Live Rent Free and Earn as a Caretaker

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]

flexible jobDo you have a mobile home? Is your job flexible and allows you to work from home? Perhaps you are a writer and you wish to go away from the city life for extended periods. Are you taking a break from your work life after several years of hard toil? Are you retired? If you belong to any of the above you may seriously consider enjoying the role of a Caretaker.

Caretaker! What does it mean?

caretakerVarious kinds of property owners are in constant need for caretakers, who can look after their property while the owners are away. Typically one has to maintain the property in a good living condition for a period of time. In exchange the caretakers may live rent free, in some cases they are given salaries with benefits too!

Here are some possible scenarios:
  • Helping hand in farms - During peak farming and harvesting season many farmers hire helping hands. This provides a great opportunity to learn about farming first hand as well as free accommodation. We may receive a stipend or percentage of annual profits. These days there are internship and multi-year apprenticeship opportunities being offered at many cooperatives and organic farms. Here is an example.
  • Lavish living in off season - Many seasonal parks, resorts, hunting/fishing lodges, recreational getaways hire caretakers for off season maintenance. Just because it is off season does not mean its natural beauty has diminished. Every season has a different appeal. If this option sounds attractive, then it may be worthwhile to check if one of your dream resorts or romantic getaway hangout needs such caretakers.
  • Year round caretaker with salary - Being a caretaker is not synonymous with being seasonal. There are plenty of retreat centers, campgrounds, national forests and reserves, parks, beaches, ranches and more who need permanent caretakers. Most of them in fact offer a regular salary along with benefits like health insurance. If you have a RV and enjoy nature, even merrier!
A little preparation.

Few things to watch out for:
  • PlanSome places ask for additional skills such as gardening, landscaping, carpentry and more. We can pick up such skills in no time by enrolling and getting certified at appropriate local institutions. Many community colleges offer such classes.
  • It always pays to read the fine print of an agreement carefully and ask questions if something is amiss or unclear. Some important questions might be: Who pays for the utilities? Does the property have appropriate insurance?
  • We should indeed visit a property before making any commitment about being its caretaker.
  • After moving in it would be worthwhile to thoroughly examine the property and list anything that is not in working condition or damaged. The next step is to hand in a copy of this list to the owner of the property. Still better would be to take some digital snaps (with a date stamp) photos of the property.
Where can I get a list of available openings for caretakers?

The GazetteAs far we know the most reliable and reputed (perhaps the only) source of such listing is The Caretaker Gazette. Positions on estates, mansions, farms, ranches, resort homes, retreat centers, camps, hunting and fishing lodges, vacation homes, private islands, and any other kind of property imaginable are listed in The GAZETTE. However The Gazette is not free. Subscriptions cost $29.95 per year, or $49.95 for two years, or $69.95 for three years.

As for us, we are not yet ready for this kind of lifestyle. But this option sounds adventurous and frugal. In case you are a Caretaker or have been one in the past, we would be delighted to hear about your experiences.

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Image Source(s): iStockPhoto

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