Why retirees should consider being a home & pet sitter in 2020

Posted on 23 December, 2019

There are now a million more over 50’s working part-time, compared to a decade ago according to the Office for National Statistics, as older workers shun the notion of a ‘cold turkey’ retirement[i].

There are many reasons why people want to continue working, from financial reasons to not wanting to just sit at home and do nothing. Pensions and investment firm Aegon[ii] this year found the main motivations are to stay active and keep their brain alert, as well as enjoying their work.

We’re all living longer and are healthier than ever before, so it makes sense for those that want to or need to, to continue working. Working part-time is a great option for older people as it means they can still spend time doing other things such as doing hobbies, travelling more or spending more time with family.

Also in later life people often feel they deserve a slower pace of life after working full-time for years, so part-time working can be the ideal solution for those that still want to work in some capacity.

Of course the type of work people do is likely to be different after retirement age. Roles such as driving for local councils and charities, working or volunteering in a shop or charity shop, selling via a website or even starting a business are popular choices with older people.

One role that we find is also appealing to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s after they have retired is home and pet sitting. A retirement magazine[iii] in the USA thinks the same and recently highlighted that being a pet sitter was one of the best jobs for retirees.

They said that people who became pet sitters get a laid-back job pace, flexibility to pick and choose jobs, and the added bonus of animal companionship without the long-term commitment. That pretty much sums up the role!

For most of our homesitters the main attraction is travelling around the UK and staying in people’s homes, which is a bit like having a free holiday. Looking after the pets is a big plus too. Often older people don’t want the commitment of pets, so looking after someone else’s can offer that interaction with dogs, cats and other pets which many really enjoy.

The other bonus is that people are able to supplement their pension as they earn a small remuneration, plus those that do quite a few assignments, especially during the winter months make savings on their own utility bills.

One of our homesitters is 57 year old Sharon Payne from Milton Keynes who decided to take early retirement. Unwilling to take another 9 to 5 office job, Sharon looked for alternatives and she came across home and pet sitting.It sounded like the ideal role for her; she would enjoy the travel and spending time with pets, whilst earning a modest remuneration.

She says, “Home and pet sitting may sound like a low key job but you’re looking after the most important things in people’s lives, apart from their children. Looking after animals with different needs and people’s homes is a responsible job so I appreciated the interview process I went through to get the job.”

Memorable sits include looking after two dogs and 35 tortoises, and staying in a gorgeous Tudor mansion in Cambridgeshire with landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. Having always considered herself to be a ‘cat person’ Sharon has been surprised to discover she is something of a dog whisperer.

She says, “The dogs are all lovely and follow me everywhere. Last year I looked after a miniature schnauzer puppy. She was very cute and I had so much fun with her. When I went back to look after her she remembered me. Her owners are completely besotted with her so while they were away I sent them pictures and told them what we’d been up to each day.”

Sharon appreciates the income she receives and has noticed that the job is saving her money too. She explains, “It’s not so much about what I earn but what I don’t spend. I’ve noticed that since I started home sitting my gas, electric and water bills are significantly lower. I also get a food allowance so I eat for free while I’m on assignment.”

One of the benefits of working through us is that all our homesitters are employed directly by the company, unlike most online agencies where people will be expected to be self-employed. Working for us people feel part of our team which is important.

We also provide a 24/7 back up support service for our homesitters whilst on assignment and comprehensive insurance. Plus we always ensure homesitters meet their prospective clients and their pets, prior to taking on an assignment to ensure they are comfortable going ahead with the assignment.

We are recruiting home and pet sitters throughout the UK in 2020 and would love to hear from anyone who thinks they would fit the bill. To find out what we look for in our homesitters and more about what the role entails click here.

[i] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/07/million-50s-now-work-part-time-decade-ago-employees-reject-cold/

[ii] https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/half-want-to-delay-retirement-but-dont-think-about-long-term-health/

[iii] https://www.retirementliving.com/best-jobs-for-retirees


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