looking for is why TS let these ‘paid for sit’ adverts appear. Perhaps there should be something in the headline about it not being a free sit, so as to separate the ad from other sits. This would probably sort it out!

Well i guess few sitters accept that. If any do… so this type of owners will vanish naturally, having no applicants…

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Hi @TravellingWitch thank you for your contributions on this discussion which is exactly why the Forum was added to TrustedHousesitters, to open dialogue on all subjects important to our members.
Members arrange their house and pet sits according to the personal needs and expectations and provided everything adheres to our T&C’s and Member’s Code Of Conduct.

Requesting a contribution to utilities is the only financial request that is permissible, provided this requirement is clearly stated in the listing before any sitter applies, which allows everyone to be fully aware of what is expected and sitters can choose whether or not to apply.

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As a frequent housesitter ( before COVID) I deplore owner’s asking for money for people sitting! Perhaps you could justify it if you have one elderly cat,say, but I have looked after bouncy energetic dogs ( plural) which need at least one,maybe two walks a day,plus eg chickens/ cat feeding and litter trays etc. Picking up and bagging dogshit is no one’s favourite task, but I’ve done that and also cleaned up dog diorhhea all over someone’s kitchen. See what you would have to pay someone to do that regularly!
It seems to me that this is all about trust anyway. If your house is so beautiful and expensive to run try comparing a paid live in Guardian ( which used to be a thing before COVID) with a FREE and hopefully sensible and responsible trusted housesitter. If anything ramp up the checking and security vetting and reviews so people can make good choices; on Workaway for example hosts with several poor reviews are simply ‘disappeared’ ! There’s always a risk taking a stranger into your home,but asking them to manage the property ( not always a doddle) AND look after pets and then charging them is just cheeky,in my opinion.

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That should read owners - as an English teacher I can use an apostrophe but was unprepared for being autocorrected to a wrong version!

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Thank you @Gillyflower and welcome to our community forum.

Our group of members is small at the moment as we have yet to invite our global membership and the members who have joined are active and engaged.

We hope you enjoy the conversations, connecting with other members and we look forward to getting to know you better and sharing in your TrustedHousesitters journey.

Angela & The Team

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I am a recent retiree and just started pet sitting part time in 2020. During Covid, I am doing regional sits in the US and often targeting areas that we would consider moving to in the next few years. In our case, if paying for some of the utilities at an “easy” sit allows us to skip the greater expense of paying for lodging and to have more time to enjoy the area, I would strongly consider doing that over taking a “utilities free” sit where we had to spend many hours tied to the house and having less time to explore the area. Since we are not full-time sitters or working remotely while sitting, we have different priorities than some other sitters.

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That’s wrong.

I hadn’t heard of it and it’s a dangerous way to go.

Pretty soon this site will have people paying to find a sit, and then paying to sit.

And paying for their travel of course.

This is against what I signed up for.

It needs to be stamped on before it turns into Airbnb with pets.

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Hi @Ian-metz thank you.

We assure you that the owner’s choice to request a contribution towards utilities is the only financial option allowed under the TrustedHousesitters T&C’s and is something which has always been in place and is rarely applied. Any such request has to be clearly stated in the home listing BEFORE a sitter applies, allowing for full transparency. Sitters then have the choice of whether or not they apply.

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As a sitter, I probably would not apply for any site that asked me to pay for anything like this…but I think it’s simply a personal choice. As someone else mentioned, paying utilities would still (hopefully!) be cheaper than paying lodging elsewhere, so perhaps it’s beneficial in some circumstances. I don’t think it should be banned as long as it’s clearly stated in the listing.

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Before owners go down the road of wanting to charge sitters, maybe they need to research the costs of putting their pets in kennels/catteries and realise that even paying for sitters’ utilities, they are getting a bargain.
Not to mention the trauma to the animals, and abandonment issues.

Not to mention that not all animals can be sent away (goldfish? Chickens?) and the house and grounds don’t get looked after.

Owners are getting a bargain!

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We’ve not come across on our sits so far, but I’ve sometimes wondered what I’d do if it was a sit I really liked. Also, I often find homes in the UK are quite cold compared to what I’m used to and that’s in part due to your much higher heating costs I imagine. I’ve sometimes thought I’d be willing to pay for utilities in order to feel comfortable using the heat more than we tend to do (leaving the HO with a bigger bill when they get home).

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And validating their insurance policy of not leaving the home unattended, collecting mail and forwarding info if requested, keeping garden under control, overseeing tradesmen, collecting parcels etc etc.

All the while, paying for travel costs to get there. Also some of us own our own homes and are still paying our own utility costs.

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I would never dream of asking a sitter to pay utilities, that’s bonkers! If HO’s were home taking care of their own pets they’d be paying the same utilities. And really, how much power do one or two people use? I want sitters to make themselves at home while they are caring for my pets and house, not fret over heating to their comfort or doing their laundry. If HO insists, I think the sitter could reasonably ask them to pay their travel expenses. Sheesh, some people.

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I’ve seen a few long-term sits that ask for a utilities contribution and haven’t applied. I’m just not interested.

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If I was on a long sit in the middle of the winter in BC I would offer to pay a contribution to the heating bill. By doing this I can use the heating as much as I want without worrying about the cost to the home owner. Air conditioning in a very hot country would be exactly the same.
Just a different way of looking at it.
Elsie

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Oh sure, I can see that. I think offering to pay is perfectly fine if it makes the sit potentially more comfortable for you. But I still think insisting a sitter pay for anything is kind of beyond the pale. Housesitters are expensive, pet sitters more so. In my humble opinion, assuming the sitter does a good job, the HO is always coming out even, or possibly ahead. (And to be clear, I’m an HO :wink:)

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