Hello Everyone; looking a lot quieter here these days isn’t it?
Just to recap, I’m a very novice sitter, so I’m not speaking from any position of authority.
I saw a sit on the site recently and it looked good until getting to the part where the owners wanted the sitters to pay the utility bills. It was quite a long term sit - is this normal? Reasonable? An increasing tendency?
As a sitter, I presume I am in your home primarily to take the very best care of your bambini pelosi. You also have the added bonus of me keeping your home occupied & therefore more secure, warm if appropriate and being in situ to respond to emergencies such as burst pipes or weather damaged structures or power failures, the sorts of things that can happen in absentia. Of course I will also keep it clean & tidy as it would be if it was left empty.
What, therefore, are the arguments for asking me to pay to do this?
Hello Everyone; looking a lot quieter here these days isn’t it?
Hello. I’ve never asked my sitters to pay any bill but these sits were never longer than a month
I guess if you stay a few months and use central heating in a cold country, the bill might be rather high
Apart from central heating and electricity what do they ask for ?
To share heating sounds rather normal for à long stay. How much would you pay for only one room in the same region ? Your “work” will be what ? 2hours à day maximum. But you’ll stay probably in à bigger home than a hotel. And if you have no personal home, do remember you may stay in a sit without paying any rent. Be positive.
If you don’t agree, well don’t apply. There are plenty other sits where owners don’t charge…
@Saltrams Never ever been asked to pay any bills or contribute to expenses anywhere. Not sure we’d contemplate a sit where that was mentioned.
@Saltrams I have wondered about sits where they ask you to pay utilities. It doesn’t make sense to me, don’t they need to heat or cool the house for the pets anyway? We did have a 6-month sit that they asked us to contribute $100 US per month, but in the end, they changed their minds and we paid nothing.
I think no matter how long the sit is, you need to be clear on what temperature the owners keep the house. You don’t want them to return and have a huge bill. It is also up to the owners to let sitters know if they are concerned about utility bills.
There was one housesit in Scotland that asked for utilities to be paid, so I asked them about it. They got very defensive, so we withdraw our application.
The question is, is the sit still worth it if you need to pay the utilities? The one or two others we have looked at, it wasn’t worth it so we never applied for them.
Another reason sitters need to read each listing very carefully, to make sure it is a good match for all.
Great point about being careful with the listing @worldtraveler.
FWIW, we had no intention to apply for the sit in question; I just wanted forum feeling on the matter.
We definitely wouldn’t be interested in any sit that asked for a contribution either.
I certainly feel that way; it feels like it isn’t within the spirit of THS somehow.
As a home owner, I’d certainly never ask a sitter to pay utility bills! Seems pretty cheeky to me. And definitely not in the TH spirit.
What is a “good match”, when speaking of money?
I agree with you the owner’house needs to be heated for the dogs, but whilst the owner is away s/he does not take baths, use electricity, water. The sitter does …
I don’t charge utility when i seek a sitter but it does not sound scandalous to me some owners do, especially If the sit lasts several months.
I guess sitters who petsit all year round don’t pay any rent If they don’t have home any more. When they stay for 3 or 4 months it’s a fabulous economy (only mortgage to pay @Saltrams, in your case but you could rent your place when you go away to sit. Some sitters seem to do that…)
Quid pro quo. The motto holds good in theory but I would be fearful of such an agreement in a large, older, rambling country property belonging to prosperous owners whose heating bills are equivalent to the sitter’s monthly mortgage payments.
I still believe that the question is essentially in opposition to the ethos of THS.
You’re not obliged to apply @Saltrams for pets who live in a huge home, you may choose to stay in a tiny flat…
In the immortal words of Tony Hancock (he was a British comedian): “Do you know, I hadn’t thought of that!“
@Saltrams, I never charged any sitter for anything. Will l in the future ? we think about going abroad for 6 months, it could help us to ask for a contribution. As we would be obliged ourselves to pay hotels, B&B abroad, while the sitter will have nothing to pay (no rent, no electricity, gas, heating,…)
On digital nomads site, there was a long thread about that topic, some sitters think they “work”, I don’t when I sit.
The “work” (looking after animals) does not last for hours if one doesn’t look after many horses, donkeys, cats, dogs, hens, fish and many other animals on a farm. Nobody is obliged to subscribe to overwhelming sits !
In house exchanges, you let your home for free to people who do exactly the same : you live for free in their home during your holidays. Reciprocity exists.
When a sitter looks after animals, it’s an exchange of services (use of a house/ looking after animals), but the relationship is quite different
Let’s compare the daily cost of a kennel, the price of a hotel + restaurants. When an owner prefers to invite a sitter, it’s not for an aconomic reason, it’s more because he wants his pets happy at home. A huge heating bill may be more expensive than a kennel !
House/pet sitters are providing a free, voluntary service. Sometimes we are looking after several pets, and with much love and care! We are also looking after the home so that the house/pet owners can have peace of mind while they are away. This is invaluable. (The home is occupied, and therefore much less likely to be broken into, or to flood.) If house/pet owners paid for such a service, they would be spending in the £100s, and even £1000s - depending on the length of the sit, and the number of pets. Sometimes the behaviour of the pets can be challenging. Then there is bathing the pets - especially if they have rolled in something nasty (which can happen every day, twice a day!) cleaning up after them, taking responsibility for their wellbeing, etc. etc. I don’t think sitters should be asked to pay utility bills. There may be circumstances where I might think differently - if it was just a matter of feeding a single independent well-adjusted cat, for example - for a very long sit. But in a cold country, the home needs to be heated anyway to some extent, whether it is occupied or empty.
As a sitter have never been asked to pay any utilities. On a couple of longer sits, more than a month, the HO has left me cash to pay for utilities at the post office or local store, where they have not been able to set up direct debit payment - Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand.
On a sit in HongKong, where I was on the 40th floor of a tower block, there was a communal pool, which charged a small daily/weekly fee - the HO left me cash to cover this. Have also been left the use of cars and scooters at no extra cost.
I don’t think I would consider applying for a sit which mention charges. Because of where I sit, SE Asia, I usually pay to get there - flights, so any additional costs would make it beyond my budget.
We would think very carefully before paying for utilities.
We did a sit in Vietnam where a meter reading was taken and we agreed if we used more than they would have we would pay the difference. We didn’t, all was good.
We also did a sit in a big, very draughty house in France. We know the HO was back in the U.K. working, and at the last minute had suggested we could pay €50 for 10 days. We ignored this suggestion but we were very careful with the heating. Sadly the logs for the fire were damp and didn’t burn well and the paraffin heater kept turning itself off as it was faulty and producing carbon monoxide. When she came home and it was us that got back out of bed to turn the heating off having been cold for the whole sit we were less than impressed!
Well I may be slam busted from this group for my views here which run contrary to all the posted comments. I am a HO and I have requested payment of heating bills. Why? Last sit I was away for 7 months. Usually it will be 4-5 months with most of these over winter. It gets cold here and heating costs are not within my control. My last sitters were able to manage with living a bit chilly to keep their costs down. Some people are not. I could face 100s of euros cost in heating bills each month as I could not control the usage. No, it would not work at all. I could not deal with all the costs associated with going away. As Provence has stated the sitter can stay in my house for free looking after 2 cats.
I feel that if this situation doesn’t work for the sitter they can just not apply - their choice. I have put this requirement on the sit details. Most sitters do not read the details. But I have had sitters who are fine with this request so we collaborate to make the situation work for both parties. That is, to me, the essence of HS.
ps. I did confirm with HS that this was OK before I went ahead with these terms. They said, with long sits it was acceptable.
Thank you Kerri and thank you fo your post and transparency.
I took a long term sit in Spain (8 months) agreeing to contribute to the utilities which can spiral, I did so for many reasons but mostly I feel the cold and wanted freedom with the thermostat but not at the owner’s expense who was also accommodating completely with many other aspects including as many visitors as I wanted and who agreed the use a vehicle for the entire sit.
“Collaborate to make the situation work for both parties”
Requests by owners for contributions towards costs is permitted providing full disclosure is included in the listing making sitters completely aware before they apply.
Thank you again Kerri.
Precisely the situation I have here Angela. Thank you for verifying there are situations where this is workable for both parties.
And of course YES I have made this upfront on the post. Many sitters do not read the details though. But that is for another discussion.
I am not shocked when an owner asks for a reasonable contribution in the event of exceeding his usual consumption of heating and / or electricity in case of long sit. I understand that, and if agreed in advance. After all it is not an hotel. It is a matter of mutual respect. When I am not at home, I turn off the heating, and I ask somebody to turn on one or two days bebore I come back.