Arriving Early For Introductions/Instructions

Hello All!
So glad I found this forum!

I just wanted to see how other sitters handle/feel about arriving early to a sit in order to get instructions, meet the homeowners and pets. I find that a lot of HOs like to meet before they leave and this usually means the day before a sit actually begins.

When we pet sat in Europe, the majority of the time the HOs would have us come a day early to meet and go over instructions. They then would have us stay the night and would either take us out to dinner or cook a dinner. We really enjoyed our time with the HOs and this led to friendships that we still enjoy today. Some have even visited us in the States.

We are now on a 4 month long US road trip with 12 scheduled pet sits. This time around in the States, the HOs have asked that we meet the day before the sit also but no one has invited us to stay the night. I understand if the home is small but most of the HOs already have a spare room set up for us or the room to put us up. I’m not complaining, its ok, I feel like here in the States this is more of just a business transaction then the HOs really wanting to get to know us as people. I just miss the interaction.

I’m just wondering what other sitters have experienced. Do you ask the HOs if they would like you to come earlier for the meet and greet/instructions? Do the HOs invite you to stay?

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I have only sat in the US so far, but on every occasion where the HO has asked me to come the day before, I have slept at the house, either in the guest room or in one case, the HO gave me her bed and slept in the guest room because she thought her mattress was much more comfortable. I have usually arrived the day before after dinner. On a couple occasions the HOs took me out for dinner. Someone posted here saying that the HO paid for a hotel room for the sitter because they felt it would be be too stressful to have a houseguest as they were preparing to go away.

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Way to go @PetTrippin! Always fun trippin across the universe. In my experience, I always ask what their preference is for my arrival. If they say they need me to come early for a meet and orientation of the home and pets then it is part of the sit. Only once did I have a HO offer to put me up at a hotel due to lack of space in the home.
Today many people are happy with a digital meeting on FaceTime, WhatsApp etc. I have done many sits where I have never met the owners. The rapport and trust is established before arrival with instructions on entry and exit requirements.
Be open with your communication and you will find a mutually rewarding experience.
See you out there!
Amparo

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Welcome to the forum! I am in the US too. Most of my sits since COVID have involved virtual handovers or meeting an hour or so before they left. When restrictions lifted and the numbers were good, I had a few HOs host us for a night before they left. I have never had a homeowner insist that we come early and pay for our own lodging. That said, now that the variant is spreading, I may consider that option at some point for future sits. But it would have to be for a very desirable sit.

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Hello @PetTrippin and a big welcome from all the Trusted Team! We are glad you found the forum too and hope you enjoy connecting, joining and starting great conversations here.

As sitters, like you, most of our sits have involved overnight handovers before the sit and it’s something we believe helps tremendously with reassuring owners and the pets, especially with dogs where it provides the opportunity for them to see you accepted into the home as part of the family. And as you say, those lovely shared meals have very often lead to long-standing friendships and plenty of repeat sit offers as relationships are built. We would miss that too.

I think it’s perhaps the pandemic that has changed this. It would be a good question for general discussion here on this thread, but our sense (we sit in France at the moment) is that people are more cautious of spending extra time with people and also want to protect each other especially at the start of a travel experience… both you and the owners.

We’ve been fortunate that it has still happened for us in France but we do always ask and talk about this and explain the benefits.

Are your owners typically new to house sitting? Maybe it’s something you can broach when you have video calls, as for us I think the difficulty would be in meeting the day before but not having somewhere to stay that night. I can see already you’ve had some great feedback so it will be interesting to read the thoughts of our other members on this great topic.

Thanks again for contributing and enjoy your road trip - look forward to following your adventures here… maybe keep us updated of special moments in the Travel category!! Take care!

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In normal times, I find its handy to arrive the day before a sit to get time with the HO to cover the small detail that might not be covered in the Welcome Guide and it can lead to some lasting friendships which is a bonus. I would never go the day before though if the HO expected me to visit but hen pay for accomodation elsewhere; if they offered to pay then that in my opinion is acceptable and where they just don’t have space and/or are concerned about the current covid situation (as I am also) then that also is undersatnadable and reasonable. Being based in London I always factor in travel time to a sit and the last thing I want is to have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to a sit where the HO wants to leave early in the morning and do a rushed handover so arriving the night before seems a good arrangement for both parties. I do have issues with HOs who assume that its OK for a sitter to come and meet before offering the sit ,as for most sitters unless they are local to the sit, they incur travel costs that in my experience the HO has never offered to cover. Where a HO asks for a potential sitter to visit ahead of the sit being offered it also flags up that the person may be difficult to deal with, overly anxious about going away, and have unreasonable expectations. I tend to avoid this type of sit.

As a home owner I always ask sitters to come the day before and to stay in the guest quarters. We always take them to dinner that night as well. Unless we get back fairly early we ask them to stay the day we return. I also invite them to come earlier or stay longer if they need a place to stay between our sit and their next one. I so appreciate all who have sat for our home and cats and want to do all that I can to make it easy for them.

shirley

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As a HO, we always prefer the sitters to come the day before, have dinner with us, meet the dogs and stay the night in the room they will be using while we are away. I prefer that they don’t leave before we return, just in case of any problem with us getting home, they are always welcome to stay the night again if that suits them.

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Hello PetTrippin! I am a homeowner and we have 2 pet sits scheduled. With both, I have requested that they arrive the day before we leave for vacation. I want them to feel comfortable in my home, and give them ample opportunity to ask questions and bond with my pets. Both of my sitters agreed to arrive the day before. This gives me comfort and confidence in leaving my “babies” in the care of the sitters as well. I have also had Zoom calls with the sitters to talk about the sits and meet them personally. I am so excited to meet them!! 24 more days!

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oh dear that’s not nice at all. being a HO I really like my sitters to arrive early & I always invite them to stay some choose to come a few days early so they can look around as not all have cars. I don’t mind just as long as they understand I’m trying to get ready to leave lol so far no problems with that.

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This is really interesting because we are quite a private & quietish couple & really like our own space. So as much as we love people & are happy to share a meal & chat we aren’t comfortable staying too long.
We have met HO either just before they depart or the night before but feel much more comfortable in separate accommodation.
On the other hand I really envy those who are fine with this.
It’s good to appreciate we are all different.

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Thank you all for your replies.
We are 3 months into this USA adventure and we could not have done it without pet sitting! We have had just 1 host (out of 12 hosts) ask us to come and stay the day/night before the actual sit starts. Not complaining, its just different from our Europe sits. We have also observed that a zoom call can take care of almost everything that a meeting beforehand would do although we prefer a face to face meeting. We were just surprised with the number of sits we have had/have on this 4 month road trip that only 1 sit asked us to stay over the night before. To be fair, there were 2 sits in small homes without a guest room so I understand how maybe it wasn’t convenient however those walkthroughs could easily have been done on a zoom call. All our hosts knew we were traveling long distances.
To the HOs who responded to this post, you rock! Thank you for your input and I hope we could someday sit for you!

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FWIW, I have been invited to stay–and share a meal (either out or at home) on most of my US stays. So I would not say that it is typical not to be invited.

If it were me as the host, I’d probably put up the sitter in a hotel (if they were coming in from out of town). I’m usually scrambling before trips because I work full time.

I’ve never had anyone offer to pay for a hotel. I’ve had hosts offer for me to arrive a few days early, many to arrive the night before, and some not until the morning they leave. When I do stay the night before, the host either buys dinner or cooks for us.

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If it is necessary we certainly would pay for the hotel room or B&B.
In our house 3 people can sleep at the same time but there’s not enough room for two couples. So when sitters travel together and we need to leave early, a room booking would be necessary. We would gladly arrange it and pay for it, because there are some really nice B&B within walking distance from the house and as we know the owners we are sure that the sitters have the best accommodation possible.
We save so much money by having people stay voluntarily and without pay at our home AND look after our cats, that we consider this a courtesy.

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Dusenzofe, I wish more hosts felt the way you do! Every once in awhile (not often, fortunately), I get a host who thinks that we are unpaid servants!

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We have been put up twice by the HO, once for two nights in a lovely B&B. We arrived two days before their trip, one day to meet them, the dog and cats, the next we were free as they had to attend a funeral.
Difficult for them, but we felt like we were on a paid holiday!

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Hi Jackie,

While I’ve never enjoyed a free B&B, I have had hosts who are just so generous. It’s nice to know when we’re appreciated :heart::heart:.

I guess these people have never paid any professional „drop by twice a day“ sitters! Do they even know how expensive that is?
I don’t want to know what they would charge for staying at the house. We’ve had privately arranged sitters here before THS and we always paid them at least 20€ per day. So that was quite a nice income for them. All they had to do was feed two cats and sleep in our bed. We even arranged our cleaning lady to come as usual so they didn’t have to do anything really.
I understand that most sitters from THS don’t want any third party in the house and, as it isn‘t really possible to get out of the cleaning lady’s way without leaving the house completely, we now don’t schedule it for our time away.

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I actually like it when there’s a cleaning lady. Of course I keep things tidy and pick up after myself, but it’s nice to have someone helping out.

Thank you for being an appreciative host!!!

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