We just got our first booking through Trustedhousesitters. Hurrah. Not long after our plans were set we then received a cancellation due to the home owner’s out of town event being cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Our client of course no longer needs to travel.
This isn’t a big issue as right now we aren’t travelling and are building our Trustedhousesitters experience from our home base San Francisco. I could imagine it would be potentially much more difficult for people who had firmly committed with long distance travel plans.
Then as I started typing this post we also heard from a client for whom we sit several times a year that they are cancelling their travel plans for April. That leaves us out of income we were counting on. Now the situation is starting to become a bigger deal than expected.
It made me think of how many people’s plans for income and travel around the world are likely now up in the air, how many more expenses may be incurred by sitters and hosts as sitters might cancel and leave hosts without somebody to care for their pet, and hosts might cancel and leave sitters without a place to stay. This is bound to be quite a stressful time for a lot of people.
What to do? There isn’t a whole lot that we can do but I would start with strong communication:
- Get in touch with your host / sitter and check in with them, are their plans looking stable?
- Try to come to an agreement around what would happen if they cancelled, do they have an inlay unit you could stay for a specified period of time while you figure out what to do? / Try to not leave your sitter stranded, they spent a lot of money to reach your home and made a commitment to your home- and pet care.
- Simultaneously make a backup plan just in case something changes last minute with your booking. You should always do this as unforeseen circumstances do happen.
Backup Plan tips:
As a host: find a pet boarding place for your worst case scenario. As a sitter: make sure to bring your credit cards as you might end up needing them to pay for hostel or hotel accommodation as you navigate unforeseeable situations.
The Coronavirus outbreak may cost a lot of us a loss in earnings, some discomforts and additional expenses (I bet the sale of vitamins is through the roof, put that on my list, Vitamin C.). There isn’t a whole lot that we can do about it, except keep calm, communicate with our sitters and hosts with compassion and understanding and brace ourselves for some inconveniences.
We are still busy doing our account for 2019 so we can file our taxes asap and get back onto a health insurance plan to cover us for all eventualities in the coming weeks, probably months. I do hope that the global health situation will very soon begin to calm down, that medical experts and strategical teams work out the best ways to safeguard us all so that the steep spike in infections can be curbed and everybody who does need medical care can access it. I also wish for America that healthcare facilities will operate at cost rather than for profit. I know this won’t ever happen. But we can dream.
Where are you? Have your plans been affected by this global health threat?
Let me know in comments if you lost your housesitting booking or if a sitter cancelled on you. Did you get enough notice or are you now stuck? (If you read this in the future: I would still like to hear how tis affected you.)
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