SITTER used as free labour: Arriving early & leaving day after after HO has arrived home

At the moment I don’t think they realise you have a concern, so you can still stay until the day you were supposed to as that is what they are expecting anyway so there’s no need for a hotel, just let them know you’ll be leaving very early on your ‘official’ last day, so you can get out quicker.

I used to think that way, but after lots of sits I’ve changed my mind. I don’t agree with a scenario where the owner tries to take all the power.
@Maggie8K Talk about kicking someone while they are down?

I’m not trying to kick anyone. I’m trying to help someone not repeatedly be taken advantage of.


I guess I’ll leave it to the OP how they feel about any comments they get.

Super useful advice about pushing back and perspective for me too @Maggie8K. Thanks for sharing.


That reply is :100: not about kicking someone when they’re down @andrealovesanimals - it’s completely about helping them learn to stand up for themselves, to understand their true worth, to know they deserve better and to not accept less. It’s all about empowerment of the OP if you read @Maggie8K’s sage advice.


I so agree with @Maggie8K about finding THS a particularly good way of receiving life training. Constantly learning what I would do differently/better next time. And I was naive at first. And that’s ok too and part of the natural journey.

I feel I have many additional skills now - especially, being bold with Qs, identifying red flags and learning to be more boundaried.

And hey @C_A_walks_talks, it is really ok to learn through trial & error. Even if you raise no concerns this time, you’ll know what to ask about and look out for next time. No pressure. And you can always reach out on here for support and encouragement, so well done.

If you are on the sit and feeling uncomfortable, then get in touch with THS immediately. If they don’t reply quickly, then private message me. You are not alone or without options. We are all here to help each other.

I now know to never accept a sit without a video call where I always ask a tonne of prepared & also spontaneous Qs. The good HOs always say, that they feel reassured by my detailed Qs. The dodgy ones don’t like them at all.

I turned down a lady because during a vid call she kept saying “why are you asking…?” Through polite Qs asked in a confident manner, I eventually found out other people were going to be coming and going in the house every day (!) & her actual travel dates were different from posted & other red flags. She eventually came across as pushy, selfish & difficult. This is very rare though, most people I deal with are super lovely and decent.
I am so glad I persevered with the Qs even though inside I was uncomfortable with having to push back. She was very reluctant to have a video call at all.

Remember that a ‘good fit’ will never feel uncomfortable (for you or they) - EVEN if you ask A LOT of reasonable sensible Qs and state your fair and reasonable needs and boundaries.

Asking Qs and setting boundaries will weed out the wrong folk for you, as the reasonable nice folk won’t mind or be put off by them, but the bullies/exploiters will. My moto: best to find out which they are before accepting a sit.

Most of all, we are all constantly learning. And that’s really cool.

Best wishes


This is so true - I will frame my questions in the future differently, when will you be back or find out travel plans rather than just end of sit date.

Much appreciated for your time and insights - I think I will try to give a polite perspective on the situation but let’s see what happens and I’ll reply with the update when the sit ends. Thank you again for your helpful insights.


Rude. Please contact member services. They are violating the terms and conditions by coming back early. If you don’t feel comfortable confronting them or contacting member services, you could always put on a smile, get through it, wait til you get your 5star review, and then write your honest feedback of them.

So much depends on circumstances.
Requiring proof of flights before a sit is not unusual when the sitter lives at a significant distance from the sit. I haven’t requested it as a HO but I have been requested to show proof. To me that’s just a HO wanting to be sure the Sitter is committed.
As HO we always offered sitters the option of arriving a day early, staying an extra night because it gave US peace of mind as we prepared for long foreign trips. We also assumed we would take care of meals for that time. Again - a benefit to us having peace of mind.
BUT we did NOT expect them to take our dog for walks or feed our dog & cat (other than doing it WITH us as part of explaining routines.) And the extra night at the end we also saw as an advantage to us not worrying about delayed/cancelled flights.
As sitters we have on a few occassions been offerend an extra night up front and at the end. NEVER were we asked to do “errands” or “chores.”
That said, we’ve offered to as a courtesy for people busy getting ready to leave - cuz, why not? We’ve even driven HOs to the airport, picked them up if we’re being provided their vehicle or have our own.
If this is a big house with the HO and the sitter in very separate parts of the home (as was our home), then privacy might not be an issue.
However: this “feels” off to me because as you describe it, the HOs waited until you were locked in with flights, THEN asked for you to do chores?
If a sitter is coming early to give THEM peace of mind, then the win-win would be it means you get THAT day pet-care-free to explore the area on your own.
How you deal with this?
One option: “Since you asked me to come early so you’d be secure about arrangements, I booked that flight. However, I have already made plans for the day so I won’t be available to do the extras.”


I had a sit where I had to stay the night before simply to drive the HO’s to the airport very early the next morning. Then, I had to stay all the following day until early evening, just to pick them UP from the airport. They did say I could stay that night but I was pretty well done by that time and left after picking them up, I knew I had been just used to save them a taxi/Uber fare. If it had been dogs, I would have stayed, but they were inside cats and used to being alone all day so it really wasn’t necessary for me to stay the entire day. I learnt a valuable lesson from that one.


Did you get the use of their car the entire time that they were away?

Because that could be a good arrangement for someone.


@MissChef it was only an hour and half from home so I had my own car, they knew that. Had it been further away, like international, I would have done it in a heartbeat no question.


Then… yeah, unreasonable ask.


@ziggy it’s cheeky to say the least… you’d have to have nerve to take the mickey like that…

I’m going to ask more Qs about arrival & return arrangements/times. Though I’d like to think most people wouldn’t take advantage like that… It’s a shame really…

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Not quite your situation but I have had HO book their flights only after arranging the sit dates. They booked such an early flight that it meant they left home at 5am. That resulted in me having to get there a day early and pay for as hotel. Didn’t even occur to them that that might be a problem.

If a HO tells me that they have a 9:00 a.m. flight and they need to be at the airport by 7:30, or earlier, I tell them:

That’s fine, I can offer you 3 choices.

  • one, I can come the night before and sleep at your place.
  • two, If you don’t have a bedroom to offer, then you can arrange or reimburse me for a hotel near your home for the night before, or
  • three, I can arrive after you leave, at (insert time that is convenient for me)

My day starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. outside of those hours, the HO travel is not my problem. (Oh yeah - I’m not starting my journey home after 8:00 p.m. either)

On one hand, there’s that third party rule, if they are paying attention to that, they might think that you and they can’t be at the house at the same time. The handover and post handover is outside of the scope of the actual sit, so it’s okay I guess.

On the other hand, if the HO doesn’t offer to share the house and accommodate you staying overnight, for their early morning departure, then the sitter is stuck with driving at the crack of dawn, or staying in a hotel at their own expense.

You have to admit, it’s a confusing situation, So tell them what you want!


There is a fourth solution: You arrive the evening before and they spend the night in a hotel near the airport.


Yes, excellent! In fact, some people have done that without my prompting. Especially if they have a late arrival, they stay at the airport area hotel the night they arrive, and then come home late morning when they have to check out.

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At my current sit, the HOs picked me up at 4 p.m., gave me a solid welcome and handoff, including a walk to show me various paths. Then about two hours later, they left me with a map book of them and a bottle of wine, and left for an airport hotel for the evening.

Their dog is as easygoing as they’ve been.