Embrace winter with a role that promises new adventures
Posted on 21 November, 2023
Image Source: Pikwizard
The clocks have gone back, and the longer, darker nights are settling in. For some, the winter may feel like a time to hibernate, curl up with a good book, and wait for the sun to return. But winter doesn't have to be like this - it can be the start of new adventures and exciting opportunities.
As the colder months roll in, it's easy to fall into a routine of staying indoors, but there's a better way to embrace winter – by becoming a homesitter. This is a role that offers a unique chance to explore new places and attractions at a quieter time of year.
By staying in a client’s homes when they go away to take care of their home and pets, homesitters can enjoy exploring the UK without the expense of a hotel. They can also make savings on their winter heating bills as they are staying in someone else’s home, particularly those who take on regular assignments.
For many, homesitting is a perfect way to fill the winter months, and we have many homesitters that choose to only take on assignments in winter, as they want to travel in the summer. One of our homesitting couples, retired police officer and bookkeeper, Malcom and Sue Horsup from Essex made the decision to retire relatively young at 50 years old.
Whilst some people want to put their feet up, The Horsups were keen to stay busy and active. They didn’t want to sit back and do nothing so looked for a flexible part time job which would leave them time to travel and spend six months of the year on their boat in France.
Malcolm and Sue started homesitting when they retired in 2013. This animal-loving couple thought homesitting would the ideal way to spend the long winter months in the UK.
Malcolm explains, “One of our biggest passions is to travel and go abroad as much as financially possible. We have a boat in France so during the summer we spend our time there or travelling in other countries and we spend the winter months in the UK home and pet sitting.”
Sue adds, “We’re both very active and wanted something to occupy us in the winter. We didn’t want to be sat twiddling our thumbs.”
Sue and Malcolm’s other great love is dogs. Whilst the couple have never owned a dog together and have always wanted to, they knew they couldn’t commit fully to owning a dog, so they opted for the next best thing – looking after other people’s dogs.
Sue says: “Since becoming homesitters, we get our ‘dog fix’ every winter and all the assignments we do involve looking after dogs. We’ve looked after German Shepherds, Labradors and three Italian Spinoni, one of which who was a former show dog. We have also cared for some elderly and poorly dogs and on one sit we had to administer chemotherapy drugs.”
The couple take on around 10 assignments per year and have many regular clients who request them time after time.
Sue says, “We have one client who won’t go on holiday unless she knows we are available to look after her dogs. We have stayed in some fantastic homes. These have included multi-million-pound mansions with swimming pools and gyms and Grade 1 listed houses dating back to the 12th century, as well as typical family homes.
Malcolm says the role is particularly suitable for retired police men and women because of the trust element that’s needed.
He says, “Being a policeman comes with a high degree of responsibility and trust and it’s the same job requirements needed for home and pet sitting. Clients trust their homes and beloved pets to you, and they need to have faith that you will look after both responsibly.”
Whilst Sue and Malcolm don’t homesit for financial reasons they have experienced some of the monetary benefits which come with home and pet sitting. Homesitters carrying out a week’s homesit with no pets, for one hour and 45 minutes of work a day would earn £87 per week. However, the pay rises with each pet.
Normally the average working time per day does not exceed 1.75 hours per day. The amount homesitters can earn will depend on the number of pets involved in the assignment and how long each assignment is. They are also given travel expenses and a weekly food allowance.
Malcolm says, “As most of our sits are during the colder winter months, we have also noticed slightly lower energy bills, which is just another added bonus of home and pet sitting.”
Sue concludes, “We love every aspect of the job which has made retirement life even more enjoyable and rewarding. We still get to travel as much as we like but also get to be around our favourite animals which allows other people to get away with real peace of mind that their pets are being well looked after.”
If, like the Horsups, you are eager to keep active during the winter months, homesitting could be the ideal role. It offers a wonderful way to explore the country, spend time with pets, and at the same time boost income and make savings on utility bills.
It's an opportunity to turn the dreary winter months into a season of adventure, warmth, and fulfilment. Find out more and apply here.