Where have all the sitters gone to?

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!

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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:

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@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.

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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!

@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.

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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!

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@Charlie78 If your dates were slightly different I might have applied. It clashes with a sit I’ve already arranged though. I previously lived in Nottingham and I’ve been to Leicester… who knows, our paths might cross in future. Good luck :+1:

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Ask for help with your listing in the forum. I did and was given wonderful advice. I adjusted my profile and hey presto - 3 holiday dates and we have just confirmed our last sitter. Very nice people. You just need a little patience.

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Well there definitely seem to be no sitters interested in Australia. I’ve been using THS for more than 7 years now and for the first time not a single applicant. I have 3 listings that have been up for a while now with absolutely no interest. Obviously things have changed a lot but this has surprised me.

That is not entirely true, we are currently actively looking for Australia to tag onto a New Zealand sit we have booked for the end of the year - For us, it seems to be a little early as almost all the sits listed now are June-September

Perhaps it’s just the east coast that’s not popular right now. As you say my listings are August, September and just one week in November. There is still time of course but a total lack of applications has not happened to me before.

In the UK the ratio of sitters/sits is far more sits than sitters and this probably for the same reasons as discussed on this thread is the same worldwide. Have you tried inviting local sitters to see if you can get lucky that way?

I have approached some of my ‘regulars’ but they are either booked or no longer sitting. I’ve now listed on a couple of Australian sitting sites. I have been told of some professionals that will sit for a fee and am investigating. Fingers crossed as I’m running out of ideas.

@Leoandme I suggest you add your listing to your forum username/profile. It will allow forum members to view it and also give constructive feedback. Sometimes just a few tweaks can make all the difference. As you’ve seen, times have changed and sometimes we - sitters and owners - need to also make changes.

Hello @Leoandme I now notice your profile shows you are in Shellharbour. I did a few months of sits across Australia a few years ago, including Shellharbour, and really enjoyed the area. I see you later say perhaps there’s little interest in the east coast, but I doubt that’s the case. I think it’s more about so many changes in our world and lifestyles over the past two years.

I was able to view your listing, based on the information you’ve provided. I would encourage you to review Angela’s top 10 tips. In particular, sitters are looking for photos of all living areas (include kitchen and bathroom), and the suggestion of not listing all your dates. Hopefully her tips will help you tweak your listing.

Francine,
Voluntary Forum Moderator :canada:

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Thanks for that. I have changed my listings a bit. Looked at linking to the forum but way too complicated for me.