Where have all the sitters gone to?

Admittedly we’ve only done 7 sits, all in Australia, but we have never experienced even one of the negatives you mention from any of our home owners. We’ve only had all positive experiences. We are very picky about the sits we apply for. We do articulate our expectations in our applications like we expect to stay in a clean, tidy, smoke free home etc. If HOs don’t choose us knowing this, then maybe we have dodged a bullet! As THS & this forum continually advise, it’s all in the communication.

3 Likes

Agree with you here.
On our 16th sit and had none of those issues mentioned.
Mostly UK but 4 of these sits were in the US.

Maybe a more careful selection process should be used.

Did you and your friends leave honest reviews about these HO’s that you all keep running into? @SusanL

Maybe that would be a way of reducing the chances of this continuing to happen.

2 Likes

Hi Collin,
I would have completely agreed with you and said the same thing to a user that wrote what I did. However, I have had more experiences this past year that made me realize I put more into being a good Housesitter with time, energy, and expensive than is worth it. Unfortunately, the same is true for some people I referred to the site. I am aware there are wonderful HO and Sitter here- I have met several.
I wrote because I would like THS to be aware of why many people are leaving and maybe they can help retain the quality of the past by explaining to home owners and sitter what is a reasonable expectation and that there should be transparency. Example: I post that I am solo, so I don’t show up to a housesit with a friend. If a homeowner post something, I expect it to be true. We all should be very clear with expectations. I love when a HO puts that it is a farm and needs strong, active people because to work 5-6 hours a day and you can not leave the property for more than 2 hours. This transparent and people that love this experience can do it and those that have to work on their own jobs online can avoid it. (Personally, I feel heavy work housesits should post on Workaway or Work X. It is weird to pay for a trip, all your expenses and be expected to work every day) I take responsibility for some of the less than desirable sits, I should have asked more questions. I thought I was getting better at vetting but I think some HO are getting desperate and neglect to disclose information or are use to the way they live (they don’t notice the smell or 3 layers of dust). Somethings that have happened are not the homeowner’s fault like a pet getting sick before they leave and requiring more care- however, this should be compensated or do something nice like get food delivered for me if you know I have to be stuck in your home more hours.
My post was purely to help people by being aware, being more selective and ask better questions. I am glad you have had great experiences. I truly loved this site. I just feel it is no longer a good match. It is not appropriate cost benefit ration. The post was about “where of all the sitter gone” so this is only my personal experience and two sense on why I am leaving and why a few other are leaving. This does not in anyway reflect your experience or others. I hope this post will be helpful to THS for better retention of sitters.
Thanks, Colin, for your positivity and input.

Thank you ! I think you right it is a little way away yet I shall be patient.

Hi there. I’m a very new HO having just joined about 1 week ago: we need a sitter for our kitten and baby chicks in August. My listing went live yesterday and so far only one person has me as a favourite and no applications. I’m wondering how long should I wait it out before making changes or boosting? I was initially very excited to have found this website but having read loads of the forum topics I’m starting to wonder if this whole thing is a non-starter. I’m still within the 14 day cooling off period; should I just get my money back?

@Charlie78 , Before you do anything, add your listing to your forum profile: Click here: How to add your listing to your forum profile As a new HO, your listing may need tweeking and some of the forum members will be able to give you feedback on how to help it stand out. Good luck!

I am sorry you are having this experience and understand your intention in sharing on the forum, but I do think this is the rare exception. I’ve also referred several friends who are now sitters on the site and all of them, as well as me, are incredibly happy. While of course not everything is perfect, the small membership price, that equates to one night of lodging, is way worth it as I’ve had many wonderful experiences since joining. I’ve run into nothing but very kind and appreciative homeowners. I did one interview with somebody who laid out what in my opinion quite unreasonable expectations and just chose to decline, easy enough. Besides that I have nothing but all good things to say about my experience and hope you find something that better meets your needs.

5 Likes

Hi @Charlie78 and welcome to the forum and TrustedHousesitters. I remember when I first joined, and after putting all the effort into photos, getting references, and writing my profile, once I anxiously did the final click I was prowling the inbox every minute. With time, most of us get more realistic, and less anxious. After reading your listing, I’m confident your sit would be adorable for a young family, or anyone else for that matter.

A modest home is nothing to point out, and nothing to apologize for. I live in a space that so far has been smaller than every sit I’ve done, and I’ve been here for more than 7 years. Remember the pets are the number one priority for all good sitters, and those are the ones you want to attract.

I question you saying a car is essential. Is it essential, or preferred? Big difference. You have listed enough facilities nearby that my only question would be how I’d get to and from your location. Other than that, for two weeks, I’d rarely leave home. Having family who lived nearby you, I have visited the locations you’ve mentioned, but not all sitters want to be out discovering every day. Many do house sitting so they can live like a local. If I had a car on a sit, it would rarely be moved. I suggest you remove the sitters need a car, especially as you are open to discussing making one available.

When (not if) you arrange a sitter, please come back and celebrate with the forum members. We of course love hearing success stories.

Francine,
Volunteer Forum Moderator :canada:

1 Like

@Charlie78 , I think your listing looks super. I agree w/@Snowbird that you might want to rethink sitters need a car. You mention that a car may be available. If you change it to car included, your listing would appeal to even more people. I’m sure you are aware that car hire has become too expensive lately. You may also get a sitter who doesn’t need use of your car.

Hi SandC,
It is so hard to leave honest feedback when you may have a super sweet homeowner that is just oblivious to their pet and home’s quirks. For example, I actually had an amazing house sit at one place- everything was perfect but the HO had been working on a PhD for the past year and seriously had not done much cleaning in that year. My review was positive and I said something like “amazing homeowner that was wonderful to get to know due to her interesting hobbies and experiences. Her fascinating life keeps her too busy for the mundane domestic life.” Frankly, I did not mind cleaning her home because she was so sweet to me and did nice things for me- so I was happy to do a deep clean for her. When homeowners are fabulous and pets are fabulous - it is hard, so I leave hints. “You can step right out the door and get on the train” (translation- the train is next to the house!) Also, You don’t want them to leave you a bad review in retaliation- even when you have been a great housesitter :(. I have tried to leave a less favorable feedback and you get warning pop ups- so I have left no feedback. My last housesit, I left very honest feedback because no one should do that house sit unless they have no plans and extra funds for changing plans, plane tickets, and grabbing a hotel when needed. That homeowner changed her plans from 3 months to a little over a month. She contacted me in the morning (4 hour notice) and wanted me to go to a hotel that night, expected me to stay in a hotel for 5 days in Berlin and then return to her home for 10 days more then changed it to 5 days then to 7… Over the house sit her plans change 5 times! When I booked another house sit for the day after she was to return, she changed plans again and asked me to stay 2 more days. I was not going to buy another ticket so her parents came to look after the cats. I was concerned she would leave a bad review for me because she clearly did not understand that when I agreed to 3 months, it was not to be on call and at her whim for being there then getting a hotel whenever she dropped in for a home visit.
When asking questions and vetting, I did not think to ask “are you going to travel back and forth from the States to Germany on a whim.” haha. Oh, SandC, The first years were amazing- I think COVID maybe made it all a bit more crazy!

Admin Notice: Post Moderated

1 Like

Originally posted this as a standalone topic but guess a moderator moved it to this thread!

I’ve had loads of sitters saving my listing, but have only had 1 genuine application, is this is a common problem people are having and does any one have advice on how to get people to apply for sits? I see a suggestion to invite people to sit, but for me this feels a bit over-reaching (I’d rather people apply because they want to!).

I’m also aware there’s a general shortage of sitters, but I’ve had nearly 20 people save my sitting without applying, which seems really high number!

Any advice appreciated!

Its common for your listing to be saved my many sitters but that is really just to say they like your listing and it would maybe be nice to do if the dates you need ever coincide with their plans.

Is there a reason that the genuine application you have had is not what you are looking for? If it seems like a good fit I would advice arranging a video call and if you like them ,getting them booked before someone else does - sitters are in great demand at the moment.

Contacting local people directly is not a bad idea. There are many sitters that are not always actively looking but a message from you might spark an interest

Its always a good idea to link your listing to your profile name on this forum - that way members of the forum can take a look and give you any advise on if there is any way to improve it to attract more sitters - This is how you do that, good luck!

Hi Colin! Thanks for responding - I’ve arranged a call with one application we’ve had so hopefully that goes well, I’ve put up another set of dates for a weekend in a few weeks but we haven’t had any interest in that. This is my first time using the site so I wasn’t sure if there was a typical ratio of saves that go to applictions, but will keep trying!

1 Like

Thank you for your advice @mars and @snowbird - very sensible suggestions. I shall change my post re. the car. I suppose I’m just trying to manage expectations… supermarkets deliver groceries of course but there’s no public transport, and no takeaway deliveries/just eat/deliveroo etc etc… the village shop is wonderful, but TINY. Likewise my comment re. modest - I worry that sitters might be hoping for clutter-free mansions: 3 kids in a 3 bed semi = stuff. Everywhere!! I will of course do a deep clean and tidy before anyone arrived, and I find it baffling that any HO wouldn’t, but despite my best efforts our house won’t be perfect.

I know I’m just panicking… I need to calm down and wait it out!! Thanks for your reassurance, and I’ll keep you posted. :blush:

@Charlie78 You might be surprised by how many sitters prefer smaller homes because it’s less to clean when they’re leaving. Some prefer ones that are not magazine-worthy, as otherwise they’re scared to touch anything. Yes, there are those who prefer the minimalist approach, as well as those drawn to luxury. Keep in mind that some of our sitters are nomadic, and may be living in modified vans or an airbnb when not on sits. The variety is endless. Anyone who has had children, or has them now, can likely relate to how much ‘stuff’ often accumulates. You are already showing that you care enough, and will appreciate your sitters, and that’s so important. :sun_with_face:

3 Likes

@ori as always, Colin has given great advice. I favourite (save) listings every day if their details seem like a good fit for me. It means very little for the homeowner at that point. Mainly it allows me to be notified when they next list. At that point I will already know that their listing is one I think I am a good fit for. A little like pre-check at an airport, I guess. :wink:

Approaching sitters directly is certainly not over-reaching. Although you may ideally prefer sitters to approach you, keep in mind your end goal is to get a sitter confirmed. I am flattered when an owner contacts me directly. Depending on the length of your sit, a local person looking to get their first review may be happy to accommodate you. Those without a review, or only the suggested three references, may still have experience or skills that might be a good fit, so don’t discount them. When reviewing their profiles, when checking their calendar only see if there’s a black line through your dates, as that means they’re booked for a THS sit. Other than that, as not all sitters use the calendar, I’d ignore it for now.

2 Likes

Hi everyone - another newbie here panicking because we haven’t had any applications and only 2 “no thanks” from the sitters I reached out to…we’ve only had the ad up a week but I am getting quite nervous as our dates are the beginning of August.

I’ve been reading through the comments and tweaking my ad accordingly but if anyone else has any feedback I’d be massively grateful.

Thanks!

1 Like

@Charlie78 You don’t need to call your house ‘modest’, it looks like a lovely family home. And you even have a piano! We live in a flat, so to us it would feel spacious. We sit as a family and we have found that we can relax more in family homes as there is more stuff around (like our own home), and although they have always been clean they are not necessarily immaculate.

You might consider removing your snowy photos as you’re trying to attract people for a summer stay.

You have listed as family-friendly but I can only see several photos of the same bedroom. Maybe you could mention that other rooms could be made available?

I also agree that the biggest change you could make is to sort out lending out your car, then you could delete the ‘sitters need a car’ label which would make your search visible to all the sitters who block those from their searches.

Good luck! You have plenty of time.

@Charlie78 A clutter free mansion sounds a bit intimidating! We’re a family of 4, boys ages 13 and 11 and the majority of our sits have been in family homes. Sometimes the “stuff” that accompanies children can be an asset if your sitters also have children. My older son loves it when the homeowners children are big readers like him! Your garden and outlook are wonderful and your village sounds lovely. We aren’t available on your dates, but I have favourited your listing.

3 Likes

Hi @Justjenn, Maggie is a real cutie and I love that you have budgies and cockatiels. I had budgies growing up and we also adopted an elderly Alexandrine parakeet.

We aren’t available for your dates, but if we were, I wouldn’t be able to tell from your listing whether the kids bedrooms would accommodate my 13 and 11 year old boys! It might be a good idea to mention in your description what type / size of beds these rooms have - are they single beds or smaller child beds? Or even better include photos of these rooms as your listing is family friendly.

Changing the headline photo on your listing can help draw different sitters to take a look. Some sitters are drawn to photos of animals, so bird lovers could be attracted by the photo of Merlin and Sky. Photos in landscape format work best, so if you have a cute landscape photo of Maggie that would attract people. Other people are drawn to gardens, and your garden appears to be a good size and sunny, so a landscape photo of your garden might attract different sitters.

Good luck, I hope you find a lovely sitter soon!

2 Likes