We recently had a challenging experience with a sitter and I wanted to share my lessons learned with others going forward.
Here are my recommendations:
- If the profile indicates that there is a “partner” as part of the stay, then both participants must be part of the interview.
- Both pictures of the sitters should be part of the profile picture and details about that person should be also included.
- Full names of both individuals must be provided to help the pet owner do their own searches to make sure the identity and backgrounds are validated. (I google everyone, check their linkedin or airbnb profiles)
- If the individual does not respond within the 72 hours required time line, then be hesitant about the applicant.
- if lots of explanations about the ‘why’ for delay in responses, think twice, especially if it happens more than once.
- if a car is needed for your sit, but they plan on flying in, really think twice if they don’t have their own vehicle (rental, loan from family, etc.)
- Last but not least, if your gut is telling you something and you are starting to have reservations, don’t brush that aside.
After all, these are your pets and your home. It’s nerve racking enough to think about someone else caring for your home and pets, so hopefully these additional tips will guide you to selecting the right person(s).
Plenty of homeowners allow use of their car… But if you don’t want to, (which is fine) that’s an odd requirement. Are you implying that you do not have access to Uber or Lyft or whatever in your area? You merely need to tell the sitter that, and you would be off the hook.
Sometimes people say that a sitter needs a car so they can take a pet to the veterinarian in an emergency. Rentals don’t allow you to bring a pet, and neither do Uber/Lyft.
Would I be within my rights to charge you for the use of that car? Probably not, so making it a requirement seems … itchy.
We own 4 cars, but we don’t plan on taking them everywhere! And the expense of renting a car is far greater than taking either public transportation or ride shares, or taxis for that matter.
NEVER, EVER dismiss, ignore, or doubt your gut instinct! You have it for a reason and it’s NEVER wrong. Even when you can’t think of any “logical” reason to be hesitant and you want to give the benefit of the doubt, your gut already knows it’s a “No”. Trust that!
I’ve never rented a car (no license), but I’ve used both uber/lyft and traditional cabs to transport my pets - currently just one cat, but I used to have a large dog. Maybe that’s regional?
Outside of that question, the car item was the only one that I thought was a bit odd, but it depends on the sit. And if a sitter had to pay for a vehicle to transport my pet to a vet, I would of course pay for that!!
I’m a sitter, never been a host. Homeowner listings have such tiny profile photos they’re almost impossible to see. Most listings include only the name of one host, rarely is a partner mentioned. As for last names, sitters only get that information in the interview process. Does THS do background checks on homeowners?
I’m not saying SKoda’s advice is wrong. But there needs to be equal sharing of information.
We walked away from a sit when the homeowner insisted on interviewing the hosts from our previous sits. He hadn’t even bothered to look at our profile.
great recommendations! thanks for sharing
Unless the passenger has a service animal, it’s up to the driver to allow the passenger’s pet into their car. Not ideal for an emergency.
This platform is TrustedHouseSitters, not SuspiciousHouseSitters. Sitters have to have a background check. Do homeowners? Homeowners don’t always have photos of their “partners”. They don’t even post big photos of themselves and cannot click on the profile photo to see what they even look like. Almost all of the homeowners I’ve had a call or video with was only with the person who created the listing. Not their partners.
I’d be interested to learn what your challenging experience was with the sitter. Can you disclose that here?
As a sitter I agree with some of the comments of others here and that you should go with your gut instinct. No doubt your experience will help with future video calls. Have a list to hand with all the questions you’d like to ask and make sure they’re asking all the right questions too.
This should be the first rule of thumb, not the last
Thanks, I was not aware - for my dog I always used traditional cabs and let them know on booking that there would be a large dog. For my cat I’ve used uber/lyft and there’s no where to enter that info. Never had anyone refuse (and I tip profusely, as she tends to meow), but admittedly it’s been a rare occurrence, as my current vet is 4 blocks away and for previous pets I used transit for anything non-emergency (also allowed here).
My husband and I have been sitters with THS eight years now. I’m the one that usually applies on the sits and has the video chat with homeowners. I ask if they would like to speak with my husband and occasionally that has been requested and my husband has joined the video chat but that was an exception. Full names of sitters are not disclosed on the THS website. Don’t quite understand your #4 point re sitters responding within 72 hours. Re the requirement for a car - that should be noted in your homeowner listings - do sitters need a car or is transport accessible - you need to note this in your listing.
Agree, if you require the sitter to have a car in order to take care of your pets, then list that as a must in your post and offer to cover costs related to your pets, should the car be required for their needs. I don’t drive, however, I respect that requirement as long as it’s made clear upfront. We have mostly been offered cars by the owner who took our license details to add to their insurance. As long as everything is clear, there should be no issue.
Absolutely. It would be good to check the home owner doesn’t have a criminal history. Imagine being asked to do a pet sit and then realise the HO has nefarious intentions. As sitters and HO are equally paying members in THS, transparency should be a must on both sides, especially if you’re flying to a sit.
Great word @Starsitter - nefarious - & yes, vetting on both sides would make way more sense
Funny how approaches differ. Although the THS membership is technically in my name I have “manipulated” all aspects of “our” profile, social media, messages and photos to make us the sitters that apply for sits. I write applications & correspondence in the plural, we do video calls and telephone calls together. We are a team. I can’t imagine why any HO would accept just me and my details for a sit and then have my husband tag along as well.
We’re exactly the same @Saltrams - all as a “we”, our applications always refer to both of us, video calls as a pair, plus our pics are a total combo too. Total transparency.
You will find it difficult to find any of this information about us online so would that rule us out even though we have over 100 reviews?
Also in all of these sits we have only done one video call and Mr Itchyfeet wasn’t present.
Of course you must do what is best for you but my gut instinct would be for me not to progress the application once I knew your Terms and Conditions
@Cuttlefish @Saltrams Same here with us. Everything in plural.
@Itchyfeet I agree with you- these criteria would not work with us Our profile names could -possibly- be found on FB or airbnb but our legal/passport names are different. We are not hiding anything, - we just have alternative names we use in daily life. We have been ID checked by THS & have over 70 great reviews from happy HOs . If that’s not enough reassurance nothing will be!
Don’t mean to argue here but Uber will accept pets if you order an Uber Pet car. They are a little more expensive than standard cars. I know as I had to transport a cat I was sitting for to/from the vets for chemo.
This was in Lisbon Portugal. Not sure if uber pet cars are available everywhere uber is?