House sitter was good, but one thing went wrong - what to do?

How do you deal with sitters that were for 99 percent doing a good job, but terribly failed at one thing?

Here’s a few examples: My longest sitter (six weeks) didn’t clean the apartment properly for the whole stay. Obviously people have different ideas of “clean”, at least he said he didn’t notice how bad it was. The pets were well, but this one thing really upset me.

Other sitters managed to kill half of my balcony plants. They said they did water them and my instructions should have been more clear. I thought it was obvious my plants were dying, so why didn’t you just give them more water. Again, the pets were well, but I was heartbroken about my plants.

Just now I had a sitter who did something wrong with the litter box and hence caused a severe pee damage on the hard wood floor underneath. He apologized and said he had overlooked something in my instructions. Again, the pets are well and everything else was good.

How do you deal with this? Just leave a “nice review”? Or mention the incident in more detail? I usually try to be fair, but honest. I cannot “not say a word about it”,

And in which cases would you claim a compensation? Can I do that anyway?

Looking forward to some advice.

A compensation ? I guess for your hard wood floor, the sitter’s liability insurance may work (if not THS insurance… )

I personnaly complained about siitters who never warned me my dog fell ill, instead they showed me photos of him and my other dog and cat not mentioning they went to the vet 3 times (without having to pay)
I wrote a comment of course, telling the house was clean, the other pets in perfect shape but I did not understand why they had not followed my instructions about warning me if ANYTHING happened. They deleted the comment (it was possible with Nomador organization). The illness was not their fault, my dog’s death either but not warning us was the mistake

With THS i gave once 5 stars to a couple, but writing down I was sad they did not call me and send me pictures of my dog and cat as promised and decided between us. I was anxious after the death of my former dog while we were far away. They explained they faced a problem with their mobile but they never answered on the land phone…

2 years ago a couple was very nice but did not think of cleaning the pool walls, they used a very greasy sunshine cream and it was very hard to take away all the marks on our return. I just told them, did not mention it on comments

This is interesting to read the issue of writing reviews from a HO’s perspective. @Elke , you may have read comments on other threads illustrating that sitters have difficulty in leaving negative reviews. Some of us have since agreed that we need to be more accurate in our reviews.
I would recommend that you utilise all of the 5 categories within each review so that you could give 5* for some of the categories, e.g. pet care but mark them down on the areas where they have fallen down e.g Tidy. The sitter will then need to know why that rating is lower so I feel you must advise them either in the review or by personal email.
This is fairer to future HOs as they have the full picture of the sitter.
Sitters have a great deal of competition securing a house sit and I feel that it is unfair if a sitter with many accurate 5* reviews is competing with another sitter who should have been marked down by the HO but wasn’t.
As to compensation, sitters do not automatically have accidental damage insurance. I believe this is where THS insurance could be utilised but you would have to check the terms.

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But can one see where 5* was given vs 4*/3*/2*/1*? Is a future considerer, whether HO or sitter, able to see what was less than a 5* rating?

Yes, if you look at any sitters reviews and click on “more” it will show their rating for all 5 categories

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But as a sitter, if I do the same when reviewing previous sitters’ reviews on a potential sit, I do not see the same breakdown. I only see an overall thumbs up rating given to the HO, not category by category.

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Thank you for this feedback from a sitters perspective. I sometimes play around with the stars, give less where applicable and always make a note in the text why that is. My reviews are usually very detailed because I think they are important.

I still cannot help but feel disappointed. How could the sitter not notice/do that/don’t do that… Everything else went really well but this one thing. Maybe I take these things too personal and people are just people.

I am fairly new here, just joined the forum last month. I currently do pet sits in my town yet no overnighters as I have pets of my own. I take pictures every time I go to my sit and update the HO on how everyone is doing. When friends have cared for my pets in the past they have always done the same. It keeps us all connected to the pets and everyone knows what is going on.

I do hope to utilize sitters from this site in the future. That being said, I would be very concerned if one of my pets became ill and the sitter did not contact me. I do not think you are taking things too personal. There is a trust issue here and the sitters should be able to read all instructions and notice when things aren’t going the way they should.

Even a plant not doing well is cause to contact the HO and ask if there is something more the sitter can do. Communication with the HO is paramount to me in gaining trust and being a good sitter. Eveyone makes mistakes or misses things, yet owning up to it and taking responsibility while it is happening is the key issue to me.

Just my “not so” humble opinion.

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You are not being too personal, you have been very unlucky with these sitters who have clearly not respected you or your property.

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You are correct that you will only see the overall rating on the HO.
The HO reviews 5 categories on the sitter
The sitter can only review the overall category on the HO

Therefore somewhat negating the whole honest reviews discussions, as sitters are not able to see where the HO was lacking. Unless of course sitters are very clear in their review. Why not have similar categories for HOs? A question for admin.

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Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this conversation, there are a number of points of feedback to consider and this also underlines the need for open, clear and honest communication pre, on and post sitting stays and the importance of a fair and transparent reviews system, this will all be fed back to the team.

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I am finding manipulative practices with sitters and think the review process should be changed. To be clear, I have had great experiences overall.

I have now had two bad experiences even though their reviews were great and I am figuring it out. In the first experience, they broke and damaged quite a few things without telling me. What I noticed with this first bad sit is she refused to review me until I reviewed her. This made me feel very manipulated as I knew I could not tell the truth since if I did, she would give me a bad review.

This time, the sitter left a mess even though my housekeepers came the morning they were leaving. They were completely uncommunicative the entire time. And, most importantly, the cats were really stressed when we got back as if they had been left alone for two weeks. Now, I have asked her for a review and she will not give me one until I give her one. It is the same manipulative practice.

This has taught me that TrustedHousitters needs to change their review process so that both the home owner and the sitter are required to give reviews without the other being able to see until each review is posted.

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Whether you love or hate Airbnb, their review practice is top-notch. I’d really like to see THS adopt something similar.

And I’m sorry you’ve run into 2 (!) manipulative sitters. I hope that’s your quota!

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Hello Elke,
How’s everything?

In my opinion, everything that you said is obvious for many other sitters and me. HOWEVER, people come from all sorts of backgrounds, lives, and experiences. We can’t expect the same logic for everyone. Isn’t it?

I believe, therefore, that your question already answers you.

If they did 99 percent good, it’s just a matter of personal feedback or finding THS support you on an agreement regarding the floor issue, for example, not putting their profile in a negative light.
THS has more sitters than HOs, so one middle/bad review jeopardizes future sits for an individual.

To avoid future disappointments, I’d suggest you give very, very, very clear expectations. Communication is vital!
How often did you agree on communication?
How often do you want pics to be sent?
What gardening knowledge do you expect?
And what extra care should they provide?
Etc…

Also, house sitting is a payable service elsewhere. So, if liability would be under discussion due to (possible) unclear expectations on both sides and lack of professionalism, I’d highly suggest paying for a professional house sitter. Then, it would be a service, not an exchange. It costs 80 USD/night for 2 dogs, for example.

My parents, for example, pay for some stays and use other free platforms in others (FB groups, in their case). It depends on what house and occasion.

Hope to have helped you with some ideas/alternatives!

Happy summer!

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Hello Thata, thanks for your feedback. I don’t really see what point you are trying to make. I always give clear expectations and communicate well, and watering plants or cleaning up pee accidents right away to avoid floor damage is no magic only few sitters know about. And a paid house sitter is not necessarily a better house sitter. Most places you will hardly find one that does overnight stays. So what kind of advice are you trying to give?

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I am absolutely with you there!
I don’t think anything needs to be a problem when you communicate about it.

Mistakes happen. If I break anything in someone else’s house I tell them about it and suggest I pay for the damage I caused. I expect this not only from sitters but also my regular cleaning woman. I fired one, because on more than one occasion she failed telling me about obviously breaking some kitchen items but denying it when I confronted her. She did her job really good but I can’t stand liars.

It’s not about the damage itself and I usually don’t want any compensation for minor things anyway but I want to be told and I think this is not too much to ask.

As I want the sitter to feel at home in my house I also ask the sitters to understand that they stay in my home and it is important to me. Nobody has to clean everything but I expect it to look like it did when they arrived. If anything unexpected happened that kept them from doing it I want to be told and then it’s no big deal.
Then I would never give a negative feedback.

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For me, it sounds like it is all depends on what you are trying to reach with the bad review or feedback. If you really think that something like this would happen again, at another HO place, it would be a good idea to give them your opinion. But as a pet sitter, I can only imagine you would feel awful if it not at the owner’s expectations. Next time, you would definitely make sure it will be cleaner or pay more attention to the plants. Other than that is think feedback in real life i better and reviews only hurt peoples feelings.