When do sitters normally book sits? Am I posting mine too soon?
I’ve had 4 great Housesitters, but my last sit ended up being organised quite late, after my sitter cancelled, quite a few months after the sit was agreed. The reason seemed genuine enough, but now the sitters who’d accepted our next sit a few months ago, have cancelled, for similar(family) reasons to those who cancelled previously.
Maybe I’m just unlucky, or maybe I’m booking sitters too far ahead. Alternatively, there might be some genuine or other reasons for cancellation. I’m just curious as to what sitters think.
How far ahead do you book your sits? Why might you cancel after accepting a sit? Am I getting something wrong in this process? I have good feedback so far. What do you think.
You can see that in sitters’ profiles, the struck-out dates. I have a week left here, will go home then for a while. I have an application for a Christmas sit, but no real plans. I think I will go to England next spring, for a tour starting from the south.
The crowd here is not representative of the average member, I think. Quite a few are full-time sitters, very organized, planning to fill their calendars, often quite far ahead.
Personally, I try not to book more than 3-4 months ahead of time. Even international sits as flights and arrangements can’t be made all that far in advance and life happens.
You might want to ask prospective sitters directly: Under what circumstances would you cancel a sit?
Personally, I’ve started booking for the first quarter of 2024. That’s further out than normal, because I’m taking the rest of 2023 off for the holiday season. My current sit will probably be my last for the year.
Under what circumstances I’d cancel if I’d accepted a sit: If I were incapacitated or something equally serious or worse.
When I take a sit, I realize that I’d be messing up someone’s plans if I withdrew, so I don’t take that lightly. Along the same lines, I consider it jerkish behavior for HOs to cancel sits without a serious legit reason.
My only sit that ended up being canceled: Months after we’d agreed, the HO changed the terms of a sit, saying their 30-something son had moved back to town and would be staying in the house during part of my sit. I replied that if they wanted him to do the sit instead, no problem. Otherwise, I could do the sit as planned, solo. The HO chose to cancel. That was fine with me, because there’s zero chance I’ll sit with some random stranger in any home.
In that case, the timing of the sit had already been delayed, because the HO had offered me a sit later than the one they’d originally posted.
If you put ‘how far ahead’ in the search field you’ll find your question has been discussed many times
@Jillbow , I generally book one to three months ahead but have a tentative date for a 2-wk sit next August – this was decided about a year ahead, tentative because you never know what could happen, and was just asked to return to a sit in April (6 months ahead) and gave the OK. I would not cancel these sits unless there were dire circumstances.
I’ve been booking 6-8 months in advance if it’s somewhere I really want to sit. I’m not sure that the risk of a cancellation is greater when booking far in advance or not. I do think that it’s usually the more experienced sitters that book far in advance and are reliable. I wouldn’t cancel a sit because I didn’t feel it anymore or something better came along. Legit reasons to cancel do occur and though I’ve been cancelled on, I have not ever cancelled.
Hi @Jillbow I’m going to skip your question about timelines for booking as I think the answers will be as varied as the sitters. My thought is about the fact you wonder if you’ve been unlucky with two sitters having cancelled on you.
I am a sitter but if I was an owner my curiosity would make me check the cancelled sitter’s calendar to see if they then had the crossed out dates overlapping your period. If they did and the cancellation was on relatively short notice then it would tend to make me think the cancellation was to take a sit they felt was a better one. That’s just not cool and I would then bring it to the attention of membership services.
There are thousands of sitters and some people may do things differently than others. I have a combined membership, so I’m non-nomadic. I take care of my own cats all the time, so taking care of someone else’s isn’t a big deal to me. I look for sits that are “getaways” for either myself alone or with my spouse usally driving distance or accessible by train. So in my case, I might just look a few weeks in advance. (I also live in a competitive area, so I can get a sitter with just a couple of weeks notice.)
I just found out that a sitter who cancelled on me months ago did exactly that. It was easy to discover after the fact. There was a review on her profile!
We are not full time sitters and vary how far ahead we book depending on the location. For domestic sits we will often book 3-6 months ahead. For international sits 6-12 months ahead.
My wife is super organized and we have typically booked out 6-8 months in advance, but then we do this full time as travelers.
We have also booked sits last minute.
We’ve never cancelled a sit after we agreed to it sunce 2012 so I can’t really answer this except to say we don’t shop for multiple sits and then take one and cancel the other. That just says volumes about the character of the person.
I know it doesn’t help now @Jillbow but maybe add the “have you ever had to cancel a sit before and if so, why?” to your screening questions for future sitters. Totally agree with @Snowbird about flagging and reporting them too. We’ve never cancelled and had three international costly sits cancel on us. Two with flaky beyond flaky reasons. We wish THS would adopt a flagging system for cancellations on both sides
As a part time digital nomad sitter I tend to work 1-2 months in advance. Others may look longer than that. Although I have a repeat sit that was agreed about 6 months in advance. I’ve never cancelled yet and would only do so under exceptional circumstances like severe illness or god forbid a family death.
Sorry to hear this @Cuttlefish. That’s not cool either. And I agree I wish THS would implement a system where you can see how many cancellations both sitters and HO had in the last year at least.
I’ve posted sits as soon as I know I’m going. So I originally posted dates for Feb 24 around June 23.
Thanks. Maybe I am booking too soon.
We have sits booked all the way through to Sept 2024 @Jillbow so there’s never a “correct” timeline. More time gives you more choice and relaxation. Less time gives you less time to worry about changes in life and circumstance. I do think experienced international sitters look well in advance especially for longer sits as it impacts flight prices. Best of luck
Thanks. I’ll certainly be asking that in future. When I was house exchanging our circumstances changed and we were unable to travel, so we arranged an alternative place to stay locally so that our exchange partners could still enjoy their trip. As a HO I’d be prepared to do the same for a sitter, rather than drop them in.