Confused about protocols for applying for sits

I just joined and applied for my first sit. The sit I applied for shows “0-3 applicants”. It’s been over 24 hours, and I haven’t heard back.

My understanding is that once I apply for a sit, I am committing to being available for those dates, so I can’t also apply for another sit with overlapping dates. Is that correct?

If the above is correct, then I am essentially in limbo until I hear back from the owner about my application, because I have now committed to those dates and can’t make alternative plans until I hear back.

If that’s how it works, then how long do I wait? Are owners required to respond within a certain timeframe?

There’s a potentially huge opportunity cost here, which doesn’t seem ideal – am I missing something?

(The sit I applied for is for 2 months, so keeping that entire length of time blocked off while I wait to hear back is a big deal…)

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Hi Cas and welcome to TrustedHousesitters and the community here in the forum. This is a great place to get advice from other members on topics such as these when new to the platform. You’ll likely get some good tips on this topic as we all have different ways to approach applying for sits.

Obviously we always hope that owners and sitters will maintain high levels of communication and reply in a timely manner, and there’s lots of help on the website for new members, but there’s no requirement to respond in a particular timeframe. Some are simply slower to respond, or might have have work or other commitments that mean they don’t check their account immediately or for a few days. It’s rare for people not to read at all, but very occasionally it can happen. Some will wait for several applicants before reviewing, others get back very quickly or let you know they are in the process of reviewing profiles.

There is nothing to prevent you from applying to more than one sit if you want to, although it becomes more difficult to manage if you apply to too many in one go. As sitters ourselves, our own approach is to apply for a sit, like you have, and wait three to four days. If no response and we have seen another sit we want to apply for, we send them a quick message checking they’ve seen our message. If still no reply we move on.

If we apply for another sit and get accepted, as a matter of courtesy from your side we write to say we are sorry, but we are withdrawing our application as we have been offered an alternative sit. We’ve done this sometimes to hear that the owner didn’t realise how quickly they need to get back, so it helps them better understand the process too.

24 hours isn’t long so I’d wait a little longer in case they’ve been away over the weekend, but if it remains unread, and you see another opportunity that works for you also, do apply. Good luck, and we hope you get accepted for that first sit very soon!

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@cas, you can go back to your inbox to see if your application has been read.

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Thanks very much for the detailed reply. That all makes sense. I guess I had gotten the idea from the info I read that it is a major faux-pas to cancel after being accepted, so my concern was that, if I also apply for another overlapping sit, I could end up in a situation where both owners suddenly accept, forcing me to cancel one of them. But perhaps if I follow the procedure you suggest, such a scenario would be unlikely, and if I do have to cancel immediately after being accepted, perhaps that’s not such a big deal.

Anyway, I will proceed as you suggest.

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Thanks. Good point. I see that it still shows as unread.

Just to clarify one point, in my opinion, your initial application is just an expression of interest in a sit. It is not yet a commitment with no turning back.

Normally, once you’ve applied, the home owner will (eventually) contact you and you may have some questions for each other and often, a video chat. The questions usually go both ways. You both need to see if you’re a good fit for the sit. Sometimes, you decide right then and there that you do not want to accept the sit and you tell them in that “interview”.

Assuming through that conversation, you both decide if the fit is right, they will ask you if you are willing to accept the sit, and then if you say yes, the formal digital “invitation” comes though and you click “accept”. But up until that time, there is no obligation for either side to commit to the sit.

I agree with Vanessa that you can apply for more than one sit at a time if you like and also, that those of us who do, usually wait a few days to see if we have any feedback on the first application before we apply for another.

If we subsequently find and accept another sit before the first people get back to us, we just rescind our application, usually with an explanation, and with no consequences. I think that’s only happened to us once.

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Thanks, @Kelownagurl, that’s super helpful. It sounds like it’s quite unlikely that a home owner would accept an application without first having a conversation, and thus it’s unlikely that one would end up in a position of potentially having to cancel after being accepted.

Yep. Although to be honest, that happened to us once. We applied for a sit and asked some questions in our application . Next thing we know, we’ve been accepted for the sit and it’s on our schedule. (This was before THS required that the home owners actually send an invite that had to be accepted.) Anyway, we were shocked to see that we were going to Italy without even have a conversation and so we messaged them to find out the location and then declined the sit.

Since then, we now at least have an option to accept or decline an offer.

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Just keep applying for different sits until you hear or are rejected. There is no obligation to wait, that may take weeks. As a courtesy I always message the other sits I have applied to in that time period if I’m accepted for one.
Good luck and let us know when you are accepted for your first sit. It’s such a good feeling.
Elsie

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The whole process is a bit of a gamble and you should look at it in the same way that you would with job applications. The harsh truth is that you are more likely not to get accepted than you are to get accepted as multiple sitters usually apply for each sit advertised and only one can be accepted. With this in mind, our strategy is to search all sits that we would like to do and apply for them all. This way, we are not too disappointed when our application gets declined as we know there are other opportunities in the pipeline. When we do get accepted for a sit we immediately cancel any applications that clash with those dates and send a short message apologising and explaining that we are no longer available and so will have to withdraw our application. I think that being able to do this balances out the sitter/Homeowner’s power balance. Sometimes the sitters are declined for great sits and other times the homeowners are declined by great sitters.

You can cancel an application by un-clicking on the box at the top of your application that says ’ select dates you would like to apply for’

However, once you have accepted a sit then you are committed so if there is a sit you REALLY, REALLY would like to do then it makes good sense not to apply to other sits whose dates overlap that one - at least for a while - just in case you are lucky enough on this occasion to be the one that is accepted.

Good Luck!

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Morning @cas and yes in reality it can happen, but in all our many sits, we’ve only had that arise twice, and before TrustedHousesitters changed the process so that it’s not not possible for an owner to confirm a sit without you first accepting… giving time to have those important conversations to make sure the sit in question is a good fit for you.

@Kelownagurl (thankyou!!) clarifies well that your application is only an expression of your interest to sit and the first stage in applying :slight_smile:

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Hello @cas,
Welcome.
A classic example of this is that I favourited a sit a while back that was simply too long for us to fulfil but was in an area that I really wanted to visit. When it came up again with a shorter time scale I wrote to the HO expressing interest but also throwing into the mix the complication of my little blind, elderly dog who always comes on sits with us.
My message was read, I waited for a response but no reply. So I moved on figuring that I was simply too complicated to deal with. I then started an application message for another sit in the same area. As I was about to hit ‘send’ the original HO replied stating that he would love to have Pixie sit with us and could we progress with a video call the following day. Another minute really would have altered the outcome.
By the same token I try to reply immediately when I receive invites to sits that I haven’t specifically applied for. Everyone then knows exactly where they stand and are free to make choices.
I suppose that everyone’s idea of replying quickly is different but in the case of THS the early bird really does get the worm.

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As a matter of courtesy, if we are invited to sit and there is any doubt about our willingness/availability, I reply promptly to give the HO plenty of time to look elsewhere. I am amazed how often that HO thanks me for a quick reply. I can appreciate that people have busy lives and that HOs can have a lot of applicants to trawl through but it really only takes a couple of minutes to send an interim reply, if not a definitive answer.

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You never know. One of my first sits got an offer before a conversation (when we did talk, the HO said she just liked my message) and it turned out being a great sit.
With 30+ sits now and positive reviews, I get a few offers saying yes, then ‘let’s talk’.
I do sometimes have multiple apps pending at the same time but once I accept, I’m committed and do not cancel if a better sit comes along.
With COVID, I’ve had a bunch of cancellations since April 2020, but all with ample time to adjust.

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This is one of my pet peeves with HO: when they don’t acknowledge your application at all. I figure that, if as a HS , I take the time and effort to apply for a sit, the courteous and proper thing to do is to acknowledge my application, at the very least. After all, if they have posted a sit, you’d think that they would be eager to see who has applied. I once had a HO taking months to pick the sitter but he would always keep all the applicants informed of the progression of his choices as time went by.

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Hi @Claire welcome to our community forum and thank you for joining in the conversation.

Timely communication between members is always the key to arranging and managing a successful sit and we know it can be very frustrating when applications are not responded to and vice versa sitters to owners we are constantly looking at way to make it easier for all members to communicate and we do nudge members to respond to all of their messages.

There could be a number of reasons for a lapse in replying, one of our forum members discovered the owner she was communicating with was overwhelmed by the number of messages and was simply not used to using digital messaging, she helped her through the process and the owner was very appreciative.

Thank you again for joining, enjoy the conversations and connecting with other members we look forward to sharing in your THS journey.

Angela & The Team

I am a HO and the last time I posted a sit availability I came down with food poisoning and was unable to get to my computer for days. I felt terrible knowing that people were writing and waiting for answers but it was a week before I could manage to deal with the situation.

Another possible reason is that they are waiting until they have more sitters applying before starting the evaluation process. The process is quite time consuming for HO that wish to take the time with every applicant as the applicants have taken to apply for the sit. This is the case with me. I review everything about everyone and its very time consuming. I then reply individually to everyone. So a HO taking this position may say to themselves “Ok, when I have x number of applicants I will set aside Friday (or some timeframe) to go through them”.

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Thanks, Kerri, for providing that very helpful perspective. It makes a lot of sense. Perhaps there’s some way that HO’s could include such information in the listing? For example, at the bottom of the listing, the HO could say “will probably waiting until I have at least 10 applicants before reviewing the applications, or will wait until August 1st, whichever comes first”. Such information could help applicants navigate the process.

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Personally, speaking as a HO, I always reply to applicants as soon as I am able to, certainly within 24 hours, just with a personal reply thanking them for their application and telling them that I will be reviewing the applications within say a week and will get back to them as soon as possible. I then make sure that I always reply again personally to each applicant who is unsuccessful.
Obviously if unforeseen events occur, accident, illness etc this may not occur as I would wish, but fingers crossed it doesn’t!!

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Cas, Yes agreed. Perhaps TH could put that as a recommendation for HO. I know that Foldor13 mentioned replying personally to applicants but for some sits (my first one before Covid) I had so many applications coming in I felt overwhelmed and the HS could see this and started making comments like “I see you have alot of applicants so probably…” but the thing was I was overwhelmed with the numbers and wanted to give each one the time to properly review. I totally see it from your side of the fence though and why I try to be on top of things in a timely way. Some people generally are just not as sensitive to the feelings of others. Human nature I guess. :slight_smile:

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