I have done many sits on this site and seem to be seeing a trend in the last 6 months where HOs are expecting a significant amount of lawn and garden upkeep that is not always disclosed or detailed upfront in their listing. As a person with a (not visible) disability that can’t do a lot of manual labor I’ve had to start asking ahead of agreeing to a sit exactly how much yardwork they are expecting, and a few have sounded annoyed by the questions. I am curious what my fellow sitters think and feel about this?
Anything above care for the pets and the house should be specially mentioned in the listing. Watering plants, collecting mail, and possibly topping off a pool or hot tub levels are reasonable requests. While I personally don’t mind little yard work, as I find it therapeutic, it should absolutely not be sprung on a sitter after the acceptance. If a listing asks for yard work to be done, the sitter applying can either apply or not but everything needs to be clearly listed in the responsibility section of the listing.
I think in your case, I’d mention something about it in your profile and work on the wording to avoid having them feel annoyed. “I want to confirm that the dog care and home care mentioned in your listing is the extent of responsibilities for me”. Then if they ask, mention “for example, I wouldn’t be able to mow lawns or do any gardening”
@KittyKathy If yardwork is not mentioned up front in their listing, when they do eventually mention it all you have to do is politely say that you don’t do yardwork.
For us, we don’t mind it but how much depends on the length of the stay. For a hot weekend, we would be happy to water the plants, for over a week we would be happy to mow the lawn, for over a month we would do extra leaf collecting, weeding etc
On arrival, we were once asked if we would tend to an allotment which was a half-hour walk from the home. We said no.
During a video call, we were once asked if we would provide child care for their granddaughter as this was something they normally did. Again, we said no!
@Colin I laughed when I saw the childcare comment because if Nan was making the arrangements, she’d probably say yes! Fortunately, I do most of the arrangements.
I saw a very long sit (without pets) where the sitters were even expected to get involved in landscaping and restauration of the original design of the garden, of a large property!
I was quite taken aback that anybody would think it’s even remotely appropriate to ask a sitter to provide childcare on top of pet and home care duties. To my mind, that’s really trying to squeeze as much out of the arrangement as possible. That even feels quite exploitative to me. I applaud you for saying no to that and standing your ground.
@Chatsetchiens , Im a great believer of ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’ so don’t mind them asking at all. For us though , childcare is definitely a step too far. They did get a sitter though so someone may have agreed!
Fair enough, Colin. It’s great to ask questions and I’m usually all for it but the fact of the matter is that this is in no way a child care platform or service. Personally speaking, I’m absolutely stunned at the audacity of anybody even thinking that’s appropriate to ask of a pet sitter.
Wow! They asked you to offer childcare?! What were they thinking? While I know you both and would have no concerns at all if you were looking after a child, I’d have real concerns about the owner even contemplating such a thing with people not known to him/her and who haven’t gone through the appropriate police checks
We have also been asked to look after a grandchild full time and paint a house.
I agree with all the other comments about this yardwork being an excessive request.
In our profile we state that Mr Itchyfeet can carry out emergency repairs and that we can both tend to the garden. All we have been asked to do is water plants and mow the grass from time to time. That has been stated in their listing. Most have gardeners.
I’m not sure I’d put those things in my profile, it’s asking for trouble!
We’ve had two sits that needed daily deep watering of plants and lawn due to extreme heat, and that was no problem. We will also mow lawns if the sit is over a week long. However, I have seen a number of listings that indicate that they want weeding. That is where I draw the line. I pay someone to do that at my own home, and won’t be doing it at another. Although, I suppose if it were a very long sit in an area I really loved, I would consider paying to have it done.
I’ll water plants indoors and out, only of the household variety.
I don’t mow. I pay folks to do that at my own houses, LOL.
I don’t tend small holdings, do weeding, harvesting, plowing or such.
I actually saw a listing yesterday where the sitter(s) would be expected to maintain the crops for anywhere from one to six months, as the home was being listed for sale. And it had applicants.
@Smiley Yes, really irresponsible to ask strangers to provide childcare.
For a grandchild. Without contact with a parent!
@pietkuip - yes!
I have seen listings like this too and shocked that they still get applicants
Homeowners should be prohibited from asking sitters to mow lawns and that should be a clear rule within THS guidelines. The task of mowing and handling mowing equipment can pose significant safety risks. One of my neighbors suffered a severe injury in a lawnmowing accident, resulting in a month-long coma.
Unfortunately, I found myself in a situation where I agreed to perform one hour of mowing every other week and half an hour of grass clipping vacuuming, mainly due to feeling pressured in the moment. What added to the challenge was that mowing wasn’t mentioned in the listing, and the homeowners informed me of this responsibility right before their departure for the airport. When I expressed my lack of familiarity with their mowing equipment, they dismissed my concerns with a casual “oh, it’s super easy, you’ll figure it out.” Now, I always make an effort to address any lawn care duties during the initial chat to avoid similar situations in the future.
I like your question. I personally am absolutely fine with watering flowers and plants, outdoors or indoors, but that’s it. My partner can mown a lawn but I’m scared of these machines as when I was young, one of my classmates lost a toe mowing his parents’ lawn ). If they have a lot of land and no Gardner, I do expect to be spending a considerable amount of time in the garden so I usually don’t apply. I read stories of sitters that ended up literally working for hours in the garden, as it had never been mentioned in the listing (we are talking 5-6 hours a day, but that was a 1 star review left by them).
If I was sitting on my own, and applying for a house sit with a garden, I’d ask 100% what is expected. Gardens can take an awful lot of time, and are sometimes disregarded as things to do by a homeowner, because it’s part of their routine, and most quite enjoy taking care of it, so probably expect others to feel the same about gardening.
What? childcare on top of pet care? Are you serious…