Sitters applying and holding out for other sits

Hi there, my household is new to THS. We are currently trying to find a sitter for a 2 month period (mid-January to mid-March) for our home in Baltimore. We have had a good amount of sitters apply and we have gotten back to them rather quickly— thanking them and asking them for a video chat before “accepting” their sit… which seems customary we thought. However, we are finding that every time we ask someone for a video chat they are taking a while to get back to us and when they do it is to say that they found another gig. Is the problem our length of stay? Because we could break it into smaller portions. Is it the stigma of Baltimore? I can’t do much about that. Or should we be accepting the sitter as soon as we read their profile after they apply. Happy to receive any and all suggestions!

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Hi @Kenwood
Sounds like you’ve just been unlucky as I’m sure there are lots of sitters who would appreciate a 2 month sit.
It would be good to see your listing, which you can link to your profile as follows:

You’re correct to want a video chat, I do as a sitter. Maybe be a bit more proactive and say to the sitters when you’re available?
Good luck!

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@Kenwood Please never confirm a sitter after only reading the profile. We are HOs and sitters and thus, understand your concern to fill your upcoming sit. But having a chance to get to know your potential sitter a bit more before confirming is an essential part of a successful sit. There are several other threads in the Forum discussing this very thing.

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@Kenwood If people are applying for a 2 month sit presumably its because they actually want a long sit! We generally prefer shorter sits-for variety- except over Christmas where we like 3/4 weeks or, for example, last winter we got a 2 month sit in Spain because we wanted to check a particular area for potential living. People have all sorts of reasons for choosing longer sits. Maybe to spend time near family or perhaps they are digital nomads looking for a longer spell somewhere, or maybe they want to save on rent for a while to build up savings to buy etc…
Seems like you may have just been unlucky so far. Many sitters apply for multiple sits in the hope of confirming one of them. If they don’t respond promptly to your request for a video call just move on to the next one. Its also better not to set up more than one call at a time because if you find the 1st call brings you the perfect match you’d have to cancel the other call or waste their time by going ahead with the call just to be polite. As a sitter I don’t like it if I know the host has several calls lined up and we’re being compared/interviewed in this way. I don’t feel like I’m applying for a job- its a mutually beneficial exchange. Better to have one call at a time- if the first one is not a match set up another a call.
We have on occasion agreed short sits without a call/video call but for a long sit like yours, which is a much bigger commitment I’d definitely recommend lots of messaging & a video call to get to know each other.
Also, along with the application, you should definitely study the potential sitters profile and reviews so you get a more complete picture of them. As a host you always get to know a lot about a sitter this way. For a sitter there is often very little personal info on the host in their profile and perhaps no feedback from previous sitters either- this is a great reason for a sitter to wish to have a call. My hubby and I hate video calls! But on the basis of them we have withdrawn from 2 or 3 sits after a video call -where something felt wrong or we just did not gel with the host. Its better to discover that before committing! Never confirm someone in a hurry out of desperation! Your precious home & pets are at stake!

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I am from the East coast, I wouldn’t think it’s the stigma of Baltimore to be honest. I’m actually headed over there tonight as I fly out of BWI tomorrow. I know there are some questionable neighborhoods within the city but as a small, single female I wouldn’t hesitate to take a sit inside or outside of Baltimore.

Are you the retro house listing?

If so, where you have ‘sitters need a car’ that may be limiting the population. Even if you have a bus that runs only twice a day and it’s a 30 min walk from your home, that would still be doable for someone like me. I’ve been sitting in the DC area on this trip and started out in the Maryland suburbs. The MD public transport site is quite helpful, ok the buses didn’t run on Sundays in my area but I planned around that. If you provide the basic info of walking distance (approx X min) to bus line Y, sitters can research.

On the video call topic, that has been discussed on the forum about how some sitters are not tech savvy or comfortable with that technology yet. I had a similar situation with my two aunts (both around age 75) when I moved abroad. My one aunt uses whatsapp and skype and does all sorts of things like changing backgrounds and adding emoticons. My other aunt wouldn’t touch it and would only use it after my cousin downloaded it on to her phone and walked her through how it works with a test call.

I might suggest that some of the people applying to your sit aren’t holding out for a better sit but maybe are in the second camp and they’re taking a sit that doesn’t ask for a video call.

Maybe add some instructions when you ask for a video call:
‘We’d like to do a ‘whatsapp’ call to show you our home and our cats. Whatsapp is a free app that is available in the Playstore. It’s free to download and use. After you download it, if you tell me your phone number we can arrange a time and I can video call you, it’s simple to use, just click the green button when I call you. If you are more of a computer person than a phone person we can also meet online via Skype or zoom. They are also free programs, I can set up a meeting link, then you just have to click it to join the video call. Let me know your preferred method?’

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Video chat has been well covered in another thread but it wouldn’t surprise me if those that are turning you down for someone else are thinking----- “Why does he/she want to see me on video, don’t they trust me”? My train of thought anyway!!

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With the current situation of THS cutting off applications at 5, it is possible that sits are being applied for very quickly, without opportunity to think them through.

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@Ken During our first couple of years we only did a couple of video calls with overseas hosts but the last year or so, since Covid, we’ve noticed a change- almost ALL hosts expect us to video call with them. But with some hosts, we still don’t even speak, just messaging. And sometimes we don’t even meet at all! I don’t think requesting a video call is necessarily a trust thing in every case, it can also just be a nice way to meet especially if in different countries, and make it all feel a bit more real!

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Thanks @Ken there are a couple of threads on video calls, one from a sitter’s perspective and another from the pet parent/owner perspective both have great feedback and suggestions

I thought you summed it up perfectly. People wanting a video link are, in my view, comparing/interviewing and that I feel is somewhat insulting. A personal thing I know but I do fee that is the case.

Welcome! 1. Long sits are usually very much sought after. 2. Video chats are commonplace and we wouldn’t confirm without one (as sitters). 3. Some HS apply to multiple sits at the same time and pick the sit that most suits them (if they get accepted). 4. Breaking the sit into smaller portions might create other problems (handover from sitter to sitter, accountability, reviewing the individual sitters etc.). 5. Melinda might be on to something, I also think that this is possibly the real problem here.

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I prefer to have a video call before I accept a sit, because it’s good to see if there is rapport with the pet owners.
Having said that, I have done two sits without video calls and they were both wonderful.

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I’m having the same experience. I even did a video call with a couple who the next day told me that they’d accepted another sit.

And today, a couple who applied responded to my message asking to video chat saying that they’re hoping to find a sit across the river in NJ because they’ve heard how crazy bad the crime is in Philadelphia. Uhm, I’m a single woman who has lived alone in my home for 23 years…

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I hope you let them know that across the river from Philadelphia is Camden. :rofl:
But in all seriousness, that is so frustrating! Like, if you are afraid of a city, then don’t apply! Same goes with Baltimore. Like, there are certain areas of both cities I wouldn’t stay in (being from Philly myself) but you are quite clear in your post where you are located, and it’s a great area!
People are funny sometimes.
I guess it’s like everything else. If they didn’t work out, there’s probably a reason and it’ll be better for you in the long run when you find someone who does.

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So, it would definitely help if you put your listing in your profile, as I can’t comment on what is listed there and if it is affecting your applications.
Not sure what “rather quickly” is in terms of you responding, but for a long sit like this I’d imagine that people would be hard up to find something similar, so it’s strange that they would be so quick to move on.
A few other people mentioned this, but one factor that is new could be the 5 applicant limit. So people are quick to apply and then they look up things like the area, the weather (mid-January in Baltimore might be chillier than people anticipated), and other aspects that lead them to change their mind but not bother withdrawing their applications.

Whatever the reason, I’d say just keep doing what you’re doing. Invite the ones for a call that you like, decline the ones that you don’t so you can get more applicants. A video call is a good idea in my opinion (as a sitter) both because it allows both parties to feel more comfortable about the exchange and because it gives the sitter a clearer picture of your home, and pets. The few times I’ve been disappointed with the cleanliness or the set up of a place (toilet in the garage?) were when I didn’t do a video walk through.

I digress. I think you’ll find someone, but with everyone’s focus on Christmas, it may just take a little time. Hang in there!

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Hello @GardenCat , I visited Philadelphia as a solo traveler a few years ago, after Washington and Baltimore. It is a beautiful, historically interesting city. Your listing is well detailed, so a applicant knows a priori what to expect. Moreover with the airbnb link, it is very easy to locate. Good luck

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Surely if it’s two months a video call would be standard? I’d expect to have one being a sitter myself. A long time to trust home and pets.

Just a single data point, but as a sitter who has done and prefers long-term sits… I would never accept a longer term sit with a new-to-me home owner without doing a video call first. I would fully expect to meet and see the home, ask questions, and be able to answer questions for the home owners. For both parties involved, this ensures that they ‘know what they are signing up for’ and expectations meet reality.

I would guess it is just a string of individuals who maybe had other applications in simultaneously elsewhere, but would not let that discourage you. You could put somewhere in your listing that “If we love your application, next steps for us would be a brief video chat” or something to that effect to set the expectation. Hope that helps!

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Oh! I do hope you find a sitter. I’m from Bmore now living in Oregon , and unfortunately, many people have an incorrect perception of it.

I miss it! With all its undeniable Balmorisms, hon, it’s a great city, close to other great cities, sights, history and culture.

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Hi there. I wanna start off by saying that I completely agree with you and I would like to have at least a phone call or a video chat with owners 1st however I will tell you that I get offers all the time to sit without ever having chatted with the people. I think it has to do with my 5 star rating and my extensive number of households. I think part of it might have to do with the age and type of homeowner because I found that younger people are more obliged to just pick someone whereas others are little choosier.

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