Where have all the sitters gone to?

I have been talking with several sitters, many who I, now, regrettably referred to THS that are all leaving. Here are some reasons we are leaving:
we are arriving to dirty homes that we need to clean; no response to applications or constantly changing dates after agreeing and confirming (so it is hard to plan); and/or the home owners or pets are some times extremely high maintenance (above and beyond the usual care); plus very disrespectful HO on occasion. Many home owners are fabulous but there may be other issues. For example, I love typical caring, feeding, cuddling and playing with pets; with dogs I am happy to do 3-4 walks per day and play ball. This pet time can be a wonderful treat for me, the pet and the owners. When the care starts to include more than the norm and the home owners act like you are a servant- this is when we start to cancel our memberships. Don’t get me wrong many homeowners are great, they go above and beyond by picking you up from airports or train stations and take you out for dinner or cook knowing you have had a long journey (do not expect this but totally love this care). It is a great exchange for both the sitter and owner when they have reasonable requests and are lovely. Others HO have no manners. I come and leave homes clean and pets happy. It just seems there are more and more homeowners that are taking advantage despite being sweet people. You can be a nice person but have a dirty home and leave me to do your laundry and high maintenance list of care requirements. I am not renewing and leaving THS and no longer referring. Sorry to ramble on, just feeling it is important for both the sitter and the HO to be respectful and reasonable in their request.
Wishing you the best luck finding good care for your fur babies in the future.
Susan

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In the past I have always had applicants within the first 24 hours. I have just put a new sit up for September and as yet no applicants. Is anyone else experiencing this lack of interest or is it just taking longer ?

Hi Susan, It sounds to me that you have had a bad experience but it really is not fair to make it sound as if that is a normal, regular occurrence. The vast majority of home hosts and also of sitters will be lovely, kind, reasonable and respectful. There is always a very tiny minority in every profession that are not.

Never let the minority cloud your judgement and opinions of the majority :heart:

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Welcome Diana. I’m sure others will chime in with tips and helpful information but I’ll just say that, for me, I’m always more drawn to a pet photo than a home photo (other sitters might disagree, of course). You could consider swapping out your first photo of the outside of your home with one of Gaia or Indi (too bad they’re not quite ready yet to be happy in a photo together :slight_smile: ).

You’re offering your car and you’re welcoming families. These are two things that many HOs don’t, or can’t, offer so that should help your listing! Some sitters aren’t booking as far in advance as they used to, so with a month to go I don’t think you need to be too worried yet.

Thank you very much for your feedback. I will try to rearrange some pics around, and see if we have any pics that both Gaia and Indi are in. Though it is a lengthy adjustment period, they have been getting along much better each day, and we have gotten several breakthroughs in the past couple weeks. So, pictures of them together chilling are not a far possibility at this point :slight_smile:

Thank you also for the info about sitters’ booking behaviors. This is our first time using THS, and we are both planners, so we are just feeling a little anxious when there is not much traction with application. But what you told me gives me some comfort. Our trip is about 1 month away, so we do have a little bit of time left. Fingers crossed, there will be more applicants in the coming days/weeks. Thank you again!

Janey: It is harder to find sitters than previously, so it may take a little time. Your sit is several months away, so you have plenty of time to find sitters. Your posting, home and pup will likely be attractive to many. You have even offered to allow them to use your dog walker, for extra flexibility. You may consider reaching out to some of your former sitters and inviting them back or see if they know anyone in their network who would be interested in your sit.

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I can say I have spent hours navigating the features of the website and still cannot figure out how to turn off my “status” or availability. I’ve already read forums on the calendar topic alone. I hope that feature becomes easier soon! That way I don’t have to keep declining invites just because I can’t figure out the interface! It would save us all a lot of time I think.

Hello @thisisfun and welcome to the forum community. I don’t think there is a feature to turn off your status or availability. Some sitters are changing the start of their profiles to clearly state they are currently unavailable, or not taking booking until after a certain date. However, not every owner checks a sitter’s profile before contacting the sitter.

The product development team reviews suggestions in the forum, so yours will be noted by them.

Francine,
Volunteer Forum Moderator :canada:

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Another vote to please fix the calendar, make it user-friendly just like airline and hotel booking sites, and then encourage people to use it. And make the dates easy to filter in searches done by HO.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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@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!

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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!