How early to accept an application?

Hi Everyone! I am brand new to this, just found the site about three weeks ago. I have three trips posted in my profile but I have a solid backup for two of them. The third is in July for about 10 days and I just got my first application (ever) today. They seem like a nice couple and I would certainly be interested in speaking with them. I have read on this forum about how sitters often have their sits booked up well in advance, but I’ve also seen a few stories about sitters canceling and being stuck. I don’t want to let the application sit but I also don’t know if I should jump on the first one I get. Can you offer any advice to a newb?

Thank you in advance,
Renee

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Renee,
I will be watching this thread. I also just started using this site a few months ago, completed one listing, and have one unfilled. I wasn’t sure how to manage the applications so I decided to start by just accepting the first sitter that I felt comfortable with and that fit my requirements rather than collecting several and then choosing from them. I really am not sure if this is the best way to manage things although for my first listing I was spoiled by the high caliber of my sitters!!
I wonder how other manage the process of choosing also.

Hello @renee_9605 and welcome to the forum and the TrustedHousesitters community. I’m going to add @ellenaj into my response, given she’s in a similar situation.

I will need to generalize, as there are a few posts that address your questions. These posts overwhelmingly reinforce to listen to your gut, don’t ignore red flags, act as promptly (but carefully) as you can, and be respectful of other people’s time. It’s a balancing act, with no right answer to your question.

Much will depend on the time until your sit, how you manage your time and tasks in life, and at times how specialized your needs are for your home and family. In today’s current shifting balance of listings vs sitter availability, you do need to realize that you run the risk of an applicant having accepted another sit, the longer you wait. However, accepting a sitter that you’re not totally confident about is ignoring the gut instinct, which can be an issue.

@renee_9605 you mention an applicant you would certainly be interesting in speaking with. If so, then ask to speak with them (phone or video), and give them a sense of whether they are your preferred applicant or not, as this is helpful to the sitter.

@ellenaj you’ve said you accepted the first sitter you felt comfortable with. That’s your gut instinct kicking in that they are a good fit. That’s good. Although some owners wait for more applicants, it’s not always needed.

If you have applicants you know you will not choose, then decline them, preferably with a polite note, rather than merely clicking the decline option. You don’t need to give an explanation, but a polite thank you is appreciated. Don’t feel guilty about declining someone, as you are working through applications to find the best fit for the care of your pets and home, which is so important. By declining, you also provide a definitive answer for the sitter.

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I am not sure what country you are in, but July in most places I think is Holiday time - for Owners and sitters. A lot of Forum members are almost full-time sitters, so will fill their calendar well in advance, but for the part-time/once or twice a year sitters July is probably a good time - people who work/families/teachers get July to travel.

Now that the world is getting somewhere like back to normal more people will be looking to travel again, but may be waiting until nearer the time to actually book, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get many applicants soon, then a rush in a few weeks.

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Hi @renee_9605 welcome to our community forum and to TrustedHousesitters I will speak to this with my owner and sitter’s hats on …

As an owner it’s great to have choice however all we need is one sitter, the right sitter and that one applicant could be the right one. You have information to judge whether or not they will meet your pets needs and your expectations.

Their profile, they will be ID Verified, look to see if they have external references or THS reviews, if they are new members they will not have THS reviews but you should not let that deter you from opening up a conversation if what you have in your messages feels right.

You don’t have to commit or accept any sitter until it’s apparent that the arrangement will work for everyone involved, they will want it to be right also.

Follow your instincts … if these are backed up by what you have read and seen then open the dialogue.

Yes there are accounts of cancellations and in this climate there are more possibilities of these happening, although travel and other matters are normalizing everywhere, top advice … always have a Plan B which is true for all manner of life situations.

I’ve included a couple of helpful articles from the website blog and I’m sure other members will have a few tips for you.

Good luck and remember to follow the process but rely on your instincts too .

Angela and the Team

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I posted last night that, given the current sitter shortage, it is a good idea for home owners to book sitters sooner than later. I booked 2 sits within hours of submitting my application. This doesn’t mean accepting someone you’re not comfortable with, but if you get an application you like, move forward with it to see if it would be a good fit vs waiting to see what else you will get. It’s now days after my application spree and I’m having to tell home owners I’m already booked because they waited too long to respond. I would urge you to at least start the conversation. As for cancellation, I don’t know that the risks of that are any higher with booking 2 months ahead vs 2 weeks so I would not let that hold you back. I’ve had sits I booked 8 months in advance that went off without a hitch.

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Agreed completely :ok_hand:

When publishing your listing you are looking for certain criteria in your sitter. Some essential, others preferable.

If, after you publish your listing you instantly have an influx of applications, then you are in the good/difficult position of choosing which you think is the best fit for you - if you only get one application and you feel for whatever reason that they are not what you are looking for, then politely decline them. If, on the other hand that application does feel like it is what you are looking for then arrange a video call - if after speaking to them directly you are still happy - Book them - because if you don’t, it is highly likely that someone else will

Most sitters will have multiple applications out there for the same dates - if you get an application from a good sitter and decide to wait to see if something better comes along, if, in the mean time the original one gets booked elsewhere, at worst, it leaves you with no sitter or at best, a sitter that is as good as the one that you let slip away.

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In September we also received our first application about two hours after the listing went online. I instantly started a conversation with the sitter and we agreed on a video call for the next day. During the video call I decided that it’s a good fit and both of us confirmed during the chat.
I was asked by others why I didn’t wait for more applications and I said “why wait for the second best if the best already has applied first?”
I was absolutely right in my choice. She did a wonderful job and we are still in contact with each other. I now always ask her first if she is available and would invite her back anytime again.
So if you feel comfortable with the sitters who applied, go for it!

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I’ve just started using this platform this year but I have the same philosophy. If I feel comfortable with the first responder I will confirm them. I don’t see the point of collecting a bunch of applications. After I’ve been at this for a while perhaps I’ll change my mind.
Right now I just trust that the confirmed sitter will follow through and not flake. People seem to rise to the expectations you have of them.

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