Owners: response time for upcoming listings

Now that the exact count of applicants is shown on the website, it has allowed me to more accurately observe the response time of some owners.

A few times now I have done a search for upcoming sits within the coming week, purely for interest sake. Yes, there are certainly ones that have zero applicants. However, there are many with up to four applicants, with start dates in just a few days. Here’s an example today:

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Many of these are not tagged as new sits. Yes, the owners may be in contact with one or more sitters, making a decision - but for a sit starting tomorrow? Except for rare circumstances, this just seems disrespectful to all four sitters to me. :frowning_face:

Some owners will now contact these applicants and be frustrated that the sitters are no longer available, or choose not to accept on such short notice. If an owner has decided not to travel, I wish they would be respectful and notify applicants. This comment isn’t based on my personal experience, but more that I just feel bad for these applicants, who deserve more respect. :frowning_face:

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Since the 5-and-pause implementation, I definitely haven’t seen an improvement in owner response times or even replying at all. Normally somewhere between 25-30% of emails go unanswered entirely.

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I like the way they manage this problem on Aussiehousitters. The reply response time to the first few applicants is measured and shown on the listing in a series of dots - visible to sitters BEFORE they respond. So if you see a single dot (instead of a five dot rating) you really wouldn’t bother applying. It’s more sophisticated approach than restricting applications to five.

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Before the new rule, I had basically stopped writing extensive applications from the jump. I was increasingly frustrated with putting together a thoughtful application that went unanswered or not even read. Instead, I’d send a little introductory note and maybe ask a clarifying question about overlap, needs, whatever. If the HO didn’t respond in, say, 3-4 days, I went ahead and archived the sit.

Of course, life intervenes, and sometimes they do reply with reasons as to why they didn’t respond. But this was a good barometer for how responsive they’d be during a sit. If someone isn’t a good communicator, then I don’t feel like we’re a good fit regardless.

Now, of course, different story. I just don’t apply.

I’ve been on THS for two years and have mostly used it as a HO. As a HO, I wait about a day after posting to see how many applicants I get. If many, I go through them immediately and pare the list down to those I wish to speak to. I reach out to them, and send a ‘sorry’ email to those I don’t select.

If only a few and none seem right, I respond to them and acknowledge the receipt of their application and let them know I’m considering. Then, in 2-3 days, I move ahead with the applicants I have.

I have recently started applying for sits and have had very different experiences. I live in the US and am planning on spending 2-3 months in Europe next year, hopefully housesitting for 1-2 months.

I applied for three sits in Europe. One of the HOS was very responsive and I had that sit confirmed with 4 days of applying. Another, has not yet read my email after a week. And the third did read the email, and we had a brief exchange when I asked a specific question, but her profile says that she’s ‘reviewing profiles 6 days later. There were four applicants. These are sits for 6 months from now - it seems to me that if someone is diligent enough to post that far out, they’d want to have things secured.

I really don’t know what to think. If the two are the typical sitter experience, no wonder they’re frustrated. I certainly hope that the first sitter is more the norm.

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Yes this is on KiwiHouseSitters as well, and if you apply and don’t get a response within 5 days you get a notification from the site that the homeowner has been prompted to reply to applicants or the sit is archived . Seems like a much more efficient system to me.

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As an HO, I respond as quickly as possible. Sometimes I don’t see an application until I’m done working for the day.

Most often recently, in the short time it takes me to get to an application, the sitter has already taken another sit. I get that sitters might need to apply for multiple sits to get what they want, but it’s been very frustrating as an HO when I think I’ve got a sitter and then to find that I don’t.

I just had this happen for the third time in a row on my sit that’s happening in 9 days. I’m so frustrated.

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Time for sitters to show that we want quicker responses to our applications.
We have been tolerant of the behavior so it’s not going to change. I remove my application after a few days even though it was a sit I really wanted to do. I comment that no interest has been shown. I hope others will join me in this practice. Voicing our dislike on the forum isn’t going to help. But by sharing that experience here we know how widespread slow responding is.

Sitter of one year now,
Ann Marie

I agree and actually got a sit i really wanted recently after i sent a respectful response to the homeowners lack of response and said. Hello, having not heard anything from you and needing to make plans, I am respectfully withdrawing my application and going with my second choice. Best of luck and i hope you find a great fit for your needs. They responded right away saying they were considering the choices but will choose me if i didn’t take the other sit. It was my best sit on TH so far. I give 3 days then delete with that message. I recently got another sit that i had done that with a couple of months ago and when i applied this time they sent me a confirmation request within minutes so there’s something to be said for putting a value on yourself and not just waiting around hoping to get chosen. When people communicate and let me know they’re considering then I’ll wait and if I’m not chosen i still keep that sit in my favorites in hopes for next time otherwise, no thanks. I wish there was an option to delete sits that will never work for you.

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@Mossie fantastic! This strategy is working for me and everyone should be doing this to make the platform work better for sitters and host. No matter how fabulous the sit looks be willing to move on.
Ann Marie

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Hi all,

I’ve been finding the same thing since travel reopened and it’s frustrating me.

For context, I’ve been with TH for 4 years, completed 20ish sits and have many reviews - all 5* with great endorsements. I can’t imagine the frustration those starting out must be experiencing if seasoned sitters are being disregarded to this degree.

I’d estimate that 10-15% of my app letters aren’t even read by the HO inside of 3 days. Another 20%+ aren’t responded to inside of 4 days. A final 10% just die a slow death with the ad remaining on the site but no action ever being taken by the HO (this is the biggest mystery to me…).

Of course sometimes extraordinary circumstances arise that make it difficult for individuals to get online for a period of time (I find myself in this situation when cruising as wifi can be prohibitively expensive onboard so I wait for a port stop).

However, there’s simply no way that this percentage of HOs are all truly unable to review their applicants and provide a brief response in a reasonable amount of time. It’s clearly a case of poor expectation setting, rudeness or lack of consideration. I sincerely hope that it can be addressed with improved expectation setting. Preferably TH would tackle this on our behalf but in the meantime, I’ve concluded that I need to take some action independently.

I very much respect other’s approach of sending a message explaining and then withdrawing your app after a few days. I’ll be hopping on that bandwagon as well if my current approach doesn’t help.

Today I started adding a note to my application letters in the form of a header. I’d appreciate feedback on the notice and welcome your thoughts and edits.

“Humble Request: As we’re full time sitters and usually apply for a few, select, sits concurrently, our calendar does tend to get booked up. If you feel that we’re a good fit we request that you kindly reply at your earliest convenience, we’d love to set up a call to get better acquainted.”

Is this too mealy mouthed?

Thanks all!

As far as ‘too mealy mouthed’, I don’t think so at all. You posting really resonates with me and my recent experiences at applying for sits. I’ve been on THS for a couple of years, but most experience is a s a house sitter (6 feedback). As a pet sitter, I’ve only got one review. But, I’m SO discouraged by the behavior of the home owners at my applications as a sitter.

I applied for two and sealed the deal almost immediately. (One in the US, one in France).

But, then I applied for 5 different sits, one in Spain, 4 in the UK. The one in Spain declined within 24 hours, no communication. Two of the UK ones sat for two weeks with absolutely no activity - which I then cancelled. One UK one had me scheduled for a cat 4 days later, on day 4, they wrote and said they had secured a sitter. The last UK one wrote me 48 hours later to say they had a family member commit to the sit.

Given the first two experiences were so positive, i just have gotten so down in the dumps with the subsequent ones. Maybe I’m expecting too much. But, I absolutely do agree that as a sitter I need to take a more pro-active role rather than just apply and sit back and wait.

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