Homeowner wants to video chat

Hi! I’ve been noticing an increase of requests to video chat when I apply to sits. I prefer not to video chat. One, because it makes me extremely anxious and uncomfortable and also because my laptop microphone doesn’t work and my andriod phone doesn’t have facetime nor do I have any other apps like zoom. I prefer a phone call to chat about the sit and that has been working just fine for me. However, when I mention this I get turned down! One homeowner had a call for us scheduled and at the last minute asked if we could video chat and when I politely declined she immediately declined my application.
Anyway, I just want some feedback. Do I need to change my ways or is it ok for me to stick to my preferences?


Yes, I would suggest you try to get comfortable with a video chat. It will be helpful to you too – you’ll get to see the owner, the pets and can ask for a video tour of the home. Download WhatsApp. It’s a great app for video chatting on your phone. And it’s easy.

There are others, such as Google Hangouts or Duo but WhatsApp seems more universally used.

And Zoom works on your phone or on your computer. Just make yourself do it, that’s my advice.


Here here Meadowlark, I feel exactly the same.
I have so far managed to speak with Home Owners by telephone without a camera & not lost out.
However, when I applied for my last sit, I picked up on the HOs unease about my preferred option of no video camera.
I could easily have missed out on the Sit altogether which would have been a shame as it was a wonderfully enjoyable sit with a characterful kitty.
For more local sits, I offer a pre-sit visit which is often much appreciated by Home Owners.
But, yes unless I change my mind set about video calls, I think that I may well lose out.

@Meadowlark As others have said here, yes, the video chat is essential for both sitters and HOs. (We are both.)

In my opinion, and what I’ve posted on previous threads, you get to see the other parties, how body language changes when a difficult question might arise, see the pets, the house, and just get a truer vibe off each other.

There are many video programs. We hope you can learn to use two of them (Zoom and What’s App seem to be commonly used) and see what you’ve been missing! Good luck! :slight_smile:


I hate video chats as I am quite reserved.I love talking on phone though. just got accepted for a sit without any phone call or video call. If needed by owner then I will do a video call if they really want one but i prefer not to .


As HO I find video chats awkward too but I always say yes if that’s the applicant’s preference. I could see how refusal from either side could set off alarm bells. It has been more useful to me when the handover was not in person as I have walked many housesitters through the house and barn. I also like knowing that, if needed, the sitter would be able to video chat with me from my home. For example, my last sitter saw some shady characters nearby one day. He was worried they might have stolen something and offered to video chat while “walking around” with me to see if I noticed anything off. I didn’t bother, but I appreciated the option. So I guess I’d agree you should try to get comfortable with it or possibly be prepared to lose some nice sits. It’s just the world we live in now.


Not sure if we ever accepted or were accepted for a sit without a video call or even a personal meeting (we sit in Europe). Perhaps the HO who declined you couldn’t quite put himself into your head or thought something sketchy was going on (e.g. some people want to see you and make sure you are the person on the profile). We would just be honest about your anxiety and technical limitations, most HOs should be able to understand. PS: For your laptop you can buy earphones with a microphone (ca. 10 EUR).

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I agree with others, probably best to get comfortable with video chat. Strongly recommend WhatsApp for your phone. Folks have started to introduce the pets and given walkabout tours of the house which are very nice. I did have a sit for ‘hoarder’ once; if we’d done a video chat, I might have been a bit wary if I’d seen how cluttered the house was.
That being said, I’ve gotten sits after voice calls - even a few without any chats - only written communication - but I have lots of reviews and look for sits that have multiple reviews, too.

Personally I am not keen on video chatting but I do think they are a necessary evil for petsitters and home hosts alike. If I am honest, I think they are more important to the sitter than the home host.
The Home host gets to see the sitter in person, and know who to expect when they get a knock on the door!
The sitter gets to see the pets ( are they really as quiet and fluffy as described in the listing ? ) Also the sitter gets to see the accommodation that they are going to call home for a period of time.
We always ask for a tour of the home on our video chats, On our second our sit we did not do a video chat and it was our worst sit to date - When we arrived the house was filthy - we learned our lesson very quick;y.
On one video chat, during the chat the home host was constantly wiping slobber from the dogs mouth - we declined that one.


Totally agree with @Colin re video chats. I don’t feel comfortable but I feel it is a necessary evil. We are early retirees and are not comfortable or familiar with the latest technology. When a video chat is requested we make it work and have always been offered the sit. Only once have we been offered a ‘walk through’.


I advise getting comfortable with video chats, as others have said

I’m a homeowner and sitter, and I’d be deterred by someone who didn’t want to video chat.

As a sitter, I want to see the place and pets, not just the photos on the listing. I want to see the HO also

As a HO, I want to see the sitters’ body language, facial expressions, etc. Also, if a sitter was uncomfortable with something as technically basic as a video chat, I’d wonder about their competence in other areas requiring basic technical skills. That may sound harsh, but if my parents in their 80s can do video chats (and have been doing them for years), anyone can!


That’s definitely also helpful to keep in mind as something positive: you can learn so much through the video call and it can really inform your decision. We have done so many video calls + meetings with HOs that it’s not really something we think about anymore although we must have been a little nervous for our first few calls.

As a sitter I really need (& want) to look into the whites of someone’s eyes before I go and take care of their pets and home. That visual connection is essential and personally, it’s not the same on just a voice call. I think it would be beneficial if you could get used to doing them. It would also make me suspicious (wrongly or rightly) if someone declined a video chat. It feels more transparent to show all of you if you can.


I also REALLY dislike video calls. Like, I almost dread them. As a sitter, I’d rather take my chances with a home and pets I haven’t seen than have a video call.

Unfortunately, video calls are the current medium for establishing trust in this situation, so I always offer to do one in my application. And if the homeowner requests one, I agree cheerfully as if it’s the easiest thing in the world. And then I chew my fingernails for several hours beforehand, and reward myself with chocolate afterwards!


I usually do video chats, and I like to see a home and the HO live. I had a telephone chat the other day that has put me off that sit. PP is new to the platform, so no reviews. Well, talking to the PP was like pulling teeth. So, despite the sit looking good otherwise (dates work, apt looks clean, listing is straightforward), I think I’ll decline.

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I’m with you on this one Meadowlark. I absolutely hate video chat! I just can’t relax & be myself on them. I’m always worrying if I look ok & feel silly when they introduce their pets to me. I guess I’m just self conscious. I’m fine in the flesh.
Where do you place your phone? I don’t want them to see a huge close up of my face incase they are counting my wrinkles.
I also tend to have a resting grump face!
I have done a few & been successful in getting the sit but I did get turned down on one & it rocked my confidence.
There is no chance of getting my husband to do one.
I guess it’s something we will just have to grin & bare :grimacing:
Maybe getting more practice would be good. If we WhatsApp each other we can practice that way :heart_eyes:

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You can see many viewpoints here and I would say No you don’t need to change your ways.
I have carried out over 100 sittings and have had just 2 video chats which I hated and thought them both a waste of time. I am fully up to date with Zoom, Teams, Whatsapp but I prefer a phone call. If I am asked by the HO to carry out a video chat I ask “Can we have an old fashioned phone call as I ask lots of questions and want to take notes” so there will not be much face to face contact anyway.
I always apply for sittings with many photos and I ask as many questions as I need.
I think many HOs just ask for a video call because THS recommend it.

Yes, I hate video calls too, but accepted it as the norm now. In 2019/2020 we did more than 20 sits in Australia and not ONE requested a video call! Just email correspondence! All went swimmingly. Now that we sit in Europe, I often wonder if it was an Australian thing or a pre-Covid thing where it was totally acceptable not to do a video call.
The worst arrangement is when a HO says: I’ll call you tomorrow afternoon around Xpm. No! I need a fixed time and I need it to start on the dot, otherwise I keep ‘waiting’ for the call and can’t get on with my work :woman_shrugging:

I’ve been accepted a couple of times without a chat or video call but I wouldn’t confirm the sit unless I had a video chat. I will thank them for taking me on but tell them I’d prefer to video call them before I accept. You just never know what you might be taking on if you don’t

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Video calls seem to be far more the norm because of the pandemic and even because of this Forum. Like you @botvot I’ve done many sits with just messages between us and the occasional phone call pre-covid times and all were fine.
I’m not surprised you mainly had messages with Aussie owners: we’re a casual lot :joy::joy:.

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