Has anyone had a problem with people not filling out the welcome guide? We
Yes. It’s like pulling hens teeth trying to get it from some owners and even then there’s hardly anything in it.
Hello @mischvus and welcome to the forum. More recently, the Welcome Guide is something I now discuss with the owner before I confirm a sit. I explain the importance of it, especially if they’re a new owner, and the benefits in that it’s created once and then stored for all future sits and can be updated. I also mention that it’s likely to reduce them having to answer my questions when they’d rather be enjoying their travels.
I frame it in a way that it’s not only a TrustedHousesitters requirement, but my requirement. I also set a timeline of when I are comfortable with receiving it, and that varies considerably with each sitter. We each have our preferences. When I review it, if there are gaps in it that are important to me, I ask them to complete that section. I can’t say my tactic always works, but I can’t remember the last time I didn’t get one.
Remember it’s not only owners who have standards they expect to be met; sitters also have requirements. Just make it clear when you connect with them before you confirm the sit.
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I’ve found owners don’t want to use the guide, but instead provide the information in a long text, email or a word document. Of the sits we’ve done, the only time we got a THS welcome guide was when the HOs had previously been sitters. It’s a bit frustrating, as the guide is structured in such a way that you can jump on the app and find the right bit of info- but I wouldn’t want to complain as I wouldn’t want to annoy the HO and risk losing the sit.
Off all our sits I think at least 1/3 hasn’t filled it in. I personally don’t mind. Usually we overlap which gives us time to ask for all the info we need. A lot of people have Word-documents which I find handier than the welcome guide.
@mischvus there are a few previous posts concerning Welcome Guides. This one may be the most relevant for your question.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, lots of owners find the format of the welcome guide difficult to fill in. I wouldn’t know but agree it has useful information, I didn’t realise it was a necessity for owners to complete and have usually been ok with their own printed notes. I do agree though, a lot can be missed if they don’t use the format and it can waste a lot of sitters’ time asking questions
On my side I insist upon HO to fill it, explaining if it sounds a hard task it is done for future sitters, and I do explain that this welcome guide will not be seen once the sit is over, I give also the advice not to write down their wifi or door code on that welcome guide, we can always see it written on a pad when we arrive
I use the THS welcome guide as a guidance for my own document, because the structure is good, but the usability is not. It’s not practical to not be able to post pictures right next to the text.
Our house is 200 years old and has been remodeled several times. Not everything is where it would be in a newer home so pictures explain it best. It would be very confusing for sitters trying to find the right pictures for the text they belong to.
I’ve just arrived at my 45th housesit and the Welcome Guide completed by the owners is the best I’ve ever had.
I’ve been finding that more and more home owners are using the Welcome Guide and I like that. Most provide additional info in paper form when we arrive and some text/whatsapp some info like photos of things or codes etc.
But overall, use seems to be increasing.
If someone doesn’t have the WG, I ask them to email me their notes at least a week before the sit so I can read it all through and write down any questions I think I might have ahead of time.
We’ve only done Australian based sits so far and all our HOs have completed the Welcome Guide which has been really useful. I’m now a first time HO and in the middle of completing one for our sitters. Yes, it’s a bit clunky but not hard to do and I’ve been completing it on the app. I like that it is thorough and includes things I probably would have forgotten about.
I’m not fussed whether I get a Welcome Guide or not. As long as there’s some instructions written down covering the essentials and i speak to the owners beforehand to run through things, it’s been fine.
Such a good point about the photos. Something I always like to ask for is a video of unlocking the front door…and I’ve needed it to get the right door-opening knack in every house sit.
So far all sitters arrived either a day before we left or in the afternoon when we took a late flight and we could show them how everything works.
Still, there is always one or the other thing you forget to mention and it’s good to be able to just open the folder and look at a picture with the description.
I send the welcome file per email before the sit and I have it printed in the house. It’s much easier to grab the folder than trying to find a certain page on a phone.
It is interesting that my experience mirrors so many other comments above. 1) Typically about 1/3-1/2 of my homeowners don’t use the TH guide but it seems like more are (still with many exceptions); 2) I find that many homeowners give this basic information in other ways, including notes they leave behind and during video calls and the first meeting/hand-off.
As a homeowner, I must also echo the challenges of the guide template on the website. Some sections feel duplicative. (There should be overall pet information and then sections for specific individual pet instructions.) It would be so much easier to load pictures along side the text. And most important to me as both a host and a sitter, I would like to be able to print it in a reasonable number of pages. Right now the format takes way too much printing and so I don’t bother. I would like to have a paper copy when I am sitting and I would like to leave a paper copy for my sitter. (My home/pets are not complicated. To print the guide it would be 29 pages!!)
As important as the information in the guide is, I don’t insist, lecture or scold my hosts to fill it out. As long as I have the key information that I need to take care of their pets and home, I’m good. People will learn on their own what works for them and I like to be a little flexible and meet people in the middle when I can.
Yes, I agree with this completely. I don’t really care what form although the WG is easiest for me because I can access it from anywhere.
Interestingly, the only time a HO wouldn’t send me a digital copy of her notes a few weeks ahead of time was the one who cancelled on me 2 days before so I kind of wonder if she had an inkling it was going to happen.
I also don’t care in which written format we receive notes, but it is nice to have something written down that we can refer to again, especially if some sections are complicated. Our current sit has nothing written down, only sent a 10-minute video and no overlap. I find this hard. When we couldn’t quite remember something, we had to watch the video again. Personally, I’d rather read things.
I hate to have to watch videos and for example never search on YouTube for instructions. I prefer everything in written form, if it’s instructions or manuals with pictures to clarify.
It usually takes not even half the time to read a text compared to lengthy explanations on video.
In my company videos have become very popular and I simply refuse to watch them. I read the comments about them in our company forum and get the information from there. For years this has been working great for me.
Just make sure that if you do not get a Welcome Guide, that at least you get the physical address of the Owners, their phone numbers, and their email address!!! If you do not ask and they do not provide this information, you will not even know where to go when the sit begins!!