Hi everyone! I’m new to TrustedHousesitters and I was thrilled when I discovered the service. We have a lot of pets, including horses and we live in rural Ireland. I have posted a listing about a week ago and still no one had applied. I have also invited several sitters, but even when using the dates as a search optimisation still most have replied that were not available those dates. I’m looking for some advise on how to get applicants. I am aware that this might not be everybody cup of tea, yet it is a truly stunning place and the pets are amazing! We love it here. Any help super welcome! Thank! Matilde
I just searched for sits in Ireland with horses and none showed.
If you add your listing to your forum profile, we can give suggestions on how to improve the listing.
Welcome @Matilde -
A few comments on your listing -the 20+ pets to care for including 8 horses is a big ask IMHO. It could be a turn off for sitters wondering how much time this will take of their day .
As this is a mutual exchange your sitters will need some free time either to work or to enjoy a “holiday” .
Could you calculate how many hours a day this would actually take for someone to take care of these responsibilities and add this to your listing ?
Also as you need an experienced person to look after the 8 horses this will exclude a lot of sitters who don’t have that experience . Could you hire someone to look after the horses so that your sitter is only responsible for looking after the 12+ other pets and your home ?
As it’s not accessible by public transport do you have a car that you can you make available for the sitter to use during their stay ? You may need to add them to your insurance. As a bonus they could also drop you off at the airport and pick you up . So it could be mutually beneficial.
If that’s not possible can you offer to pick them up drop them off to from airport if it’s a sitter from overseas .
Family friendly ? Would you accept applications from a family ? They could share the care of the pets .
Just a few suggestions that could make your listing appeal to a wider range of sitters .
Hello @Matilde and a very warm welcome to TrustedHousesitters and to the Community Forum
As @Silversitters mentioned, the large number of animals including 8 horses could put many sitters off so it would be good to include how much time this would likely take each day. Having said that there are many sitters out there like my hubby and I who have happily cared for 12 horses on a previous sit including other various animals (20+ including the horses), on the same sit so it is not an impossible ask to find suitable sitters.
As @Lassie mentioned I would suggest adding your TrustedHousesitters profile on to your Forum profile on here by following the attached link, should you wish. This will then enable others to offer you helpful advice and feedback and will also give your listing extra exposure!
If you are unsure how to do this, or if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask, we are all more than happy to help.
Also, remember you can use the spyglass symbol at the top of the page next to the TrustedHousesitters logo and search for any questions that you may have as they have most likely already been answered on here and of course if not then please just ask!
Hi Matilde, I actually live in the same area as you and I love horses - however, you have so many animals that I think you need at least several people to care for them, and you couldn’t do this sit while also working from home. So I don’t know how attractive it is for people who don’t have lots of free time.
I think the family friendly angle could really work, or if you say that a group of friends is welcome to stay. Alternatively, could you possibly get someone else to look after the horses, for example, and ask the sitters to look after fewer animals?
@andrealovesanimals I super appreciate your response. I know the number of animals seems a lot, but in reality it doesn’t take much time at all. we both work from home and we have children as well so everything is organised that it takes very little to run the mill. But I get how that would possibly scare people off, so I will specify this better in my listing. Thank you for your feedback.
@Samox24 Thank you. Great feedback. I love hearing that you house-sitted for someone with a lot of horses. Gives me hope. We have it organised in a way that doesn’t take much time. I will edit the listing about this. Thanks
@Lassie Thank you, yes I added it now. Thanks
@Silversitters thank you for the feedback. I will keep that in mind and add those info to the listing.
@Matilde as already noted, you could offer to solo sitters that they could bring a friend if you are comfortable with that. Of course they may want separate bedrooms. I’m not free but I have friends that I would love to do something like this with.
If I had already retired, yours would be a great sit that I would apply for and enjoy but it’s a year too early for me. Best of luck finding the right sitter.
@JEHFromVA Great to know you would do it, makes me feel better and a bit more confident in my search. I might need next year, lol!
you are in a very niche market. 2 dogs, 7 cats, 8 horses, 2 birds, 2 rabbits and chickens sound like a lot of work, and you’ve got no previous references, and you want someone for 3 weeks. I am sure it is very appealing for some sitters, but also very scary for others. You cannot pick an inexperienced sitter for such a lot of animals, and at the same time, the experiences ones will be booked up for July by now.
How have you handled it before you joined THS?
For someone with experience with all those types of critters, it’s really not as much work as it would sound like to someone without the experience. I have handled al of them over time and to do it for 3 weeks in the Irish countryside, it sounds great. Maybe next year as I can’t do it this year.
@SalomeL Yes, I get that without experience it seems like a lot. I do it all by myself in about 2 hours, it’s actually not bad at all. How I’ve handled it? I haven’t travelled in 4 years, meaning I was very happy when I found this site. I’ve invited a few sitters wit experience, we’ll see. Hopefully the perfect one will show up. Thank you!
I’ve done a lot of rural sits with horses and other associated animals, many with 10-15 animals total so I think I am probably your target audience, and I’ll be honest that the thing that would put me off this one is not the number of animals so much as the number of indoor cats specifically. I personally have never spent time in a home that has more than 4 indoor cats that was especially clean and didn’t smell, no matter how many litter boxes there were. So as a prospective sitter that would be a concern, and I would be looking closely at that cleanliness of the home in the photos. I would spend extra time cleaning your place up a bit (it looks a bit cluttered in some of the photos, floors and tile grout look grubby) and emphasizing that it’s a clean and tidy home. Just my two cents. The cat in the toaster oven while totally adorable and funny would not inspire me to want to use it for hygienic reasons.
Hi Matilde, I’m an experienced sitter on the platform and I also do paid sitting off the platform. I have experience of looking after smallholdings.
From a personal point of view I wouldn’t consider your request as an unpaid sit because of the amount of work involved and the number of indoor cats.
Having been a homeowner on this site too I always think it’s helpful to put yourself in the potential sitters shoes and ask how favorable my listing looks against the huge number of others available? Being really objective, would I choose my sit over others?
You may get lucky and find someone who wants this type of sit, but if you don’t get lucky don’t forget that Trustedhousesitters has a money back guarantee if you are unsuccessful in finding a sitter.
Good luck to you and I hope it works out.
When I look for sits I usually check how many animals need care what they are and if they sleep with you or are have a bed downstairs
Have to admit I have no horse experience sirs with horses I do avoid because of inexperience.
Good idea to get someone who can look after horses and just sit for dogs cats .
Hi @Lassie. I think this is because of how the TH search engine works. If you search for Ireland sits and horses, it will show only sits with only horses. If there’s horses and 1 cat, it won’t show.
There was a topic about this in my recent memory, but I couldn’t find it (after a very brief effort).
To find this particular listing via search for specific pets, you would actually have to search for horses + dogs + cats + birds + poultry + small pets.
- Ok, I just did that search and it does turn up. But so do listings with just 1 dog, or 1 dog and 2 cats. It feels like dogs and cats are treated differently then the other categories. Grr…
After like an hour of searching, I’m back. I kept the above because it’s a reminder of how … inefficient it can be to find what one wants, and how sometimes TH is still a little unintuitive.
Here’s the post I was looking for:
There’s a further reply by @Carla_C explaining the reasoning a bit.
I think I grasp TH search a bit better now, so here’s my understanding.
First, let’s think about “normal” search, a la google.
- If I search the web for “dogs,” it mentions anything with dogs. If the article also mentions cats or horses, that’s fine.
I think this is how the TH search currently works:
- Whatever animals you search for, the listing can include any combination. But the listing cannot include any other animal.
- The google equivalent would be if I search for “dogs,” then only articles about only dogs show up. Or actually, it would be that only web pages with only the word “dogs” show up. If the article has any other word (even “the” or “earth”, for example), then it won’t show up.
- The take-home lesson for sitters is: on TH, search for all the animals you’re okay with.
- But then you ask, “What if I want a sit with horses, and I don’t mind other animals but it has to have horses? How do I do that?”
- I want to say you don’t, not on TH currently. If your scope is global, the search won’t work. Even limiting to Ireland, we can see (below) that the search is really not helpful.
- In google, if you have a word that must be in there, you enclose it in quotes. Then it’s a must-have.
As a practical TH example, let’s start with Ireland and try some animals:
- “dogs” returns only dogs (no other pets) (21)
- “cats” returns only cats (1)
- “dogs” + “cats” returns sits with both, and sits with either (31)
- so that’s the 21 + 1 above, + 9 more
- “horses” returns (0)
- “horses” + “dogs” + “cats” + “small animals” + “birds” returns 32, but no actual sits with horses
- “horses” + “dogs” + “cats” + “small animals” + “birds” + “poultry” returns (35), including the sit of this topic.
- And thank goodness there’s a photo of horses on the cover! Because the thumbnail has icons for just dogs + cats + etc.
@Matilde: I’m sorry that, in my opinion, TH search isn’t doing you any service. As a techie, I can understand TH focusing on the 90% of other sits.
Your sit sounds wonderful for a “working vacation,” which isn’t a diss. I have fond memories of the film “City Slickers” with Billy Crystal. And the book “My Family and Other Animals.” The reasons I wouldn’t do your sit are that it’s just me, I’m surprised about the lack of a car, and I’m not in Europe so it’s too far for my tastes at this time. I don’t know how much the car issue will decrease your applicant pool, but I hope you can find a couple/family/super-sitter with a growth mindset and wheels!
For future sits, I think you want committed, experienced sitters, and those may be booked far ahead (six months or even over a year). So you want to plan your vacations early and post your future listings early.
Best of luck!
I think this amount of responsibility and labour probably requires being paid. What may not seem complicated or a lot of work to you, is likely because it’s your routine. It can be a lot of work and energy getting to know new animals and their requirements. You may be better suited to finding a paid sitter