What order to full-timers book sits in?

Hi, I’m about to become a full-time sitter and after booking 3 sits to cover my first month because I was anxious about making sure I had somewhere to be, I’m relaxing into the process and starting to look at longer sits. What I’m wondering is, how do other full-timers approach the order they book sits in. I started off just doing it in time order, so only looking for sits that start on or near the date my last one finishes, then when I’d secured one, looking for for something that starts when that one finishes, and so on. But now I’ve got a saved search for any upcoming UK sits that are more than a month, and of course some of them are quite a bit further ahead than what I’ve currently got booked. I’m thinking that I’d rather do longer sits, and I don’t want to miss out on ones that sound good, but I don’t want to end up with gaps that it’s difficult to find a sit/sits that exactly fit. How do others approach this issue?

Any sits longer than a month in a place we want to be we lock in and use that as our anchor sit. I then book sits either side of that forwards and backwards. Any tiny gap fills have become very difficult to cover since the no overlapping rule which is a total nightmare so it’s just good luck and always being on my phone to be within the first 5

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When transitioning to full-time sitting, it’s common to start with shorter sits to ensure stability. As you grow more comfortable, shifting towards longer sits makes sense. Some sitters opt for a sequential approach, booking sits that align with the end of their current one. However, exploring longer-term opportunities can be fruitful. To balance continuity and flexibility, consider overlapping sits strategically or keeping a buffer for transitions. It’s also wise to maintain a mix of short and long sits to diversify your schedule and mitigate potential gaps. Experimentation and adaptation will help tailor your booking strategy to suit your preferences and needs as a full-time sitter.

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What exactly is the overlapping rule? I have an idea but how does it fit in your scenario?

My partner and I travel Europe via pet sitting with various sites. We start applying for sits early in the year and slowly fill out our calendar for the whole year. We look for sits in places that we really want to see, that are at least 2 weeks or longer (preferably a month or so). Eventually, gaps are filled, and if there are is a week or few nights between sits, we will book an Airbnb somewhere. We also sometimes ask if we can stay the night before or after the sit begins/ends and this helps if there is a 1 night gap between sits.

I guess for us we have more flexibility than most because we have family in Europe and can always go to our family’s home if there’s a cancellation or gap we can’t fill. So far this year we have a sit in Belgium that starts next week, then one 3 nights later in France, then a week’s gap (which we’re still deciding what to do with… maybe we’ll take a holiday in Barcelona or something) and then a 2 month sit in Madrid. We still have to figure out September, have a 3 week sit in Germany in October, and will figure out November & December later. We are currently on the lookout for sits in September, and search various sites daily :blush:

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We’re in the UK and sit as a couple, and started around a year ago, and went full time straight away. To begin with I tried to do what you are doing by booking in one after another, but after a couple of months of physically sitting full time, we realised it doesn’t really matter. We we apply for the sits we would really love, as we know we’ll always find shorter sits to fill the gaps, the longest gap we’ve had (unwillingly) is 2 nights (travelodge is your bestie).

We had no reviews to begin with, and I didn’t bother with references from friends and family as they are totally bias, but we were fully booked within 3 months of starting for the following year.

But it really depends on your profile. I’ve just glanced at yours, it looks a VERY sparse, you look friendly in your pics, but you need to add some animal pics if possible, and also, sorry, but you need to enhance what you say.

I hope you don’t mind me saying, but ‘My Experience’ and your ‘Why I want to house sit’ sections? I know you have a wealth of property experience, reliability, dependability, responsibility because of what you have written in the ‘about me’ part, but it’s the ‘My Experience’ part that HO’s read firstly, and they are less likely to read on, and it’s the ‘Why I want to house sit’ part where people want to know why pets in particular? So enhance those, treat it like a mini CV but keep it relevant to homes, animals, and your personality characteristics. Check out other sitters that have a lot of reviews for tips to pinch.

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I started with a saved search with the 3+ week filter on, and then as I accepted sits changed up my saved searches to have my gap dates and shorter sit-length filters activated.

About a month ago I thought I’d scored well by filling in a two-day gap with a sit. It was a lovely sit with the most handsome dog, but I learnt I don’t like doing that much: I’d rather just pay accommodation for two nights for a gap like that because managing packing and cleaning and the back and forth between sits in the space of three days was quite time consuming.

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We’re the same nowadays, we’d rather pay unless it’s a return visit, so we already know whats-what.

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Us too, a little break from housesitting. Sometimes we just need ‘no responsibilities’ for a couple of days.

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Full-time RVing has a lot of parallels to full-time sitting, from the logistics although with pets to worry about instead…nor a constant bed to sleep in that is your own, this brings that up to a whole different level.

Very intriguing…but one must have a home-base for tax reasons, medical insurance, where your government ID is issued from. I am very intrigued by people that don’t rely on friends or family as an “anchor”, what they must do and go through.

Very interesting topic and interesting tips, I look forward to staying with this topic.

For the record, I have no desire to do this “full-time” meaning give up my home. I am based in the USA, so different countries/continents may have a different set of rules.

But I do suggest reading some of the RV Full-Timer forums as I can see parallels.

Thank you for this topic.

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What a great response! Thanks for your thoughts everyone.
As overlapping is not allowed, I’ve been thinking it makes sense if I can’t get dates that line up exactly to got for ones with a couple of days gap, then I can either ask both HOs if it’s possible to start earlier/finish later by a day to fill the gap, and/or book a hotel.

Since I’ve not started yet I think I’m slightly nervous to book longer sits that are months ahead as I’m still not 100% sure I’m going to enjoy the full time lifestyle as I’m currently about 40% scared 60% excited. I’ve sort of decided that if I feel good about it after the first month then I’ll probably do it at least til the end of the year.

@HappyDeb thanks for your feedback about my profile, I probably needed a nudge to put some more work into it. I think I’ve filled in all the sections now and I’ve added a few pets that I’ve previously looked after, so hopefully that will help. I’ve already booked a Travelodge for a one-night gap I’ve got. I’ve used them a fair bit when travelling for work and you always know what to expect! It’s encouraging to know that you were booked up for the year after 3 months starting with no reviews. I only have one, so a similar starting point.

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Allow yourself to get excited, we didn’t expect to do this full time, we thought we’d do it here and there, but straight away we were hooked, we love it.

Quite often we finish one at 10am (especially if it’s a cat - easier to do), and start another one around tea-time. So that if any HO’s fights are delayed, we can simply delay leaving by a couple of hours, and then we still have plenty of time to travel. But we always discuss timings with the HO’s at the application stage, if they happen to be starting/finishing on the same day.

It’s great you’ve added more photo’s, but I didn’t mean in that section, I meant in your main photo’s section, as that is where HO’s glance at first for pics. I don’t actually have any photo’s in the section you’ve placed them in, as I think it makes it cluttered (but I’ve got more text on mine), so I’d add them into your main photo’s bit instead, and then replace them as you get ones with yourself in the pic too.

Also, at the start, doing 2 night ones really helps to bulk out your reviews quickly, which therefore gives you a higher chance of being picked for other sits. Just always remember to leave a place slightly tidier than you found it, as though you were never there in the first place, as though the owners had never gone away.

Good luck

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@robinstent something else to consider is that once you have completed a few sits you quite likely will find that you get some requests to go back and sit for the same owners again. Which for full-time sitters often works out well .

We sit full-time (starting with THS last year) we are about to go back to a housesit for a fourth time . In 2023 we stayed there for 13 weeks ( across 3 sits ) the homeowners were new to THS and so were we when they choose us the first time round.

Our second THS sit was for 2 weeks but then the owners asked us back for 2 months last autumn so that was 10 weeks in total in 2023.
They asked us back for another 2 months this Spring but we already had some sits that overlapped so couldn’t accept .

So if you find a fantastic sit (location/ pets and lovely owners) you may want to base your other sits around when they are going away throughout the year.

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That is quite an extrapolation!

I did two periods of two months last year, which I enjoyed. I had considered maybe going full time, but that is not for me. Right now I am in England for six weeks, and that will be enough.

I am also still hesitant of taking sits longer than a month. I would only do that in places where I was sure that I would not get bored and when I was absolutely certain that I would enjoy the pets and the stay. So only listings with good reviews, and good vibes with the HO.

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@robinstent How exciting! Big adventures await you! May I ask- have you given up your home to go full time? Or do you have a homebase to escape back to?
My hubby & I are full time nomads- already for 12 years! The last 5 years we’ve been housesitting- more & more full time. The last 2 years we clocked up over 300 nights per year on housesits in various countries! From a weekend to 6 weeks & all lengths inbetween and from 1 cat or dog to multiple animals- in flats, houses, mansions, and villas etc its been an amazing journey!
What we tend to do is book ‘anchor’ sits i.e something we fancy for 3/4 weeks then build around it. At the moment we are sitting around France, and from next month, Spain. Booked till late July filling gaps as we go and booking ahead as new sits pop up.
Where are you looking to sit? If UK then you have tons of choice and will easily fill gaps. We’ve done 2 long stints in UK- a winter and a summer there and booked back to back sits all the time. Not a single airbnb/hotel night at all! Although sometimes it can be good to have a couple of nights ‘off duty’!
As others have suggested short sits are very helpful for gathering experience and building up your reviews.
Have fun & good luck!

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@HappyDeb I did think you meant my main profile photos but then I came across the section for adding pets and I thought I would fill that in. I don’t actually have any photos of me with pets in but I guess I could add the ones of just the cats to the main section then make a point of trying to get photos of the cats with me in them when I’m on sits and like you say add them as I go along.
Both the HOs I have sat for said thanks for leaving the place so clean and tidy but I didn’t really feel like I’d made an extra special effort just tried to leave it as I found it.

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@Lokstar Thanks for sharing your experience.
Yes I’m giving up my home to go full time. I’m mainly planning to do UK but might consider European sits once I get used to it.
Although I don’t have a home base a few friends have offered for me to stay in their spare room for a few nights if I need to, and I have an aunt who I could stay with for probably a couple of weeks if needed. I’ve been living in Bristol for 16 years, so that’s “home” so initially I’m only going places that are within 3 or 4 hours of Bristol by train.
It’s good to know that the strategy of booking longer sits ahead then filling in the gaps works for you.

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@robinstent The UK is such a great place to start- many times more sit opportunities than anywhere else- a sitters dream country!
I have a friend in UK who sold her home and went full time last summer. She has been booked solid up to now and is already booked ahead till next January! All in UK.

I just now had a look at your profile page and see you only mention cats. Are you only interested in sitting for cats? This will limit your opportunities somewhat as there are a lot more sits with dogs. But i have seen full time cat sitters on here too.

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But would not one prefer a place with better weather ? :rofl:

(Finally, the sun is coming out here!)

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@pietkuip Ofcourse! UK is sitter heaven- perfect in terms of opportunities- but the weather!!:woozy_face::roll_eyes::flushed:
Are you there at the moment? We just spent the whole winter on back to back sits in UK- awful weather almost all the time!:rofl::joy::rofl: Right now we’re in south of France and going through a cold snap- overcast & raining! Feels like endless winter…!!:flushed: Looking forward to getting to Spain next month- we seriously need to thaw out a bit! :rofl::star_struck::rofl:

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