Do you prefer the Welcome Guide or Word doc?

I have been with THS before The Welcome Guide was introduced and here are my opinions:

Not user friendly for the sitter

You need the wi-fi code to access it, but don’t have wi-fi on your devices when you arrive

A sitter cannot print it off, even if they could it is spread over too many pages

Not easy to find info. e.g. feeding pets can be spread over several pages

The kitchen features never include instructions on how to operate each appliance

If in a non wi-fi area, you cannot access Emergency Details/Vets Details

You cannot access the Guide until you have confirmed the sit

Prior to the Welcome Guide a HO would prepare a Word Doc and email to you in an easy format. The sitter would print it off so easily accessible at all times. Usually the HO would have it available upon arrival as well.

If I am accepting a sitting where the HO has not had sitters before I ask them if they would like my comprehensive template emailing to them. This includes headings on how to operate appliances, t.v. etc. The HO has always appreciated it.

It is possible to delay your confirmation until you receive the document.

I would be interested to hear sitters/HOs thoughts and ideas

I agree, I really dislike the online welcome guide! As HO, it is so clunky and difficult to update as you have to click through each area to find the part you want to change. Things aren’t always where you expect them to be. The text boxes don’t show the whole text so I’m constantly scrolling to read what I’ve written. Adding photos has been a pain, mine keep loading upside down. And as you said, when I tried to print it, it was impossible to reformat and about 70 pages long. I ended up rewriting the whole thing in a google doc but I have remember to update our in-home printed guide every time I make a change online and vice versa. We have farm animals and a senior kitty with some medical issues so things change depending on seasons, predators, vet visits, etc. I leave a printed binder with all the information easily accessible but I wish it wasn’t two separate things. Would be great to be able to just reprint a page after making changes.

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I don’t mind the online welcome guide, but I definitely like to have a paper copy of all relevant info at the house, preferably one that I can write on and make my owns notes or clarifications of things I’m told in person.

So far, most (all?) of our sits have had a hard copy, with some general info in the Welcome Guide. Maybe THS should just have a place that allows the HO to upload a Word doc or PDF of their welcome guide in whatever format makes more sense. And of course, give sitters the ability to download it on our end as well if we want. And then a paper copy upon arrival if requested, for those who don’t have the ability to download and print it off.

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I agree 100% - it’s one of the many unnecessary changes to the site made by THS and definitely a change for the worse. It also sounds like it’s not that good for HO’s @Shafofo - clunky and difficult.
@Kelownagurl Excellent idea - upload word doc or pdf onto the welcome guide.
Come on THS, revert to the original system of HO sending house/pet instructions via email to the sitters - it was much friendlier and practical.

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I have my own checklist which I often email the owner prior to the sit and they respond with the answers to my questions. I’ve had to prompt some homeowners in the past to create the welcome guide so find it much easier if I send them my document. Or send me a word document with everything I need to know prior to the sit.

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I think the Welcome Guide is very useful as a prompt to HOs for the kind of info that they should provide to HSs. I generally receive the best info from HOs who have used it (over other platforms). I agree that the inability to print or produce an online copy is a HUGE drawback. I once asked THS if they could add this feature and they told me that they wouldn’t for security reasons. Silly, IMO, since, once we have access to it after a sit is confirmed we can do anything that we want with the info (print each web page, screenshots, etc.). Allowing us to create a nicely formatted PDF version for offline use is would be a very welcome improvement.

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Glad to read these comments. As a HO I would like to be able to print parts of the Guide for the HS eg emergency contact details. There is info that is not easily included in the Guide eg how to operate the TV, the bread maker, the oven, the washing machine, the shower etc. I have always made a folder for Sitters with this type of info together with detailed care & feeding info for all our animals etc, A hard copy left at the house is far easier for Sitters to refer to. However I do think the Guide is useful for prompting the info that needs to be available.

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I definitely prefer a clear word-document, but find the welcome guide nice to read before arriving. I agree that it’s not very user-friendly.

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As a House Sitter, I created my own Word Document template that I email to Home Owners after they confirm me as their sitter and prior to the sit. I give them the option to either use my Word Document template or the Welcome Guide, whichever they prefer. If they chose to use the Welcome Guide, I copied and downloaded their completed Welcome Guide into a Word Document, which was cumbersome and time consuming. Then I found out that some Home Owners amended and modified their Welcome Guide, so I had to do it all over again!!! Needless to say, I stopped doing that! Now I wait until just before the sit, I save what I consider first priority information, such as WiFi password, contacts, etc., so I am not “stranded” when I arrive at a new sit!

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It seems we have a bit different of an outlook than most others so far. We much prefer the Welcome Guide for a few key reasons:

  • It’s ordered the same way every time, so we know where to find what we need, when we need it, rather than skimming an unfamiliar doc.
  • Typically the welcome guide is relatively precise and focused on the most important and frequent details we need. This unfortunately is usually not our experience when we get a free-form doc.
  • We appreciate that it’s digital and always ask that owners don’t print it for us. We’re comfortable using our laptop or phone to pull it up as needed.
  • It’s simpler for owners new to THS to know what to make note of.
  • We can request the Welcome Guide through the site, giving a gentle nudge to the owner.

On the other hand, like many others have mentioned, we too have our own list of questions (both that we ask before we commit and then a set that we ask during the initial handover in person). But, we still like having the Welcome Guide because we get it ahead of time and can familiarize ourselves with home, pets and responsibilities ahead of time.

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Hi @lifephasenext! Have you considered using an extension on your browser that allows you to do a full page screencapture? Meaning, you could pull up the 3 or 4 sections of the welcome guide and do a screen capture that takes not just what you see on the screen, but the entire length of the webpage.

We use GoFullPage from Chrome. It’s free and it allows you to save as an image or a pdf, making it simple to print :slight_smile:

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I have to agree with @ScrewTheAverage.

But the one doesn’t have to contradict the other. The only problem with the Welcome Guide is that there is no downloadable version of it. But it is technically not difficult to build a function that can creates a downloadable printable version. Who don’t like top print it can download it to their Tablet, Laptop or phone, and it is also available offline without a network. Nevertheless, it would be nice if the HO could additionally upload supplementary or replacement documents.

Hi @ScrewTheAverage. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve used different ways of getting offline pages (not specifically that one), and I know that it can be done. As @xyz says, it isn’t technically difficult to do, but HSs shouldn’t have to try to figure out workarounds to a missing feature. It should be a fairly simple function to offer and IMO it should be on THS’s product development timeline. Hope someone will pipe up to let us know that it already is!

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Like others, I developed a document for owners to complete before the Welcome Guide was introduced. Sometimes I still use it but mostly I now request the Welcome Guide because of its standard format. I find HO not that forthcoming in sending it unless they are prompted by my request.
I know it is time consuming, but I copy and paste all that is in the Welcome Guide into a Word document so that I don’t have to rely on their WIFI when I arrive for the sit. Plus some owners will not include their WIFI password as a measure of security until I have arrived. Having the Welcome Guide as a document has been beneficial on return sits; otherwise, a HS has to request the Welcome Guide from the HO again.
Anything that’s missing from the Welcome Guide, like instructions for certain appliances, can be asked for.
I value receiving HO information prior to a sit so that there are no unexpected surprises on arrival!

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The Welcome book is fine, as an owner I filled it, and thought about changing rules as 2 pets of mine have passed away ( as a sitter I 'm not happy when I read listings and homebooks with routine for passed pets : food may be different, medication useless with a new pup, neighbours might have moved etc.) At home a huge copy book with many more infos are given for the sitter(s), with photos which indicate where are the fuses general tap of water, etc. Our home is not that easy…

As a sitter, I’ve always been obliged to request a welcome book. It obvioulsy annoyed some HO to fill it, as they say they leave at home a copy book with instructions (which are sometimes very little…)

I do appreciate some informations are given only when a sit is confirmed : there is no reason for all members to know the email or the private adress if you don’t go to the home. It 's privacy.

That’s why I’ve been very surprised when some members on this forum did not even know the family name and full adress of HO (and e mail & mobile phones, easy to send photos, what we can’t do through THS site)

Word doc is a +. I always load the Welcome book, to be sure I will need all the info I need, if not I can ask before beginning the sit.

Hi @Itchyfeet thank you for the feedback and its definitely something we need to work on and know we need to improve. It’s on our radar! Thanks, Ben

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Oh, please feel free to share!
Thanks,
Cheri and Matt
aloha_cheri@yahoo.com

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@lifephasenext and @xyz Agreed that a more versatile and feature rich version of the Welcome Guide is better than workarounds. It’s always important to remember that what works well is different for everyone. Additionally, what may seem technically simple, may not be the case depending on the limits or the complexity of the platform. Thankfully @Ben-Product and team are aware and let’s hope it is a simple feature enhancement and everyone can benefit from it soon! :grin:

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Thanks Ben, that is good to know

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I would love a copy of your checklist Laniphil54@gmail.com

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