Hello, in your experience, what is the best communication method between home owner and sitter when they are in different countries? I want a reliable, quick and easily accessible one, preferably with the option of video calls. Thank you!
Hi @KRISSY27 and welcome to the forum. When communicating with owners who are overseas, we use WhatsApp, whether it’s a video chat, normal chat, message or photos.
Hi @KRISSY27 Once I am confirmed for a sit, I discuss this with the owners. I let them know what I use personally (WhatsApp, texting, email), and then ask their preferences. I recently had someone who was most comfortable with Messenger, and so I downloaded it and we used that.
I also mention that I have FaceTime and Skype but rarely use either, but can make sure I have that easily accessible, if it’s their preference. I just try to find what’s comfortable for each of us. I’m still a WhatsApp fan though, so I probably mention that one first and more often than the others.
Oh and for some reason, the video chat before being confirmed usually seems to be on Zoom.
Thank you so much! I will look into whatsapp. I am a messenger fan.
Messenger would work well too. Just give owners/sitters these options.
@KRISSY27 I don’t know how many times I’ve phoned people using WhatsApp and they say ‘Oh, are you home already?’ When I ask why they say it’s because the clarity of the call is amazing. I also like it because you use your own phone number as your ID, so it’s not complicated. The video chats still don’t make me look any younger, but there’s only so much I can expect from a free service.
Our preference, and so far all our HOs as well, is WhatsApp.
I’ve always used whatsapp with HOs unless we’re already friends on FB then we’d likely use messenger.
Another vote for what’s app.
Thanks. I do like some video calls to see my pets.
Often when we apply for sits, I ask if they use Whatsapp & pass my number should they wish to chat. I had the best conversations with the owners we’ll be sitting for later in the year & they’re all lovely people.
Heaps better than SMS.
In some other countries, Dubai, and Qatar, they are banned altogether. Luckily other apps work e.g. Google meet, or one needs to use VPN. Strangely they ae not banned in most hotels.
Another vote for WhatsApp… And for house-sitting particularly as it’s easy to set up and use a group. Both homeowners can be added, and both Ian and I too. We’ve often been asked to do so they both see updates.
My first sit is confirmed and starts in 3 weeks.
I feel pressure now to stay in touch with them before the sit, or should I just wait until 2 or 3 days earlier? We had a call already and I texted them again while booking my flights, but now we haven’t spoken in a week.
How do you stay in touch with the HOs before you meet them?
Wishing you a warm welcome to the forum and congratulations on your first sit. This is such exciting news.
As you have chatted regarding your flight confirmation details, I would suggest you drop them a line perhaps 5 days before, confirming that all the arrangements are on track.
I use WhatsApp as a good means of keeping in touch on a regular basis.
After the initial meet (over the phone or in person) and confirmation that we are all happy for the sit I don’t reach out to the homeowner until a day or two before - if I’m coming in internationally then before I fly- you don’t need to stay in contact.
The HO’s usually reach out to you a day or so beforehand to find out about food or any last minute things.
I will text 2 days before and if it hasn’t been decided ask them if they’d like me to be there before they depart. If this is what they want, I confirm the time, and I am NEVER late.
Often times I get there after they have left, they’ve either given me a key or let me know where they’ve hidden it.
I’ll let them know I’ve arrived, all’s well, and if the pet is friendly (usually a dog) send a photo to show they’re fine.
After that I text once every 4 days or once a week, with a photo, cute if I can capture it of the pet, just letting them know that all is well.
Prior to leaving, I will text (HO’s often do too) to confirm their arrival time and again - we will have agreed beforehand- my departure time, where the key is etc. Here I will thank them for having me and wish them happy travels.
I also always leave a card and, flowers/plants/chocolates/wine (one not all) in the home as a thank you…
It depends what more they (or you) need to know. Do they know what time your flight arrives? How are you getting from the airport to theirs? Do you know what time they are leaving? Have you arranged a handover?
If all the arrangements are made, then there’s not much else to say at this stage. As a home-owner I’d appreciate a quick check-in a couple of days beforehand (“Hi - just to let you know I’m still on track to arrive date/time”) and then once you set off (at the airport) and arrive (landed).
I am leaving for one month and have a sitter all lined up for that trip. I will be traveling internationally and want my sitter to be able to contact me by phone as she feels necessary. I don’t expect her to pay the cost of international phone calls, (we do not have a land line, so she’ll have to use her cell phone,) and am not sure about how to manage this.
Would you consider using WhatsApp for calls? It is free internationally as well as for domestic use. . This link may help. How to make a free international call using WhatsApp - Android Authority
Other options could be using Zoom or Teams for a video call.