Change dates if sitter is arriving early/staying late?

More of a best-practice/procedural question here - we have a sitter who is coming in from out of town on a scheduled trip for work/school purposes and offered to sit for us for a weekend sit. However, she is coming in to town 2 days before and possibly staying 1 day after. We’ve offered to let her stay those extra days to simplify things. Should we change the dates to reflect the full time she will be here (potentially 5 days), or stick to the actual sit dates we will be away (2 days)?

Backstory: We are generally happy to have sitters come a night early and even stay an extra night if needed to get the lay of the land and learn routines, especially for longer sits. This seems a little unnecessary for a weekend sit; however, in this case she is our only applicant, so it’s mostly just doing her a favor as the house/pet sitting responsibilities are minimal. This is her first sit with THS, and I got the impression this is a way for her to save on hotel costs. That’s not a problem, as she seems happy to care for our pets, and it’s mutually beneficial of course. We have offered to let her stay with us two nights before the sit, and one night after if needed, as it seemed silly for her to get an expensive hotel for just one night before her scheduled trip. Fortunately, we have a guest room, which doubles as my office, but the timing will work out in this case for me to use the room as I need for work and her to have a place to sleep at night.

**I am also very curious how other owners and sitters handle these situations. Is this common to make these kind of extra day arrangements where sitters/owners overlap?

Thanks for your feedback!

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Hi @Elise,

Great questions! I have had some experience with this as both a HO and a sitter.

As a HO I do not change the dates of the sit to reflect the dates that the sitter will be in our home I have the dates reflect when the sitter will be required to be “on the job” so to speak. So for us, that has only been the dates that we are away from our home. However, if you come to an agreement where she would like to take your pets on walks or feed them while you are home (part of the petsitting responsibilities) then ask the sitter if she would like the dates to reflect the dates that she would be offering her services.

Our home has not always been available for our sitters to stay before or after but we always discuss and come to an understanding before the sit is confirmed. Since flight delays and cancellations are becoming a part of the travel norm right now, I always ask if it is possible for them to come earlier or stay later so as our dog wouldn’t be abandoned if we got stuck in travel chaos. We also enjoy having the ability to cook our sitters dinner or to take them out to dinner so as to make the exchange as enjoyable for everyone as possible.

For us with our sitters I would say about 85% of the time there has been at least one night of overlap but not more than that.

As someone that has used THS to travel internationally we have overlapped with our hosts the evening before their departure but not any longer. I think each case varies by sit and whatever both parties are comfortable with. Hope this helps!

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Thanks, @Kelly-Moderator ! This is helpful information.

Still curious to hear about others’ advice/experiences as well!

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We’ve done it all - never met the home owners at all, have met for handover but didn’t stay overnight, and have arrived a day early and stayed overnight quite a few times, most often when they have an early start, and at least once, we’ve stayed the night on the day they arrived home. On one sit, we arrived 3 days early and had a 3 day handover to learn how to manage the animals (sheep, ducks, chickens). We had our own private space including a kitchen so it was very comfortable for those 3 days.

It seems to me that there is less staying overnight now with covid. I’m not keen to stay the night when they arrive home now since they’ve been travelling.

Hi Elise,
From a sitter point of view, this hasn’t been a big issue either way for us- we just keep track of it in our personal calendar based on the agreement. What I will say is that if you as a homeowner require/need overlap, then be sure to include that timeframe in your initial posting dates so that when sitters filter based on lining up dates for sits, they won’t have any overlap issues for starting yours.

All that said, the “availability” calendar for sitters is not exactly the easiest thing to manage on this website to mark yourself unavailable for dates- you can only enter in when you ARE available- and for those of us doing this a lot, it’s a pain to not be able to enter in when you are unavailable instead… but the point being that the calendar DOES automatically mark the sitter unavailable for the dates of the sit they commit to as listed.
Hope that helps!

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@Elise and this is a good question. As international sitters who used to do mainly long term sits in some quite remote places, we’ve often arrived (by agreement) a few days, sometimes further in advance because there have been fairly complex property management tasks to get to grips with as well as the pets. Similar to @Ksquared we have an offsite spreadsheet on which we record all our house sits and travel so we’ve never asked an owner to change their dates. However, on reading this, a question has risen in my mind around the insurance cancellation products (where they apply) and whether this could affect anything so I’m going to run this by membership services this morning and report back. This might not affect either of you but would be good to know.

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As sitters, we’ve had various situations with coming early, staying later, and dates changing due to plans/flights. We’ve never had the homeowners change the dates. On their end, I’m not sure how simple that would be, if it involves canceling and reposting the sit. We’ve always been amenable to whatever their requirements are, as we most always leave casual travel time to our schedules, before/after the sit. Hope you find a satisfactory answer to these questions. I’d be interested to hear how it affects the dates from an insurance standpoint, if unforeseen cancellations happen.

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As a relatively new sitter I’ve been asked if I could arrive a day early for handover a couple of times. I’m flexible and usually happy to go with what the HO prefers. My main concern is not getting in the HO way if they are rushing to the airport the next day.

I’ve arrived early for a few sits - during the height of covid, even had HOs who put me up in a hotel for the night before the sit and had one sit in Scotland where they put me up in a hotel the night before because they felt the house was in such ‘disorder’ as they were packing. I’ve also done several sits where I come in the day before to get acquainted, then will drive the HO to the airport the next morning (drove them twice once when the flight got rescheduled by 8 hours just as we were pulling up to the airport).
Anyhow, sometimes the extra dates have been included, sometimes not - just so long as we all understand.

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Hi @Elise (and anyone else unsure)

We’ve checked this with Membership Services because of the newer cancellation insurances that exist for premium members. Here’s the clarification:

Scenario 1 - If the dates of a sit change prior to the start where the owners plan to leave earlier or return later

We would advise that the dates are changed on the platform to reflect this. An insurance claim wouldn’t be valid for dates that are not confirmed accurately on site.

Scenario 2 - Arriving earlier for a handover or to spend other time with the owner

Dates do not need to be amended in this instance (unless this is yours or the sitter’s preference).

If dates do need to change for any reason, membership services can help with this.

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Thanks so much @Vanessa-ForumCMgr, this makes sense!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences and feedback. This is only our second sit so we’re still getting the hang of it! :slight_smile:

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