Every child literally knows what a babysitter is. But what about the house sitter or apartment sitter ? These terms are nowhere near as firmly anchored in the German vocabulary and cause question marks over the heads of many people. The principle is very similar to that of babysitting. Instead of taking care of a toddler, a house or apartment is looked after. The business model is already firmly established in other parts of the world – for example the USA and Australia. It is only just gaining a foothold here in Germany. So it’s a good time to get into the industry and earn a living as a house sitter.
What are the duties of a house sitter?
Taking care of someone else’s apartment or house naturally sounds very relaxed and not very challenging at first. Nevertheless, the job of a house sitter or apartment sitter should by no means be underestimated. If you become self-employed in this area and manage various properties, you will quickly notice that the job demands a lot from you.
The following overview reveals which tasks you specifically take on as a house sitter:
- Water and care for flowers and the garden
- Put out garbage cans
- Empty mailbox
- Take care of pets
- Keeping appointments such as reading the meter reading, chimney sweeps, craftsmen, etc.
- Opening and closing the shutters (burglar protection)
- Ventilate apartment / house
Increasing demand in large cities
While house sitting has long been established in large parts of the world and is no longer uncommon, the business model is still slowly spreading in this country. Nevertheless, a positive development can be recorded, which makes it clear that there is a need. Especially in big cities, which are often characterized by anonymity, people are happy to have someone who water the flowers and look after the pets in their absence.
Another target group for home sitters are people who are less concerned with plants and animals and more with material possessions. Everyone knows that thieves are especially active during the vacation season. If a property appears to be temporarily uninhabited, it becomes easy prey. A house sitter can certainly ensure that a break-in is prevented – and that only by going in and out of the building regularly.
How do you become a house sitter?
Since the job of the house sitter is still relatively unknown in Germany, it is not surprising that there is no training and certainly no studies for this. The job title is not protected, which means that everyone can call themselves house sitter.
What references and certificates are in other areas, is experience in house sitting and apartment sitting. Someone who has been in the business for a long time and can look back on numerous references will find it easier to get new orders than someone who is fresh in the business.
To get started in the industry, it is advisable to first take care of the properties of friends, relatives and work colleagues. This will give you a feel for the job in general and the various tasks in particular.
Another way to gain experience as a house sitter is to travel. Anyone who travels to countries such as Australia, New Zealand or the USA will quickly find that house sitting is, so to speak, part of the good form here. There are now countless platforms that refer house sitters to clients. Even if these jobs are usually not remunerated, they are definitely attractive. Because house sitting gives you the opportunity to live free of charge in some extremely luxurious properties – which are often also equipped with a sauna, pool and other extras. Long-term travelers in particular make use of this option and save money as a result.
Without a trade, house sitting is undeclared work
Anyone who wants to earn a living by taking care of other people’s apartments and houses would do extremely well to register a business. Incidentally, this also applies if you intend to set up a side job as a house sitter.
Whether full-time or part-time – anyone who regularly works as a house sitter has to become self-employed and register their business with the trade and tax office.
The legal form that is most suitable for this is the sole proprietorship. This involves little bureaucratic effort and is therefore extremely popular. The disadvantage of this legal form is that in the event of business failure you will have to be liable not only with your business but also your private property. However, since you are not likely to make huge investments as a house sitter and you will hardly take any major risks, this risk is justifiable.
Small business regulation works well for house sitters
It is pretty unlikely that you can make a fully house sitting living from the start. Most of the people who enter this industry initially do so as a part-time job and continue to work in their main job at the same time.
This constellation has the advantage that you can easily make use of the small business regulation. This regulation, which is set out in §19 UStG , exempts companies with low sales from sales tax. For you as a house sitter, this can turn out to be a decisive advantage.
The reason for this is your customers. Housesitting is a classic B2C business. This means that you will primarily deal with private individuals. Unlike corporate customers, they cannot “get back” the 19 percent sales tax that is shown on products and services.
Those who make use of the small business regulation do not have to levy 19 percent sales tax (also known as sales tax in the vernacular) and can offer their work more cheaply (at least from the customer’s perspective).
Precisely because house sitting is not yet that widespread in Germany, you may have problems enforcing prices that are realistic for you as an entrepreneur.
What does a house sitter earn?
First of all, if you don’t intend to build a full house-sitting empire, you probably won’t get rich in this industry either. Most of your customers are unwilling to pay high prices for someone opening their windows, feeding the budgie, and giving fresh water to the flowers.