I’m a new pet parent member. I had a confirmed pet sitter request to come to my house 2 days before my sit date as they are ‘between sits’. This person is not flying in or driving a major distance between sits, they are just moving across town. I was a bit taken aback by this request and declined as my immediate days before a long trip are usually stressful. Is the sitter’s request unusual or am I being too paranoid?
This is completely normal and we regularly do this between sits. Most homeowners are usually fine with it but if it’s too stressful for you personally then it’s ok to say no.
It’s helpful to get to know the pets with the pet parent there and do the handover without the stress of them leaving on the same day - especially if it’s dogs or a multi animal household. That way we get a good feel for the routine and the home before they leave and there’s a bit more support and we can build rapport with the homeowner.
It’s also a pain to book extra accommodation between sits not just the expense but check in check out times can leave us stranded for hours at a time.
Usually THS is more of a community place so yes this type of arrangement is common and normal as it’s all about building connection and community.
I find it’s more normal to organize that the sitter gets there the afternoon or evening before, but 2 days seems a lot if the duties and responsibilities are easy.
Preparing to leave on a trip is quite stressful, most people don’t want to entertain strangers too.
This is completely normal when the sitters travel long distances but not within the same town. They could also get to know the pets by just dropping by for a visit and get a tour of the house. I guess it’s about saving money between sits😉
Of course you can say no if you don’t want this.
You are not being paranoid. This happens on overseas sits, or sits, where the sitter has to travel a long distance , but not in the same town. Just say no if you’re not happy with it.
We have never done it before but can see us doing so from now on as part of our new strategy since THS has banned us from overlapping dates, which was the previous way that we avoided expensive gaps between sits.
You will be doing your sitters a huge favour by allowing them to stay extra dates on either side of your sit if that is at all possible
I disagree. It isn’t normal to ask the home owner to stay 2 days before the sit is due to start and think it’s rather rude, but then if you don’t ask you don’t get. I’ve only stayed a night before if the owners have been leaving early the next morning or if requested to go early. I would feel quite uncomfortable staying so long with people I don’t know, although the longer you do sitting the more comfortable that becomes.
So @DET it is normal for sitters to arrange alternative accommodation in between sits such as Airbnb or hotel/motel. However if you could allow them the night before that’s a good compromise
We have met some fabulous people in the 2 years doing this and many have invited us to just come and stay with them.
Others have arranged their sits with a couple of days either end so we can spend time together to socialise. Others are also arranging to go away to fit our calendar! We are doing a lot of repeats now with a smattering of new sits inbetween.
We generally don’t ask to come early as we have a base to go to or if it is crazy to drive home and then back out to another sit with a few days between then we will stay in a hotel. We only sit dogs so a lot of HOs like us to come the day before anyway.
We have many HOs that say if we are near them and need a bed for the night then to come to them. We have done this once so far.
That depends on how they asked.
I have never asked, but I accepted the invitation to come half a week early when the owners saw in the calendar that I had empty days. It was them that were keen on having me there in time.
@DET - I guess this type of request will become more common due to the recent restrictions around overlapping dates.
Only do what you feel comfortable with. Some homeowners just won’t have the space to accommodate a sitter(s) and others would prefer not to have them around when preparing for a trip.
Even if they’re just trying to save money, what’s the harm in asking, if they did it nicely and without entitlement? You could always decline, as you did. Some hosts have big homes and having someone stay a bit extra wouldn’t be a big deal. When I’d think it odd or imposing: If you have a small place and they know that and ask despite that.
Personally, I’ve flown in for all of my sits and like to arrive at least 24 hours ahead, if possible, in case of travel delays and to allow unrushed time to learn the host’s home and pet care practices. I mention that I can stay that overnight with them or stay at a hotel at my expense. If it’s a small place, I automatically stay at a hotel, to avoid mutual discomfort. So far, I’ve usually been invited to stay a night ahead.
In one case, I stayed two nights ahead at the host’s invitation and, from what I could tell, we were all perfectly comfortable with that. They had three guest rooms on the ground floor and their bedroom was upstairs and they’d done their packing before I arrived and were easy-going, relaxed retirees.
From my experience of 46 sits so far, it is common both ways - sometimes the sitter (me) might ask if it is possible to arrive the day before the sit starts, and sometimes the HO asks me to arrive the day before the sit starts. Each case is different and in all cases it is possible to say either yes or no, whether one is the sitter or the host.
If I know that the house for the sit is a 1 bedroom place, I would never suggest arriving one day early, nor would I expect a host to ask me to arrive one day early unless they have a guest/spare bedroom that I can use.
Asking to arrive 2 days early is outside my experience. If you are uncomfortable with it, just say no
I can see both sides, if we have dates in-between sits we book a hotel as we like our privacy. Many HO offer nights before and after a sit which is kind but I think it must add to the stress of going on holiday. It must be the last thing a HO needs when they are packing and organising for a trip along with making sure house it clean and prepared for visitors and shopping is done for pet supplies. Needs a super organised HO and as a sitter that has to be noted and appreciated.
We always ask sitters to come one or two days before we leave. Our sitters always come from overseas, so that does make a difference. Plus we do have a lot of animals, live off grid on a remote location and on a big plot of land. So it requires some time to get familiar with everything. We also don’t mind if sitters stay a few days longer after we returned. In fact all our sitters became friends.
@DET You are not being paranoid. We are HOs and sitters. If it doesnt work for you, that is fine, regardless of how far a sitter is traveling from.
It needs to work for both sides, there’s nothing wrong about them asking, as it saves them paying for accommodation on their free nights, but there is no reason for you to say yes to their request to stay earlier either. Both their request, and your response to say no to their request are totally ‘normal.’ It maybe depends how close you have bonded with them during the whole process. They shouldn’t really take any offence in your saying no, unless it was something you discussed with them before it was all agree-agreed.
If you are leaving very early in the morning then it would be quite natural for them (or you) to suggest staying the night prior. Same as if you are returning later on an evening it would be natural to have them potential stay for an additional night after you return, as logistically you may have been delayed in returning so it does yourself a big favour too.
If you don’t want them to stay earlier, you could simply get out of it by saying you’d rather have the place to yourself just prior to going away. That is totally normal.
It wasn’t until I read the forum that I realized sitters requested to come earlier than the HO asked them to arrive, which may already include the night before. I get the rationale of saving on accommodation but I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that because I would worry about them feeling uncomfortable with us being there all that extra time but feeling badly saying no.
And in all honestly I probably wouldn’t want to do that. When HOs ask us to come a day or two early to go over everything, we are fine with that. We are the types of people who can get along and converse with anyone, so this arrangement doesn’t bother us. And in nearly 10 years of doing this, we have never encountered a HO we didn’t like or made us feel super uncomfortable in any way.
But even so, I wouldn’t want to spend more time sharing the space with the HO than necessary because it is obviously a different vibe sharing the house with other people that you don’t know well, no matter how nice they are or how well you have clicked. I would rather pay the expense of a hotel for those couple of days.
While it is a nice thing to allow a sitter to stay extra to help them save on accommodation costs, the gaps in their schedule are not your concern so it is totally reasonable to say that will not work for you.
it’s common for sitters to arrive before the start date especially if they are flying in to avoid issues with travel delays. It can be beneficial and some owners prefer it especially if the sit is complex (lots of pets, solar systems or off-grid) so there is time for hand-over.
If it’s just to avoid the sitter having to pay sometimes the owner just wants to help out and they have the space in the house. More than a day could be stretching it unless it’s a repeat sitter and they now know each other.
I personally prefer a hotel stay as I know it can be stressful to pack even without an audience but I would never make it a condition of completing the sit and would always have the hotel option prepped. If I did accept an early arrival I would make myself scarce as much as possible.
I have arrived the night before the sit or early, the day of the sit but it has always been requested by the Owner. I have had the expense of hotels between sits, for at least 1 night, but thats still over $100. Usually, I am driving a long distance so to drive 7 hours and show up at the exact time requested on the day of the sit is a bit nerve racking and difficult. I do like it when the HO has a separate living area for me so that I can arrive early if I needed to but that is not always the case. I never have asked to arrive 2 days early.
Wow,thanks for all the replies! As I specifically pointed out in my post, the sitter was not flying in or driving cross country to make this sit, they were moving a couple miles across town. So my big ask is: is it appropriate to ask a homeowner to essentially ‘couchsurf’ for a few days?