Ways to Search for Sitters?

Hello everyone!

I am just in the process of completing housesit #12 with my wife and youngest daughter (15), and I cannot help but think about ways that people might be able to find a family like ours for potential long-term sits.

Unless I am missing something, homeowners can currently search for potential housesitters via:

  • Geographic Location
  • Dates (Available)
  • Preferred Pets to Sit
  • Verifications

We will occasionally be approached by homeowners, asking if we will sit their home and pets in Minnesota (USA), since we live in Minnesota. But our purpose for housesitting is to explore other regions, not the region we already live. So searching for us via geography isn’t useful.

Dates Available is also a tough one to search for us, since we are essentially available anytime (my wife works remotely, as do I, while our daughter attends school online).

Preferred Pets? We might say cats, but are happy to watch just about anything except reptiles. And verifications? We have very strong reviews, and have other verifications. But all of that said? If someone were to be thinking about finding a sitter for a long-term sit, almost anywhere in North America, almost any set of dates, how would they ever know we exist? We try and watch available listings, every day. But most longer-term sits have 5-10+ applicants before we even knew the sit was available.

So, how do you (other sitters) manage to become “known” as an individual/couple/family who would be great to care for someone’s home and pets? Like I mentioned, we’ve completed 12 housesits through the site, and have always received great reviews! But It seems next to impossible to “stand out from the noise.” And when there are sits that are open to having kids (our daughter is 15, but many homeowners automatically rule out kids on sits, regardless of whether they are infants or 17), they are snapped-up quicker than we can type an application.

Ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!

Derek

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Hi @datonn greetings from Eden Prairie where I am on a long term sit!
I love your question because it presents some good opportunities for improving search criteria, a Families category?
Though I am not involved in that process of creation, I did once apply and got a sit where the HOs were looking for a family. They had a lovely space and were extremely loving and open people. They wanted to share that with others like themselves. They did not get any families to apply.

So there are people out there who would welcome you.
I would not be discouraged. You have done 12 and that is wonderful.
You and your family are unique and someone out there is looking for you.

Perhaps here on the forum you could network with other families like yours who you could share information when they see something or get asked and are not available. I often get requests from previous HOs that I know and am unable to do.
I am thinking some type of referral network. Perhaps create a new topic, Sitters with families? I am just throwing things out there for discussion.

And me I just apply, apply, apply. I do in depth searches of places I would like to go to with the search criteria I have. I have saved searches by regions and in blocks of time. For example, I know that I will be in the UK in April. I intend to stay there till they make me move :wink: so I have a saved search for UK, Scotland, Spain, Europe from May -December. I also look at inactive sits, people who don’t have any active listings and I save them as well. In this way I get notified when they do post a listing. Goes right to my phone.
Don’t let the number of applicants deter you.
Go after it.

Use this forum too! Share your experiences and people will know you!

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Essentially what we would like to do is “test drive” different communities in North Carolina, Oregon and California 2-4+ weeks (ideally months) at a time. See if it might be an area we could call home in the future…since we can literally work (and our daughter can attend school) from anywhere with electricity and internet.

We cobbled together three housesits in North Carolina over the past five weeks, and the first family liked our treatment of their home, our communication, and our care for their dog so much that they asked if we would come back for another week (sit #4 in North Carolina on this trip, starting tomorrow). But what we would REALLY like is to stay in one place for at least a few weeks/months at a time.

We had a homeowner in California for a four-month sit correspond with us JUST enough to tell us: “no kids!” :frowning: We had another four-month sit in Oregon not talk with us at all…just saying “thanks, but no thanks.” Again, probably due to there being THREE of us (not 1-2).

It’s okay! Homeowners can choose to allow anyone into their homes that they wish! It just becomes discouraging. Every homeowner telling us what a great job we did with their pets, leaving their homes even better than they left them! Only to have people write us off because we have an amazing 15-year old daughter who actually works sitting pets in our small town for homeowners when they travel. Who loves dogs (in particular) more than anyone I know. But homeowners see kids and think: “not a chance.” :frowning:

Hi. As a solo sitter I can’t give you any direct tips, but I can tell you that there are also homeowners who only want a couple, rather than a solo sitter, for example. There’s such a variety of homeowners, but I do recognize it’s likely more difficult for families.

My one suggestion is to elaborate on your profile about your daughter. What you’ve explained here, about your daughter, deserves a separate section on your profile (keep in mind I haven’t seen your profile). You’ve convinced me that she’s an asset. Also, if she’s done any community work or volunteering, I would add that too. If you’re comfortable with adding your daughter’s photo on the profile, show her showing affection to animals, and a dog in particular. It’s time to boast a little about your family, but make sure to keep it all true. Good luck :slightly_smiling_face:

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Having just joined there is a lot I still have to learn with this site.
I am also a solo traveller and hope to find a position soon. Due to our lockdown here in Melbourne Australia travelling is out of bounds so I am hoping I will be able to eventually have the opportunity to travel. I have a motorhome which has not moved much in the past few months so there is a lot for me to learn, having only purchased it earlier this year but our lockdowns have caused much disruption to our lives.
Anyone in Australia that I can communicate with please?

Hello. Regarding people who don’t have any active listings. I’m guessing you are referring to the listings listed under " Sits in City of Virginia Beach, US without current dates" which are below the active listings…??? When I pull up some of those previous sits that don’t have an active listing I do see a [ :heart: Save] in the upper right-hand corner of the previous job and I was wondering how do I get notified if I save this inactive job?
You mention - “I get notified when they do post a listing. Goes right to my phone.” - and I was wondering how this is done…???

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With love :heart:
Just activate that heart and it is saved as a favorite. Then you get notified automatically when a new listing is created same as when you save a search with your criteria.

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Thanks for the information. When you mention - “Then you get notified automatically when a new listing is created same as when you save a search with your criteria.” - does this mean I will get an email letting me know an inactive listing has new dates? And how do you get notified on your phone… app… or a notice that you got a new email?
Thanks again!

It’s a matter of applying for everything in the area which meets your criteria. As long distance sailors we have met some incredible families. The children are smart, articulate and have an understanding of the world few adults will ever develop. I would never hesitate to host a travelling family if i needed a pet sitter.
An idea…….next application, get your daughter to write it stating all the reasons why the sit is perfect and why the family wants to visit that area. Let her pour her thoughts and personality into it and of course make sure she signs it on behalf of the family. It will let the pet parents see how mature and thoughtful your child is. You are fighting the preconceived idea that all children are untrustworthy and vandals.
Let us know how your journey continues and here’s hoping it all works out for you.
Elsie

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Hi @datonn,

We are a housesitting family of 4, with boys aged 12 and 10. So far we have only done shorter sits in our home country (UK). We are less flexible than you, being tied to school holidays, - I also work in a school.

Your post did make me wonder if it would be harder for a family to secure a longer sit, as you would like too, because those HOs likely to be leaving their homes and pets for a longer period are perhaps less likely to be families themselves?

It does seem to be easier to be chosen for sits where the HOs also have children, especially if they are similar ages. Then again, there are HOs who don’t have children or grandchildren who have still chosen us.

As others have suggested, I do favourite a lot of listings that I see that would suit us, even if the dates don’t work for us at the moment. With the TrustedHousesitters app installed on my phone, I then get notification when these listing have new dates. This might help you to be quicker to apply to those longer term housesits you feel you may have missed out on in the past.

Other have also mentioned including your daughter in your listing. Could you get one of the people she has pet sit for locally to write a reference for her? Our listing has more photos of my children than the adults in the family, and we have one of them cleaning the chicken house at the school where I work.

I do like the idea of sharing tips and ideas with other housesitting families, it would be interesting to have a category in the forum for that.

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Hi @Trilby , I have sent your a direct message. Click up on the right hand corner where your profile T is.

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

A couple of thoughts:

  1. We generally introduce our fifteen-year-old daughter in our applications for sits. Make sure people know about all of her experience caring for lots of family pets in other people’s homes. But it seems as though any longer-term housesits that become available in any even-remotely desirable locations have a dozen applicants within the first few hours. And a LOT of homeowners we’ve been sitters for will complain about how time-consuming it can become…sifting through dozens of applications (after they’ve found the sitter(s) they think will work). I’ve commented in the forum before, how I wish there was an easier way to filter lists of available sits by number of sitter applications! As once a homeowner has more than ~8-10 applicants? Every new application seems to be a bother/burden, more than a resource to them.

  2. Debbie, I think you hit the nail on the head! Most longer-term housesits seem to be available with homeowners who are either retirees or young(er) professional couples whose pets are their kids.

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No email @MichaelinVA02
The notification comes automatically once you have favorited it. When you log on to TH and review your favorites, you will see it there also.
Now if they become inactive in their membership, I have yet to find a way to remove them from favorites.

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Hi Temba,
You said you sent a direct message, I clicked on the T but it only brought up my message. Is that correct?

Ercelle

Hi @Trilby, click on your T again then click on the envelope sign and hopefully you will find my message.