Advice on family sits

Hi,

We have recently joined and so far we are struggling to find people willing to accept sitters travelling with children. Can those of you who do give me some idea how long it took you to get a sit? Any advice on our profile?
My kids are all home educated and the eldest is turning 16 this month and the twins are 11 years old…not toddlers. We are experienced have 11 years’ worth of reviews on Airbnb and are super flexible. So far we have had 5 rejections and I am finding that our applications are not being opened. Help!

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Hi @BeCeylan and a very warm welcome to TrustedHousesitters and to the Community Forum :wave:t2::slightly_smiling_face:

There are many families on here who house sit either full time or during holidays etc. I have attached some other threads you should find of interest, your profile is not yet showing on here so I have tagged @Carla_C or @Angela_L who can check this for you and then other members will be able to offer you helpful advice and feedback.

Also, remember you can use the spyglass symbol at the top of the page next to the TrustedHousesitters logo and search for any questions that you may have as they have most likely already been answered on here and of course if not then please just ask!

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Thanks, @Samox24 I have updated the correct sitter’s profile link for @BeCeylan :slight_smile:

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We are sitting as a couple, not a family. But I would have thought you would stand a better chance if you focused on pet owners who already had kids still living at home. That should reduce the amount of time you spend applying and writing personalised messages and increase the odds of them saying yes.

Focus on rabbits, as there may be a higher chance of a rabbit belonging to a family already, so it may increase your chances.

But just having 5 rejections doesn’t sound like many turn-downs to me. Sounds like your giving up too fast. Put yourself in the shoes of the pet owner. Every dog and cat has the potential to bite if they feel stressed or anxious, which they may with strangers, and an even higher chance with kids (even older ones). So why would they say yes. They wouldn’t have naturally left their pets with a neighbour with kids, they would leave it with a neighbour that had a calmer quiet household… so give it time, and tweak your focus to increase your chances.

Also, in your profile personally I would change the 3 kids, to ‘three’ kids or leave it out completely. Someone quickly glancing may read that as being 3 year old, as you have 16 close to it etc.

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Worth noting that many sitters had more than five rejections even as solos or couples without kids when they were starting out. It’s really way too early to worry about not being able to land a sit, in the context of THS.

And starting early, you probably want to apply for local sits, last-minute sits and less popular areas. That’s so you can have a better shot at starting out and building reviews. The easier sits also might in some cases be harder for you to land, because you not only lack reviews at the start (just like everyone else), you’d also presumably be competing against solos or couples without kids.

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Also just noticed, the very first sentence in your profile is “I have always had pets”… don’t focus on ‘I’, it could potentially make an owner think you have pets and not the kids, so they maybe won’t read more.

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Hi there

Homeowners have an option to mark their sit ‘family friendly’ which means they are open to applicants with children.

Based on your message of believing people are not considering your application because you have children, that leads me to believe you may not be using it. So be sure to if you haven’t been.

Of course that filter itself is no guarantee of anything, so even if you have been using it, you may still run into challenges as a HO could have a preference for just one child, children of a certain age, or they may not have space for larger families.

There are people traveling with children on here so it is definitely possible. Your options will be more limited no doubt, but with the large amount of sits on this site, even a smaller percentage can still add up to significant opportunity.

Good luck!

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Hi @BeCeylan ,

It’s always good to see other families starting out on TrustedHousesitters. I sit with my two boys aged 14 and 12 and occasionally my husband joins us. We started with THS in 2019 when the boys were just 10 and 8. We only sit during school holidays and a few weekends, we’re not full time sitters. Your kids, like mine now, are a great age for housesitting - old enough to be genuinely helpful!

We definitely had our share of rejections when we first started out, and we still do get rejections when applying for sits in popular areas like London. We keep persevering and we are eventually successful, so don’t give up too soon!

I have more photos of the children than me in our profile, all of them interacting with pets (or cleaning up after them in the case of the chicken house cleaning photo!) If you click on my name above you’ll be able to see a link to our sitter profile

In our application I introduce everyone and say a bit about their interests and hobbies. Homeowners may often be drawn to applicants with whom they have things in common. We have sat for lots of people with similar or related jobs to mine, families with children of similar ages or who have similar hobbies. So make sure you include this sort of information. You never know what will draw a homeowner to you.

While most of our sits have been for families, we have done a few that were not. The hardest thing sometimes is working out if there would be suitable accommodation for a family as it isn’t always clear from the listings.

Getting your first few reviews is important, as it is usually easier to secure sits once you have some reviews. It is worth applying for short, last minute sits that are not in the most popular locations to increase your chances of being chosen and to start building your reviews.

Good luck, and I look forward to hearing about your housesitting experiences!

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Thank you to everyone replying! I’m delighted to say that we have been confirmed for our first sit and we are really excited.
I have taken all of the advice onboard and will tweak the profile a little. I think I was just feeling a little deflated as quite a few applications were going unread. Hopefully, this will be the start of some more fantastic adventures.

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Great news @BeCeylan! Don’t worry, most of us contend with the unread applications too! We just move on to the next application. Enjoy your first sit as a family.

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There could be a myriad of reasons, but for me personally as a HO, I prefer fewer people in my home. It can be stressful for pets when you’re away, and having 4-5 people may just be too many for some. I have an indoor cat, and that’s extra people I would worry about leaving the door open. That’s just me. As other’s have said, perhaps finding HO whose family is close to your size would be a better fit.

@BeCeylan Congratulations on securing your first sit as a family.

For everyone who starts out here I suggest looking out for local and last minute sits to build up your TH reviews.

For a family like yours , I suggest also looking for sits where there are several energetic dogs - whilst these sits often don’t suit solos traveller - your children will be ideal companions for walks and lots of play . Also sits with lots of different animals to care for . Again this can be too much for a solo traveller but great fun for a family and when everyone gets involved with the tasks there is still plenty of time to explore the local area where you are staying.

Please keep the forum updated on how your first sit goes, we love to hear stories from others on their house sitting journey.

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Thank you all for sharing useful insights on family sitting.
As a new user, it was very helpful to read all opinions.
It would be great if more family sitters shared their experiences.

We are a family of 4 (me, my wife, a boy (6) and a girl (11)) and we are considering joining the platform. As a new user, it looks to me that the concept is built around solo sitters and couples.

Any other tips for family sitting are highly appreciated :raised_hands:

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Hi @ralev

I don’t travel with children so I can’t offer any specific advice in that regard. But just some general thoughts.

No one who joins the platform is guaranteed to get sits, regardless of their status. But you definitely won’t get any if you don’t join!

The cost of membership, while higher than other sites, is still a pretty small investment considering how much people can save on accommodation on even just a few short sits, let alone doing this on a regular or semi-regular basis.

There are a number of forum members who sit as a family so it is definitely possible. So I would recommend taking the leap and signing up for a membership if this is something you are seriously interested in pursuing.

But the reality is, getting sits as a family could prove more challenging. There are myriad reasons HO’s may not accept family applications from their home not being kid-friendly or big enough, to their pets not reacting well to children, to worrying about an increased risk of damage to their home and belongings.

Luckily, HOs have the option to ‘tag’ their listing as family-friendly, which will save you time in only reaching out to homeowners who have indicated they are open to hosting children in their home. These listings may not be as abundant, but with the number available on THS (always in the thousands) even a smaller percentage can add up to significant opportunities. And the fact they are marked as such means there are HOs who are clearly willing to have children in their home.

Technically you could apply to any sit, and you may have someone who wasn’t considering families be open to it–though if they explicitly say their sit isn’t suitable for children, I wouldn’t do this. I know many single and couple sitters sometimes find luck applying to a sit requesting one or the others and the HO offers it to them.

But as a family, I don’t know if I would engage with that strategy as much in applying to sits not marked ‘family friendly’…I think the success rate on that would probably be a lot lower, leading to a lot of wasted time, rejections and discouragement.

It’s one thing for a single sitter to assure a HO who believes their isolated location is more suitable for a couple, that they would be just fine on their own ,and are used to such sits, and quite another to ask a HO to reconsider their preference for a single sitter and accept an entire family.

A common piece of advice and I think a good one would be applying to some local sits, where the possibility of meeting in person may help your chances. Though even more local HOs may not feel this is necessary, and it isn’t something you technically need to offer, but it may work in your favor.

I say just take the leap!

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@ralev when I first found TrustedHousesitters I couldn’t quite believe that people would want a family of 4 to stay in their home and look after their pets. 4 years and 22 sits later, we can confirm that THS can work for families. We do a housesit in every school holiday, and sometimes more than one.

I would definitely apply only to sits marked as family friendly as you have a 6 year old. Pets who live in busy family households often enjoy having a family of house sitters, as it’s what they are used to. So I’d suggest focusing on sits for families with a few pets. Our first one was for a cat and some chickens. We definitely applied mainly for sits with multiple pets to start with. Ones that would benefit from more pairs of hands! Having said that, one of our repeat sits is just 1 dog.

We are fortunate to be based in an area with lots of sits available (UK). I’m not sure where you are based, but some areas have fewer sits available and more competition. Looking for local sits, where you could potentially visit the host in advance can be a good way to start out. Applying for last minute sits also increases your chance of success. Finding a sit in a popular location like London takes more effort, more applications and a few rejections, but both times we looked for London sits we were eventually successful.

If you have any questions, ask away!

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