There needs to be a simpler way for HOs to change dates on a listing, both before confirming a sitter, after confirming a sitter, and even during a sit. I don’t mean that a HO should be able to just change dates because they feel like it. But currently dates OFTEN change AFTER a sitter is selected but before the sit starts. Sometimes dates change DURING a sit. THS might not be aware of how common this is. But it is in fact VERY common.
This usually involves an “informal” agreement oral or in writing between the HO and sitter.
Before confirming a sit: The HO Mary chooses Sitter Paul. Paul can’t get a to Mary’s house before Tuesday at 8 AM. But Mary wants Paul to sit. Mary agrees it’s not a big deal. Her neighbor can check on the cats and give them dinner the night before, and if Paul is delayed, the neighbor, can even give them breakfast. Currently, as a tech-savvy HO the only way I know how to make this change without triggering a lot of new applicants, would be to cancel the sit altogether and privately send Paul the new dates. In addition to canceling the sit, the private invitation involves a 4 step back and forth. Could there be an easier way to do this? One that doesn’t involve cancelling the sit and won’t trigger new applicants? Another common situation is where the dates are flexible and both parties decide the sit can and should be extended by a few days.
After confirmation: This is VERY common. After confirmation HO Susan checks in with Sitter Noah to let them know they are open to extending the dates and would like to change the flight. Noah is fine with this and asks Susan to change the dates to make it official. Susan has other better things to do and Noah doesn’t push it as she knows the process is a pain and will involve cancelling this competitive sit. Noah is worried she’ll somehow lose the sit or antagonize Susan because the process isn’t easy. Noah drops the matter but feels insecure about those last couple of days. What if Susan changes her mind again?
During the sit: This just happened to me. I’m a combined sitter. I was on a sit that was supposed to end Monday. On Sunday I had car trouble. Given that garages were closed and I needed to contact the HO to find an honest mechanic I could talk to on Monday, I asked if it would be possible to extend the sit one day. It was! This also meant my sitter would need to extend if possible. They could. Everything worked, but that last day was not official. Neither was the first day actually, as that was an agreement I made with the HO after confirmation.
What if there were a really easy way for HOs to do this when there is mutual agreement? This could be a form that reads like a contract that both parties have PREVIOUSLY discussed and agreed to the change. Both parties would need to sign off. If a sitter suddenly couldn’t do a date, but it didn’t work for HO, and the HO cancelled, that would be on the sitter. If the HO came home early and “cancelled” the sit without getting the sign off, that would be on the HO. While HOs might need to initiate this, sitters would be able to send the form to less internet-savvy HOs. It’s a win for HOs and sitters and THS because if there is a dispute during the sit, there’s no argument that the sit wasn’t “official”.
In addition to keeping everyone safer with the actual dates being in writing on the system, the other advantage of this is that with the new overlap update, this would allow sitters to take sits on dates when there is NO actual overlap but the system shows an overlap because the dates were not changed.