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House sitting rates: How to determine fair pay every time

From the duties around the house to any pet care involved, there are a number of factors that go into setting a house sitting rate.

House sitting rates: How to determine fair pay every time

When it comes to determining an appropriate house sitting rate, there is no one-size-fits-all. This, of course, can make it tricky to figure out the right pay. Most folks who house sit, or who hire people to watch their home, work together to figure out a fair rate and then stick with it.

“I’ve been house sitting for the same few families for years,” says Jackie Gola of Winfield, Illinois. “They pay between $50-$100 a day, which seems fair all around.”

“I’ve been house sitting for the same few families for years. They pay between $50-$100 a day, which seems fair all around.”

— Jackie Gola, house sitter

Whether you’re looking to hire a house sitter to care for your home (and perhaps your pets) while you’re away or trying to determine what you should charge for a house sitting job, there are some common factors in figuring out the best rate for every house sitting job. Here’s what to consider when it comes to house sitting rates.

House sitting rates: What’s acceptable?

According to the house sitters we spoke with, and available data, the general range is wide. And while most of the data has broken down house sitting rates by the hour — with $18 per hour being the average, according to recent Care data — all of the house sitters and families we spoke with paid per day, rather than by hour. 

That being said, regardless of how pay is broken down, there are a number of factors that go into setting an appropriate rate, including:

  • Whether pets are involved.
  • What duties are involved.
  • Whether the sitter is staying overnight or simply dropping by daily.
  • What the going rates are where you live. 

Also, keep in mind, the majority of house sitters have other sources of income. For instance, Emily Marinucci of Cranford, New Jersey is a college student who house sits for families she normally babysits for when they’re out of town. Gola is a physical therapist who house sits for friends when they’re away on vacation. 

What factors affect house sitting rates

Here’s a closer look at how the factors above can help determine a house sitting rate. 

1. Pet care

What is the going rate for house sitting with pets? For Gola, pets — dogs, specifically — are generally always involved when it comes to house sitting. “Most of the ‘work’ is caring for the dog,” she says. Typically, Gola’s house sitting stints range from “a long weekend to four days long,” and she stays at the home for the duration, earning anywhere between $50-$100 per day (in the towns of Batavia and Wheaton, Illinois). Additionally, she notes, the homeowners usually either stock their fridge or leave around $200 for grocery money.

Abby Burgess of Syracuse, New York has her regular babysitter stop by her home twice a day when she and her family are out of town to walk and feed her small dog. “We pay her $25 a day,” Burgess notes. “She’s also free to take the dog to her home if he wants. Generally, though, she just stops by since her family also has a dog.”

When Marinucci house sat for one family, she earned $30 a day, caring for fish and hermit crabs — however, her duties extended beyond pet care (more on this shortly).

When pets are the main responsibility of house sitting, the type of animal, along with the type of care they require, should be taken into account when it comes to the rate. For instance, the rate for someone watching and walking a dog should be higher than that of someone who’s feeding a fish.

To learn more about setting pet sitting rates, check out:

Pet owners: How much should I pay a pet sitter?

Pet sitters: How much should I charge as a pet sitter?

2. House sitting duties

Depending on the home and pets, house sitting duties can vary widely. For instance, even though Marinucci was only caring for relatively low-maintenance pets on her recent job, the family had a list of other duties to be completed each day for her, including:

  • Watering plants and flowers. 
  • Taking out trash and recycling. 
  • Bringing in mail and packages. 
  • Dumping dehumidifier.
  • Inspecting the home for safety, including gas and water leaks. 

Gola, on the other hand, simply has to water the family’s flowers, but cares for a higher-needs pet. Put another way: When it comes to figuring out the right rate, it’s a matrix.

While home duties can change with each household, the Economic Research Institute (ERI) lists some of the following as tasks expected of house sitters:

  • Maintaining order and security of property. 
  • Conducting necessary business transactions during temporary absence of occupant.
  • Answering telephone and doorbell, taking messages and forwarding information as requested.
  • Forwarding or filing mail.
  • House cleaning.
  • Feeding and caring for pets.
  • Inspecting utilities, such as plumbing and air-conditioning.
  • Caring for swimming pool or grounds.
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3. Overnight stays

For some house sitters, such as Veronica Briseño of the blog On the Edge of What We Know, the main draw of house sitting is, well, staying at someone else’s home. In fact, Veronica, along with her husband Adam Tury, actually don’t get paid to house sit at all. “The house sitting we do falls under a different model than sitting in exchange for money,” she says. “We use a platform [TrustedHousesitters] where sitters and hosts pay a membership fee, but when it comes to house sits, it is a free exchange between hosts and sitters. And often the homes and locations are so desirable that it’s essentially like being paid because the rate to rent would be $200-$400 per night on a platform like Airbnb.”

Others, like Marinucci and Burgess, like the idea of having the house duties taken care of without involving overnight stays. “When I house sat recently, I had the option of staying there or going home, which was nice,” Marinucci explains. “I slept there a few nights, but other days I had plans, so I just ran back and forth and then slept at home.”

“When I house sat recently, I had the option of staying there or going home, which was nice.”

— Emily Marinucci, house sitter and babysitter

Depending on whether or not staying overnight at the home is a requirement (or desire) will likely depend on the duties involved (think: overnight pet care), and in turn, affect the price. 

4. Going rates where you live 

Just as location influences senior care and babysitting rates, the same goes for house sitting rates. ERI notes that the national average for house sitting is $33,418 a year, which comes out to $16 an hour. However, this model is based on house sitting as a full-time job.

Here are some examples of the going house sitter rates based on location, according to recent Care data.

Current house sitter rates for top cities*

City, StateHourly House Sitting Rate
San Francisco, California$26.83/hr
Charleston, South Carolina$23.40/hr
Chicago, Illinois$22.67/hr
Seattle, Washington$22.60/hr
Phoenix, Arizona$20.50/hr
Denver, Colorado$20.20/hr
Nashville, Tennessee$19.22/hr
San Diego, California$16.50/hr
Miami, Florida$16.00/hr
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$15.60/hr
Houston, Texas$15.00/hr
Brooklyn, New York$14.20/hr
Las Vegas, Nevada$13.00/hr
*Based on reported rates from service providers listed on, as of March 2024.

Also, it’s worth noting that many families employ their regular babysitter or nanny to house sit while they’re out of town. To find out the going rate for babysitters or nannies in your area, check out our cost of care calculator.

“I’ve been house sitting for families who are now friends for a long time. And the setup benefits everyone.”

— Jackie Gola, house sitter

The bottom line

While determining a fair and appropriate house sitting rate depends on a number of factors, it’s a good idea for both the home owner and sitter to have a conversation up front, as the relationship hopefully will be a lasting one. “I’ve been house sitting for families who are now friends for a long time,” Gola says. “And the setup benefits everyone.”