Month-long sitters just cancelled for July

Does this often happen? We are scheduled to leave our home July 10 for a month, and just received word that the sitter is cancelling. She asked me to unconfirm the sit with the hopes that I can find someone else, but a month seems to be a long time for a last-minutish sit. I’ve already relisted, but I’m concerned our summer trip may just have come undone.

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Hi Patricia,
So sorry you are facing this challenge! You might consider using the last minute sit forum topic to get help via forum readers. You’ll want to add the link to your listing in your profile to help folks find the sit.
We have used THS sitters with great success and have never had such an issue. We do touch base with our sitters (or HOs we sit for) every couple weeks to confirm everything is on track, not sure this prevents a cancellation but it might help detect an issue as early as possible.
On our last need for a sitter, we had to invite over 20 sitters before we had one accept, so you might apply that approach … We looked for folks within a day’s drive thinking those to be most likely, but that might be less an issue for a month long sit.
Best wishes for finding a great sitter!

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Hi @PatriciaUH and welcome to the forum, although for frustrating reasons. I’m going to tag @Therese-Moderator who will contact you when she’s next online to review the cancellation with you, and in particular the reasons given for the cancellation. Please don’t reply here with that information, as it’s best handled privately by membership services.

By the forum criteria, it’s a little too soon to add your listing to the Last Minute section. As @BruceT has mentioned, it would be a good idea to add your listing to your forum username/profile. @Angela-HeadOfCommunity may jump in and do that for you, if she’s available.

You may also want to consider asking Angela to promote your listing on social media. If you’d like her to do that, you will need to direct message her with your consent. Here are some details about the social media option:

Francine,
Volunteer Forum Moderator :canada:

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Thank you as always @Snowbird, such good advice.

I have added the listing link to your forum profile @PatriciaUH now other members can view and I’m sure will offer encouraging and constructive feedback … the first suggestion I have is to add some additional pet pictures if you would like your listing shared on our Social channels images are everything, a great pet image will get immediate attention.

I managed to crop one of Betty, they are such cute dogs it would be great to show their personalities, “a picture says a thousand words”

Please let me know if you would like to go the Social route and when you have added some additional images.

I’m now going to pass to @Snowbird as she is the uncrowned queen of listing advice.

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 7.23.19 PM

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Hi @PatriciaUH My invisible crown from Angela is slipping a little in the hot and humid weather here, but I’ll do my best.

@Angela - listing shows currently no sitter needed. Please help Patricia fix that.

Just a few suggestions:

  • Fix your headline - just a mistake in repeating words but character count is so important as your full headline is limited on the site or app

  • One photo with the bunk beds is dark - improving that would help

  • Saying the dogs can be left ‘for hours at a time’ needs to be more specific to be more helpful to the sitters. I’d suggest ‘up to X hours’

Sitters - by my reading of this listing, please don’t try and convince the homeowner to remove Sitters need a car. Although it is limiting applicants, it may be a realistic requirement.

Francine,
Volunteer Forum Moderator :canada:

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@Snowbird I’m seeing active listing with dates …

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 8.29.27 PM

@Angela-HeadOfCommunity It worked for me when I tried a different browser. Computer gremlins at work again. :roll_eyes:

@Angela-HeadOfCommunity and @Snowbird. Thank you. I think the problem was that I had the listing on pause and I just fixed that. I’ve added more pictures of the pets and adjusted some of the listing information. I appreciate all of your help and wouldn’t mind it shared on social media.

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Patricia, thank you and well done these (images) show the pups cuteness so much more …

Hi all, sorry to jump on this chain but I’ve also just had a sitter cancel for a 12 day sit later in July. It’s still a bit too soon to advertise in the last minute section, but I’m worried we won’t find anyone. I’ve started inviting sitters who appear to be free (via the dates search), but many sitters reply to say they aren’t available.
Is there a way to search for those who’ve recently updated their diaries? Or any other tips for finding a sitter?

Many thanks!
Maria

Hi @Maria_with_corgi,
We had to do extensive inviting for our last sit despite a long lead time and very nice home in a popular setting … I think in our case we wanted to get the sit booked further in advance than many sitters typically use as an outlook horizon for a one week sit … anyway, here are techniques we used which might apply in your situation:

  1. We thought about a target sitter demographic that might be most suited for our sit situation, in our case that was: retiree couples living within a day’s drive and living in a hot summer climate (as our home is in the cool mountains). Your target might focus on aspects of your community/area, e.g. summertime family fun, museums, history, etc.
  2. We started just inviting one at a time, but after 5-10 declines decided we needed to up our odds, so moved to 3-5 at a time.
  3. We personalized the invitations, using names and location or experience information to try to help form a real connection with a would be sitter. We said we were searching for the perfect sitter and found you … which was probably true as we were cherry picking highly experienced and well-rated sitters.
  4. We were fortunate that most invitees responded quickly (within hours or over night). I attribute that to both being part of a community that values good and responsive communications, but feel that above #3 helped considerably.
  5. When we found a positive response, we moved quickly to ensure a good fit and to finalize the sit.

This is probably all or mostly obvious stuff, but wanted to share our recent (east coast US) experience for finding a sitter this summer. In the end it took about 2 weeks of extensive inviting and about 25 invitations, with the sit being committed to about 6 weeks prior to the sit date.

I hope this is helpful to you and offers some encouragement that there are sitters out there that are not necessarily actively seeking sits, but when invited decide to do one!
Best of luck,
Bruce

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Hi @Maria_with_corgi and welcome to the forum. If you scroll back in this post to entry #3, done by me, you’ll see instructions for promoting your sit on social media. I would suggest you take advantage of that option. You will need to direct message @Angela-HeadOfCommunity as she needs your written permission.

Francine,
Volunteer Forum Moderator :canada:

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I have been on Trusted Housesitters for many years now and this is a problem I have noticed to be ever more frequent.
As this service has grown it naturally is attracting a wider range of people, and fewer than ever of them are really interested in your pets or any responsibility, but rather in finding an inexpensive vacation where they can come and go as they please, no credit cards are filed. I also have been treated like a free hotel where you can just call up and cancel, sending best wishes and hopes and; “ I’m sure you’ll find someone right away, your home is so lovely !“
My plans were trashed, there were emotional as well as economic repercussions and there seems to be no plan by the THS managers to sort this growing problem out, only condolences and apologies for the rotten experience. Owners are not hotels, not Airbnbs, they are people trying to solve sometimes very serious logistics within their families, they love their pets and they need help. That is why they are asking for it. It’s not always a spoiled vacation to the seaside that is the only thing at stake. Sitters are able to confirm dates and keep checking to see if something more posh comes up, cancel the confirmed sit and accept the posh one, no problem. My thinking is that sitters should be named and labeled for this behavior and likewise owners behaving this way in the other direction. I know that sitters also count on hospitality and can be left truly in the lurch by cancellation. Otherwise the word “ Trusted “ should be removed from the name of this website.

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The listing of home owners cannot be found when they have one or more confirmed sits until either these sits are over or when they post new dates. Like this they are robbed of potential sitters who would like to add the listing to their favorites.
We have confirmed sitters for dates at the end of next year and as long as we don’t post new dates our listing will be completely off the radar.
To avoid sitters to find “better” sits than the confirmed ones, they also should not be able to see sits during the period of time their confirmed sit takes place. Like this there would be much less canceling at least not on THS.

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We have never cancelled a sit after 3 years of full time pet sitting! We go to great lengths to fulfill our commitments even when circumstances change for us, so it’s really sad to see this happen. We wish you good success with finding a replacement!

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@Pawtastic … A further development of that last idea would be for THS to not allow a new sit application or confirmation that overlaps the dates of a sitter-initiated cancellation. That should remove all doubt and means for jumping ship for a better sit on the THS platform, including via invitations and private sits.

I also think there’s value in THS reporting for both sitters and HOs the number of cancellations they initiated in the last 3 years (or so) … this would give counterparties useful information and probably weed out egregious abusers of cancellation (i.e. who would select a sitter/ HO with a large number of recent cancellations?). The reporting of number of cancellations could be hidden if less than two or three to offer a little grace… although even that number might give me pause to consider a sitter/sit.

There could be exceptions to all that if both sitter and HO agreed that a cancellation was reasonable using whatever criteria they want or if overridden by member services on appeal.

Of course above should apply only to confirmed sit cancellations and not to application withdrawals.

Anyway, that’s my two cents and no non-cents.

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There really aren’t any words that will diminish the actions of some. Your points are valid and I feel, unfortunately very real. Increased awareness of home and pet sitting, not just with THS, has attracted some who are in it for the benefits they receive. This is a soury element that one will find in any situation where there is an exchange of any kind be that voluntary or a paid arrangement.
It does not however ever represent the whole. There are many of us who would not ever do that without a legitimate reason.
I cannot speak to anything that THS might or could do because words are just words with no real value. As we move forward, we as individuals learn and get better in deciphering who we can truly trust.
All the best.

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Exactly. I just couldn’t voice it this clearly.

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@Accallame - Whilst I agree that sitters and home owners cancelling is a problem and I can see what a terrible experience it must have been to have this happen to you, I do feel that you have to refrain from making sweeping statements as if they are fact when they are clearly not.
This is not helpful and is really disrespectful to the thousands of new members that join THS year on year that would not dream of cancelling without a very, very good reason.

How have you noticed this? How do you know how many cancellations happened in any particular year? Is this information disclosed somewhere?

Again, how do you know the number of irresponsible sitters and home owners that joined THS in any particular year?

My guess is that this has always been an issue that is no better or worse now than it has ever been. The problem is now, as it has always been, that as no money changes hands, there are no consequences for a sitter or home owner cancelling - this is what THS needs to work on- and a simple ‘mark’ on profiles letting others know how often, and with how much notice a sitter or home owner has cancelled with the ability for them to explain the reason for their cancellation seems to be a very easy and obvious start to helping resolve the issue

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Before the Forum came into existence there was no way members could possibly know just how many sits were cancelled by either party so I am really interested to know just what you are basing your claims on @Accallame.

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