It's time to allow gas reimbursement

Many homeowners in rural places aren’t getting good applicants lately, and are needing to cancel their travel plans.

There are less sitters in rural areas, and even fewer who are interested in sitting locally. It might be possible to catch a sitter driving cross-country, but the probability of the dates lining up is low.

There might be a sitter 10 hours away who would be willing to sit, but who feels that it doesn’t make sense to spend $300 for gas to go somewhere that isn’t an area of high interest to her. If a homeowner were to reimburse the cost of gas, the homeowner would be able to travel, and the sitter would still not be earning any money, thus keeping the spirit of this website.

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I assume a big part of the advantage for the owners is that THS doesn’t cost them anything. If they would need to reimburse let’s say 300$ to sitters, would they not just hire a local paid sitter?

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It’s already allowed, isn’t it? The T&C only state that a sitter can’t charge for their services. If a HO can request payment from a sitter for utilities and rent (which TH has repeatedly confirmed they can and that it’s up to the sitter to decide if they’re still interested), then why can’t a sitter request payment for gas? HOs who aren’t interested will pass on your request, but you might find one who is okay with it because it’s still cheaper than paying a sitter or they really don’t want to put their pet in a kennel.

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We have had offers in the past to cover our travel costs (after we already did at least one sit for them), but we wouldn’t request it ourselves and have only accepted it in exceptional circumstances (where we really went out of our way to help them out). Not sure how many HOs would consider doing this, though. We would rather look at what we can do to travel more cheaply. There are some suggestions in a different thread about gas prices.

Would it be against TH policies if homeowners were to put something in their listing to the effect that they are open to reimbursing for gas expenses? I’m a homeowner as well as a sitter, and I know that if I were to have a hard time finding a sitter, I would be happy to offer to reimburse for gas. Depending on the length of the sit and the geographical distance between sitter and homeowner, paying for their gas could be considerably less than paying for a local, paid sitter. Based on my experience, I’ve had much better outcomes with unpaid sitters than with paid sitters, so I would be more inclined to look for a TH sitter and reimburse their gas rather than pay a local sitter who does it for a living.

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The only payment currently forbidden under the TH T&C is a sitter charging for their services. There’s nothing stopping a HO from offering to reimburse for gas expenses if that’s something they want to do to attract sitters.

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I think the main issue is that there are more home owners atm than sitters and probably not much to do with the location……Lots of people got ‘Lockdown’ pets thereby increasing the number of HOs. I may be wrong but have seen this mentioned….A plan b) should always be in place in case a sitter can’t be found

The last sitter I had a few weeks ago accepted the sit a few months ago, long before gas prices increased significantly. It was a 4.5 hr drive one way for them. I gave them $100 for gas when we returned from our trip. (It wasn’t asked for) As the sit was accepted when gas prices were so much lower I felt it only fair to pitch in towards that expense. Given the situation with gas prices I think it only fair HO’s contribute.

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That’s very generous of you :clap:

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We recently had a sit that was a 12.5 hour drive plus 2 ferry fares one way. It was arranged before gas prices went crazy. Of course we honoured our commitment but the cost of gas would deter me from returning anytime soon which is a shame as we loved the pets.

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Hi everyone, The foundation of TrustedHousesitters is a fair and mutually beneficial exchange with no money changing hands. I have just driven from Scotland to North Wales to do a sit, a 7 hour journey and my choice, I could equally have applied for a sit less than a gallon of gas away. We all agree that the cost of living is a concern for everyone at the moment.

With regards to any on sit financial arrangements this is something that can be discussed between the two parties involved and not as a request by any member prior to a sit being confirmed.

The main topic of compensation here is gas/petrol, if this were to be allowed as a condition of a sitter applying for a sit where would you draw the line? Gas, food, air & train fares etc etc.,

There are many arrangements between members where consideration for each other leads to acts kindness and generosity the very bedrock on which our community is built and why it works so well …

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Hello @meow Like everyone else, as a sitter I am faced with increased transport costs, whether it be gas/petrol, or flights. I recently passed on a return sit I would have loved, in part because the flight cost was about 50% higher than it was when I did a sit for the family a few months before the start of the pandemic. There were other factors, but cost was certainly a consideration. Such is life.

On this forum we have seen many accounts of generous homeowners who show their appreciation in thoughtful ways. This can still be done. I’m impressed to see @Manunited 's approach - to recognize and show appreciation, even though not requested or likely expected. It reflects the warm and generous community spirit of THS.

I was saddened to read of @Kootenaigirl 's decision to be unlikely to return to a sit because of the travel costs, even though I can understand the logic. However, the THS website clearly states that sitters are responsible for their own travel expenses to get to and from a sit. While that is in place, and was in place when I renewed my membership this year, I will continue to honour those terms.

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@Snowbird Terms and conditions are legally binding. FAQs/support articles are not. From what I’ve read, the T&C currently do not saying anything about travel expenses other than the fact that TH is not liable for them.

I have no interest in requesting reimbursement for gas or travel expenses and, from the other side, I also have no interest in any sits that want me to pay rent or utilities. I was only responding that it’s not against the T&C and like so many other concerns that are raised on the forum is just part of the details that the HO and sitter need to agree upon before finalizing a sit.

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It’s entirely up to the sitter(s) where they decide to travel to for a sit. I enjoy driving (although appreciate it’s not environmentally friendly and use public transport while at sits as much as possible not just to help the environment but it’s a good way of exploring new areas. I couldn’t travel to sits on public transport because I have so much stuff!!
If I decide to drive for 12 hours or 30 minutes to a sit that I fancy then that’s my choice. I don’t have any living costs atm as have rented out my home. So petrol is the only cost I have and wouldn’t dream of asking the HO for a contribution.

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We are doing a road trip this summer/autumn up the east coast of US and Canada then down again to Annapolis. This has been postponed till now because of Covid. It is our decision, no one’s else. Next year we are doing exactly the same but on the west coast. Again, our decision.
We plan to travel for a week then look after some animals then travel again. The cost is going up daily but I still cannot see the reasoning to pile that cost onto the pet owners who have accepted us as sitters. It’s not their problem. It was us that made the decisions.

If a person can’t afford the increased fuel costs shouldn’t they be looking for sits nearer home or where they are?

Of course it’s up to the individual whether to ask or not. And I suppose it all depends how desperate the pet owner is but personally I see it as taking advantage of the situation. Would you be travelling there anyway?

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I agree. And then where would it stop? Does someone want to pay towards our flights and our car rental? As sitters, we have the option to apply for sits that we are willing to travel to. If it’s too expensive to go there, we don’t. T

hat being said, if a home owner is struggling to find a sitter and they offer to help out with costs in order to find someone, that’s their choice.

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I am confused as to why homeowners are allowed to charge $ for utilities costs, but sitters are not allowed to even ask for assistance with gas/petrol costs. Personally, I am fortunate enough to be able to afford the cost increase at this point and would not consider asking for assistance. But it is sad to see so many desperate homeowners needing sitters and many sitters who would be willing to sit for them, but can’t afford the travel expense and thus don’t apply. It is a slippery slope, as to where to draw the line, but it seems like more flexibility is offered to HOs than sitters. Again, as long as it is agreed upon on the front-end, it seems this should be able to be negotiated between the parties- just like utilities are allowed to be negotiated. HOs can always decline sitters who need travel assistance. It seems that allowing this may help fill more sits in these challenging times.

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THS isn’t even able to check if older listings show the 5 necessary pictures. So I ask myself how, with now 100.000 users, any of this can be remotely controllable. Even when members here on the forum stumble across listings or home owners across profiles which ask for utilities or reimbursement, they will not find them all.
As long as there are no charges for the pet sitting service or fees for use of the home like rent, let people sort it out by themselves.
We are grown ups and should be able to decide wether we want to come to an agreement or not.
Not everything has to be regulated by THS.

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Personally I would feel uncomfortable taking money as a sitter as we all pay a membership fee.
I imagine rising prices affect both parties.
I also agree though that we are more likely to apply for nearer sits than we would have a year or two ago.

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That’s also my thinking. Now is summer, but heating costs in winter will be astronimical! We don’t expect a contribution to our travel cost, but also don’t want to get charged.

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