Leaving my first feedback as a HO. I don't want to be negative but

It’s time to leave feedback for my sitter and I’m a little reticent about how honest I should be This was her first sit and I don’t want to ruin her chances for other sits because of something I said. Instead of leaving a comment about some of her house-keeping (or lack thereof) should I just address them in an email to her? My pets are fine, and the communication we had while I was away was good, but before she arrived I asked if she had any questions about my Welcome Guide and she replied “No, not yet”. When she arrived for our meet and greet it turned out she had not read my Welcome Guide or even accessed it. I think she may be trying to do everything on her mobile phone and may be missing things like the final check list for sitters as it was obvious none of the floors had been vacuumed or damp mopped, kitchen counters cleaned, etc. It looked like a food bomb had gone off in the microwave.
She wants to do a FaceTime with both of us to exchange experiences of our European trip (why?) and her stay. I think she is hoping to do another stay with us in the future, but it’s a definite no for us and I’d rather just move on.
I know feedback is important for sitters, but do I leave feedback or make comments and offer advice for her next sit in an email?

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Hello @Suzanne8
I commend you for seeking feedback from the community after this experience. It is unfortunate. As a sitter, I feel honesty is best, either in an email or facetime. Whichever is most comfortable for you. I would want any misgivings addressed to me first hand and then in the feedback perhaps, cleanliness and tidiness were lacking or did not meet guidelines provided.

Yes. Be honest and speak to her beforehand so she’s not hit unexpectedly. Honest reviews and feedback is how we get better.
Thank you and best wishes.

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Hi @Suzanne8 thank you for joining our community forum I’m sorry however that your first contribution references a negative aspect of your Trustedhousesitters sitter experience.

Thank you for expressing genuine feelings of concern, as @Amparo says while we cannot advise you what to say being honest in a fair and sincere way is the way we learn what success looks like and how best to make every experience a positive one for everyone concerned.

Our community is helpful and supportive and you will get the advice you are looking for to help you make your decision.

I am going to Direct Message you for a few additional details.

I hope you will explore the forum and find conversations of help and interest.

Angela and the Team

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As a HO (and also a sitter), I would appreciate you mentioning the lack of cleanliness in your review. You can write it after you have spoken to the sitter and hopefully she will be apologetic and promise to do better next time. if she does, you can mention that in your review. if she is not contrite, even more reason to warn future HOs.

The review system becomes meaningless if people aren’t honest about negative experiences.

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Thank you all for your comments. They are most helpful!

I looked through a number of reviews and only seemed to see five out of five stars in every category and thought, surely someone must have scored a four or even three in one. Can everyone be perfect or do we just not want to make a negative comment?

It was more than just the cleanliness issue. We learned that not only did she not read the Welcome Guide, she didn’t listen or pay attention during our walk through which caused additional problems.

Emailing her now. Have to let her know that we found a diamond earring on the kitchen floor which she would have discovered had she cleaned it!

Again, many thanks!

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Hi @Suzanne8
I love the comment about the diamond ring!!
There are some reviews where there are scores of less than 5. Occasionally I scroll through the sitter listings to see what scores my competitors have. Also, there may be some with an overall 5* but less than 5 in the underlying categories.
You seem to be tackling this very well

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Very interesting topic and I am negotiating the same thing with my husband right now. My sitters just left. I was absolutely not happy with the final cleaning, but somehow I decided to not even bother mentioning it. But today I found out that they had a friend flying in and staying at my house during part of the time. The never told me nor did they ask for permission. To me that is a total no-go and I really don’t know yet how I will handle it in a review. Right now I tend to not writing one at all. I contacted them immediately after I found out and they feel sorry. I hope they learned their lesson, I learned mine. It was the first bad experience and I am not sure whether I will feel good about THS again. It really destroyed my trust in the sitters. We will see. But I totally hear you not knowing what to write in a review.

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@ArcticLights If we are to remain a supportive group on the forum, then you are helping other homeowners if you write a fair review, rather than saying nothing. As is often shown here, reviews can be framed respectfully but still show the sitter’s shortcomings.

Please don’t judge all sitters by one bad experience. I believe the majority, like homeowners, are dedicated to making it a worthwhile experience for everyone, and especially for the pets. I hope you’ll stay with THS and have excellent results with your next sitter.

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Absolutely, as @Snowbird says. @ArcticLights, please consider writing a gentle, but honest review. I recently had to do this for the first time too and it was very difficult, but the support I received from the forum members here was invaluable. As a HO, you can also check off categories, e.g. tidy; reliable; organized, etc.(although trustworthy/honest is not a choice), as part of your rating. Good luck. You’ll find a lot of support here.

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Constructive feedback creates the space for improvement.

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How long a sit was this?

As for the Welcome Guide, I suggest that HOs have them available in hard copy. I have found it difficult on some sits to have to access my phone and then the app (which I had to reload several times–maybe it has improved). Even if emailed, that is some tiny writing, which I have trouble seeing.

I wouldn’t be snarky about finding the earring b/c she didn’t clean the floor properly.

The “let’s exchange travel stories” sounds weird but it may be her way of broaching the sensitive topic of feedback.

It was a three-week-long sit.

I sent the sitter an email with my thoughts before I wrote my review. She said she was shocked and hurt as she felt she had left the house in as good or better condition than when she arrived. I didn’t even detail “all” the different messes she made and left as I tried to make it clear she did not follow the THS cleaning guidelines. She replied that after consideration I had many valid points.

I left a hard copy of my Welcome Guide and she just laughed at it saying “Well, keep it for your next sitter.” She never opened it.
I was not “snarky” in my review. I offered guidance. My husband said I was too nice. The floors in the house were filthy. She made no attempt to clean the tile or the hardwood and there was "stuff’ spilled and tracked all over. The cleaning products I left were untouched. The countertops were caked with dried food. The microwave was a disaster zone. My husband wrote his name in the dust on our kitchen table. There was a trail of cat litter from the laundry room through the hallway and across the MBR floor when she decided to take the litterboxes outside to clean and used our bedroom door to the patio. Apparently, there was a hole in one of them. No one knew, but she should have cleaned it up once she saw the spill.
As far as I know she took excellent care of our cats. I only took points off for organization and cleanliness.

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For the benefit of other HOs, please write an honest review, including the negatives. I needed to do this with my first sitter recently. I phrased it by saying that “we both learned some lessons from this experience”. In my case, the sitter skipped giving my cat some medication (because the cat “hissed” and she “freaked out”) and didn’t tell me until I asked the next day. I felt that future cat owners should know this about the sitter.

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Ah, she even blew off the Welcome Guide. Strange.

I didn’t mean to imply that you would be snarky in talking to her or your review.

I am just coming off a very similar situation. My solution was to email the sitter separately with “constructive criticism”, knowing that it was his first sit and it would be his first review. He was genuinely apologetic about the mess he left. Some of it he had even acknowledged before I wrote the email, and the additional items I mentioned so that he knew better the “expectations” of a HO.

Because he took this so well I was comfortable in giving him 4* in “Cleanliness”, but did not mention it in his review. In hindsight, I suppose that I could have mentioned what the issues were and that after our discussion, they would probably not be a problem in future sits.

It’s not unreasonable of you to give her a lower rating for cleanliness. Clear and direct communication is key. We also got a 4 star rating for cleanliness once, because we forgot one of our belongings in the flat. Not sure if that was reasonable, but your experience sounds a bit worse ;).

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