50 connect - The lure of homesitting for adventurous retirees
Posted on 15 June, 2017
Homesitters are employed to stay in people’s homes when they go away, keeping the home secure and looking after any pets. 95% of homesitters are aged over 55 making it a popular choice of flexible working for retired people.
New research from Homesitters Limited indicates that a growing number of retired women are becoming homesitters to stay in a variety of different locations, travel and explore the UK.
Three quarters of the home and pet sitters surveyed by the company were female and most were aged 65 and above. In fact, 95% of homesitters are aged over 55 – making it a popular choice of flexible working for retired people.
And while seeing more of the UK appeals, so does looking after animals. 72% said that looking after people’s pets was the biggest perk of the job. Other top benefits included the chance to break away from the usual routine and to stay in nice homes. Three-quarters also said they appreciate the extra income homesitting provides for their retirement.
Homesitters are employed to stay in people’s homes when they go away, keeping the home secure and looking after any pets. Homesitters Ltd conducted the survey to find out why people wanted to become homesitters, what their clients value most about the service and the biggest challenges homesitters face on assignment.
The top three benefits for clients were, “knowing they will return to a happy pet and a tidy home”, followed by having “someone to look after their pets” and “keeping the house secure”.
Learning how everything works in the home is the number one challenge of the role according to 48% of homesitters, followed by taking on the responsibility of securing the home (37%).
Other challenges mentioned included “working out the recycling policy of the local council”, “coping with complicated appliances such as Agas”, “getting in tune with the sounds the home makes on the first few nights” and “dealing with different alarm systems.”
While most homesitters stated they mainly look after cats and dogs, some assignments have involved more unusual animals including pygmy goats, peacocks, chinchillas, donkeys, bearded dragons, poisonous tree frogs, snakes, tarantulas and even a hawk who was fed on live mice.
Home and pet sitters employed by Homesitters Ltd are free to pick and choose which assignments appeal to them. The company also provides full support and insurance for those on assignment, a key reason why people choose to work with them.
In fact, the homesitters surveyed said they most value the variety of assignments offered to them and the fact they can always call the company’s 24 hour/7 day a week support centre if they have a problem when they are on assignment.
The homesitters surveyed also provided some top tips for new homesitters:
- Treat the clients’ home with respect and do exactly what they say about taking care of their pets
- Make sure you have a preliminary meeting to run through how the home works and pets’ routines
- When out of the home, ensure you have emergency contact numbers with you
- Take plenty of reading material
- Ask for freezer space (especially on a Christmas sit)
- Find out about tourist attractions nearby
- Follow instructions, don’t feel overwhelmed and enjoy the experience
- Take your own towels and bedding for home comforts, plus an electric blanket in winter
- Have a Satnav or map of the area
- Ask for written instructions on the needs of the pets and house security
- Know where the fuse box is, as well as candles/torch in case the power goes off
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Always be prepared for the client to return unannounced
- Relax and enjoy the variety of assignments but remember this is a serious business, so don’t take any short cuts
If you'd like to find out more about becoming a homesitter please click here.
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