HO changing return dates

I just had an experience with an HO couple that left myself and my partner feeling frustrated and annoyed.

The HO invited us (they liked our profile) to a one-week sit, Tues-Tues.

A few weeks before the sit when we discussed arrival times, they said that although they had put one week on TH. (Tues-Tues), they actually were leaving on the Weds, but we could come the Tues evening for dinner and a handover. That seemed fine.

We arrived and on the Wednesday morning before they set off, they told us they were actually coming back on the Monday afternoon and not the Tuesday, at 4pm. Then finally on the Monday lunchtime they said they were returning home at 2.

My partner and I both work from home, and have to carefully arrange our schedules and meetings/Zoom calls to ensure we can have adequate time to pack, tidy up, and travel, not to mention adjusting to the times the dogs are walked, everyone is fed, etc. We are very conscientious and take it very seriously.

It’s very frustrating when HOs treat our lives as if we have no commitments of our own, and can simply go with the flow as they change their minds.

Can I please ask any HOs reading this to think about this when making plans and to ensure they communicate with their sitters?

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@Isitusit I’m sorry you’ve had such a frustrating experience. It is very frustrating when people change their plans at the last minute. I would report the experience to @Therese-Moderator as she can talk with the home owners if necessary.

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Ooh that does sounds frustrating, especially when you are working at the same time. Sorry that happened to you!

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Welcome Isitusit and I totally sympathise with the awful experience you have had.I have also learned a similar lesson from an owner who does not care about not following TSH rules or respecting a sitters need to be given vital information. In my list of questions to owners before accepting a future sit, I will be asking them to confirm their time of departure and their time of arrival back to the home as I just want to get on with the job of tidying up and leaving when it is time to leave. For many reasons, I do not want to be cooking meals for their return, doing non pet related jobs such as lawn moving and cooking for them. It is enough to cook for the pet and do a proper clean up before leaving. Some owners do not seem to be able to respect a sitters’ time or needs.

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Why would you be cooking meals for their return? Admittedly I have on quite a few occasions, cooked a ‘surprise’ meal for homeowners if they’re back late or have had a long flight but not on every occasion.

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My word!!! Who expects all that!!! Tell them to jog on.

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I almost got caught out in a similar situation, until I asked about their Holiday. I was due to leave the Mon but needed to work from the house that day & catch a late flight. Then I found out they were returning with family from Poland with 3 children! I politely said I wouldn’t be able to work nor would I want to be in the way of their family time. They agreed and now there is no cross over.
After building a rapport with the HO we need to ask open questions and throw some scenarios in there before confirming a sit.

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No, I would not be cooking meals for owners but if you look at some of the reviews you will see some will prepare a meal and even expect them to stay over after they return when the sit has officially ended. I want to take care of the pets only and not be going ahead of time on the sit or staying on after the owners have returned preferring to do the owner/ sitter interview through the questionnaire stage and once one side has done a ‘confirm sit’ with a definitive date, then do a face time and video walk round of the sitter designated areas.

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I completley agree and annoyingly had similar this very week. HO changing dates with just a couple of weeks to go on a sit they’d invited us to!
Sadley i do think some HO (definitely not all!) do treat the sitter like staff!
Now every sit we’ve completed the HO has been great, appreciative of us and communicative.
I think its good to have some wiggle room but it should be discussed not expected!
Its making me think about being clearer and firmer and just not as flexible.
Its dort of more annoying also, when theyve invited you. You feel like you’re already helping them out!

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Sorry, I misread your original post. But sometimes it’s necessary to stay overnight either before or after a sit, depending on time of departure/arrival of HO.

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The most important message here is clarity about arrival and departure dates. The HO’s should put the exact dates that they expect the Sitter to be in the home. If the HO’s want the Sitter to arrive at 7 am, then obviously, the Sitter might have to stay nearby in a hotel the night before. If the HO’s want the sitter to arrive at 7 pm, then a hotel might not be necessary. We all need to make plans! HO’s should not state an arrival date which is before their departure, unless there needs to be time together to learn the “job.” Just state the dates that you need the Sitter in your home, and Sitters can figure out their plans once they better understand your exact travel details.

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Agreed - I’ve put my travel dates in my sit. A prospective sitter could be coming from down the road or the other side of the world - I have no way of knowing until they make contact! When they get in touch, I expect to explain my timings, that they explain theirs and then we plan accordingly.

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As a homeowner we always confirm the dates to allow for a day before we leave and the day after in case we were to get delayed getting home and we would never mess our house sitters around and would actually invite them to stay should our plans have to change at short notice for something outside of our control.

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Precisely that @PVGemini. The dates listed should be the dates that the HO will need the sitter to be actively petsitting. Anything beyond that is discussed before agreeing the sit, like coming the night before for dinner or a longer handover etc.

We ended up turning down a subsequent sit for these same HOs for Sept. I noticed that they’ve reposted their Sept dates, already knowing that they are coming back a day earlier than the dates advertised.

I feel there should be clear guidelines to HOs when they post, to give the dates they need the petsitter in their home. And they should be proactive about communicating if they need to change.

It’s frustrating have HOs who are so cavalier with others’ time.

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While I agree with most of the comments on this thread, especially when it is a domestic sit - the same country - I have to say that Internationally due to recent events most of us have had to be more than a bit flexible.

In some countries in the region where I am based the rules regarding travel have changed almost daily. When I arrived in Indonesia in October I had to book 7 days in Quarantine in a hotel. A couple of days before my departure that changed to 5, then 4. The hotel automatically changed my booking, but I had to change my onward flight to Bali by a few days. The house sit I was going to didn’t confirm until they knew I was actually in the country, so I had taken a big gamble. A few days after I arrived the quarantine changed again to 10 days!.
The HO was travelling to Australia, which had its own quarantine rules, and when they returned to Bali the rules had changed again, so I had to be flexible with my dates.

I know this is an extreme example and very much due to the counties involved, but in the current climate of covid and wars (flights getting cancelled, or redirected) it does pay to be a wee bit flexible. And THS is an international organisation - communication and flexibility is key to some sits.

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The problem (for me) with this approach is that you are assuming:

a) that petsitters want to have a 24 hour overlap in the home with you at the beginning or end of a sit

and/or

b) that petsitters can easily drop a day from the beginning or end of the sit even though they have committed to the dates you post in your ad

I don’t see how that is reasonable. No matter how much we like the people we sit for, I find it awkward being under the same roof for prolonged periods, especially if we are also trying to work remotely.

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Thanks for replying to my post:

We have been house hosts and members of THS for over eight years and this has been the way that every house sitter has preferred to do our sits. Allowing for an arrival before we leave allows them to settle in, get to know our pets, where we walk our dog, where the vets are, how our large old home operates. We don’t impose on them and completely respect if they prefer not to have a meal with us or wish not to socialise with us but it has always resulted in a great relationship with our pets and with our house sitters many of whom have become friends beyond house sitting.

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I really think this is more of a situation where times are so different now than they were two years ago. EVERYTHING is getting adjusted and we all have to be able to “bend” a little. Hopefully, all this will change once the Pandemic is out of our lives.

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Agree, sometimes it maybe necessary to stay over if an owner arrives back late but I would some notice if they are going to be late returning so as to be able to choose where to say without if affecting the pets

Of course, the pandemic has thrown a wrench into travel plans! Of course, we need to be flexible! The main point here is that the POSTED dates of a housesit should be exactly what the Owner needs. Please do not add days before or after “just in case.” Sitters generally sign up to housesit in order to stay in your home with your pets, in solitude. If an Owner requires a Sitter to come early to learn something, of course, that is discussed and agreed upon. This should actually be described in the listing, so that only those who feel comfortable will apply.

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