TrustedHouseSitters.com is a paid service that connects homeowners with sitters that are willing to watch over the owner’s home and/or pets while they’re gone. It works from their website and the mobile app.
I’ve used the service a handful of times over the course of a year. Below is a look at the service’s features and my thoughts on whether TrustedHouseSitters.com is worth the price…and if it’s actually trustworthy.
This service is for people who like to travel for cheap and enjoy watching over animals.
I’ve loved using it. You pay yearly, but sitting even a few times per year makes it cheaper than hotel stays. Plus, you get to meet new people and pets. I like the built-in messaging and the app’s new home alerts.
I resubscribed for my second year in late 2021.
How It Works
The idea is simple: homeowners list their home, and sitters list their profile. Owners can browse sitter profiles to find a suitable person to sit for them, and sitters can browse homes that they want to sit at.
As a sitter, you can edit a calendar on your profile that shows homeowners when you’re free to sit. This makes it easy for them to know whether they should reach out to you. More often than not, however, the way it works is that the sitter browses for homes that are at the location or for the duration that they’re interested in, and then submit a request to be the sitter.
Unlike hotel sites and other instant-book services, when you reach out to a homeowner to propose that you should be the sitter, they have to manually accept the request. This might happen quickly, as I’ve seen from personal experience, or it might involve lots of back-and-forth texting or calling until they are comfortable enough with you to “hire” you as their sitter. There aren’t any rules for what the owner needs to do in order to accept a sitter; it’s totally up to them how deep they want to dive into getting to know you beforehand.
As an example, my very first house sit involved a video call so that we could all get to know each other a little better. It was the owner’s first experience with TrustedHouseSitters.com, too. But the second house I sat (they were experienced users) approved my request without as much as a text. It’s very circumstantial.
Do You Get Paid?
A common question someone unfamiliar with this website might ask, is if you get paid to house sit. There are definitely house sitting services that pay you to watch over a home or pet, but there isn’t a payment option through this website or app, so it’s not something you should expect as a homeowner or sitter.
However, one of the houses I stayed at offered to pay us for the month we stayed there, so your mileage may vary.
So why would someone house/pet sit for free? I’ve had plenty of people think it’s odd to take care of a stranger’s home and pets if you’re not getting paid for it. If you’ve ever traveled for any extended period of time, you know it gets expensive quickly, and the primary reason is housing. TrustedHouseSitters.com is essentially a (relatively small) yearly fee to stay in other people’s homes for free.
If you’re planning on visiting Australia, for example, you could set up some house sits while you’re there to offset housing costs. Maybe you’ll get lucky finding house sits, or you’re really great at planning, and you can get by paying absolutely nothing to live in another region of the world. If you’re fine with some household chores and pet sitting, it will save you loads of money.
Most of the homes I’ve researched, and all of the homes I’ve sat for, include animals. TrustedHouseSitters.com should, therefore, be considered a pet+house sitting service.
Here are some of the things my wife and I have been requested to take care of at the homes we’ve stayed at:
- Feed the cats twice a day
- Bring packages and mailbox mail inside
- Take trash bins to the road on trash days
- Water indoor and outdoor plants
The sitter’s duties vary tremendously between houses. Details are included in either the initial posting, over text/email/call, or in the Welcome Guide, which is provided by the owner once the sit has been confirmed.
Some houses have lots of pets, or they’ve stopped their mail while you’re there, or there’s a garden you have to tend to. Some farms are listed here, so responsibilities could include taking care of horses, or cows, or reptiles.
Know, however, that you will know full well ahead of time which animals are at the house. In fact, as we’ll see below, you can search for homes that have the specific animals (or no animals) that you’re interested in caring for.
Of course, common sense things are also under your care while you’re sitting, like locking up the house when you leave, cleaning up after yourself before the sit is over, etc. Basically, things you’d do in your own home, too.
- Filter your home search by date, duration (from one day to 6 months or more), pets (pick Any Pets or a specific one, like poultry, livestock, small pets, cats, dogs, No Pets, etc.), local attractions (beach, city, countryside, or mountains), home type (house or apartment), family friendly places, high-speed Wi-Fi, disabled access, and use of car.
- Browse by searching for a home or looking through a map.
- Save a custom search to get alerts, such as houses in the US that have only cats and Wi-Fi access.
- Owners provide a Welcome Guide that’s supposed to include everything you need to know about the sit, which might include how to enter the home, what to do on your last day, how to access Wi-Fi, who to contact if there’s an issue, when you need to be there and when you need to leave, what exactly you have to take care of, where cleaning supplies are stored in the house, etc.
- View pictures of the home and animals before applying to sit.
- See an estimation of how many other users have applied for the site you’re interested in.
- Continue communicating with the homeowner even after the sit has ended. This is great if you want them to know that you’re interested in a future sit that they haven’t yet posted on the site.
- Homeowners can contact you directly if they like your profile, see that you’re nearby, etc., and what you to sit for them.
- Sitters can sit an an unlimited number of homes for the one-year prepayment.
- You get 24/7 free access to a vet advice line in case you have issues with a pet and can’t get a hold of the owner.
- Fill out your profile with pictures of you, information about who you are and your experience (if you have any), and verifications from homeowners and personal references that can vouch for you.
- Create an emergency contact who can be reached if necessary.
There are three tiers if you sign up to be a house sitter: Basic, Standard, and Premium. All three support a few of the same features, but the more expensive plans include additional things like liability and cancellation insurance, the option to run a background check on the homeowner, and even airport lounge passes.
Also available are combined memberships, useful if plan to post your house on the website for sitters to see, but you also wish to be a sitter yourself.
If we could offer a single message of advice, it’s this: Be sure to know before you start the sit, exactly what you’re getting into. Especially if the house sit is for a long time, like a month or more, you want to have full confidence that you’re actually qualified and interested in the experience.
Don’t lie about your experience or interest level just to stay in a home for free. It will not turn out in your favor if you’re not a fan of animals or plan to be gone for the duration of the sit. Granted, some house stays might require little attention to these things—maybe there are no pets and they just need someone to check in on the house once a day. But the point here is to know that ahead of time.
Depending on the location, there might be lots of applicants for the house you’re interested in. It’s important to be quick to apply in those situations, but even if you aren’t, it doesn’t mean you’ll get denied. The owner might sift through two dozen applicants before choosing one.
Fill out your profile to the best of your ability. Include all the relevant experience you can think of. If it’s your first time doing something like this, but you’ve watched your friend’s dog or grew up with cats or fish, etc., mention that. Every little detail will be important when the owner is searching for a reliable sitter.
I also recommend including pictures of your own animals, or pets you’ve watched in the past. These can be added to your account along with pictures of you, which is equally important. A pet/home owner needs to trust that you’ll take care of things while you’re gone, and your profile is the first thing they’ll see when making a decision.
My wife and I have been very pleased with this house sitting service. We use it for two primary reasons: free housing while traveling, and the opportunity to look after pets, since we don’t have any of our own.
Truthfully, it’s the only house/pet sitting service we’ve used, but we don’t plan to stray away since it’s affordable and seems to have the most opportunities when compared to the competition.