I have been sitting for about 2 years and completed ~10 sits. After completing a recent sit, i am mildly frustrated. I learned early on that i need to directly ask HOs (unless it’s directly noted in their sit description) if they want daily updates/pictures. However, there have been several times that i ask them and they say “no, that’s not necessary”, just to text me everyday anyways, asking how things are going.
I have no problem communicating with HOs, but when this happens it makes me feel… Like I’m doing a bad job? Like I’m failing to communicate to their standards?
Anyone else had this issue? Thoughts? Opinions?
Sometimes I ask how often they want updates at the beginning of the sit and sometimes I just play it by ear. Similar to your experience, the one time I can think of that the HO said every other day or so was sufficient, they actually wanted to hear more often than that. I usually send pictures, videos and texts the first day to let them know everything is going well at the outset. After that because I don’t want to pester them, I don’t text much, but send a picture or two, maybe a video or two with brief or no description, just so they know what their pet is doing. Usually toward the end of the sit, I taper off and may not send a picture but send short messages letting them know how things are. If the HO want more info than that, they will text me and I take their cue. It’s a balancing act between too much communication and not enough.
I always ask, some people are ‘no news is good news’, and then we had a couple that wanted an update mornings & evenings.
If I notice during the sit it feels like they want less/more I adapt.
We always ask as the home hosts are so different in their ‘needs’
Some insist on daily updates, others request every few days and only once we have been told that there is no need for updates . The home host said it panics them if, when on holiday they gets messages from home.
All s fine by us but if I had to choose I would prefer the ‘every few days’ option.
We did once have an home host that started messaging us to check if everything was ok - I just saw this as them being extra nervous so increased our updates to them and did them early in the morning to put their minds at rest for the day and also it stopped them messaging us
We do at least a morning and an evening update. Sometimes just a couple of pictures with short descriptions, but we have also written short essays to some people every day (HOs are so different!).
We are very lax in this unless the owner specifically requests an update everyday or their pet does something really cute or funny.
We always send a long reassuring message the morning after they depart to give them confidence but apart for that we just get on with it.
I wanted to give my personal perspective as a HO. We always ask for a daily update, but after the first day (when we like to know everyone is settled together, and the HS have no issues they need extra info on) this only needs to be a simple “everything’s well”. One of the reasons for this is we have had two occasions in the past where despite the sitter promising they would contact us if there were any issues with the animals, we got home to find that they hadn’t, and these two things were quite serious. We are the type who would rather know about things even while on holiday, and on both of these situations we could have helped, and with one in particular given a piece of advice that would have really helped our animal’s recovery as well as helped the sitter. The Sitter may think there is nothing we can do from where we are, but that is for us to decide I think. My logic now is that if a sitter is messaging to say “all is ok” then I have more confidence that is the case, and this way it literally takes a minute out of the sitter’s day. i also make it clear that if the Sitter wants to send us more messages, phots etc, that would be welcome but not compulsory. Some sitters enjoy that ongoing communication, and want to share with us the good time they are having with our animals!
I’d like to say, from a HO perspective, it can be very daunting to leave your beloved animals and home in the charge of someone you have had limited communication with, and in most cases only just met, even though your head knows they are trustworthy, and they have loads of amazing reviews and experience. This is 99% of the time no reflection at all on the Sitter, but simply human nature on the part of the HO. I also think that sometimes HO can think that they want to have minimal contact when they are away and blithely say it, but once they get away and find they are missing their animals they sometimes just need a bit of unexpected reassurance rather than it worry away at them, so for most it is not a reflection on the Sitter at all. It would be helpful if the HO mentioned the reason when they asked for extra contact though, so the sitter didn’t feel awkward!
I will say that this minimal daily contact can also work in the Sitter’s favour, as it means if there is any small (or not so small!) issue that they could ask about to make their stay better, then they can ask then and be comfortable in knowing that they are not disturbing our day!
I think there are a lot of things to consider. Is this the HO’s first experience with THS? Is this a sitter’s first experience? Is this a repeat sit? Length of sit? Are there any concerns with the pets which may warrant more frequent communication? Was the HO very clingy with the pets during handover? How did the pet respond to the sitter at first meeting?
That being said, in advance of the sit, we always ask how frequent the HO would like communication and then tend to over deliver at the beginning of the sit and then, gauging the HO’s response, taper to the actual frequency request. This seems to instill confidence and comfort during the initial separation days.
I think this is one aspect of being a sitter that comes with experience and relies on good communication between the parties. Never hurts to overdeliver and let the HO guide if they are comfortable.
But as you say Marip0sa, even when you ask, you don’t necessarily get the true answer
We always ask for owners preference but say we usually do every couple of days (lengthier updates with several photos) Plus always do an update the first day too to reassure owners.
Everyone so far has been happy with that.
I know when we left our dog with sitters from this site we didn’t ask for enough updates and found it stressful as it was our first time. So whatever the owners need to enjoy your trip we will do.
I always contact the homeowners that evening after they leave and again the next morning to let them know how everything went and then just every 2-3 days. On our last sit, I specifically asked how often the homeowners would like to hear from us and they said they didn’t need to unless it was an emergency. I’ve never had a homeowner comment that we didn’t keep in contact enough but it’s probably best to ask at the beginning what their expectations are as every HO is different especially if it’s the first time using THS.
I know some pet sitters expressed that they like daily updates with photos and we are happy to oblige. Others mentioned it is the last thing they want while traveling because they might have data limits and just want to relax and enjoy.
Our current sitters are quite quiet and haven’t really expressed either way, despite our asking what they prefer. They seem grateful every few updates, but mostly are non-responsive.
What is your default update frequency if you aren’t getting any explicit instruction or response from the HO? I think anything beyond daily is excessive, but I don’t want to blow up someone’s phone when they are trying to enjoy vacation.
We update at least 2-3 times per day (morning, evening and sometimes more often). For some sits we even wrote little essays twice a day (after we felt that our host needed and wanted that). Everyone is different though. Sometimes it has also happened to us that hosts were mostly non-responsive and when they came back they couldn’t thank us enough for all the pictures and updates.
Our starting point is checking in daily (2-3 days) at the beginning of a sit to let HOs know their pets have settled in and that things are going well. After that we will check in every few days. We will also send photos/videos of the pets throughout the duration of the sit.
If the HOs ask for more or less, we happily oblige.
A newbie pet owner will probably be very appreciative of daily texts and pictures. It gives them the confidence that the sitter is following instructions and knows what they are doing.
We generally text a couple of pictures in the first 48 hours then only communicate if we need to or if something funny happens like the cat going to look for my husband because she knows I don’t give treats.