Struggling with Finding Sitters

Hi @gloriaas1 , You might want to consider adding your listing to your forum profile. Not only will you reach more potential sitters that way, you will also be able to receive suggestions, should you want them, on how to make your listing more attractive.
This is how you do that:
How to add your listing or profile to your forum profile.

Fyi, I can care for parrots and would like to go to San Diego in the future but I would want use of a car. If you can offer this, I feel sure you would find a good sitter.

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Hi from Tasmania :wave:t2: It’s very interesting/informative to read about the challenges for a HO. I have recently joined in the hope of finding sits close to many of the fabulous places we would like to visit in the UK next year when my husband retires. From what I’ve gleened so far it seems many sitters find problems being accepted. I guess it’s always going to be a bit tricky lining up a HO & a HS where the dates and location suit the sitter. Then there’s the preference for some, of which pets suit some sitters. We would be more than happy to dedicate part of the morning and every evening at the home walking/petting/housekeeping & even light garden maintenance but would want to have 5 or 6 hours some days to sightsee & enjoy the area. So I can imagine many sitters might find a sit where they are required on site nearly all day might prove challenging. As a sitter I am finding it tricky to use the ‘available’ calendar. I am pretty tech savvy, but it is eluding me so far! :woman_facepalming:t2: As we obviously will need to book our airfares at least 6 months ahead to secure reasonable fares it will be tricky to secure sits well in advance so we can plan a logical itinerary to travel from Cornwall to possibly as far as Scotland. It would be great if we could post a proposed itinerary of desired locations and dates to sit. I can see where that could work for HO as well as they could plan vacations in advance knowing they had a sitter. Hopefully you will find the perfect sitter and the ‘system’ will work out in the end. It’s a great concept. As an animal lover it sounds like a perfect way to holiday. A home away from home with beautiful fur babies to spend quality time with. :sunglasses:

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Hi @amyjomulvaney I’ve just read through your listing and the thing that jumped out at me- before even reading the duties- was the need to have the dogs sleep with us or to sleep on the sofabed in the guest/office room. Unfortunately dogs in the bed and sofabeds are both no-goes for us. Therefore- without a proper bed and bedroom we would not apply- regardless of other attractions of the sit. We’ve learnt from long experience that the bed can make or break a sit for us!
But sitters have all sorts of different needs at different times and hosts are all so different too. I’m sure that there is a match out there for you! Offering a car is a definite plus. And your doggies are very cute!
I wish you every success.

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Hello, @geoff.hom & @uk_american
Thank you for your feedback regarding the filter, @geoff.hom is correct it is in the T&Cs that all pets must be on the listing.
I do get where you are both coming from regarding this particular listing not showing if you only type in dogs, when some members may be happy with the additional chicken and small furries, however, that is kind of the point of the filters as when members select only dogs they normally only want to find dog sits, if they are open to other animals then they can easily select those animals as well.

If when members selected the dog-only filter and we showed listings with other pets as well then it would make the dog-only filter redundant for those members that only want to sit dogs, this applies to the cats-only filter, the small furries-only filter etc.

But feel free to add any ideas about this or how you think could work better for members to:

Many sitters like us select ‘all pets’ so there are still lots of sitters out there happy to care for a variety of pets on a sit. :grin:

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@KC1102 Thank you!

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@Lokstar Thank you! I appreciate your feed back! It had been suggested to 1.) be up front about dogs sleeping in the bed and 2.) give people an option of not sleeping with the dogs and our guest room is our only option. It’s a brand new bed with a pillow top, not a typical crappy pull out. My father in law sleeps on it regularly and loves it, but as you say, it may work for someone:)

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@EvieJ Thank you! I’m working on the wording so people don’t think they need to be here all day everyday. I’m just trying to make sure people are around sometimes. I don’t want to have someone who is gone all day everyday of the 10 days I’m gone. That completely defeats the purpose of a house sitter-I could just have my neighbor come and check on things everyday, but my dogs would get depressed and lonely with no company and most likely start eating my new couch. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I’ll get to work on all the tips I’ve been given here.

@gloriaas1 Thank you!

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@Shafofo Wow! Your place looks so beautiful! I wish we weren’t already in New England, my daughter & I would stay at your place in July. It sounds like we have a similar situation where people actually have to take care of things while they’re here. (gasp!) I have spent so much on sitters in the past, I thought this would be a great resource. Message me so we can connect - you’re inspiring me to upgrade so I can sit too:)

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@PVGemini Thank you for these tips! I appreciate the feedback. Funny, I just added the word “homestead” because I thought it’d be catchy and some people call my place a homestead. (It’s far from it-we barely grow food;)

Wow! @geoff.hom Thanks for all of these tips Geoff. I’ll get to work on these things.

I definitely don’t want people to feel pressured to be here all day everyday, but I also don’t want them to just drop their bags and be gone the whole time, especially if we’re gone for 10 days. I’ll have to figure out the wording to make this clear or just give up on the TH site all together if it seems that folks just want a place to stay and not do any work in exchange. I do have animals that need to be cared for which is why I thought this was the place to be. Funny, to the HO they pitch this service as a pool of animal lovers, to the sitters they pitch this site as a way to travel with free lodging. Starting to feel too good to be true that I’ll actually find a match:/ Thanks again for taking so much time to share all of those tips. I’ll have you look at it once I’ve made some updates.

hi mars- sorry, no car for your use. Good luck to you!

@amyjomulvaney me again! I think its all about balance. Reading your reply to @geoff.hom I can see you are getting a bit disillusioned about finding a sitter through THS & unfortunately their recent marketing ploys about ‘free’ accomodation probably is drawing some people with the wrong motivation. House/pet sitting has great responsibility and the majority of sitters are well aware of that and take their role very seriously.
We’ve been housesitting for 4/5 years now all around the world and in almost 70 sits we’ve only had one with no pets & no duties- just home protection. And we’ve had everything from one cat in a flat to large menageries of pets & huge properties & gardens with lots to do.
E.g last summer during the heatwave in UK we sat at several properties where my husband spent hours every day watering the gardens Etc

The concept of THS is a fair exchange. I.e both sides should feel happy with what they give and what they receive. The duties involved should feel like a match for what is offered. The sitter should never feel like unpaid staff (its happened to us!) or feel overused.
For every sitter and host these criteria will vary! But Housesitting is not like Workaway- where several hours of work is expected in exchange for accom & food. Its a very different concept. Housesitters are fully responsible for care of the home and all the pets, and maybe a few plants & ofcourse general home upkeep, but not more. Most sitters do like to go out & explore new areas but usually not all the time! Some sitters are working online so will be home a lot. We are retired and have a ‘pottering around’ lifestyle, in and out, the occasional day out etc but very much present for the pets on the sit. We definitely do enjoy the ‘free accomodation’ side but we are doing something for it!
Right now we are staying at a gorgeous place with a pool and stunning views. We have donkeys, goats & cats to care for! This is most definitely not a place that would match our budget (we’ve seen their airbnb prices!!) so housesitting is a way for us to enjoy such a place for a while. The host can’t board these kind of animals anyway & the property is relatively isolated so our presence is also offering security. So it works both ways!

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Hi @amyjomulvaney. Yes, let us know when you’ve updated everything as you like (e.g., by posting here; feel free to tag me), then we’ll do another round of feedback.

And thanks for chiming in again, @Carla! Your perspective is always appreciated!

As I think about this more, I do think the search filters are an issue, and it would be great to have some boolean operators (and/or/not/only). But it’s not clear how much that affects your listing. What PPs really need is better metrics a la Airbnb, like seeing how many views you get a day, and how that compares to similar listings.

Amy, I can feel your frustration with having TH for a year and not finding a sitter. I want to say that TH is the best service I know of for what it is, so even if it’s got growing pains, I’d stick with it. But if you’re getting few/no applications, and like you said you don’t have time to be on the computer a lot, then that’s a tough sell. But it’s strange, as I feel there are a lot of great sitters out there, and your dates in July look good (length/season), plus the location and car are stellar.

Again, I wish we had the metrics to better gauge how much is a supply/demand issue, vs the listing itself.

Another option is that, when your membership period is up, to just let it expire but perhaps revisit TH in the future. Perhaps there will be some big website/app upgrade, or a Black Friday sale. Or wait for when you have more time to debug stuff.

Also, I want to reiterate that there are a ton of animals lovers on TH, though actually I don’t count myself among them. I’m more of an animal “liker” or “carer.” On the other hand, I consider myself very responsible. If I chose to do your sit, I do feel your animals would be well-provided for. Just saying there are multiple types of sitters who might work well for you. A couple or family might also be a really great fit. I’ve also gained newfound respect for older/retired couples, even if they don’t have a ton of animal experience. Again, that’s the reliability factor.

Anyway, we’ve got a lot of time until your summer sit. Let’s give it our best shot!

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There are some great bits of advice from @geoff.hom & @Lokstar and others on here @amyjomulvaney and I hope you’re not too despondent. There are so many sitters who totally do this for the animals and the adventure. They will find you :raised_hands: Wishing you all the best.

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I have been a member for about 1 year as well. I have over a dozen sitters that have “saved” my recent listings. But…I have had the same experience. No Luck. It is my observation that TH Sitters prefer longer stays. 2 weeks minimum. Why would anyone want to travel at their expense for a long distance, just to spend 2 or 3 days. Further, why would a sitter come to a home that is in their neighborhood. Sitters want adventure in new fun locations. I have found good local sitters through an App called Rover (rover.com). You will have to pay per day but there is a big advantage to having someone in your area. They can visit you before the stay and even take your pet to their house for a visit.

I will continue to try via THS but I think it will be an up hill struggle.

It would be nice if there was a way to search entire profiles for key words. I will end with that, because then both sitters and home owners would be inclined to state very specific, easy to find details, and would know who is looking for sits. ie in the profile, for sitters and for owners: “iso: USA FEBRUARY MARCH 2024” and then the search would only pull profiles with some semblance of that, and make it easier to sift through.

I don’t know enough about coding to know how easy this would make things for everyone. To make such a search available only for paying members, would really benefit the website in the end. Also, the more success stories, the more people become members. Anyone doing such a format would be seen as actively searching, and viable on the site, as opposed to wasting anyone’s time.

My last sit, I ended up paying a friend of a friend, and she did great, but my poor cats prefer someone staying over and spending time with them.

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Hello. We have been THS pet parents for years and not had a problem getting sitters for our 2 dogs and cat. I definitely agree that you do not want someone sight seeing all day and neglecting your babies. That is why the title of my listing is “Homebodies needed to hang with our pets.” Responsibilities include morning and evening feedings, 2 walks and night time snuggles. Good luck.

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Hi,
I went straight to look at your sit, but can’t see any dates on there. Did you find sitters as soon as you had posted this? If so, well done, I’ll keep an eye out for any of your future listings though!

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Thanks Amy. There is certainly a fine line between meeting the needs of pets which are used to a lot of attention. I think most pets are more comfortable left in their own home & familiar surroundings than at a boarding facility. To me if the sitter is there to feed/clean/exercise dogs in the morning and returns before dark and spends the evening with the pet it’s a win/win. I’m sure there are sitters out there that think a perfect day is staying home reading /watching tv etc. I hope you find sitters who can meet your pet’s needs so you can have a lovely vacation. My 3 kitties weren’t very happy with the 3 days they spent at a cattery. They hardly ate for 3 days and one of them hid under a blanket the whole time :woman_facepalming:t2::smiling_face_with_tear:. Thankfully my daughter lives with us so we have a built in sitter. Just means the 3 of us can’t go away. The price we pay!! :rofl::woman_facepalming:t2: Cheers

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