@Ashleynov I said some sitters I’ve known (not all). Also, not sure why spending money to travel to go somewhere is for the preference of the HO ? I don’t think sitters are being forced to spend money and time to travel to a certain place to house sit? Every sitter I’ve had has come to our city because they wanted/needed to and on their terms and dates and times. And, yes, sitters do the work but again, in exchange for housing. Why is that so hard to grasp? That is literally the whole model that THS is based on. In addition, on our part, we’ve made sure to provide a clean and comfortable home with lots of entertainment, and our car on several occasions. Again, there needs to be mutual respect and appreciation for what each is obtaining for the arrangement. HOs should stop feeling entitled because they they think are lending their home without ‘a fee’ and sitters should stop feeling entitled because they think they are taking care of pets for free. I suspect some of these problems people are facing might get resolved if that happens.
Honestly we are thinking of moving forward with THS. Owners are way too picky at time and it feels more like an unpaid job than an exchange. If owners want you to take their dog on a ride everyday then they should pay for gas or for extra work that would require a proper WORKER. A lot of abuse! At the end of the day it’s a free service and home owners shouldn’t abuse the sitters.
Many untrained dogs… The reviews don’t reflect anything on the stay. We stayed in the worst ghetto neighborhood with crackheads outside our door that other sitters qualified as family-oriented and safe lol. Right now we are staying with a demon cat scratching our door the entire night and they called him fearful and cuddly lol. You never know what you are going to expect since nobody seems really authentic when it comes to reviewing because I get it they want good reviews and the review system does not allow much freedom but STILL if the reviews were different we would have avoided some negative experiences. More integrity from the sitters and the owners is required with changing this review process too.
No more people pleasing!
Sitters can cancel in emergency. I had to cancel a sit three years ago due to Covid. The homeowner was completely understanding.
Covid, illness, natural disasters - goodness, that’s all a MUST, it shouldn’t be an exception but a rule.
I don’t want to only be able to cancel in case of disasters or illness. I want to be able to cancel if it turns out the Welcome Guide (which is only shared after the sit is confirmed) shows unreasonable demands, or HOs are flaky in communication, if my life plans change. (I’m not talking about cancelling a day before, for no reason, I’m talking about reasonable cancellation).
THS charges highly for their membership, priding themselves on being there for their members - so they should help out members in need.
It’s power imbalance again. HOs can just cancel suddenly, it could be only a few days before before the sit and I’ve already booked the tickets etc., but I can’t?
@Askdeepa , Although, I agree that we sitters choose the places we want to visit, staying in your home is great but it is something we have to do to be able to provide the services that you want us to do.
If it was not for us trustedhousesitters, your alternative would be to book a ‘professional’ sitter.
These sitters charge a considerable amount of money to give you the exact same services that we do.
They don’t charge you all that money instead of staying in your accommodation, they charge you aswell as staying in your accommodation.
As with us, you can’t blame them for that as it is literally impossible to provide the petsitting service you request us to provide without staying in your accommodation.
I’m both a homeowner and a house sitter. I have save a great deal of money by being a house sitter. Of course I spend money to get to where I’m sitting, but, I wouldn’t be going anywhere just to sit for strangers. I’m traveling because it’s somewhere I want to be. And, taking care of someone’s house and pets allows me to do so much cheaper than if I were paying for accommodations. Not only do I not pay for accommodations, I stay longer and the travel is much more the way I like it- slow and easy.
What exactly is this entertainment you provide that you think is so valuable?
As a homeowner you’re just leaving your house as it would be when you go away anyway. It costs you nothing.
You want a sitter to look after your pets while you’re away which is better for the pets than boarding which you would have to pay for anyway. Getting a sitter requires them to live in the house to do the job you want.
I’ve been attacked here lately for saying there are much more stringent standards for sitters than HOs, and that there’s an uneven balance of power, when it’s supposed to be equal. For me, having been away for a while and just dipping my toe back in, I can see it much more clearly than I did before, when I was all starry eyed and idealistic about what I thought would always be a reciprocal relationship where both HO and sitter are equally valued. Not really feeling it anymore, to be honest.
Maybe it’s all the recent “free vacation!!” publicity that has shifted things, I don’t know. I think that has a lot to do with it, truthfully. But more and more, I’m seeing HOs thinking they’re providing us poor homeless ragamuffins/cheapskates with a place to live and not even charging us rent, utilities and taxes!!! So the least we can do is deep clean their house, mow their lawn, tend their gardens, walk their neighbor’s dog, run errands, do home maintenance, etc. in exchange for “a free place to stay.”
As if they’re getting nothing in return. Like the pet care is effortless on our part. Like it doesn’t require any responsibilities, or attention to detail, or keep us indoors at times we might want to go out. They even place listings offering no accommodation, but still asking us to travel back and forth to their home two or three times a day, feed, water, walk and clean up after their pets… all as a favor. “Misunderstanding” of the T&C or not, in their minds, it’s a perfectly reasonable ask, or they wouldn’t even submit it. Do they really think it’s realistic to expect a stranger to shoulder that level of effort and expense for nothing? They must, if they’re putting up such a listing to begin with. Is what we do really that devoid of value to them?
Sitters used to push back on that in the forum, but that’s definitely changed. It’s discouraged now, because THS doesn’t want to “scare away” HOs, who are needed more than we are in order for there to be a business at all. I get that, I really do. And it seems many sitters do rely on THS for housing (out of choice). So it’s clearly working for a lot of people. I’ll still occasionally look for sits or accept repeat sits when invited. But I won’t be back at renewal time. I’d rather pay for my accommodation than be treated like I should keep my mouth shut and stay below stairs where I belong.
Absolutely true. I admit it’s been a huge opportunity and my partner and I are proud to care for the pets and leave the home tidy. But for moments that aren’t so idyllic, HO can take advantage. I had a sit so bad she had cameras in the home and had an extra person she lied about not being there, who stayed our entire sit. If she didn’t trust us I really don’t know why she chose us. It was terrible because ultimately we were cleaning up after ourselves, the pets, and her extra guest. But if we informed support the most they can do is encourage discourse between the two parties. However, for a different sit with a new member HO who never gave us info on how to leave the home and where to leave the keys when she shortened the sit, she even ignored us! What are we supposed to do as sitters? I have been scratched and bitten by pets who should be cared by paid professionals to be honest. In the city of new york people can take advantage the most, so until changes happen we must be clear on our boundaries as sitters just as much. Thank you for this extremely relevant post.
I APPRECIATE YOUR MESSAGE! THS seems to forget that without sitters there would be no website and NO MONEY. Personally we chose this alternative lifestyle but it does not mean that home owners can have all rights to ask everything for no pay just because we get to live in their house.
We want freedom, we don’t need a boss. Better to have dignity than dealing with entitled people.
You rock Tamara. You’ve read my mind over and over and over again. Tamara for THS president.
sitters still have enough power to do real damage
As a solo female sitter, I can assure you that we are opening ourselves up to plenty of risk when we arrive to the home (or not) of someone whose background and criminal record have not been checked. There’s no telling what I might find (or not) when I get there. Please remember that due to the advantages given to HOs over sitters, we take on safety risks as well as financial ones. We have to prove our “Trusted” status. You don’t.
Part of the problem may be the structure of the welcome guide. The way it’s divided, it is difficult to write. Many homeowners simply write their own version.
@Marion yep. It is really bad and can see how confusing it is for people.
I actually am working on reformatting on a PowerPoint that I can print out for my next sitters. I’ve heard from others here that they preferred a hard printed copy (but I’ve printed out the welcome guide and it’s not great).
I’ve come up with two separate documents. One is a Welcome to the Home. My space is small but well designed, and in addition to emergency numbers, etc, I want to make sure sitters are aware of options for moving stuff around to make themselves more comfortable. The other is document is all about pet care and play. Plus I’ve got demo videos.
My current HO sent me a video welcome guide via WhatsApp. Easier to show stuff than describe it.
The problem with welcome guides sometimes is that they’re written badly or densely. When that happens, I make myself a daily checklist, so I don’t have to wade through the welcome guide every time.
Nice I was thinking about separating the home and pet care guides as well.
My dog is pretty easy to take care of I think, but had a couple of sitters that seemed confused about what I meant by “you need to get through the garage to get to the alleyway to find the large garbage bins.” They just left it inside the garage behind the cars. Maybe I need to make a virtual video about where to throw the garbage out of all things
I use Grammarly and ChatGPT since English was never my forté as an ESL kid. I wish these apps were around when I had to write my photo captions!
In my case, part of the reason I did this was because of something like that in my apartment. The layout is a little unusual as there is an enclosed terrace/balcony accessible to the cats through a door in the living room, a window in the kitchen (in which we have DIY cat door) and the window in the bedroom. During feeding we separate the cats so doors and various windows may need to be closed. On paper it sounds like a nightmare! In real life, when you see the cats go to their respective eating areas and you see how it all unfolds, it’s pretty simple.
I have a Word document that I send to sitters before the sit, and have a hard copy printed at the house. I have 2 versions - one for short sits (2 weeks or less) and one for longer ones. As a sitter, I like to get an electronic copy that I can search for key words in a hurry but also like the hard copy available. I have a separate document with local recommendations - restaurants, sightseeing, leisure, etc
Some of my sitters have commented that my guide is very comprehensive and clear. I;m happy to share it - and take suggestions for improvement - if anyone wants it.