List of questions for HOs to ask the potential sitters?

Hi @Düsenzofe … I would be happy to split off the conversations about insurance so that that thread can continue and we can get answers, while keeping this thread for your home owner questions. What do you think? It might make sense?

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@Vanessa-Admin
Oh yes, thank you so much, I appreciate this :grinning:

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Having had experiences with 4 different sitters so far, I now add:

  1. How would you describe your house cleaning habits?
  2. Will you be able to clean the house at the end of your stay, including vacuuming and wiping down all touchable surfaces?
  3. Do you plan on spending any overnights away from the house?
  4. Do you have experience giving __ type of medication to a cat using __ method?

I didn’t think I would need to ask these things because I made my “sitter responsibilities” section very descriptive, but have had some negative experiences regarding these topics. At this point, I figure it’s better for me to ask them what their plans and habits are and decline them rather than tell them my expectations surrounding these topics and have them do the opposite… Which has happened several times now.

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@Elyse
Thank you so much :pray:t2:
This is really helpful and I will add everything to the list.
I updated it in my post with the list!

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Hi @Elyse welcome to our community forum and thank you for joining us.

You are so right, we do learn with each sit that everyone is different and having clear and concise communication and guidance on expectations for both owners and sitters is the recipe for a successful sit. Those are great points and questions.

Enjoy being on the forum and connecting with other community members, we learn from and support each other.

Angela and the Team

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i usually ask if they have any allergies or food preferences for their arrival, I always cook a meal for my sitters.

I have also found it a good thing to FT or WhatsApp potential sitters you can tell if you are going to get on.

I always also like them to be there 2 days before we leave so we can show them places where we walk the girls and make sure they are happy with everything.

Actually I think two days is quite a long time and I wouldn’t expect anyone to arrive so early.
It might be different with dogs but for our cats a few hours before we leave or the night before in case we leave early in the morning is fine.

I put everything in a welcome guide which I send the sitter per email some time before the sit begins for them to note some questions which may arise and which is also printed in the house in German and English (I even might add some more languages).

I found that too many informations and instructions can as much confuse other people as too little.

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It sounds good but not for me, we all have our different ways, I like to leave my home knowing my girls are happy and the sitters are too and that they know where things are how they work. It can save a lot of upset on both sides. If I was a sitter I would feel responsible for the house as well as the pets so I would like that time.

Some great questions - thanks. For me there are 2 sets of questions. The first when both sides are determing whether the sit/Sitter is the right one. The second lot of questions would be after the Sitter is confirmed.
Before a Sitter is chosen/confirmed I would be asking questions about their experience with animals. For example our dog is an elderly, rescue dog & I would like reassurance that they are used to taking their time & allowing the dog to get to know them in his own time, walks are a max of 1 hr etc. Are they confident that they can spot if a sheep is lame/ill &, if they don’t have the experience to deal with it, are happy to contact one of our friends who could help them.
I would, also, have a conversation about our house and the location. I would want to make sure they appreciated that our house is rural with the nearest neighbours 200 yds away and it is an old house situated on a working smallholding. It is clean and comfy but not luxurious.
After the Sitter has been confirmed I would like to know their food preferences & any allergies (for a meal together & to leave them some goodies) and their interests so I can tailor the Welcome Guide appropriately.

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Hi @ Champfleurie What type of animals do you have? If you require the sitters to arrive 2 days prior to your departure, do they stay overnight with you?

We have dogs, the idea of the sitter arriving 2 days before we go is that they know where everything is, what needs the dogs have and where they walk. Of course they stay with us and I feed them and show then around the area taking them to the nearest town where they might want to visit, shops and facilities they might need. I cannot imagine someone walking into my house and having to search for things, not know how to use our appliances like washer dishwasher etc. Plus when we go away we are at peace and can enjoy our holiday knowing our girls are being taken care of. Anyone who didn’t want to come and do that would not be sitting for us. I can honestly say no one has complained.

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We have just experienced our first”will you please answer these supplementary questions” (or as my husband now calls it, death by lists). It was excruciating.
I always write a very long winded and detailed application with everything about us from COVID vaccinated to what colour we like our bed linen (joke). I also point the pet owner to our very detailed profile, references and reviews and also a blog of our lives for the past six years. All the information they wanted was there already if they only took the effort to read it. There was no need for theses questions.
During the video chat there were long silences as we had already told them, twice, all the answers they wanted and needed. We had already done our research and it was a just a formality asking about the area, security, public transport, walks etc. It was good to see round the house and meet the dogs and hear about their habits, good and bad.
Something else we noticed, we were asked three times in three different ways some questions we had already answered in our profile, in their question list and then three times in the video call. They were neither listening nor very interested in our replies.
So, the crux of the matter supplementary questions. Yes, they are sometimes needed but maybe the application, profile and anything else that is offered should be read first before sending a list of already answered questions. We do a lot of research and reading before, during and after applying for sits. Maybe the HOs should as well. Or maybe some, and I said some, just need to feel important. I’m waiting for the classic “if you were a biscuit, which one would you be?” It’s a HR thing.

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Hi @ElsieDownie , I found myself doing this too—asking questions of my HO I had already asked and that were also in the Welcome Guide. The reason: fatigue from non-stop travel to different places and the fact that I had just been interviewing two other HO at the same time. I was getting all their answers mixed up. This may be why you ran into the same situation. For me, I had just driven ten hours after waking at 6 am (I’m not normally a morning person), arrived at the sit, slept over the night before the sit started and woke the next day at 6 am to go for a walk with the owner and dog before she left for her trip. I am sleep deprived and not operating at peak efficiency, so cut your HO a break. There may be circumstances you are not aware of.

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This was not a complaint, more an observation. Both parties were sitting comfortably in their residences. Both parties had at least five days to read up on the other party, their requirements, their environment, cost of getting there, COVID requirements etc. I even started reading their travel blog. They hadn’t even looked at ours.

I just felt it had been a complete waste of time for them and us. The only good thing that came out of it was to see the dogs and the house we would be staying in. We were not accepted for the sit which was a disappointment but I’m not even sure if I would have taken it after that fiasco.
I don’t mind video chats and extra questions if I haven’t answered them already. It’s as if they had flung out a list of questions to all applicants but never bothered to read anything about them first.

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This scares the heck out of me. I’m feeling this site might be a little to blind-trust for me. There needs to be more formal signature agreements to avoid these types of situations.

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Hi @Robb I can get a member of our Membership Services Team to connect with you, to chat through some of your concerns. We have a global membership and in 11 years have seen over 4 million nights of successful pet sitting.

Pet and House sitting with TrustedHousesitters is an arrangement built on mutual trust however what is important to remember that when the process, and there is a tried and proven process in place, when that process is followed by everyone involved, then the final agreement to commit is based on the information available, copious amounts of communication and should be a truly educated decision but if after all due diligence is completed and the arrangement doesn’t feel right then, as they say, stop.

It has to be the right sit and the right sitter.

I have been with TrustedHousesitters since the very beginning both as an owner and sitter, I have completed 200 sits across 5 continents and had sitter in my home from Australia, NZ, Canada the UK and Spain, would I still be here if the system didn’t work?

One year I was leaving home on a three month sit trip to Europe, working remotely as I have done since the beginning. I was flying out of LA and a friend in CA, who knew I was leaving my home in Vancouver for 3 months asked about leaving my home empty,
“I’m not” I said “I have sitters in from Australia”
“Friends of yours?”
“No, I only met them yesterday”
“Are you mad”
“How long have you known me?”
“20 years”
“Am I mad?”
“No”
“I knew more about these sitters when they arrived than I do my neighbors who I’ve lived next door to for 5 years” … I went on to explain the process and say at no time did I ever lose control over whom I chose to invite into my home.

The sit was a success as have all of the sits I have experienced.

Over my time with TrustedHousesitters I have spoken to and interacted with literally hundreds of members around the world and can truthfully say that our community is very special, it is like no other and I have experienced many, it is based on mutual trust and value exchange.

That said we recognise also that it is not for everyone. Each member needs to be comfortable, secure and confident that TrustedHousesitters can and will work for them. Does it go wrong on occasions, yes but then show me a “product” which doesn’t what is important is how those situations are managed.

Members have support from the community, from the TrustedHousesitters Team and Membership Services, but in the end it is the individual’s choice.

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Would love to be able to give this 5 :heartbeat: and quote the entire thing, paste on several threads of discussion here.
Thank you Angela for always being a solid voice of reason.

I love my crazy happy existence.
and I’m going to add, I am far from crazy.

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This was very helpful. I added a modified version of this question to my list of questions I am currently preparing.

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I asked my sitters whether they can arrive a day earlier (to mitigate against any possible weather-related flight mishaps) and I will put them up in a comfortable hotel locally. If I am asking them to come early it’s only fair I cover any expenses relating to my request. And of course we will take them out to dinner as well.

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HI @jaumais welcome to our community forum, if you need any help please do ask our community they are supportive, helpful and many with years of experience.

Thank you for joining.

Angela and the Team

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