List of questions from sitters to owners

@Itchyfeet yes there are so many questions we could ask and often have to! I am not sure if THS provides a HO with some sort of check-list of what makes for a good exchange…something along the following lines and anybody feel free to chip in on this:
‘Hello HO and you must be looking forward to your break away? Here is a check list of what makes for a great exchange. We also provide a check list for sitters based on what HOs tell us’

  1. Please leave space for the sitter to hang clothes in the bedroom. Some drawer space and clear surfaces are also appreciated.
  2. Is there room in the fridge and freezer for the sitters food? Have you discarded out of date food and food no longer required?
  3. If you have dogs it is always seen as a common courtesy to clean any garden where the sitter will want to interact with your dog of dog poo before they arrive. The sitter check list also asks that they do likewise for your return.
  4. Have you agreed a back-up person with your sitter?
  5. Have you declared any cameras on the property (inside and outside) to your sitter? This is most important as we are sure you will agree.
  6. Is there free parking space either on the drive or on the street?
  7. Have you given the sitter all of the detail they need to look after your animals properly?
  8. As you are aware the sitter has the right to reasonable privacy while on the sit. No other person should be staying or arrive at the property for the duration of the sit. Where you have normally have cleaners and gardeners, this should be communicated to the sitter before the sit is offered and may need to be rescheduled for your return.
  9. Any trade work should not be scheduled while you are away unless the sitter reports something to you that needs urgent attention.
    Would anybody like to add to this checklist and perhaps a HO could initiate something from the HOs perspective that a sitter could refer to? @Angela-CommunityManager @Vanessa-Admin Im sure alot of this information is around in one form or another and there may even be check-lists that I have not seen? If there are not its worth considering. Obviously a list would want to be weighted with the most important points first up eg details on animals, issues around use of cameras, no other people staying at house, tradework etc etc. Again this is all offered in good faith and in the spirit of the forum being a place where we can raise issues of concern. Have a nice day all.
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A post was merged into an existing topic: New sitter member how do we help the owner prepare for our sit?

Thank you @Vanessa-Admin.

The forum is allowing members to gain insight into both sides of pet and house sitting, thank you for sharing @carpediem all of these conversations are incredibly helpful for members, both new and experienced.

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@Vanessa-Admin many thanks for your detailed response Vanessa its much appreciated and yes you are right the list of questions sitters can put to HOs and HOs could put to sitters is probably so long it could never be contained in one set of prompts and as you say each sitter and HO will have their own questions and even that might shift at any point. I do think there are core concerns for sitters around a few issues though that seem to crop up quite abit on the forum and you will have seen them also; these being other people staying at the house where a sitter should have the right to privacy and likewise issues around use of undisclosed cameras and tradespeople and others coming into the house. I know that it has been said that sitters should raise these concerns directly with HOs before taking on a sit, but being a sitter yourself (and I am sure Angela would have experienced it also) thats not always an easy thing for many sitters to do especially if they are worried about the sit offer being withdrawn or getting bad reviews as a result of asking these awkward questions. This is why I believe it is so important to keep these type of issues as high priority at every opportunity when putting out information to HOs. I will have a look at the links you have sent and hopefully these sort of issues do have a prominent position.

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Hi @Vanessa-Admin I agree, that as a sitter, I have created my own list and what works for me, may not work for someone else and vice versa. As someone who is prior military and has lived in all kinds of situations, one thing I learned is to overcome and adapt. So, something like closet space or having certain foods, spices in the home isn’t essential to me. I usually bring my own food or I will go out and buy what I would like to eat. I often like to know things such as: “Is the dog(s) friendly with people or other dogs?” If they tell me the dog isn’t friendly or aggressive with other dogs, then I know not to take the dog to a dog park or somewhere where there would be lots of dog traffic. My focus is more on the animal(s) that I am spending time with.

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Definitely agree… the core concerns should definitely be high profile for both sitters, and owners, as they both have a responsibility to uphold in the house sitting exchange.

Re your point about reviews, for Ian and I, if an owner expresses dissatisfaction at being asked the more “sensitive” questions at a pre-sit chat, that would be a red flag for us. As prior homeowners it was a red flag in that sense too, if sitters were unapproachable on important topics.

I think saying no when there’s anything that doesn’t sit well with you is an empowering and important place to get to and I would rather withdraw at that point than proceed with doubts, unmatched expectations, or worries about reviews.

We ask all the important questions (from our perspective) regardless of whether they appear in T&Cs or Code of Conduct because we know how easy it is for these things to be scanned without proper reading. I wonder how many of us could quote the terms of the code of conduct from memory :slight_smile: For us personally there’s no replacement for good communication and discussion.

It’s easy for me to say this with hindsight having sat for many years, and learned through experience, which is why there is such great value in newcomers (and experienced members) being able to learn from the exchanges of fellow members here in the forum. I wish a forum had been around when we started out!! Take care!

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@Vanessa-Admin yes Vanessa yes getting to that empowerment point can be a hard road and I guess comes from experience good and not so good and wanting to be brave and upfront and honest with other people and with ourselves. Yes I totally agree its better to walk away from a possible sit when you get a sense that the tricky questions are not going down to well! We are always learning and fortunately I think for most people both sitters and HOs the exchange is a a happy one. All the best.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: New sitter member how to prepare for a sit

When we joined in July 2019, I did not ask enough Q’s, I felt like I was being intrusive, also the HO were new also, some did very extensive Handovers/Manuals etc, some so basic like the Vet’s Number, a local CP for ICE and the basics about the Dog or Cat. After a couple of experienced HO sits, I got my own list together after each HO provided either the TH Manual or their own via Email and then I would fill in the gaps.

Vets: Please make them aware and have my Name, Mobile number and ID i would be providing if there was an emergency. We got caught out when a dog came on heat early and there was male dogs at the sit also, the Receptionist wanted to speak with the Owners, I just wanted clarification, I was not taking the Dog in for morning after pill etc, the Owners were in NZ.

Pets: Nature, their quirky behaviours, dislikes (all of them) that one Dog that makes them very reactive and seem threatening even though they are just scared. The Lady down the Street who just doesn’t like the Dog breed and her Dogs react every time they see the Dog because they can pick up on her Energy. The area of the Garden that the Dog could escape if it really wanted to.

I ask loads of questions about the Pets, so much so that the HO quite often say “My Vet doesn’t ask this many questions” usually your Pets are going for a check up or needles, if they are going for surgery, your pet is not going to behave “normal” if it’s an emergency your Pet is going to be “highly destressed”.

I have had HO let me know that they have an Elderly Parent who might forget where they are and turn up at the Door, I said I’d happily make them a cup of tea and call the CP to come collect them, however is there a Photo of them? well there is now. The same with eg Adult Children who have their Mail and Parcels sent to HO home, again there is a Photo now and said Children have been advised not to just use their Keys to walk in like they usually would, ring the Bell and wait.

I always ask after I have done a 100 Q’s on the Pets, the Home, is there a sticky door or key, what Windows don’t close after being opened! noises that the HO are used to that might startle us and in turn the Pets, a Stair that’s a bit iffy, when does the Hot Water/Heating turn on and off etc, Fridge/Freezer/Cupboard space is a must as we bring all our food and fill fridges full of F&V, we are not so worried about Wardrobe, Draw space (unless it is more than 4 weeks, then it gets a bit annoying living out of a Bag) Bathroom space is a yes, a Parking space.

I ask the HO to note down all the CP and Mobile numbers for them, their Kids and local CP just in case coverage is Bad etc, you want to be able to resolve a problem quickly.

Quirky things in the Home, eg Electrics, when we get there, I ask them to show me where the said fuses are and what rooms or appliances are likely to trip it off and the Electrician’s number’s, this applies to the Water and Gas ( the HO has always had a local tradesmen who knows their property and them ) We found this out and he came over before he started his day, I had come downstairs at 5.30am ( that’s a sleep in for me…) the fridges and freezers were all off and I checked the 1 fuse box I knew about, however couldn’t find the other one, I texted the Electrician so he would get the text when he started his day, he rang me and came over before starting his other jobs for the day, it did happen again, I didn’t need to call him, I just went to the other fuse box.

I ask so many Q’s because I don’t want to bother the HO on their time away, and I don’t want the unexpected of things that can usually happen in a Home/Pets, having lived in lots of Homes around the World and having many Pets over the Years, I have learned “there’s always something” I want to be able to send a HO a happy update each am/pm with a Pic of their Pets that everything is good and have a great day.

If a HO was ever not willing to disclose details about their Pets/Home i’d be curious. I have only ever had 1 who after messages back and forth and then got to the Video interview, started to tell me about the Breed of the Dog and it’s “quirky” behaviours, I decided it was not a good fit for my Tweens (they are both Autistic) I wasn’t bothered for myself as I have owned what is considered a dangerous breed and with the right training and reinforcement you can have a very well behaved, obedient dog (you still don’t leave them alone with small children unsupervised) however I wanted the Tweens to be able to Walk the Dog without me for the pm walks, we do the am they do the pm. When I explained this to the HO they suggested just doing the am walk, I explained I wasn’t comfortable with that as the Dog has it’s routine and we try to stick to the routine as much as possible as to make sure the dog is happy and settled, they agreed.

I think it depends on the sitters because if you need to go to Work, your on Public Transport, you want to know all the details, eg the local bus (is it reliable or are going to miss your first connection several times a week etc)

For us it’s a good Wifi connection as I work remotely and the Teens do HE online via modules, We are all on different mobile networks to gain coverage, I have an unlimited Sim so they can Hotspot off mine if coverage is not good.

Sorry this is so long, there are so many Q’s that could be asked, I think it’s a HO/Sitter unique situation and after the House Manual has been sent to you, then formulate your Q’s that have not been answered already.

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That’s a super comprehensive list @Manda thank you for taking the time to share and again we all manage our pet sitting lifestyles in our own way, being prepared and informed is so important and as sitters we think of things that the owner may not and only because to them it’s all so very familiar.

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Hi Manda very helpful post thanks. I am new, sorry what is CP? thanks

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So sorry, CP contact point. X

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That’s great, thank you!

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Just got my first sit in November. Anyone have tips on questions to ask before I go. I have have accepted. Let me know if the information is already out there. Asked for address, directions on care of pets, contact info.
Any tips appreciated in case I am just overjoyed to think of the obvious. Thank you in advance.

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Hi @evag008 CONGRATULATIONS!! amazing it’s always very special when you get your first invitation … although that really never diminishes over the years. You will get great help and advice from member on the forum, there is so much experiences across all of our members also you’ll find terrific help and information on the website blog

Request the Welcome Guide through your dashboard, this is the document the owner completes and should contain all of the information about their pets and home, including veterinary information and Emergency Contacts.

You’ve made a great start with the information you’ve asked for and communicating with the owner is so important, point is to make sure you have all of the information you need. Arrival and departure time, how does the owner want to handle the hand over, on both ends of the sit. Often this is something not discussed and everyone assume the dates on the listing are the actuals.

Congratulations again and we look forward to sharing in your first pet sitting experience.

Angela and the team

Thank you. I did request a Welcome Guide after I sent my own checklist. I guess they will get both. Repetition is annoying but sometimes necessary. Got to go before it starts raining again.

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Super helpful - about to welcome our first THS for a long term sit and this is gold dust - thank you!

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You’re very welcome and congratulations for finding your first sitter!
We also had our first sitter with THS taking care of our cats last week and she did such a wonderful job. Fingers crossed that yours is as good :pray:t2::pray:t2::pray:t2:

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Regarding this list. I believe THS should have something where each time an owner posts a job, they are asked to disclose if there are any cameras inside or outside of the place of residence. I believe this should come from THS and not the sitter as if a sitter asks about cameras then this “may” concern the owner(s) that something bad “may” happen, the sitter “may” not be trusted or there’s something the sitter “may” want to hide… like a visitor…
A sitter asking about cameras could cause that sitter to lose a job because of “possible” fears the owner may have regarding that sitter. But if THS is asking the owner to disclose cameras each time they post a job then this will be VERY helpful for the sitter and prevent any “possible” fears the owner may have if a sitter asks this question.
I bring this up because I once came across an article about vacation rental companies like Airbnb where they went over the pros and cons of renters asking the owner about cameras and what type of “vibe” this could give the owner…

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@MichaelinVA02 , THS does require that HO disclose the presence of cameras in their listing. Some people do, but not all and they may not include the locations of the cameras. I include this question as part of my initial interview. Just as on a loan or credit card application they start with the less invasive questions before asking about your income and assets, you ask preliminary questions before hitting them with that one. If you want to know, you have to ask.

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