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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Iowa City, IA
    Posts
    97

    Default House Sitting...

    I did an inspection for a client last week that is buying a home just a few blocks away from me. They also own a home in Florida where they reside during the winter months. He approached me and asked if I would stop by every two weeks to check on the house while they are in Florida. Sounds like he just wants someone to stop by and check some basic things (furnace running, no major leaks, no signs of vandalism, etc.).

    What would you guys charge to do something like this?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    I wouldn't even consider doing it. Too much liability and I'm sure my insurance wouldn't cover it.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    maybe check around local house sitters and see what they charge, seriously sounds like they want a freebe and a freindly looker.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    I've done it in the past for construction clients in similar situations. I haven't charged anything. I also wouldn't want to charge anything. A few blocks from my house, check in every day or two for ten minutes on the way home or walking the dog. Sounds like an easy opportunity to cement a good referral base. Think about how you feel about the client and their personality. Will it be a hassle or are they Ok. Will they bring you back a T-shirt or be a PIA.
    I would suggest you decide whether you want to view it from a business revenue or business opportunity perspective.
    If you get paid for it there could be liabilities, talk to your lawyer. If you get paid I would suggest getting paid as you the person, not your business.
    I wouldn't do it for any official pay. Who's name do you think will come up when someone asks for an HI referral.
    Something you could ask for in exchange is time. We all know it is hard for customers to actually find the time to post reviews about your service on forums; A-list, Yulp, etc. You house sit, they post reviews on 6? sites. Could be worth a ton of business.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Holladay, UT
    Posts
    565

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    One week per winter at his house in Florida.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  6. #6
    Don Burbach's Avatar
    Don Burbach Guest

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    Marcus, you're on to something.

    I don't ask for reviews because I don't know how the client feels about Social Networking or if the client is even computer/internet savvy.

    A friendly response to a request for an extra may be an opportunity to ask for a review on their favorite social network site(Yelp, A-list, Facebook, etc).

    To the OP, I don't think I would do this as a business arrangement. When something goes wrong(alarm, intruder, pipe break, insurance claim), the SnowBird will be using your name as his caretaker. If you are dragged into an issue, you will be put in the position as a responsible party. Your insurance certainly isn't going to stand next to you.

    This might be an opportunity for something(referrals, other business), but this person may be setting you up for more requests for freebies from his other SnowBird friends.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    Although I do like Tom's idea, Ken hit it on the head - don't get involved.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    It could turn into something in terms of referrals............or nothing at all. And what will future referrals possibly expect from you, especially if you do this for nothing? You don't give away inspection time for free (I assume). Why do something like this for free? I agree with the liability issue as well.

    I wouldn't do it. I'm a home inspector. Not a house sitter.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    I don't agree with the other views.

    Its a business opportunity, an ancilliary service.

    Talk to the person and query him as to what he expects and what he has in his budget for such a service.

    Have a contract drawn up with terms and conditions and pricing.

    Have comprehensive general liability insurance in place.

    There is no more risk than with any other service home inspectors offer.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    Lots of people like to "rely" on neighbours and friends to do this "service" for free. I agree with Raymond as it is an opportunity to put out there another service. Just make sure you cover yourself of your charging for it. it is nice to help a friend or neighbour for free cause you never know when you will need some neighbourly help back, but in this case it is a client, and as such nuthing wrong with formalizing the deal with a signed contract which can lead to others when things are slow. keep it legal when it comes to money being paid, but keep it neighbourly when helpin out a neighbour. )


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Iowa City, IA
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    Will have an agreement / waiver signed to release any and liability for any potential related personal and or property damage... The owner is a lawyer and perfectly fine with signing such a document.

    I had no idea what kind of fee is typically charged for this type of service (that was actually my original question...) but I decided based on having a signed waiver and because the property is so close, I proposed $40 / month for 6 months ($240) and the owner happily agreed. I will stop by every 2 weeks (2 visits per month) Owner said he would pay up front and if they come back early, so be it.

    I appreciate all your opinions / advice. As far as referals / reviews. The reason the client asked me to do this was because he was impressed with the original inspection service and the way I condcuted business. I am confident he will send any potential referals my way regardless of this "house sitting" arrangement. And if I needed a review, I am sure a friendly request would be all that was needed.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    Andrew

    One thing that the owner may not be aware is that most insurers want the home checked every other day. Should a pipe burst for example the insurers will likely turn down the claim if it can be proven the home was not checked every other day.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Iowa City, IA
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    Raymond, Thanks for the info. I will advise him accordingly.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: House Sitting...

    Andrew,
    1) Think of it like a basic service call. First 15 or 30 min rate, ask a few trade in the area what their service call charge is and go there.

    2) Think about draining water lines and doing a winterization of the water system. This may say money in the event of a power outage and a panic winterization effort.

    Do not know about Lic to do job and take liability in your area, but think about the liability of any work performed.

    In Maryland draining the system, depending on house, $250 - $400. To stop at the property (depending on location) and walk through looking for problems $50. Do not forget about dewinterizing charge.

    Remember you have to account for travel time as well as time there, plus add for inclement weather and hazard pay for heading out in the snow.

    Not a bad way to pick up pick up a few bucks over the winter months.


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