Do you use sitters without many reviews....?

I know it’s a vicious cycle that you need sits to get reviews but it’s hard to get sits without reviews…but I’m finding it more difficult to offer the job to sitters without m/any prior reviews. This, of course, limits my pool of sitters. And everyone needs to start somewhere!!

HOMEOWNERS: Do you use inexperienced sitters? How do you feel comfortable doing so? Are there things you do to “assure” it’s going to be a successful sit?

SITTERS: I don’t like not using newbies, so how can you help us feel more secure?

Thanks!!

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Hello again, check their character references, their Airbnb reviews, their linked in profile - they’ll all help assess a HS that’s new to THS. Ask lots of questions when you chat so you can check they know what they’re doing, that they really understand animals and you feel comfortable with them. Go with your instincts.

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Ask scenario based questions relating to your home & pet/s e.g. My dog is not used to being left alone for too long, how will you handle this? You could ask them what drew them to your sit, what,they know about your area, how they will get around. Have some questions or dot points written down for your call, things that are important to you and really listen to their responses. Ultimately, go by your gut instinct?

Use the looking glass above to search “questions to ask sitters” as there is lots of previous advice from the forum

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“Questions to ask sitters” is a GREAT suggestion. I peeked at it and am beginning a list!

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Hi @AmyNJoe
While I’m very happy to be chosen because of my experience and great reviews, I had to start somewhere and will be for ever grateful to the first home owners who took me on. I did have quite a few references and the home owner was an ex police officer, as am I, so that may have helped! Needless to say, it got me started and I could well have waited a long time if owners had purely only taken people who’d sat through THS before.
As others have said, you must go by your instincts. Also good to have a FaceTime/Skype/Video call and ask all the questions in the list to ask prospective sitters. You’ll get a good feel then. The sitter should also be asking you appropriate questions and mainly about the pets, then you’ll see where their priorities are.
I do hope you’ll give the right sitter their first opportunity to sit for you.

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We probably went above and beyond even more than now when we first started. My girlfriend was deep cleaning dusty homes and removing accumulated bunny poo, I was cooking dishes that took me half the day to prepare to greet the HO and we accepted energetic dogs with zero training. There are plenty of great sitters starting out, it’s best to listen to your gut feeling.

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@AmyNJoe
When I started I added info that showed I was responsible.
Such as
Retired from a job of 30 + years
My guest in airbnb reviews
Homeowner of 20+ years
Personal references
How long I had lived with pets
I just added I have TSA precheck. Lol

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Great answer! We just invited a bunch from people who saved us with few or no reviews!

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Hi Amy and Joe, we’ve been doing this for a year now – we are both HOs and sitters – and if we can only give one suggestion it would be to always do a video chat, not a phone call, to determine if you’d be comfortable with a newbie sitter. You can tell so much from body language, how they communicate, and how forthcoming they are, etc. If you are in doubt, do not accept them. We did not listen to our gut for one sitter and, well…

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Hi AmyNJoe,
I ended up with my first house/pet sitting job through another housesitters site. I guess I was successful because the homeowners were happy with my profile as my past employment was cleaning holiday apartments which reflected how I leave people’s homes clean. I did add that I have a cat that I dearly care for, including a photo of her on my profile. I do have 2 adult sons with their partners that own 2 gorgeous dogs between them, and I have occasionally cared for them while they were away on holidays. So, I added this information on my profile. The homeowners arranged to chat with me on facetime. Yes, definitely use your gut instinct.

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We are Scottish long distance sailors.
Our first sit was for a couple who go to the Islay whiskey festival every year. Their two adorable dogs even had Scottish names. The second was for an enthusiastic sailor. And we never looked back.
Try and find a connection with the pet owner. Same hobbies, job, breed of dogs, the list is enlist. Always works for us.

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Hello,
My husband and I just joined THS in August. Fortunately we have already been selected for 5 sits and have completed two. I think the home/pet owners were comfortable with us due to our detailed profile and the LinkedIn information about our careers, our ages and the Airbnb and personal references we provided.

We were chosen by two owners who were ready to pick us without a video chat, but we requested one anyway so we could see them, their pets, and their space. We also showed them our space and I think it helped make them feel comfortable seeing the quality and cleanliness of our home.

Go with your gut, aided by a video chat!

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I’m yet to housesit through THS so this is something I’m nervous about, as I don’t have any reviews from THS HOs. Because I’ve housesat & petsat for friends in the past, I asked them to leave me character references and I’m hoping that’s helpful. Similar to other posters, I also link my AirBnB & LinkedIn, and have a detailed profile which describes my experience with pets. I agree with everyone else - arrange a video chat and ask questions to make sure you’re comfortable!

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Hi Laura, don’t forget to let people know if you two are smokers, if you’re traveling with your partner (make sure that person is also represented on your THS profile), and the vax/boosted status of you both, as many are still acutely concerned about this.

Good luck!

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