Owner Changing Listed & Confirmed Dates

We arrived at a two month sit to find the owner has changed the end date and it is now ending a week earlier than the listing states. We only found this out when we arrived for handover and I checked the end date with them before they left. As it is for two months it is not too much of an issue but frustrating because they we turned down other sits during that week.

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Sorry that happened @adamas. Fortunately, there are many sits available so you may find something great to fill in that week.

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Carpe diem! Look for something else. it’s not very cool but It very well may be a great thing as you might be ready for a new adventure by then. Roll with it :wink:

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agreed, often these things work out for the best, it is just frustrating when owners forget to tell us these things !

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That is frustrating. You have my sympathies.

Do us a favor, and please make sure to include it in the review you leave. :pray:

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I would find that frustrating as well.

One thing we’ve started doing, because we often book our sits months in advance, is to send a “touch base” message about 3-4 weeks ahead, where we briefly review our understanding of handover on both ends of the sit (dates/times/flight info etc) and any other specific and/or unusual decisions/requests that were made about that sit. We ask that the HO confirm, and to let us know ASAP if anything has changed.

We always do this in the THS inbox in order to have a written record of it, even if we’ve already exchanged email or WhatsApp info with the home owners.

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I don’t agree if it’s just one day. It happened to us for our posted sit in July. We were on the waitlist for the 12th and 13th of August and we actually wanted to return on the 12th. But only the 13th was confirmed and, as we had to make arrangements in the country we will travel to, we deleted the waitlist for the 12th.
As already a few sitters had applied and we had scheduled a video call, we didn’t change the listing but simply asked the sitters during the call if this was ok with them…and it was. They agreed not to change the listing, because we will come back only 24hrs later than planned.
I am aware that sitters, who plan back to back, might get in trouble with this, but at the moment we wouldn’t confirm anybody, who isn’t flexible to stay for a few days longer anyway (in case travel home isn’t possible because of a Covid-19 infection). This I would have asked already before I would consider a video call.

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Full time warriors should be well prepared.
These are realities of life.
No matter the circumstances, people will be people so we have to be people too, smart people.

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I’m sadly finding that changing the dates is becoming the norm with many HOs.

Of 5 of my last sits (or attempted sits), 4 out of the 5 HOs:

-changed their return date (returning earlier) and only told us when we arrived at their home to start the sit (this happened twice)

-one HO posted dates for a 5 day sit (in 2 weeks’ time) , then when offering the sit to us, told us they were still unsure of the start/end dates, and could they tell us in another week for definite. (like 3 days before the posted date of the sit)

-one HO we’d previous sat for, invited us back and then changed the dates 4 times within the first hour (it went from a 2 week to a 10 day to a 5 day sit) so we cancelled

This is happening with new HOs and HOs who have been with TH for years.

I find it really frustrating and inconsiderate. Do all HOs assume we are nomads and can just flex with all their changes?

I should add that none of these situations were covid-related. All HOs were travelling within the UK. The only petsit where the HOs stuck to their original dates were actually travelling internationally.

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I’ve had this too.

I find it frustrating when people don’t seem to understand I have my own life to plan, structure & schedule.

Also that I can’t just fit in with people changing plans at short notice & always be flexible.

When you do lot’s of sits & have a work schedule, people need to be clear about their plans in order for me to be able to plan what I’m doing too.

Obviously not withstanding changes due to emergencies or situations beyond peoples control.

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Thank you, we feel uncomfortable because when they left they said they would keep us posted about their return date ( so we aren’t even certain whether they will come back earlier )

This is a real problem… I don’t think we know exactly how often because nobody’s tracking it… but it’s happening a LOT to me too.

I was told yesterday that the sit I’m currently on will end one day earlier than planned. This messes up my plans for work AND for traveling between sits.

A) I have to cancel a video cooking class: I would have taught on Sunday afternoon, because they’re arriving right when it was scheduled, and I’d still need to clean up after it. RESULT: can’t earn money, as this is how I make a living.

B) I have another sit scheduled that would have been the very next day after I left here. Now I either have to pay to find somewhere else to sleep that night, OR I can drive 2.5 hrs home just to sleep, and then drive 2 hours up to the next sit, instead of just the 2 hrs drive. RESULT: I’m either out money paying for gas to avoid paying money for a hotel, OR I’m out money paying for a hotel to avoid paying for gas and extra driving.

The HO has no repercussions for a last-minute reschedule, and the sitters have no structured way to be compensated for expenses caused by the HO’s changes.

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This seems grounds for removing a star in your feedback to the HO, but since the system is not blind (yet) you may get dinged. At minimum, the HO should offer for you to stay the extra night!

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My suggestion would be that in future during the initial interview, you confirm their arrival and departure times, as well as the dates/times they want you to arrive. Then let them know you have a work schedule to adhere to and that having these dates firmly established is very important to you.

If there are changes requested later on, you can evaluate whether that works for you and adjust if you want If not, you can remind them of your work schedule and that you need to keep to the agreed dates/times or cancel the sit.

We often book our sits well in advance so about a month before the sit, I message home owners to confirm my understanding of the dates/time we are to arrive/leave and the dates/times they are leaving/returning. I also ask for their flight info if they have it. I like to have it in writing within the THS inbox system. If any changes or misunderstandings have been made, at least we have a month to sort it out.

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I recently had a homeowner cancel a sit 30 days before because their house sold faster than they expected! The fact that the house was listed was not mentioned in their request for a sitter and I’m certain that she didn’t mention it during our zoom interview. I had not bought airfare yet but I could have applied to other opportunities.
Miffed

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Well said! It’s all in HOW you say it!

I am both a HO and a sitter. Here’s an example of my current interaction with the petsitter coming to my home next month. I posted with a cushion the day before and the day after because I didn’t know where my future sitter would be originating from. Ultimately I selected a couple who live less than 2 hours drive from my home. At that point I let them know that they could come either the night before (I would host them if they liked) or the morning of. They were flexible and so was I. In addition, I always speak with my brother who lives across town, a friend who’s close with my dog and my ROVER sitter, to let them know I’ll be gone and would they pinch hit if needed. That way I know my pet will be getting the best care, and my sitters know that should something come up, I have a contingency plan in place. Ongoing communication is key.

I am petsitting in No California during that time and I already know the contingency plans of the couple I will be helping as we have kept in contact by email as plans progressed.

My key word to use is… UNFORTUNATELY. So, if something is asked of you that is a great inconvenience, was not disclosed in advance when it should have benn, or is simply not possible, reply with “Unfortunately, I am unable to, my plans won’t allow that, that’s not something I’m cofrtable doing, etc …”

“Unfortunately” - It’s softer than “No” and is accurate.

Some owners act like they are doing you a favor letting you stay in their home and take care of their pets and forget this is a fair exchange for a win-win for both of you. You should not feel bad about making sure they understand that - in a nice way, of course.

Also, as someone else said, they should have an emergency contact or contacts in their Guide in case you get sick, have to leave for an emergency, etc. This helps you turn “unfortunately” into “fortunately” as in “Unfortunately, I can’t do that but fortunately you have an excellent back up already arranged so your pets and home will be well taken care of!”

We will shortly complete our 30th sit since July, 2020, and seek to make sure the owner give us ALL the necessary info in the Guide. Plus, when we are talking with them prior to accepting the sit, we ask them to tell us about the pets, their needs, fears, special needs, etc.

The final questions that can be good to ask - “Is there anything else I need to know? Anything we may not have discussed that might be important?” You’ll be amazed at the stuff that may get mentioned then!

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HO should always have a back up plan. I always check with my neighbor or friends about whether they can help out if, say, a flight gets canceled. On my last trip, I tested positive for Covid and was quarantined 5 days in Lima. I would never have expected my sitter to have to take up the slack. If flying, I always list the last day of the sit as the day after I’m due to arrive, ‘just in case’, but still have another back up plan.