Do house sitters stay for one day with the owner there to learn the ropes or how should that go. I’m an owner and believe that having some overlap for one night would be good. How do others do this?
Hello. We are sitters, and we have done a few overlaps, at the beginning and sometimes at the end of a sit too. We were a bit unsure at first, but luckily they all turned out ok. One time we had a three week sit where the owners came back for a few days in the middle. But we got on so well it didn’t matter. It might not suit everyone, sitters or homeowners, but we don’t have a problem with it. And it is good to learn the routine and meet the animals before the owners leave.
That is exactly what I was wondering. Thanks!
We’ve done that on most of our sits and so far, we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s always a bit weird and potentially uncomfortable at the start but I’m amazed at how quickly we all settle in. I really like getting to know our “hosts” a little and so far every single home owner has given us our space to relax and have some privacy as well. It often ends up being a highlight of our trip and we find we’ve been able to make new friends along the way.
Covid timed, this is less common, but we prefer to stay over before the sit.
It’s not so important with cats, but with dogs it’s good to see the routine, and go on a walk.
At the end I like to do a debrief and hate to leave before the owner is safely home. We might not always stay over at the end but share lunch or cake depending on timing
We usually do a 1 night overlap. It depends what we’re looking after. The shortest handover was 1 hour when we looked after 1 dog in an apartment and where everything was quite self-explanatory. The longest one was 1 week when we looked after a house, 4 cats, a pool and 2 gites.
Oh dear the stories we could tell (but won’t) about overlapping nightly handovers.
We are not anti social but like our own space and sometimes find staying overnight before the owners go a little challenging. A nice meal, a leisurely stroll around the property, a talk about the pets needs, likes, dislikes is great but when it comes to what do we do next? Don’t get me wrong we have had some great conversations about travel, sailing, interesting hobbies but when they switch on the TV and start watching Eastenders and Coronation Street we excuse ourselves and have an early night.
It’s very nice of the pet owners to offer and when they have an early start we do appreciate it but….
I agree with you @ElsieDownie .
We do enjoy some overnight stays if the HOs have a very early start. We find that after the meal they disappear to finish their packing and we are left twiddling our thumbs until it’s time for an early night.
When the HOs return, they understandably want their house back so we arrange to leave before they return but only if that suits them.
We have done a few sittings where we have never met the owners but that was always at their request and it has always worked out very well
Everyone is different and we respect the HOs wishes.
Hi @Not2late welcome to our community forum, thank you for joining. Each sit is different and members do help each other with managing everyone’s preferences and what works best for them. You will get great help and advice from members here on the forum.
There are sits where the sitter is able to make a pre sit visit to meet the pets and owner, go through the Welcome Guide, do a home walk through, arrange arrival times etc and leave with a set of keys, others where the sitter is invited to stay the night before, especially if the owner has a early departure, all of this should be discussed between sitters and owners before confirming.
As a sitter, I never book back to back sits without leaving a few days just in case the owner has issues with their return plans, especially if flying. Dealing with travel delays is stressful enough without worrying about pets and home too.
While we have frequently stayed with owners before their departure, many are now life long friends, I also give owners the option of returning to a “sitter vacated” home and most appreciate that, however I need to I know they have safely landed (if flying) and on their way back before I leave, dropping keys with neighbors where possible (in the unlikely event that I need to get back in) and I insist on a text when they in their home.
Arrange whatever works for you, your pets and sitters. Enjoy connecting with our community members and welcome again!
Angela and the Team
As a sitter, my priority is to cause as little inconvenience to the homeowners as possible, but still give great care to their pets. However, sometimes flights - either mine or the homeowners - do call for an overnight stay, especially beforehand. Also if a homeowner has good reasons for asking me to arrive a day before, I’m happy to do that. I have had the pleasure of some homeowners having me arrive up to two days before, with one being great tour guides of the island, and another introducing me to her social circle so that I would immediately have contacts and a social circle. At other times I will leave a few hours before they arrive home, as agreed upon, as they prefer to come home to the privacy of their own space after a long journey. I think if you explain your reasoning, then it helps the sitter decide if it’s a good fit.
We don’t usually arrive the night before, it seems mainly to be the HOs preference, but would be happy to do so if asked. We always try to meet the HOs in person and spend time with them and their pets, maybe walk the dog, etc. If that is not possible we always do a video chat. On HOs return we never leave the home without knowing they are safely on their way home from the airport or where ever, but prefer to hand over in person where possible.
We’ve done a few overnight stays with homeowners and like others have already said, we sometimes feel a little awkward at the beginning but they’ve all been very kind, welcoming people and after the initial ice gets broken it’s all good. I do think it’s nice to go for a walk together to see a dogs routine and behaviour, plus sometimes when you’ve been travelling for a while it is a nice treat to share a home cooked meal.
I have seen sits ask for a few days or even a week of overlap which does deter me from applying. We are friendly, social people who get along with everyone but we like our quiet space at home so one night of overlap is enough for us!
I have done a few sits where there are young children, and I think the dogs have settled really quickly with me when they see the children are happy with me in their home. Dogs can be quite protective of youngsters and territorial, so spending a few hours with the HO is a good way to reassure them.
Not sure if the same applies to cats …
We’ve only done a few sits in the UK, so we have never needed to arrive a day early for a handover. As we are a family of 4, it might be logistically difficult to stay overnight the night before the HOs leave unless their house is large!
We have had HOs we have never met, they had a key safe for the keys, left before we arrived and returned after we had left (all agreed in advance.
We have visited a fairly local HO a couple of weeks before the sit for a handover. This turned out to be very useful as the dog seemed very protective of the home and the lady owner @Petermac . He calmed down completely after we took him out for a walk in the garden, and was completely accepting of us from then on (and even my husband who had not been on the pre-sit visit.
On another sit last year we had about a 20 minute overlap where I had a whistle stop tour of the house and we met the dogs before the HO headed off.
I guess it depends very much on how complicated the house and pets are. Often a lot of information can be given in phone calls prior to the sit.
I’ve done some international sits, on 2 I arrived the day before and spent the night before with the HO in the house. Both have been fine. On another, the HO paid for a hotel room the night before even though there was plenty of room - they said the house is to helter-skelter as they are planning to depart.
About half of my US sits have included staying the night before - its been fine. We get introduced, have a meal, talk for a bit and then I go off to bed.
On the other had, I’ve had 3 or 4 sits where I never met the HO either before or after.
Hi @Not2late, as a HO we prefer sitters to come the day before so that the dogs get to see that we are happy and comfortable with the people that are going to be looking after them in our absence. We also prefer if possible for the sitters not to leave until we get back to at least within our home county, just in case we are delayed with traffic or anything.
So this topic is worth reviving in my humble opinion as I have the most wonderful experiences with my HOs when we spend time together. For me, it’s an opportunity of growth which I think is so important for people to connect and socialize with other human beings.
Right now I am just starting a fairly long term sit and the HO is here and will be here for a total of 3 nights prior to her departure and 2 when she returns. We are having the most delightful time chatting, sharing our life experiences, travel adventures and just about anything. We have laughed over coffee, done yard work together (yes already), had ice cream for dinner and retreated to our privacy as necessary. This adds so much to the experience and makes it seem less like a contractual obligation meaning a job or a hired hand. It changes everything, allowing opportunity to get to know the animals and their routines, likes and dislikes and everyone feels more at ease.
You become a trusted house and pet sitter.
During one of our most recent sits we spent 7 days with the owners before the sit because of travel arrangements & there was a lot to explain. We were a bit apprehensive at the start but it turned out perfect! We felt very comfortable with each other & had the necessary privacy moments. I think it all depends on how you click with the owners. We also had sits where 1 night was definitely enough
Yes it is all very personal, individualized isn’t it @Els? I have had sits where I have never met the owners but a decent understanding was established via communication, either written or in the chat.
I don’t want to ever feel like I am going to work. I’m retired
When do you arrive for your sits and when do you leave? Example dates: Sit is Nov 20-27th
Do you arrive on the 20th and meet the owners before they head out or do you video chat/text etc prior and show up at the house after they left on the 20th or do you arrive a day earlier and meet them?
What about the departure? Do you leave as they are arriving or while they are traveling back and you also then head out?