Some of the sitters are coming from some distance and may need to be in town the day before we are actually leaving. Do they usually go to a hotel or do you offer to have them spend the night in your home? Is that awkward?
I can only speak from a sitter point of view. For most sits for which we are asked to come in advance/ for which transport is that way that we arrive the day before, the owners suggest we stay in their house.
Only once did we have a sit in a small apartment & did we go to a hotel the night before.
It allows you to get acquainted with the animals/the house and it seems to offer home owners some reassurance too.
We offered our sitter for September to spend the night before we leave in the bedroom she’s going to sleep in for the stay. Like this she can take the train in the afternoon. We will go out and invite her for dinner and then we have all the time in the world to show her the house. Doing the handover in the morning would have left no time for any questions before we leave.
With a couple sitting this wouldn’t be possible however, because we only have one bed for two people.
If he HO has a spare room we appreciate being asked to arrive the day before they leave. This gives us a chance to meet the pets whilst their owners are around which I think is reassuring for the pets and also takes away our stress of not being late on their day of departure.
I agree with the other sitters. Part of it depends on where we happen to be in the days before the sit (we tend to do multiple sits with short breaks in between), as well as the time of day the home owners are leaving.
If they aren’t leaving until very late in the day, we often arrive an hour or so before they have to leave, so long as we have time to do a proper handover. But in many cases, they are leaving fairly early in the day and we stay over the night before (assuming of course we’re in a guest room and not using their master bedroom while they’re away.)
Re: the potential awkwardness - as a sitter, I was initially worried about that at first, but I’ve since learned that it’s always been a nice way to get to know people. To make things easier, try to give your sitters some space and don’t feel you have to entertain them the entire time you’re together at the house. They’ll appreciate being able to go for a walk, or sit in the living room to read, or maybe go out to do a shop, while you’re busy getting ready.
With most HOs we’ve had a getting-to-know-you chat, a tour of the house, a review of the “manual or notes” and a time for questions. Often, they’ll show us the best place to walk the dog (if there’s a dog), and then we try to stay out of their way while they get organized for their trip.
It also usually involves having a meal together, and we’ve had home owners make us dinner, take us out to the pub, or order in take out - it’s all good to us. Whatever makes it easy for both parties. In the morning, we tend to do our own thing, maybe having coffee with them if they have time, but there’s no expectation on our part of them making us breakfast. Then they’re off!
As a sitter - most of the time I’ve stayed at the HO’s place the night before the HO has left. Twice the HO has put me up in a hotel. Once in the UK where the HO explained that this was how they always did it because the house was too hectic the night before (but I did have dinner at the house and then went to the nearby hotel) and once in the worst of the covid times (or what we thought was the worst) when the HO said they were more comfortable with me staying at a hotel (even though the bedrooms were on opposite sides of the house and we weren’t sharing the bathroom).
Generally have a meal together, too - either the HO takes us all out to a restaurant or cooks a meal. I will usually go to bed early - shortly after dinner because it is likely that I started in a different time zone.
We always ask sitters to come the day before we leave anyway……
As a sitter, I would prefer not to stay in the home with the homeowners the night before. I’d prefer a hotel room or if they have a guest cottage, I’d do that. I am not comfortable sleeping in the same house with people I don’t know. I am happy to arrive a day early to meet them and their pets and any last instructions before they go. I would also think the homeowners would be less frantic without someone standing around while they’re trying to get out the door. Just my personal feeling.
I would think most home owners would be ok with that - they mostly just want to meet you and make sure you’ve had a chance to run through everything. Although I would think the hotel cost would be up to you in most cases, wouldn’t it?
I really find this funny😂
My house mirrors my personality so why do you have a problem with spending time there with me in it but not on your own?
We’ve always valued staying over as an important part of the handover… arriving, spending time with the pets, observing routines and behaviours, walking dogs together, enjoying a relaxed friendly meal in the evening, etc. We’ve found it contributes to building trust and friendships with owners and pets alike. But we are always mindful of time and make it clear we don’t need to be entertained and are happy to sort ourselves out if they have lots to do or need an early night. We are just as happy getting to know the pets and helping the owners have a stress-free time before leaving.
Not everyone wants to become friends with their sitters and vice versa, some are happier with shorter handovers. Perhaps what’s more important is doing what’s comfortable for you but also what will help your sitters get settled, accepted by the pets, and have time to go through the handover without rushing - you’ll find this evolves over your sits. Talking about this openly when you have a chat or video call will get the conversation started. You may find they ask you how you prefer to handle handovers.
Is it sometimes awkward? I would say yes, in the same way it is meeting anyone for the first time, but pets are the best of levelers and we find that awkwardness quickly dissipates because we have a love of animals (and often travel) in common, and generally we’ve found like-minds to connect with. Video chats prior to the sit help build connection too.
This is a great question - thank you for asking and good luck with your handover.
Maybe I should rethink my feelings on thatZ I’m new to this.
As @Vanessa-Admin says this is such a great question, it’s so interesting to get so many different opinions and perspectives on one subject.
I have enjoyed staying with owners the night before and other owners have preferred to make alternative arrangements which I’m always happy to accommodate, being flexible and adaptable are excellent pet sitting lifestyle skills to have.
Providing I have all of the information I need to have a successful sit and the owner is happy then all is well whichever way the handover is managed.
That’s one of the great qualities of pet and house sitting, we find our own way of making it work for everyone involved … especially the ones without a voice, the pets.
If we are leaving early in the morning, we will offer our home the night before so they can get settled in, meet our furbaby and get the ins and outs of the house. If we aren’t leaving until late afternoon, we usually have them come in that morning or mid day.
I can totally understand your uncertainty. Everyone is different, and for a lot of people, the whole idea of staying in a stranger’s house while they’re still home could be a bit much, especially for someone new to housesitting.
Maybe give it a shot some time when the entire situation feels ok to you - you’ve chatted with the owners ahead of time and feel comfortable with them, you will have a private bedroom and bathroom, and you will have the ability to spend time alone, even if it just means heading to bed early to relax in your room. Once you’ve experienced it, you might find it’s something you don’t mind doing.
And if that’s just not for you, I see no reason why most home owners won’t be ok with your decision to sleep nearby the night before, so long as they have a chance for a proper handover.
I want to thank all who responded. It seems as though more sitters are comfortable with staying the night prior than not. This is very helpful so that I can offer that option when we are leaving early in the morning.
I have to say I have done it all pretty much. I have come in and stayed the night before even whole day once where the HO took me out for both lunch and dinner at some fancy places. I have also come in on the same day short before the owners leave. And then I have also been set up in a hotel,the owner paid for it even offered me dinner there but I said no. Before going to the hotel I had come in early and she picked me up and took me to her home. Plenty of space for me but she said she wanted me to relax the night before. We had a good chat and took the dogs for a walk so all was good. Then next morning I was picked up by a taxi and they took the taxi to the airport. I have also come to a sit where the owners were gone. It was a emergency sit since the sitter they had booked let them down and I came in a few hours after they left and all was good. I have had a few sits where I finish one and start another on the same day. But that is all done after asking both HO if that is ok. I have also a few times left before HO get back but it is all done after talking to the HO. Only once has that been a little problem but the HO said it was ok.
This must depend on when the HO have to leave and when the sitter can arrive. I have felt a bit awkward staying overnight before they leave, but if we’re going to look after their home and pets I feel the handover should be on the HO terms. Sometimes I have not even met the HO and have collected keys from a neighbour. I always housesit on my own and feel the most important part of housesitting is to have good communication between HO and sitter beforehand. I usually prefer a welcoming, easy going home where the owners are not too fussy.
HO requested we arrive mid afternoon and sleep over night as they were leaving at 07.30 the following morning. We were more than happy to oblige.
Arrived at 16.00 and HO met us, showed us the pets and sat down on the couch explaining in minute detail how they expected the sit to go.
Two hours later we were still sitting there listening; had not been offered a drink, the bathroom nor shown where we would be staying. Finally hubby stood up and said that we needed to unpack the car and go out to get some food. We had driven almost three hours to get there.
We left, found a pub near by and ate there then returned refreshed to unpack. We shared the wine that we took with us with the HOs
It is the first time that we have not been offered any form of hospitality!
I prefer people to arrive a day early and I like to arrive early, it gives the animals a chance to see us together and transfer some loyalty and it give all the humans a chance to share routines, feeding, walks in the hood, etc. We leave this morning on a sit, Vivi has been here for about 20 hours and is delightful. We are so pleased.