Carefully select qualities required of a sitter

I viewed a listing today that prompted me to ponder a point. I will start by saying that I recognize that every owner has a right to establish their requirements, without question, but each requirement might cancel out a capable sitter from applying.

This listing had preference for a couple, but I could not see any requirement that I couldn’t handle (2 cats, no medication requirements, no household tasks inside or out). However, I am a solo sitter.

It also required a police check. There has been great discussion on the forum about this point. I volunteer for two agencies, caring for those in the vulnerable sector. For those, I had a higher-level police check done six years ago, with no requirement for it to be repeated. Further, for more than seven years I have had a Nexus card. Again, much has been said about that here, but I’ll just mention that it involves clearance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and FBI. Nexus would be immediately cancelled for any non-compliance.

My point is that I ask homeowners to give great consideration to the limitations they put on applicants. I will not bother to try and convince these homeowners that I am capable, but I do feel they narrowed down their choices. I think they missed out on a good opportunity to have had a sitter who so far has impressed every homeowner she’s ever sat for, and it’s rare for me to boast in public, but I want to reinforce a point. I wish them well in their search.

16 Likes

It’s as simple as the sitter needs a car. I did a bit of research the other day for one specific sit in LA which stated you needed a car to get around. I wondered why you would need a car in such a central city location. It was in the western part of the city about half mile from a subway station which, with planning you could travel all over plus out of town.

Is it because people don’t walk?

7 Likes

I’ve applied on a couple of sits in the past where the homeowner indicated they wanted a single person only but my husband and I sit together. I decided to apply nevertheless and we were successful in obtaining the sits so I think it’s worthwhile applying if the sit interests you.

5 Likes

If the sit interested me and fitted in with my dates I’d ask why there was a preference for a couple.

4 Likes

I agree @Globetrotter and @Smiley that if there was sufficient interest on my part, I would present my case. I do agree with you and appreciate your viewpoints. I do also appreciate it when homeowners explain why they’ve added a requirement.

The main purpose of my post is to highlight to owners to make sure that their requirements truly are necessary, so as to not limit their reach. The topic of ‘car required’ is also a good example, as @ElsieDownie mentioned. In current times, where some homeowners are saying they’re not getting as many applicants, I think how and why they list their requirements perhaps needs more careful consideration.

5 Likes

Hi Snowbird, it is always worth applying for any sits that do say they prefer a couple. I have and then have been offered them and accepted. Sometimes it is just that they are in a remote area and feel that a single person may feel a little less safe or something like that. i have never been asked for a police check and do not have one. I do have lots of lovely reviews though and feel that should be enough for most. Good luck.

2 Likes

@ElsieDownie , I lived in LA and granted, I haven’t been there in 18 years, but at that time it was pretty hard to get around without a car. It’s very spread out and I don’t know that public transportation serves too large an area, and some parts are very dangerous to walk in. I would not take a sit there unless a car was offered or I was able to rent a car.

4 Likes

Only tourists walk in LA. Locals don’t even think about it, in my experience. In many areas, the city just isn’t built for it.

3 Likes

I’ve just looked at the subway map it is very extensive. Also ubers work very well in cities.
But, as you indicate I don’t know the neighbourhoods so if I was to go I would be extremely careful if I had no car.
Elsie

1 Like

Yep. The strange looks we get in some places. We walk everywhere. But yes, I would be very careful if I was to go. Satellite google maps show pavements and built up areas.
Elsie

2 Likes

I literally caused an accident once because I was walking somewhere everyone drives and there are no sidewalks. I was as far away from the road as I could get, but this person had no idea how to deal with a pedestrian and slammed on their breaks rather than pass me so the person behind them rear ended them. It was truly ridiculous. I call my mom’s old town “the town where the sidewalk ends” because they have tons of sidewalks that just randomly end for no apparent reason. Drives me bonkers as I’m a walker.

4 Likes

There have been songs! I was an 80s teen and a New Waver. Please indulge me this one Missing Persons music video. :slight_smile:
“Nobody walks in LA”

3 Likes

The US cities where you do not need a car (but there are still areas where no car could be a problem):

New York City and close-in New Jersey cities like Hoboken and Jersey City
Washington, DC and some surrounding Virginia and Maryland suburbs.
Philadelphia and certain close-in Pennsylvania-side suburbs (walking distance to SEPTA).
Portland OR
San Francisco–but be careful about places like Sausalito with limited ferries/buses (this was a problem for me on a sit)
Seattle proper
Boston–maybe, not familiar enough with it

3 Likes

Also Chicago. Boston yes.

I agree and am finding that my lovely reviews are speaking for themselves now. I’ve recently had sits confirmed without the owner even speaking to me! When I’ve suggested they might like a FaceTime or call they say they’re satisfied as I’ve got such good reviews.

1 Like

I’ve had that happen, but don’t forget that the call is also your chance to interview them. This isn’t a one-way street where owners have all the decision making power.

5 Likes

Thank you so much for this information. Data like this is invaluable for international sitters.
Angela, we should have a data bank with all this information on it for the cities of the world. Or maybe Katie, would you write a piece for the THS blog. Carless cities in US?

Totally agree @CreatureCuddler A video call can be very revealing and I believe an excellent way of finding best fit sits

2 Likes

@Katie Great list … I’d add Austin, Texas to that list too - we found it to be one of the most “walkable” cities we’ve visited in the US. Although we spent most of time cycling round (we had a huge RV for 6 months so quickly found alternative ways to get around once it was parked up :slight_smile: )

1 Like

@Snowbird We are HOs & sitters, so I get both sides. As a HO, we prefer 2 people but don’t rule out a single. Reason we prefer a couple is (1) if one of them were to get sick or a family issue came up, possibly the other person could still come and (2) not everyone is “handy” (i.e. can handle home maintenance issues) and sometimes in a 2 person situation, one of them has that experience. Now that we have downsized, we still look for 2 people on long trips but would welcome a single person on other trips and possibly a long trip once they had stayed with us for a sit or have extensive experience. For a recent sit we specifying preference for a couple, any gender. We got 8 applicants, 5 of which were singles. Many good applicants so I opted to develop a point system based on many criteria, so I would not automatically rule out a single person.

1 Like