Welcome. I reckon next Feb might be a bit far off to look for sits but keep an eye on the site regardless. And my tip is to get a few local Aussie sits with great reviews from home owners under your belt so when you do apply for more desirable sits - like NY you are more competitive.
Sitting in a big city like NY (mostly a unit with no/limited garden space) can involve taking an animal out for a walk - toilet etc, every few hours - a factor to consider. Cat sits are less likely to require this.
Listings without dates means they have listed previously but aren’t hosting a sitter currently.
Hi Gail, thanks for the welcome!
I thought it might be too far out, but just the planning and anticipation is exciting enough!
Unfortunately local sits for me are out, I am pretty much booked out until I head off at the end of January (will literally be dropping doggy boarders home on the way to the airport!). Being self-employed I guess you could say I am “on call” 24/7. Oh well, I can’t do much about it! At least I’ll have someone in NYC who will vouch for me.
Hi @Von and welcome. What you will be able to do in advance is get some excellent references from your current clients, once you open your THS account. If you can also get references from people who can support that you take good care of a home or property, that’s good too. You will be marketing yourself in your sitter profile.
Also, when you create your sitter profile you will be able to describe your current business, which should assure homeowners that you are certainly experienced with dogs. Try to also include some photos of you with other animals, to avoid cat owners passing you by, for example.
Enjoy planning your adventure, as that’s a part of the experience that can be so interesting.
Hi Snowbird, thanks so much for your advice! Getting references won’t be an issue, they just won’t be from THS members. As for photos with other animals that won’t be an issue either!
There’ll be plenty of time tweak my profile which I think I will do today, I see some ask for reviews of their profile which I think I will take full advantage of. I have lots to learn!
Hi @Von. Just some clarification of THS wording. A review is one you receive from a THS sit whereas a reference is any other and can include what you would normally think of as references - friends, neighbours, employer, or other pet or house sits outside of THS.
You request the references directly through the THS website. Here are some instructions you may find helpful:
The reference link takes me nowhere, maybe I need to get my THS account up and running?
Also what I meant my profile review (I nderstwnd what you are referring to!), is when members ask for feedback on their account profile, what info might be missing, is it too wordy, etc.
I’ll be sure to ask questions as I go along! Thanks again!
@Von Oops, no the link was my error. I’ve fixed it now.
I did understand what you meant when you mentioned about having members review your profile. I was referring to what you said earlier on, where your references won’t be from THS members. I think we’re all clear now.
Hi Snowbird, I have set my account up, even sent off for my first reference! Quick question, re my preferences, is there any way to narrow down areas, eg I can choose United States, and Canada, but is there a way to be more specific eg New York, or Quebec? I guess I wonder how homeowners looking for a sitter would find them? (I understand that in general sitters apply to owners, but surely it can work the other way around?)
I think that’s my last questions for a while!
Hi @Von I’m going to ask @Therese-Moderator to answer your question, as she has more knowledge than me to consider it from both a sitter and homeowner approach. She can give you a more complete answer, I think.
Hi @Von I see you have had some great advice already. Yes, as @RadarInc mentions, Homeowner can certainly search for sitters too. There are many homeowners, that prefer to simply pop up their dates, and wait for sitters to apply. I would like to suggest that you also download the App, and on the App set up a saved search for New York and other areas you fancy, so that you get an instant notification when the homeowner puts up new dates.
As you mention, you may not have time to do a local sit, so your references are vitally important. However, do keep you eye on the local sits, as you may suddenly have a weekend free to help a homeowner in need.
If you have an Airbnb and/or Linked-in profile, you can download it on your profile, which will always gives your profile that extra credibility.
I would also like to suggest that you add your profile to the forum, so members can see your profile here.
Thanks Therese, so it appears I am the one to be proactive. No problem!
I’ll get references sorted soon, and I think I’ve managed to add my THS profile to the forum profile.
Thanks for everyone’s help!
Great profile @Von with your personality and passion for animals, especially dogs, coming through in your photos and write up. Great to have another fellow Aussie on the forum!
Gosh thanks so much for your kind words! I was in danger of writing a small novel! Heehee!
Hey, Von. Welcome to THS! When I first stared with this group as a HO, I relied heavily on references as many initial applicants were new sitters. I don’t remember how it works even for me as a HO (@Vanessa-ForumCMgr and other admin folks can fill in here), but post their reviews and recommendations. Just like airbnb and VRBO, we know many sitters and HOs are also working on other platforms and gigging as we/they can @Snowbird’s advice is always spot-on, so share about yourself and your skills.
About your question re looking for a post now for February 2023, look for it. If there is a HO in a region you are interested in spending time in, reach out. They may decide to plan a get-away around your schedule, and this would give you time to build a relationship with them and find experiences in similar regions (if that is your goal). You can tailor your outreach email with specific details to align with what they may be looking for. As an example, we have a small vegetable garden and always hope sitters with an interest in maintaining our garden (and eating what it produces) apply. Our current go-to sitter shares an interest in composting and cycling, so we have connected over those two interests among others.
Hi @Von As you’ve seen, some sitters are booked into 2023 and others only book a couple of months in advance. In a similar way, some homeowners post as soon as they know their dates (a search shows 100s for 2023 listed) and others are waiting until much closer to their dates.
Besides the references, you can do some other groundwork to increase your chances of lining up sits for your chosen time period. Make full use of two features: (a) saved searches, and (b) ‘favourite’ listings.
Saved searches: A basic membership has three, and standard and premium have an unlimited number. I’ll add a link to how to narrow down your search area to match your plans, and remember to use the filters (date range, for example) as well as the specific map area:
Favourite: I’m going to explain using the app, but others say it also works on the website. It didn’t for me in the past, but maybe the product team has corrected that. I stay with what I know works. You click ‘save’ on a listing, and then anytime the homeowner lists, you get a notification. With some homeowners, being one of the first to apply is an advantage. Here’s Therese’s December 2021 explanation of the heart symbol (save icon for ‘favourites’):
I’ll use myself as an example of these features. I have a basic membership, so I can save three searches. I have two for specific areas that I am currently interested in, and I have those saved on the app. Anytime there’s a new listing, I get a phone notification. My third is for a much broader area, and I saved that on the website and I get a daily email. I just browse that as they are not of interest to me currently. However, I do favourite those that fit what I’m looking for. Then when I later browse listings, I know they are a good match for me.
Finally (yep, this is a lot of info), here’s Vanessa’s instructions on how to make sure you’re correctly set up for saved search notifications (entries #12 & #14)
If you’ve hung in to the end of this, congratulations. It may sound like a lot of work, but once you get into a rhythm, it can really be useful. Just my way, but we all figure out our own style.
@Snowbird You really are an absolute gem! I have already set up some saved searches, but the favourites aspect is something I didn’t know about. Once again, thank you for all your help (and your patience lol).
Many thanks @ThreeLittleBirds ! Getting an HO’s perspective is wonderful, and your advice is definitely something I will follow. References are something I’ll have no problem getting, I’ll just wait until I am face to face with clients to explain and ask.
Everyone has been so generous with their advice, and I’ve only been here 3 days! Hopefully I can find a way to contribute in other ways.
I have seen maybe a small handful of sits so far for next year, but there are very few. I notice that probably 30% of sits get posted 4+ months in advance, about 50% get posted 1-3 months in advance, and then the other 20% get posted just a few weeks beforehand.
Those are by no means official numbers, but a good estimation from someone who spends a TOOONNNNN of time searching the platform. LOL!
You’ll probably start seeing a good influx of February sits roll in this summer and continue through fall & early winter.
You’re probably not too far off with your estimations, I find a similar proportion with getting bookings for my business….except for this year, now international travel from Australia has opened up I am booked out until after I return from my holiday in mid-March!