Hi I’m totally new to trusted house sitters. I need someone to look after our hamster over the summer for 6 weeks, so quite long. I live in Oxford in a very attractive part of the city and house. I posted yesterday but only got one application so far (from someone who is also quite new it seems as there is only one reference). I guess Oxford is maybe not as attractive a location over the summer? As I saw here that sitters have saved preferences for their top locations and if you hit those you get many applications quite quickly. I also wonder that me wanting someone for my hamster is quite niche…? As it’s mostly dogs and cats. But the advantage is that a hamster is almost no work - surely people know that…? Any tips for improving my listing would be very much appreciated!
Hi @Doro and welcome. Please don’t panic, your listing has only been up a day, give it a week at least for sitters to see it. People need to make plans, check travel, talk to partners and more before they jump to apply, especially for a 6 week sit. A hamster sounds easy to be honest and Oxford is a great location as you well know. Unfortunately I can’t get your listing link to work to give you feedback? If I search live sits in Oxford with small pets I get nothing? Have you set your filters and asked a friend to check maybe? Am sure more members will offer help too. Best of luck
@Cuttlefish Thank you for helping! Great advice. As they are new to the forum, the provider Discourse does not let their listing link appear as a hyperlink (clickable) are you able to copy and paste it into your browser so you can then view their listing?
If you search for listings in Oxford again the listing has a small furry icon and a fish icon
Hi @Carla_C thanks for the help. The link isn’t complete on the profile so you can’t copy and paste unfortunately?
Oh, this one is working for me, sorry about that. I will DM you the link now
Thanks @Carla_C and hello again @Doro - the listing looks great. House is beautiful and pet care sounds straightforward. Maybe make the headline a bit stronger with something like “Spend a fabulous 6 weeks of summer with our hamster in glorious Oxford.” Or similar. List things to do, places to visit and transport links - they will all help especially with international visitors. There are a couple of typos in the intro to fix but that’s tiny. Will you leave the sitter petty cash for the fresh veg might be a question as it’s a long sit? Paying the cleaner might be off putting but honestly, those things are very small. Just be a bit more patient and am sure you’ll find someone great.
Your post looks great, and I’m sure the cute hamster is easy to take care of. A 6-week sit sounds amazing to me, and I expect there will be more applications soon. - The only concern for a house sitter, in my opinion, could be the part about how you want the cleaning done. While it’s understandable to want the house back in perfect condition, whenever a host sounds particular about something (even if it’s perfectly reasonable), I tend to pass to avoid minor issues that could affect my rating. Some hosts give less than 5 stars because of small things like a few dishes in the sink. So, the more easy-going someone sounds, the more inclined I am to apply, just to ensure a 5-star rating.
To be blunt, the Responsibilities section is worded in such a way to be quite demanding. If you could smooth over that section and make it less so, it would be much more appealing.
Oxford for 6 weeks with only a hamster = very appealing. But, IMHO, the Responsibilities are somewhat harsh sounding. I would definitely note that cash would be left for fresh fruit/veg for Clover.
The last paragraph regarding cleaning also needs some attention. Something along the lines of being very house proud… Would the cleaner be coming during the sit period? That’s unclear. Typically if a HO has a cleaner, the service continues during the sit at HO’s cost, unless discussed and the sitter would prefer not to have a cleaner.
I also suggest fixing the typos and grammar throughout the listing. You might also look at rearranging your photos, especially the first. Your rear outdoor area is very attractive, far more so than the bins at the front. Or even a photo of Clover.
THS Pet parents provide all the food that the pet requires during a sit -this is discussed in this article :
The other thing that I can see that is out of the ordinary is your expectation that the sitter needs to do a “deep clean” at the end of the stay . It is reasonable and expected that a sitter will leave your home clean and tidy .
THS Sitters are not paid and they are not cleaners. You will receive “free” pet sitting and home security from your sitter . So requiring a deep clean at the sitters expense is above and beyond .
Your listing looks great and I’m sure you’ll get more sitter applying - it looks like there’s 2 applications already so already getting more people
We are unfortunately already booked few months ahead, so we are not able to apply in such short notice, which might be the case for some other sitters as well who are looking for more longer term sits and book many months ahead.
As previously said, what would worry us as sitters is the expectation of cleanliness to a professional standard. We always leave the place as clean or cleaner as we found it, but a note in a listing to pay for a cleaner would put us off as it fees the expectations are really high and we’d be worried we might not be able to meet that and this might be a problem. Everyone’s idea of what clean looks like is very different. We have done sits where the homeowners have had a cleaner and they have kept the routine of that cleaner to come at their usual times if they want their place to be professionally cleaned.
Also as previously mentioned, the idea about having to buy the fruit and veggies for the hamster might put some people off as usually the food for the animals is provided. We have previously bought fresh vegetables for pets before, but this has always been compensated, so maybe this is something to be considered.
Hello @Doro A very warm welcome to the community forum and you have received some great feedback already.
As sitters ourselves we actually have discussed this between friends that are sitters, if it would be easier on the last day to just pay a cleaner. We like the house to be as clean as when we arrived or cleaner as we like to hand back a sparkling home and we equally enjoy staying in a clean home.
We do keep the home clean throughout our stay but often on the last day if it’s a travel day then we get up super early and clean and wash bedding, towels etc and we are often trying to work remotely as well, so for us, if there isn’t a cleaner then it might be easier to pay for a cleaning at the end of the sit to save us the time and stress.
That said as we keep on top of stuff throughout our sit we would not say we would need a deep clean at the end. Also, we are lucky enough to both work remotely, so an hour or two’s cleaning to save time if we have work and a long travel day ahead of us might work for us on occasion, but might not work for others.
If the owner already has a cleaner in place then we have found they tend to come as normal and the owner pays for this. We even had one owner arrange for the cleaner to come the day before we left so it would be nice for when they came back and we did not have to worry so much. (although we still have a quick clean before the cleaner much to my husband’s dismay!)
Maybe removing deep cleaning and stating that the home just needs to be left as it was found and if you usually have a cleaner are you able to keep that in place? Maybe arranging for them to come towards the end of the stay.
We have given chickens that we have cared for all of our veggie scraps, but if Clover needs specific veggies, as others have said then leave some money or maybe a prepaid card for a local store so the sitter can buy these.
On longer sits we have brought things needed for the pets before and owners have nearly always repaid us quickly but even so we hate to ask if they get home from travels are busy etc, so it is just easier to have it prepaid upfront if it’s a known cost.
Your home is beautiful, in a great location and I am sure you will manage to find the right fit for you and Clover
I love the U.K. and Oxford is one of my ideal destinations, but I wouldn’t apply for a listing written as if it’s a job ad. I joined THS in the spirit of reciprocity and mutual generosity. It’s an exchange, not a job.
Plus, I’m neat and clean, but I won’t deep clean anyone’s home. At the homes I’ve sat that have cleaners, the HOs continue paying them, as usual.
I often buy treats for the pets I sit, but I do that out of generosity, not because a HO ordered me to.
The responsibilities section does not sound welcoming and would definitely stop me from applying. Deep cleaning or paying a cleaner? It sounds like you’re asking the sitter to replace your cleaner (at no cost to you…) as it’s not clear whether she would still clean during the sit.
Buying veggies for the hamster out of your own pocket? Might not cost much, but doesn’t sound welcoming or generous towards the sitter.
Playing with the hamster after 10 rules out people who like to go to bed early.
Thanks everyone this is super helpful! OMG I feel like I’m giving the totally wrong impression of myself! Urgently need to fix this
We are neither super tidy nor super clean but I can totally see how I’m giving that impression. I was just worried about what to do with our cleaner so she doesn’t lose all the hours over the summer that she normally gets. But this is obviously my problem and not the sitters so I’ll sort that and simply take that bit out.
Am such a newbie to this, I just didn’t know how to write this properly! I totally want the spirit of generosity and mutuality - but I’m also very German (that’s where I’m from) in my approach to things like this so I go like “ok they ask me to list the responsibilities so that’s what I do”
I’ll also add the bit about leaving cash for the veg. It just didn’t occur to me because what the hamster needs is so tiny I always just cut of a corner of something I have at hand. But of course I see now how this comes across!
I’ll fix all of this later and make it super relaxed and friendly - because actually I’m a super relaxed person but I get it that it doesn’t come across at all!
Thanks so much for everyone’s feedback!
I would have loved to look after your hampster home. Six weeks in Oxford is a dream. However my calendar books up far in advance. I am leaving in a couple of days for 5 months. Perhaps next time you can post earlier. I am sure you will find someone wonderful. Good luck!
Next time I’ll be earlier. It took me a while to make up my mind and give it a go… feeling quite excited now
I’m coming to this late as there’s a time difference where I am atm, so you’ve amended your listing since you posted after receiving lots of good advice. To me now the listing looks great and I, and others I’m sure, would jump at the chance of sitting in your house with just a hamster (who looks very cute btw) and some fish for 6 weeks. The only thing that would put me off is paid on street parking as I would have a car. However, you have 2 applicants currently so there will be others who maybe don’t have transport for whom that isn’t an issue.
Your listing is totally transformed. It looks great now!
By the way, lots of home owners still have their cleaner do their normal hours while the pet sitter is there. If the pet sitter agrees, that should be no problem.
Your home is beautiful and in a lovely city. You will have loads of applicants in no time! And your photos are lovely too. Wel done. Just be patient.
I favorited it for the future. Generally I only search for cats sits since I don’t do dog sits, so perhaps some folks simply forget to click on small animals as an option.
Your advertisement reads much better now! I’m sure you will find the perfect sitter soon. We were in Oxford in November 2022 between sits and loved it there. We are hoping to return to England in May/June 2024. We book our sits out quite far in advance. Right now we have sits booked into March 2024. I have marked your sit as a favourite so we will be notified whenever you post future sits. Maybe we’ll meet one day!