If we can’t figure out where the home is located, we ask when we apply for the sit. (I’m fine with a street name or general neighbourhood if they don’t want to share the exact location before we are accepted.) Location is super important to us so we often don’t even apply for sits if we don’t know where they are.
Homeowners & sitters: I want to reiterate that the point of this post was to lessen the number of times ‘Sitters need a car’ is selected for the listing at the outset, BEFORE it is listed. It was also in no way intended to encourage hesitant homeowners to volunteer their vehicles.
As much as sitters can each have various ways of determining whether they could be independent without the use of a vehicle, it has been shown that the vast majority of listings are tagged as sitters need a car. My point is to lessen that number, in circumstances where a vehicle is ideal, rather than essential.
Many sitters, myself included, spend lots of time opening listings daily, only to see this tag. Although some sitters choose to do some research and then suggest to the homeowners that they would not need a vehicle, this is no more than a workaround. Many sitters will also choose NOT to go further - move on to the next listing - which is less than ideal when homeowners are being faced with no applicants.
I have done that often. RomeToRio is even better.
But, doing that for dozens of listings just to get around poor search functionality of the website is crazy.
THS simply needs to do a better job. Especially considering the annual fee. Times members, they are pulling in the cash big time.
The website hasn’t improved since we joined in 2017.
It’s ironic that are so many lovely sits in the UK this summer, and so few in France (for the second half of July), but when a sit is available in France more owners offer the use of their car.
Great post, thank you. I wonder how many home owners read the community forum? Is it worth THS sending a bulk mail out with this advice to HO in the Uk with sits over a weeks old?
Thank you @AussieGail a good suggestion considering the positive responses and feedback … will pass back to the team.
That’s a very good explanation and insight on trying to help everyone involved to make less stressed, less confusion, and equal cooperation:+1:t3:. I live in Tucson AZ and I’m just starting out of becoming just a house sitter. I am currently a dog/animal/house sitter at the moment. But I thought I would finally decide to just house sit.
We’re retired Brits who now live full-time in France and the basic reason it is easier to loan your car to visitors in France is that for the most part car insurance here insures the car not its driver, in the UK it’s the other way round. However the ‘excess’ that has to be contributed to an insurance claim varies according to the driver at the time, i.e. a very young or inexperienced driver would have a larger excess.
I think a lot of people have read it and like me have to accept that we are going to get fewer enquires without a car. We have been lucky to have had some super applicants with our two closest dates booked and a few good applicants for our latest dates. We are really happy with the quality of sitters that are applying even though we do not offer a car.
People who aren’t used to having a car nomally know how to get around without a car- that might mean a longer walk to transport, arranging home shopping deliveries and maybe a few taxis. I think some HOs are very used to having a car, and so think “Oh no, you couldn’t live here without a car”- but, actually, non-drivers are used to working these things out.
On the cost of taxis- I’ve started driving recently, and getting taxis when needed, supplemented with e-biking and public transport- was much cheaper than owning a car!
We are homeowners who DO use the “need a car” tab, as we live a good half an hour’s walk from the nearest bus stop (infrequent bus timetable), with the way back up a steep hill - not ideal if carrying shopping. We have investigated with our insurers about adding people on to our car insurance, but they won’t hear of it at any price for non-UK residents, and for UK residents the price is exorbitant. I am more than happy to take sitters to a supermarket for a big grocery shop before we leave, but if the sit is for more than a week that may not be enough. Yes, there are taxis and Ubers, but that is a cost for the sitter and quite pricy given the distance. I have amended our listing to make it clearer what the transport limitations are, but find that a lot of applicants don’t necessarily read the listing thoroughly before pressing the apply button!
Those circumstances would not deter me from applying, but would you accept someone who didn’t have or want a car?
A walk downhill to a bus stop would be OK with me and paying for a taxi once or even twice a week would, I imagine still be a lot cheaper than renting a car.
Many good ideas here. I will keep some to be discussed with the HO, because this is a fact; car rental is expensive.
As said, USA and sometimes Canada remain a challenge when out of big cities. There is rarely well developed public transportation services. Sometimes none.
I have been doing many home exchanges the past years. Some of them including a car. My car insurance company was notified each time and asked the information of the guest driver’s permit to make sure everything was all right (no red flags). Then you have to look at your deductible and discuss about it with the person taking your car. Who would pay for it if there is any incident / accident.
So many things to think about.
Yes an occasional taxi would be a lot cheaper than renting a car, and if you don’t want to explore the countryside (which would be a shame in my opinion) you could get by. The main concern might be if one of the cats was taken ill and you needed to get them to the vet urgently, but in practice in an emergency one of our lovely neighbours would be sure to help out. HOWEVER, now that THS is restricting applicants to 5, I don’t want to have spend the time explaining all the restrictions of transport to potentially 5 applicants before finding one for whom transport is not a problem. I’ve just advertised our sit, and of the 5 passed through the system to me only one has no problem with the transport, even though I have set the “need a car” option, which leaves me having to decline and wait for more. There’s not an easy solution…
As a matter of information, we’d be happy to lend a car, but our insurance company won’t allow this unless the individual(s) are EU nationals! We can’t even let our Australian son-in-law & daughter use the car!
I think this is very important expecially for those sitters that are travelling without car and rely on public transportations only. I had a positive experience lately the owner of the place was really accomodating and offers to drive me pick me up and drop me off the stations . I believe the public transportations need to be clearly identify where actually are located or if those are far away from the place also because you never know . It is better to crearly be aware if the sitter needs a car, cause some of us cannot consider the option to have a car while sitting. It is necessary for any kind of emergency possible for the pet aswell to have a plan be with public transportations . I think in mutual trust the location needs to be clearly identify immediatly after the house sitting confirmation.
I think it’s been said already but I will repeat myself.
The pet owner could find how much it would cost to put the sitter on the car insurance for the period of the sit then give the sitter the option of paying it if they want a car. Of course other things would have to be put into writing. Who pays the excess if there is an accident and maybe something towards the wear and tear if the car if it’s a long sit. Just a suggestion.
I checked with my insurance broker again this morning. I cannot add anyone who does not have a full UK driving licence on to the policy. Not a question of cost - it is simply not possible. And that seems to be the norm across the UK car insurance industry.