Pros and Cons of Caretaking or House and Pet Sitting

By: on 04/30/2013

When Paul and I tell people that we have been taking care of properties and pets across the US since 2009, the response is oftentimes an enthusiastic one, followed by lots of questions.

Meet Sam and Pinto, Friends and Neighbors of Caretaking Couple.

Sam, curious to know if I have any more carrots for him.

One of the most popular questions is “What are some of the pros and cons of this lifestyle?”. Listed below are a few of my typical responses. These usually lead to a more in depth conversation, and I am happy to elaborate here if any of you would like more specifics (you can leave your questions in the comments section and I will reply).

PROS:

  • We get to experience new places in a way that most tourists don’t (we live like locals, if only temporarily).
  • We meet people from all walks of life and form beautiful friendships along the way.
  • We get to care for and enjoy a variety of pets, knowing that they will be just fine when it is time for us to move on.
  • Our living expenses are much less than that of the average homeowner/renter.
  • The possibilities are endless and pondering our next locale is part of the fun.

CONS:

  • Caring for someone else’s loved ones and belongings is a huge responsibility.  There will be stressors.
  • Some places and people (and pets!) are harder to leave than others.
  • Some people are harder to caretake, or sit for than others (we’ve learned to respectfully decline ridiculous requests).
  • Setting up house in a different state every few months to a year comes with it’s own complications.
  • Sometimes, there is “amazing opportunity” overlap and the decision making process can be tricky.

So, there they are, off the top of my head.  Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.  If you share a similar lifestyle, and have something to add to the list or comment on, we would love to hear from you as well!

4 Responses to “Pros and Cons of Caretaking or House and Pet Sitting”

  1. Michael C says:

    Well said (written), Valynne! I concur. With the house sitting / pet sitting gigs that I have done in the last few years, I can’t think of anything right off the top of my head that I could add. If anything, I would tell people not to wait until 1) you win the lottery 2) all the kids are graduated from college 3) the house gets sold, etc. Just start advertising your availability and thinking of all the great options and fun you can have traveling! And make it happen!

  2. Sandy B says:

    Can one work as a house/property caretaker if you have your own pets? I have 3 small sized, middle-aged dogs at the current time.

    More questions…
    How can someone become a caretaker? How does one get started?
    Can an older single woman care for properties & pets -or- do you have to be part of a couple?
    How do you find out about caretaker opportunities?
    Are there any special requirements?
    Do you get paid for caretaking, free rent, etc?
    Can some caretaker assignments last up to a year or longer?

    Thank you for your feedback. It’s much appreciated. I really enjoy reading your blog here.

    • Valynne says:

      Hi Sandy B,

      Every sit is different, and while having pets of your own does limit your options, there are opportunities out there for people with pets.

      To help you get started, I suggest you read this blog post http://caretakingcouple.com/how-to-find-long-term-house-andor-pet-sits which is almost a year old but still relevant.

      As for being an older single woman…some homeowners prefer couples, some prefer singles. And older people are often preferred in many cases. There are so many opportunities out there!

      Regarding opportunities, I have listed some websites we have subscribed to in the link above. Over time, you will find that good old-fashioned word of mouth is still the best bet.

      The requirements differ from sit to sit…I would say the main requirement is that you can be relied upon to do what you said you would do when you accepted the assignment.

      Sometimes you get paid for caretaking, sometimes you get free rent, and sometimes you are asked to pay a small feel for utilities, etc. Each sit is going to be different.

      Sits can last days, weeks, months or years. We typically stick to longer term sits and are currently on a year-long sit here in New Mexico.

      I hope this helps! Be sure to keep in touch and let me know if you have any more questions,

      V

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